Theresa May slaps down Philip Hammond in 'no deal' Brexit cash row

Posted On: 
11th October 2017

Theresa May has insisted the Government is spending money now in preparation for Britain leaving the EU without a deal - just hours after Philip Hammond ruled it out.

There are tensions over Brexit between Number 10 and Number 11
PA Images

The Prime Minister said "where money needs to be spent, it will be spent" and told MPs that £250m had been made available for Whitehall departments.

Brexit-backing Tory MPs have called on the Chancellor to use next month's Budget to set aside cash for a no deal scenario.

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But in an article for The Times this morning, Mr Hammond said: "The Government and the Treasury are prepared. We are planning for every outcome and we will find any necessary funding and we will only spend it when it’s responsible to do so."

He emphasised the point while appearing in front of the Treasury Select Committee this morning.

"I don’t believe we should be in the business of making potentially nugatory expenditure until the very last moment where we need to do so," he said. "We will be ready, we will not spend it earlier than necessary just to make some demonstration point."

In an apparent slapdown for the Chancellor at Prime Minister's Questions, Mrs May said: "The Treasury has committed over £250m of new money to departments like Defra, the Home Office, HMRC and Department for Transport in this financial year for Brexit preparations and in some cases departments will need to spend money before the relevant legislation has gone through the House," she said.

"And I can tell the House that the Treasury will write to departments and to the Public Accounts Committee explaining this process shortly. So where money needs to be spent, it will be spent."

The Prime Minister's spokesman later confirmed that the money was being spent on all Brexit preparations, including the possibility of a no deal departure.

He added: "The Prime Minister is clear we'll spend whatever is necessary to make sure we are prepared for Brexit."