Minister refuses to rule out no-deal Brexit appearing in Conservative manifesto

PUBLISHED: 11:21 03 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 November 2019

Rishi Sunak on The Andrew Marr Show. Photograph: BBC.

Rishi Sunak on The Andrew Marr Show. Photograph: BBC.

Archant

A senior Treasury minister has failed to deny suggestions that the threat of a no-deal Brexit will not appear in the Conservative manifesto.

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Rishi Sunak repeatedly stressed that prime minister Boris Johnson has secured a new deal with the EU and the Tories would be focused on implementing it should they secure a majority at the General Election.

The government spent billions of pounds on preparing the UK for a no-deal outcome ahead of the first Brexit deadline of March 29 and the second of October 31, both of which were extended.

The threat of walking away without an agreement was championed by both Theresa May and Johnson in a bid to put pressure on the EU during talks.

Asked if no-deal was off the table and would not be in the manifesto, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Sunak told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "I'm not going to comment on the manifesto specifically.

"But what I would say is the prime minister has spent all this time and energy negotiating a deal ... and that's the deal we will put in place and deliver if we're elected with a majority."

Pressed further, Sunak said: "We've got a deal.

"Our job, and very much our commitment to the British people, is we want to deliver that deal - we've been trying hard to deliver that deal in parliament and that's why we're having this election, so we can deliver it by the end of January."

Asked if no-deal should be an option for a Conservative government, Sunak repeated that they have negotiated a deal and trade talks will take place in the future.

Sunak also denied suggestions from Marr that the Tories are "spending money like water" in their policy commitments.

He said: "We've just done a spending round, which was those priorities you listed, and we had £26 billion of headroom under the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) forecasts published in March, and that spending round was conducted at £13-and-a-bit billion - so well within the headroom that was there in the existing set of forecasts from the OBR."

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