CAROLINE Lucas has criticised the Prime Minister for “threatening” to deploy troops to help enforce coronavirus restrictions without a parliamentary vote.

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Boris Johnson said there is “the option to draw on military support where required” and hinted that the military could be “on hand” to help police if needed.

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The Green MP for Brighton Pavilion wrote on Twitter: “The government is now threatening to call in the army to fix a crisis that's been in a large part of their own making. 

“Let's be very clear: in a democracy any deployment of the armed forces in such a way can only happen after a vote in parliament.”

Downing Street later clarified that the military would be able to help fulfil certain police duties such as office roles and guarding protected sites to free up officers and would not be granted “additional powers”.

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The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “To further free up the police to have a greater presence on our streets they will have the option to draw on military support, where required, using tried and tested mechanisms.

“This would involve the military back-filling certain duties, such as office roles and guarding protected sites, so police officers can be out enforcing the virus response.

“This is not about providing any additional powers to the military, or them replacing the police in enforcement roles, and they will not be handing out fines. It is about freeing up more police officers.”

The Argus: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced new coronavirus restrictions todayPrime Minister Boris Johnson has announced new coronavirus restrictions today

It comes after Mr Johnson announced a number of new restrictions in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading further, following a spike in cases. 

The PM told the House of Commons today the UK has reached a “perilous turning point” and said action is needed to prevent thousands of daily infections and potential deaths in the autumn. 

The new restrictions include a 10pm curfew from Thursday for bars, pubs and restaurants across England and an expansion of the facemask rule to include people working in retail and those travelling in taxis.

The government is now also urging all office workers who can work from home to do so.