Philip Hammond’s No Deal grenade: Boris Johnson accuses former Chancellor of ‘collaborating’ with Brussels after he revealed plans to stop UK leaving the EU in October
- Phillip Hammond has revealed plans to block Brexit happening on 31 October
- Boris Johnson has warned that Hammond’s actions could force a No Deal Brexit
- Mr Hammond believes the Prime Minister is deliberately avoiding making a new deal with Brussels
The Prime Minister warned that Mr Hammond’s plot would torpedo chances of forcing concessions from the EU – so it actually increased the risk of leaving without a deal.
Mr Hammond will lead rebel MPs in a bid to destroy Mr Johnson’s pledge to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 by changing the law to force another delay. Yesterday he launched an extraordinary attack on the new PM three weeks after he entered Number 10, warning that No Deal would be a betrayal of voters.
As the row exploded into all-out war, Mr Johnson’s Cabinet allies lined up to accuse Mr Hammond of sabotaging Brexit talks during his time as chancellor. A senior Government source said last night: ‘The view is that Hammond undermined the last PM and is now trying to do the same to this one.’
The Prime Minister appeared on a facebook livestream railing against the ‘terrible kind of collaboration’ from people such as Mr Hammond, who are attempting to block Brexit in Parliament
As he took part in a Q&A on Facebook yesterday, Mr Johnson did not pull his punches as he warned the EU will not give any ground if they believe the Commons can block Brexit.
In remarks clearly aimed at Mr Hammond, the Premier said: ‘There’s a terrible kind of collaboration, as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in Parliament and our European friends. And our European friends are not moving in their willingness to compromise – they’re not compromising at all on the Withdrawal Agreement even though it’s been thrown out three times. They’re sticking to every letter, every comma of the Withdrawal Agreement – including the backstop – because they still think Brexit can be blocked in Parliament.
‘The awful thing is the longer that goes on, the more likely it is, of course, that we will be forced to leave with a No Deal Brexit. That’s not what I want – it’s not what we’re aiming for – but we need our European friends to compromise.
‘The more they think there’s a chance that Brexit can be blocked in Parliament, the more adamant they are in sticking to their position.’ Ministers yesterday publicly accused Mr Hammond of hampering Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations by holding back money for No Deal preparations so she could never realistically walk away from the table. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace claimed Mr Hammond had deliberately refused to hand over the funding so contingency plans could be put in place.
Former chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, has been criticised for his refusal to release funding that would have bolstered efforts into forcing concessions from the EU
He said: ‘Philip Hammond wouldn’t release the money…so now we are not as ready as we could have been. We had lots of plans under the last administration but we didn’t have any money to fund it because the Treasury wouldn’t let go of it. Now that’s changed – now we are funding it, now we are putting ourselves up into a spot where we can actually deliver all those things we need to mitigate the effect of a No Deal.’
Kwasi Kwarteng, who attends Cabinet as Energy Minister, said that Mr Hammond was to blame for the country not leaving the EU in March as planned.
Previous Tory Leader Iain Duncan Smith has suggested that Mr Hammond’s inaction is akin to a ‘political crime’.
He told Sky News: ‘The fact that we’re in the situation we’re in – the fact that we missed the deadline – shows that Mr Hammond wasn’t very effective at preparing us for No Deal.’ Meanwhile, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith accused Mr Hammond of committing a ‘political crime’ by doing ‘nothing to prepare us for leaving with No Deal’.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘By not preparing to leave with No Deal, [Theresa May’s Government] made it certain that we’d have to swallow everything that the European Union gave us.
‘So the crime that has been committed in political terms was committed by him and those who did not prepare us to leave.’
Speaking later on BBC Radio 5 Live, Mr Duncan Smith accused Mr Hammond of pretending to get the country ready for No Deal while blocking preparations. ‘He certainly hasn’t told the truth on this,’ he added.
An ally of the former chancellor said: ‘Philip fought for a deal – and voted for it three times. He’s now being attacked by the very people who have repeatedly blocked Brexit in their pursuance of ideological purity.’
In his first major intervention since quitting as chancellor, Mr Hammond yesterday warned that a No Deal Brexit would be ‘as much a betrayal’ of the 2016 EU referendum as not leaving at all and declared: ‘It must not happen.’
He accused Mr Johnson of trying to wreck the chance of a new Brexit deal by making demands the EU could never accept such as the removal of the backstop.
He told the Today programme he was ‘very confident’ that the ‘means exist for Parliament to make its voice heard and to pass legislation to give effect’ to its opposition to No Deal. Asked whether that would mean new laws to block No Deal or delay Brexit again, he said: ‘Yes.’
Former Tory MP Sarah Wollaston is set to join the Liberal Democrats this morning as Jo Swinson makes her first major speech as the party’s new leader.
Dr Wollaston will join her third party in a year in a coup for her friend Miss Swinson.
The Remain-supporting ex-GP, 57, left the Conservatives to join Change UK then became an independent MP.
Truth behind his VERY revealing claims
PARLIAMENT CAN AND MUST STOP NO DEAL
He said: I’m very confident that the means exist for Parliament to make its voice heard and to pass legislation that gives effect to the clear view of Parliament.
Analysis: Speaking yesterday, Mr Hammond said ‘it’s very clear to me, and the Speaker of the House of Commons has also been very clear’, that MPs could stop No Deal if they have a majority. He declared that Parliament ‘will make its voice heard’ and that leaving without an agreement ‘must not happen’. However, Mr Johnson’s allies argue that the campaign by rebel MPs to thwart No Deal actually makes a compromise agreement less likely. A senior Government source said yesterday: ‘Philip Hammond is giving the EU no reason to negotiate. He is removing the incentive to sit down and talk.’ They also say that undermining Mr Johnson risks letting Jeremy Corbyn into power if the Prime Minister’s new government is collapsed in a confidence vote and Britain heads for a general election.
A DEAL WITH LABOUR ON A SECOND REFERENDUM
He said: It was clear if we wanted to do a deal with the Labour party that would have secured Brexit and had us out by now, it would have had to have included the opportunity for Parliament to vote on whether or not to hold a referendum.
Analysis: Mr Hammond refused to deny that he suggested a second referendum deal with Labour to get Mrs May’s deal over the line. ‘The point I was making is that if we wanted to do a deal with Labour it would have to have included that element. Simply a statement of negotiating fact,’ he said.
NO ONE WAS WARNED ABOUT NO DEAL
He said: Leaving the EU without a deal would be just as much a betrayal of the referendum result as not leaving at all. More than 17million people did not vote to leave the EU with No Deal.
Analysis: Mr Hammond attempted to justify this yesterday by claiming that ‘during the referendum campaign there was virtually no mention made by the leaders of that campaign at all of the possibility of leaving with No Deal’. However, a number of quotes emerged yesterday to show Mr Hammond himself publicly warned there was a danger of No Deal in the months leading up to the referendum. Speaking in a Commons debate on 25 February 2016 he told MPs that if Britain voted to Leave at the end of the two-year negotiating period ‘there is no guarantee that agreement would have been reached’. Just a few days later Mr Hammond argued that the ‘default option’ was ‘the World Trade Organization rules, which is where we will end up if we leave the EU without a deal agreed’. ‘For anyone who wants to ensure a clean break with the EU, the WTO is the only honest model,’ he added.
JOHNSON’S TOUGH DEMANDS ARE A ‘WRECKING TACTIC’
He said: The move from demanding changes to the backstop to demanding its total removal is a pivot from a tough negotiating stance to a wrecking one. The unelected people who pull the strings of this government know that this is a demand the EU cannot, and will not, accede to.
Analysis: Mr Johnson has told Brussels that he will not return to the negotiating table unless they agree to remove the Northern Ireland backstop. Mr Hammond says this demand has ‘set the bar for negotiations so high’ that they will ‘inevitably’ fail. While it is true that Brussels has so far shown no sign of a climbdown, Mr Johnson’s government believes the EU will only return to the negotiating table if it can see Britain is serious about No Deal.
ECONOMY AND UNION IN DANGER
He said: A No Deal exit will cause significant harm to the UK economy and, potentially, irreparable damage to the union of the United Kingdom. People need to know the facts.
Analysis: Mr Hammond accused Mr Johnson’s Government of not being straight about the risks if the country leaves the EU without an agreement. Official forecasts, including from the Bank of England, have warned about the impact No Deal would have economic growth, house prices, and the pound – however, they are contested. Mr Johnson’s Cabinet allies yesterday lined up to accuse Mr Hammond of holding back money during his time in the Treasury so departments were unable to get on with contingency plans to mitigate the potential issues.