Brexit deal ‘better than staying in EU’, says Philip Hammond
- Philip Hammond would quit Cabinet if Mrs May tried to move to ‘no deal’ Brexit
- Chancellor would take four ministers with him if PM quits EU the without a deal
- Theresa May ‘downgraded’ warnings about crashing out of the bloc with no deal
- May now tells her MPs there could be no Brexit at all if her deal is voted down
The Chancellor’s allies say that he and key colleagues would ‘walk’ if the Prime Minister reacted to losing next month’s crucial Commons vote by quitting the EU with no formal agreement about our future relationship.
They say Mr Hammond’s uncompromising stance is one reason why Mrs May has ‘downgraded’ her warnings about crashing out of the bloc with no deal and now tells her MPs there could be no Brexit at all if they reject the withdrawal agreement she has struck with Brussels.
The claims came as the Chancellor openly said the UK faced ‘economic chaos’ if MPs blocked the Prime Minister’s compromise and raised fears of ‘very serious’ consequences from a no-deal scenario, including job losses.
Mr Hammond leads a new ‘gang of five’ Cabinet ministers opposed to a hard Brexit, including Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Justice Secretary David Gauke.
The Mail on Sunday understands all five have been placed on ‘resignation watch’ by No 10 if Mrs May countenances no deal.
One Hammond ally predicted that the Chancellor would want no part of any no-deal exit because he believes it would be so catastrophic.
The ally said: ‘Philip would feel that the damage this would do to the country would be just too great. He wouldn’t want to be part of implementing this. Philip would say, “I have done my bit to avoid it.”
‘I just can’t see him sticking around to help make no deal possible. There would be such social unrest, with serious job losses in some regions.’