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WATCH: Philip Hammond tells Boris Johnson to 'stop throwing tantrums' and get on with Brexit

3 min read

Philip Hammond has accused Boris Johnson of “throwing tantrums” by trying to force a snap general election instead of trying to get his Brexit deal through the Commons.

The former Chancellor, who was among the 21 Tory MPs to have the whip withdrawn last month, said he will vote against the Prime Minister’s effort to trigger a public ballot for 12 December.

Mr Johnson is expected to table the bid for an early election on Monday, after MPs refused to back a three-day timetable that could have seen the UK avoid asking the EU for another extension to the 31 October deadline, and to leave with his deal.

He faces an uphill struggle to secure the two-thirds majority of MPs needed for it to go ahead however, after Labour said it would not support it since while the risk of a no-deal Brexit remained.

Mr Hammond, who has been an outspoken critic of the PM since he took over from Theresa May, said ministers had the support of Parliament to get the deal through and that they should stop “making threats”.

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: "I shall be voting against it. This is not the time to holding a general election, it’s a time for cool heads and grown-up government.

"Parliament has indicated clearly that it is willing to support this deal."

“The Prime Minister has said he wants this deal, these deadlines, 31 October, are meaningless.

"The key thing now is to get the deal properly scrutinised in Parliament, that doesn’t mean delaying it by months, it means giving Parliament a few days, a couple of weeks, to scrutinise the bill, amend it if necessary and then we can make progress.

“The Government should stop making threats, stop throwing tantrums and get on with the grown-up business of doing its business.

"Just because it can’t get exactly what it wants, doesn’t mean that it should stop working.”

He added that an election should go ahead in “due course”, but that ministers should take Britain out of the EU with a deal first.

Mr Hammond also confirmed that he would contest a snap poll as an independent candidate if he did not have the Conservative whip reinstated.

But he added: “I’m not going to change what I say and what I believe and what I think is important for Britain’s future in any kind of attempt to sneak back in curry any kind of favour with the Conservative leadership.”

“I hope that the party will in due course recognise that abandoning the concept of a broad church Conservative party that embraces people with a wide range of views, abandoning that woud be electorally very damaging, but I’m not holding my breath.”

When asked directly if he would stand as an independent, the former frontbencher said: “That’s my intention, yes.”

Mr Hammond also claimed that he could support an amendment to Mr Johnson’s deal that committed the UK to a customs union with the EU.

He added: “I could support a customs union… There are two problems at the centre of this deal. The first one is that it splits Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom… the second big challenge with this deal is that it clearly could be a route to a no-deal exit at the end of 2020 and we’ve got to rule that out.”



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