Minister hints he'd vote to bring down government if PM pursues no-deal Brexit

PUBLISHED: 09:44 19 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:44 19 July 2019

Stephen Hammond has suggested he would vote to bring down a government that pursued a no-deal Brexit. Picture: PA Wire

Stephen Hammond has suggested he would vote to bring down a government that pursued a no-deal Brexit. Picture: PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A health minister was asked if he was prepared to press the "nuclear button" of a no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson's government if the likely next prime minister pursues a no-deal Brexit.

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Stephen Hammond said on BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I hope we never get there but I think a lot of people were taught that you must put the interest of the country before yourself," he said.

"I don't think we will get there actually, and I'm pretty certain, as a Conservative, that I would be very, very, very cautious about ever doing that. I'm a Conservative through and through and no-one takes any pleasure in rebelling.

"I think it's really important that, at this historic stage in this country's lifetime in modern politics, politicians put aside any of their own personal ambitions or views and actually make sure they do the right thing as they see it for the country."

Hammond was one of several ministers who defied a three-line whip to abstain in a vote that sought to ensure that parliament could not be suspended in the coming months, making it much harder to force through a no-deal.

READ: Anti-Brexit MPs score major victory in preventing a forced no-deal

Neither Tory leadership candidates Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson had ruled the controversial option out.

Mr Hammond denied he was "booby-trapping Brexit".

And asked if he could resign en masse with other ministers, he said he would be "very happy" to be in a Johnson government as long as the new leader pursued a deal.

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