Philip Hammond hints he might vote with Labour against a no-deal Brexit
PUBLISHED: 17:24 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:35 02 July 2019
The chancellor of the exchequer has hinted that he might vote down a no-deal Brexit after being prompted to side with Labour.
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During Treasury questions, Philip Hammond's Labour counterpart John McDonnell asked if he will join Labour in voting against a no-deal Brexit and opposing the prorogation of parliament to force it through.
He described Hammond as "eloquent" in his previous warnings. The chancellor has repeatedly spoken of the damage a no-deal Brexit would do, and has even hinted at the need for a second referendum.
MORE: Chancellor to suggest that the next PM may need a second referendum
Responding to McDonnell, he said: "I think I have been consistently clear that I believe leaving with a no-deal exit will be bad for the UK, bad for the British economy, bad for the British people. We cannot however rule out that that could happen, because it is not entirely in our hands, but I do agree with him that it would be wrong for a British government to seek to pursue no-deal as a policy."
He added that it will be a matter for the Commons to vote against, noting that he "will continue proudly to be a member".
The reference to his place in the Commons may have been a hint that as a backbencher Hammond would once again be free to vote against the government.
As well as his Brexit warnings, he has been outspoken in his criticism of both Tory leadership hopefuls' spending plans, and McDonnell noted that this may well be his last Treasury questions - even offering him a leaving gift of sorts.
McDonnell thanked the chancellor for his "civility" and "dry sense of humour" in the unusually warm exchange. In a self-deprecating gesture, McDonnell's gift was a 'red book' - although not Mao Zedong's this time, for which he was widely mocked for reading from in 2015.
The book was "Rebel Footprints", a walking guide inspired by London's radical histories.
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