Brexit briefing: Hammond warns leadership hopefuls against no-deal

Chancellor

The chancellor will say no deal supporters are trying to "hijack" the EU referendum

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Chancellor Philip Hammond is to warn Conservative leadership hopefuls against advocating for a "damaging" no-deal Brexit tonight.

Mr Hammond will use a speech at the CBI's annual dinner to say that supporters of no deal are trying to "hijack" the result of the referendum.

He will say that if the Brexit issue is not resolved in the next few weeks there is a "real risk" of a new Prime Minister moving towards a "damaging" no deal exit policy for "ideological" reasons.

The chancellor will say: "To advocate for no deal is to hijack the result of the referendum, and in doing so, knowingly to inflict damage on our economy and our living standards.

"Because all the preparation in the world will not avoid the consequences of no deal.

"So I will continue to fight, in the face of this polarisation, for a negotiated Brexit - an outcome that respects the British people's decision to leave, while recognising that there is no mandate for a no-deal exit, and that we have an absolute obligation to protect Britain's jobs, businesses and future prosperity."

The comments will follow a meeting of the Cabinet today, in which senior ministers are expected to sign off on a package of measures to be including in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which will return to the Commons for a fourth time in early June.

The Prime Minister has promised the Bill will be "new and improved" when MPs come to vote on it, calling it a "bold new offer" in a column in the Sunday Times.

Boris Johnson and Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, who has been rumoured to be in the running to become the next Tory leader, have both said they would want to renegotiate Mrs May's withdrawal deal with the EU, but not rule out a no deal exit.

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