Home Secretary Amber Rudd has hinted that the ban on carrying laptops, tablets and other bulky electronic devices in hand luggage may be extended to cover all flights into the UK.

Passengers flying directly to the UK from six mainly Muslim countries in the Middle East and north Africa have been ordered to stow all electrical goods larger than a smartphone in their hold luggage following similar restrictions in the US.

The measure, which applies to the holiday destinations of Turkey and Egypt and is expected to affect more than two million people over the next 12 months, is thought to have been prompted by intelligence reports that jihadists were preparing to conceal a bomb in an iPad or laptop, The Times reported.

Critics have questioned the logic of targeting only a handful of countries when the bomb-making method could be shared over the internet with would-be terrorists anywhere in the world.

Rudd declined to rule out a global ban.

“It’s difficult to say how far this will go, whether we may at some stage arrive at that place,” she told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show.

“At the moment the government has made the decision about where to have that ban in place based on the intelligence we’ve received.”