The new rules could, in some cases, allow people to use lethal force to protect themselves and their families.

The move is designed to remove the potential for a burglary victim to be arrested – let alone charged – if they use violence to drive the intruder away or stop them from advancing through their home.

The current law, which states that householders can only use ‘reasonable force’ came under scrutiny after Norfolk farmer Tony Martin was jailed for shooting dead a burglar in 1999.

While there have been some changes to the law in recent years, ministers have always stopped short of delivering on the right to use ‘disproportionate force’. But now only force which is ‘grossly’ disproportionate will not be permitted.

Grayling said: ‘Being confronted by an intruder in your home is terrifying, and the public should be in no doubt that the law is on their side. That is why I am strengthening the current law.

‘Householders who act instinctively and honestly in self-defence are crime victims  and should be treated that way.

‘We need to dispel doubts in this area once and for all, and I am very pleased to be delivering on the pledge that we made in Opposition.’

Image via Getty (featuring a surprise wasp attack on Grayling’s head)