Tory anger as Philip Hammond says second Brexit referendum 'deserves to be considered'

Posted On: 
24th March 2019

Philip Hammond has sparked immediate anger as he said a second Brexit referendum “deserves to be considered”.

Chancellor Philip Hammond
PA Images

The Chancellor said a fresh vote on European Union membership was a “coherent position” and could be put before MPs in the Commons next week.

But his comments triggered a swift backlash from Government aide Mark Pritchard, who said he was “fed up of Cabinet ministers freelancing”.

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It makes Mr Hammond the most senior Government minister to speak positively about the prospect of a second EU referendum, amid a Brexit deadlock in Westminster.

Theresa May has repeatedly ruled out a new public poll - arguing it would split the country which already made its feelings known in 2016.

Bur Mr Hammond noted that MPs were set to vote on different Brexit options in the Commons next week and another referendum should be one of them.

“I’m not sure there is a majority in Parliament in support of a second referendum but it is a perfectly coherent proposition,” he told the Sophy Ridge on Sunday show on Sky News.

“Many people will be strongly opposed to it but it is a coherent proposition and it deserves to be considered along with the other proposals that you’ve got on the list.”

But Mr Pritchard, who serves as a prime ministerial trade envoy, swiftly hit back on Twitter: “Party members and MPs fed up of Cabinet Members freelancing. There will be no 2nd Referendum. Period.”

It comes after more than 1 million people were said to have attended a march in London calling for a second EU referendum.

Meanwhile, Mr Hammond lashed out at Cabinet colleagues he accused of plotting a “self-indulgent” coup to topple the Prime Minister in a bid to break the Brexit impasse.

He was joined by Education Secretary Damian Hinds, who told the BBC Radio 5 LIve show Pienaar’s Politics changing the leader “doesn’t help things”.