Philip Hammond: Boris Johnson can’t sack me - I’m quitting

Chancellor Philip Hammond speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show (Pic: BBC)

Chancellor Philip Hammond speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show (Pic: BBC) - Credit: BBC

Chancellor Philip Hammond has become the second Cabinet minister to announce they will quit the government if Boris Johnson becomes prime minister.

Hammond, who has been in Number 11 for three years, has been a vocal critic of a no-deal Brexit - something the Tory leadership frontrunner has vowed to do if he cannot secure changes to the Withdrawal Agreement.

Asked on the BBC One's Andrew Marr show if he thought he would be sacked, Hammond said: "No, I'm sure I'm not going to be sacked because I'm going to resign before we get to that point.

"Assuming that Boris Johnson becomes the next prime minister, I understand that his conditions for serving in his government would include accepting a no-deal exit on the 31st October, and it's not something that I could ever sign up to.

"It's very important that the prime minister is able to have a chancellor who is closely aligned with him in terms of policy, and I therefore intend to resign to Theresa May before she goes to the Palace to tender her own resignation on Wednesday."

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Asked whether he would vote against the new prime minister in a vote of no confidence, Hammond said: "I don't think it will get to that and, while many clever people have been scratching their heads, Parliamentary process is extraordinarily complex and sometimes arcane.

"I am confident that Parliament does have a way of preventing a no-deal exit on October 31 without parliamentary consent and I intend to work with others to ensure parliament uses its power to make sure that the new government can't do that.

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"The point of that is not to inflict some defeat on the new government, it is to ensure that the new government focuses then on trying to achieve a sensible, negotiated settlement with the EU that protects our economy and allows us all to get on with our lives."

Hammond told Andrew Marr it would be "catastrophic" if Labour got hold of the "levers of power".

He said his focus would be on trying to persuade the new prime minister to work with colleagues opposed to no-deal to give himself more time and to use his power "as leader of the Brexiteers to get a sensible outcome".

Hammond said the government was now in a position to "raise public-sector pay rather more than we have been able to over the last few years".

He would not comment on "leaked documents" about a new public-sector pay deal, but did say the UK was coming to the end of austerity, meaning there would be more money to spend on public-sector pay.

He said: "We are coming to the end of the period of austerity.

"We are able to look at increasing public expenditure in real terms and that, of course, allows us to raise public-sector pay rather more than we have been able to over the last few years."

It comes after justice secretary David Gauke - a Remainer - told the Sunday Times he would also quit on Wednesday if Johnson enters Number 10.

Gauke said: "Given that I've been in the Cabinet since Theresa May came to power, I think the appropriate thing is for me to resign to her."

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