The government has considered plans to declare martial law to calm any disorder following a no-deal Brexit, the health secretary has suggested.
The legislation makes provision for curfews, travel bans, the confiscation of property and in the most extreme case the deployment of troops, the newspaper said.
The move has been described by sources as the civil service “prepping” for all possibilities.
Quizzed about the possible imposition of martial law on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Hancock said: “I wouldn’t put a stress on that.
“Of course government all the time looks at all the options in all circumstances.”
When pressed, he said: “It remains on the statute book but it isn’t the focus of our attention.”
“Of course government all the time looks at all the options in all circumstances.”Health Secretary Matt Hancock
A Downing Street spokesperson added: “Respecting the referendum decision means leaving the EU.
“The PM has said that there will be disruption in the event of no deal, but as a responsible government we are taking the appropriate steps to minimise this disruption and ensure the country is prepared.”
Labour MP David Lammy, who supports the Best for Britain anti-Brexit campaign, said: “This is a full-blown crisis. The government is recklessly drawing up plans for a colossal act of self-harm.
“Through continuing on the path to Brexit, despite having achieved no consensus on a deal in parliament, the government is preparing to declare war on itself.
“The idea that the government has any mandate for this catastrophic scenario is ludicrous. The Leave campaign promised a stable new trading relationship with the EU after Brexit, not total isolation and soldiers in our airports.”
Hancock also distanced himself from leaked comments in November claiming he had said he could not guarantee NHS patients would not die in a no-deal scenario: “I didn’t quite say that. Cabinet discussions are meant to be secret.”
Hancock insisted that if the health sector prepares properly there will be no shortage of medicines in the event of no deal.
He said: “Now, if everybody does what they need to do then I’m confident that can continue and the pharmaceutical industry, who are responsible for building the stockpiles in case there are delays at the border, they have reacted so far in an exemplary manner.
“I think so long as everybody does what the need to do – now these things are always difficult, there are always from time-to-time shortages. We have to make sure we put in place what is necessary.”
It came as Education Secretary Damian Hinds said the government was unlikely to actively pursue a no-deal Brexit, but warned that it could happen if MPs do not approve a deal.