Brexit: Hammond Says PM’s Demands ‘Wreck’ Chance of New Deal
He told the BBC he was “confident” that Parliament “has the means” to express its opposition to a no-deal exit.
A No 10 source said the UK would leave on 31 October despite Mr Hammond’s “best efforts to the contrary”.
The source added that Mr Hammond, as chancellor, “did everything he could” to block preparations for leaving and had “undermined negotiations”.
The former chancellor rejected this suggestion in a tweet, saying he wanted to deliver Brexit “and voted to do so three times”.
These arrangements would apply unless and until both the EU and UK agreed they were no longer necessary.
He said that agreeing to changes now would “fragment” the EU, adding: “they are not going to take that risk”.
“Pivoting to say the backstop has to go in its entirety – a huge chunk of the withdrawal agreement just scrapped – is effectively a wrecking tactic,” he said.
He also told Today that he was “very confident” MPs would be able to pass legislation to express their opposition to a no-deal exit.
However he said he did not favour the tactic of replacing the PM with a national unity government designed to prevent no deal, saying: “I don’t think that’s the answer”.
‘Travesty of the truth’
BBC political correspondent Tom Barton said that remark was an apparent aim at the prime minister’s closest adviser, Dominic Cummings – the former Vote Leave campaign director.
But Leave-supporting former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, also speaking on the Today programme, said he was “astounded” by Mr Hammond’s remarks.
“Talk about hubris. This man did nothing to prepare us for leaving with no deal,” he said.
“The fact we are now doing that means we have a much better chance to get some kind of agreement from them because they now know we’re going to leave with no deal and he’s undermining that.”
Parliamentary battles ahead
The Daily Telegraph reports that Commons Speaker John Bercow told an audience at the Edinburgh Fringe festival that he “strongly” believes the House of Commons “must have its way”.
He said he would “fight with every breath in my body” any attempt by the prime minister to suspend Parliament to force through a no-deal against MPs’ wishes.
On Tuesday, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd urged Mr Johnson not to force through a suspension.
She told the BBC: “I remain a great admirer of Parliament and of parliamentary sovereignty and I will continue to argue for the executive of the government that I’m part of to work with Parliament, not against them.”
Meanwhile, 20 other senior Tory MPs have written to the prime minister to say his demand to scrap the Irish backstop “set the bar so high that there is no realistic probability of a deal being done”.
The MPs said they were “alarmed by the ‘Red Lines’ you have drawn which, on the face of it appear to eliminate the chance of reaching agreement with the EU”.
The group also demands that Mr Johnson declares he is firmly committed to leaving the EU with a deal and is ready to compromise to get one – pointing out those were assurances he gave during the leadership campaign “both publicly and privately”.
Seven other former cabinet ministers have signed the letter, including David Lidington, David Gauke, Rory Stewart and Greg Clark, all of whom resigned before Mr Johnson took office.
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