Hammond: Parliament can express view on no-deal
Philip Hammond has said he is “very confident” that the means exist for parliament to express its view on a no-deal exit from the European Union.
In his first significant intervention since leaving the Treasury, the former chancellor told the BBC’s Today programme that the new government had “set the bar so high” that it's become almost inevitable the UK will crash out without a deal.
It comes after Mr Hammond wrote an opinion piece in The Times calling it a “travesty of truth” to pretend that Leave voters backed a no-deal Brexit in the 2016 referendum.
He accused Boris Johnson of trying to wreck the chance of a new Brexit deal by making demands the EU could never accept as a unified bloc.
Hammond, who recently returned to the backbenches after serving in the government for nine years, has come under fire from those within government for his comments.
Responding to anonymous media briefings accusing him of wanting to cancel the referendum result, he tweeted that as chancellor he voted three times to deliver Brexit.
His comments will be seen by many as the first indication of a coalition of backbench Tory MP’s preparing to make their voices heard on the issue of a no-deal exit from the EU.
Mr Hammond told Today: “There is no mandate for leaving with No Deal, it’s absurd to suggest the 52 per cent of people who voted to leave, had voted to leave with No Deal.”
He added that he believed leaving the EU without a deal would be “just as much of a betrayal” as not leaving at all.
Boris Johnson has promised that the UK will leave the EU by the 31 October "come hell or high water" and there are currently no active negotiations taking place.