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Philip Hammond suggests second referendum may be only way to break Brexit deadlock

Philip Hammond suggests second referendum may be only way to break Brexit deadlock
2 min read

Philip Hammond has suggested that another referendum may be the only way to break the Brexit deadlock if MPs cannot back a deal.


The Chancellor said he did not believe a general election was the best way to end the impasse over the UK's departure from the European Union because of the deep splits on the issue within the Tories and Labour.

His comments came as Tory leadership contender Dominic Raab said he would use "every lever of the executive" to force through a no-deal Brexit if he becomes Prime Minister and Parliament tries to block it.

Speaking on Radio Four's Today programme, Mr Hammond said his preference was for Parliament to pass a deal which allows the UK to leave the EU on 31 October.

But he said: "If we do get to the point where Parliament has to admit that it cannot resolve this issue, then clearly it will have to be remitted back to the people.

"I am not sure that a general election can resolve the question for the simple reason that both the main political parties are divided on the issue."

Mr Hammond - who also refused to rule out standing in the Tory leadership contest - added: "My strong preference would be for Parliament to resolve this issue, but if Parliament can't resolve it then Parliament will have to decide how we remit it back to the people, whether it is in the form of a general election or a referendum."

The Chancellor said he could not support a Prime Minister who pursued a no-deal Brexit as government policy, but Mr Raab said he was willing to force that through if he becomes Prime Minister.

In an interview with The Spectator, the former Brexit Secretary said: "I’m not going to get into the tactical machinations but I am confident that the Government — if the No. 10 operation is well set up and highly professional, if you have got discipline in cabinet and you exercise the levers of the executive — can get there."

He also said a second referendum would "just create months more uncertainty, frustration".

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