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Philip Hammond warns Boris Johnson he will do 'everything' to stop no-deal Brexit 'cliff-edge'

Philip Hammond warns Boris Johnson he will do 'everything' to stop no-deal Brexit 'cliff-edge'
3 min read

Philip Hammond has warned Boris Johnson he will do "everything" he can to stop the next Prime Minister from taking Britain over the "cliff-edge" of a no-deal Brexit.

The Chancellor, who has been increasingly vocal in his opposition to leaving the EU without a deal, said he would only be "fully supportive" of a future Tory leader that avoided harming the UK economy.

And he delievered a fresh slapdown to Mr Johnson as he said a trade deal with the United States could not be drawn up "in five minutes".

Speaking to the US broadcaster CNBC during a trip to New York, Mr Hammond pointed to the slim Commons majority the new Tory leader will inherit.

"I will be one of them, so a lot of power rests in Parliament going forward," he said.

Asked if he would make life difficult for the next PM, the top Cabinet minister said: "That's not my desire, I want to work with the new Prime Minister, the new administration.

"So long as they are focused on doing the things that will strengthen the UK economy and make it resilient in the future, I will be fully supportive.

"But if the new government tries to drive the UK over a cliff-edge called no-deal Brexit, I will do everything I can to stop that happening."


Mr Hammond also delivered a withering putdown amid reports that Mr Johnson will use the early days of his premiership to try and thrash out a trade deal with US President Donald Trump. 

According to The Times, Mr Johnson would aim to meet Mr Trump without two months of entering Number 10 if he wins the Tory leadership race.

But Mr Hammond dismissed the idea of a deal being struck within a year. 

"I don't think delivery in that kind of timescale is realistic. Trade deals are intrinsically complex," he said.

And he added: "The President's idea of a trade deal may not entirely coincide with some people in the UK's idea of a trade deal.

"There's going to be big questions about how we manage access for farm produce, how we deal with different food hygiene standards that we have; different farming practices.

"There are very deeply entrenched views about some of this stuff. It's not just about economics, when you come to issues around animal welfare there are very deeply held views in the UK.

"So, it can be done, we should be ambitious but we have got to be realistic it's not something we're going to do in five minutes."

The comments mark the latest warning from Mr Hammond for the next PM.

Earlier this month, he told MPs that a disruptive split from the EU could cause a "hit to the Exchequer of about £90bn", blowing a hole in both Mr Johnson and rival Jeremy Hunt's spending plans.

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