Philip Hammond: No-deal Brexit would be a 'betrayal' of referendum promises

Posted On: 
24th January 2019

Leaving the EU without a deal would be a "betrayal" of the Brexit referendum, Philip Hammond has claimed.

Philip Hammond is an outspoken critic of a no-deal Brexit.
PA Images

In comments which again put him at odds with Theresa May, the Chancellor said failing to strike a withdrawal agreement would "undermine our future prosperity".

The Prime Minister has repeatedly insisted that "no deal is better than a bad deal".

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But speaking at a CBI lunch at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr Hammond made it clear that he believed leaving the EU on 29 March without a deal was the worst possible outcome.

He said: "In the 2016 referendum a promise was made to the majority who voted for Brexit - that they were voting for a more prosperous future. Not leaving would be seen as a betrayal of that referendum decision.

"But leaving without a deal would undermine our future prosperity, and would equally represent a betrayal of the promises that were made.

"And that is why I, having campaigned vigorously to remain in the referendum, have come to believe that the only credible and sustainable solution is for us to leave the European Union, to honour the referendum decision, but to do so in a way that protects our economy in order to allow us to deliver that future prosperity that those voters were promised when they voted to leave the EU.

"The only sustainable solution is a negotiated settlement with the EU."

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Mr Hammond should resign.

He said: "The Chancellor must now surely consider his position in the Government. Philip Hammond’s comments today demonstrate he has acknowledged the damage a no-deal Brexit would do to our economy, jobs and living standards.

"If the Prime Minister fails to listen to his warnings and continues to refuse to take no deal off the table there is no other option, he must resign."