Hammond accuses no-deal advocates of 'hijacking' Brexit

PUBLISHED: 08:27 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:27 21 May 2019

Chancellor Philip Hammond speaking in the House of Commons (Pic: Parliament)

Chancellor Philip Hammond speaking in the House of Commons (Pic: Parliament)


Chancellor Philip Hammond is to accuse advocates of a no-deal Brexit of trying to "hijack" the result of the referendum.

The chancellor will use a speech to the CBI's annual dinner in London to warn against right-wing populism.

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.

In what is likely to be seen as a sharp dig at some prominent Tory Brexiteers, Hammond will say that "all the preparation in the world" will not avoid the consequences of no deal.

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The chancellor will say: "On the populist right, there are those who now claim that the only outcome that counts as a truly legitimate Brexit is to leave with no deal.

"Let me remind them: the 2016 Leave campaign was clear that we would leave with a deal.

"So 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.

"But we need to be clear that if we do not resolve this issue in the next few weeks, there is a real risk of a new prime minister abandoning the search for a deal, and shifting towards seeking a damaging no-deal exit as a matter of policy... to protect an ideological position which ignores the reality of Britain's economic interests and the value of our union."

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