Former Chancellor Philip Hammond has accused the Prime Minister of trying to eliminate the possibility of a new Brexit deal, demanding that the European Union never accept it.
In an article in the Times, Mr Hammond said a deal would be “treacherous” to the results of the Brexit 2016 referendum.
He told the BBC that he was “confident” that Parliament had “the resources” to oppose the withdrawal of the deal.
A No. 10 source said the UK would depart on October 31 despite Mr Hammond’s “best efforts to the contrary.”
The source added that Mr Hammond, as chancellor, did everything possible to “stop preparations for departure” and “discouraged the talks”.
The former chancellor rejected the suggestion in a tweet saying he “wanted to provide Brexit and voted three times to do so”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants to leave the EU with an agreement, but Britain must “leave or die” until the latest Brexit deadline of October 31.
He wants the EU to find an Irish border backstop plan signed by former Prime Minister Theresa May, which was rejected three times by Parliament.
But the European Union insists the deal, including backstop arrangements, is the only possible deal.
Many of those who voted against the deal were concerned about the backstop, which, if implemented, would see Northern Ireland in line with some of the EU’s single-market rules.
It will also see that the UK will remain in a single customs area with the European Union, and will agree with current and future EU principles on competition and state aid.
These arrangements will take effect unless both the European Union and the UK agree that they are no longer necessary.
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Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Mr Hammond said getting out of the deal “would be as much as betraying the outcome of a referendum”.
He said Mr Johnson’s demand for a complete termination of the backstop deal meant that a deal was inevitable on the current date of October 31.
Now agreeing to the changes would be “fragmented” by the EU, he said, adding: “They will not take this risk”.
“The retreat is to say that it should go fully – a huge part of the withdrawal deal that has just ended – is a devastating tactic,” he said.
He also told TODAY that he was “very confident” that MPs would be able to legislate to oppose a deal being dropped.
However, he said he was not supportive of the national unity government’s replacement strategy to prevent any agreement, saying: “I don’t think the answer is”.
‘The Truth Track’
In his Times article, Mr Hammond criticized “the unelected people who pull the strings of this government know that this is a demand the EU cannot, and will not accept.”
The BBC’s political representative, Tom Barton, said the comment was clearly aimed at Dominic Cummings, a close adviser to the prime minister, the former director of the Vote Leave campaign.
Mr Hammond wrote that it was a “hollow of the truth”, saying that Le Leave voters supported the Brexit of a deal in the 2016 referendum.
But former Tory leader Ein Duncan Smith, who supported Lieut, also spoke at today’s event, saying he was surprised by Mr Hammond’s comments.
“Talk about imprisonment. This person did nothing to prepare us to go without a contract,” he said.
“The fact that we are doing it now means that we have a much better chance of making some kind of deal with them because they now know that we are going to go away with a deal and they are going to give it a go. Are disturbing us. ”
Parliamentary battles ahead.
Mr Hammond’s comments surfaced when Downing Street said he hoped that a group of parliamentarians would try to stop a deal Brexit by trying to legislate on parliament’s return next month.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Commons Speaker John Bricco told an audience at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that he “strongly” believed that the House of Commons “must go its own way”.
He said he would “fight with every breath in my body” in any attempt to suspend Parliament to suspend Parliament through an agreement contrary to the wishes of the MPs.