Bellicose Prime Minister David Cameron came under fire today over leaked plans to mobilise thousands of troops as strike breakers.
Mr Cameron has reportedly been acting like a Colonel Blimp and urging military chiefs to prepare for an expanded role against strikers.
Left MPs demanded that Mr Cameron must come clean over alleged secret plans for troops to replace striking prison officers, firefighters, train drivers and other key workers, revealed in the Times.
A Downing Street spokesman admitted that contingency plans existed for the army to deal with "a range of scenarios."
He denied any recent changes but added: "I cannot go into the detail of contingency plans."
Mr Cameron escalated his attack on the unions today, declaring at question time that they are threatening "a strike to wreck the economy."
Tory backbencher Penny Mordaunt asked about plans "to keep this country going in the face of strikes."
Mr Cameron replied that the armed forces had done a "fantastic job" at the Olympics, adding enigmatically: "There are times when we can call upon them and I know they will be pleased to serve."
Blyth Valley Labour MP Ronnie Campbell told the Morning Star: "The arrogant posh boys should watch their step if they think they can recruit troops to break strikes by ordinary workers fighting for their rights.
"Squaddies from working-class communities are themselves furious over cuts.
They signed up to defend our country, not to defend public-school bully boys."
Left MP Ian Lavery said: "This shows how far out of touch is this government of Bullingdon Club millionaires. The threat of troops will not stop hard-working trade unionists from taking legal strike action."
Veteran MP Dennis Skinner warned the armed forces and police that they should be "wary of bailing out this evil government that has attacked workers in every sector."
The police and army had also been victims, and 20,000 police marched over losing their pensions.
"Remember which side of the fence you're on," he cautioned.
Rail union RMT general secretary Bob Crow accused the Con-Dems of preparing to crush dissent and use the army to "defend their friends in the City."
Plans to use already overstretched armed forces for their own political ends showed that "they hold military personnel in just as much contempt as other working people."
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