Philip Hammond 'to lead Cabinet exodus' if Theresa May goes for no-deal Brexit
Philip Hammond will lead a Cabinet walkout of Remain-backing ministers if Theresa May ends up pursuing a no-deal Brexit, it has been reported.
The Chancellor and four other members of the Prime Minister's top team are set to resign rather than be associated with the consequences of leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.
According the the Mail on Sunday, Mr Hammond leads a "gang of five" within the Cabinet who are pushing for a soft Brexit. The others are Amber Rudd, David Gauke, Greg Clark and David Lidington, Mrs May's de facto deputy.
One source close to Mr Hammond told the paper: "Philip would feel that the damage this would do to the country would be just too great. He wouldn’t want to be part of implementing this. Philip would say, “I have done my bit to avoid it.”
"I just can’t see him sticking around to help make no deal possible. There would be such social unrest, with serious job losses in some regions."
The Sunday Times reports that the five ministers are also in talks with Michael Gove, Liam Fox and the DUP in a bid to agree a united approach if, as expected, the House of Commons reject Theresa May's Brexit deal next month.
Speaking on Radio Four's Today programme yesterday, Mr Hammond delivered a gloomy assessment of the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.
He said: "If we were to leave the European Union without a deal I have no doubt that the consequences for the UK economy would be very serious indeed, very disruptive and very negative for jobs."