Hammond shamed by Transport Secretary for ‘not preparing properly’ for no deal Brexit
Philip Hammond has accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of trying to “wreck” Britain’s chances of leaving the European Union with a new Brexit deal. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps hit back at the claims, claiming Mr Hammond failed to “prepare properly” for no deal. He told Sky News: “I saw the ballot paper just as Philip Hammond did, and just as Philip Hammond did I actually voted to Remain.
“But I’m a democrat, and I accept that the country voted to leave, and it didn’t have all that detail on the ballot paper. It said do you want to stay in the EU or do you want to leave.”
Presenter Sarah Jane-Mee contended: “But do you accept that people didn’t vote for a no deal Brexit.
“In all the campaigning and build-up to the Leave campaign that wasn’t really asked about. Michael Gove has said that and he campaigned for Leave.”
The Tory MP for Welwyn Hatfield said: “And I should say our principle aim is not to have a no deal Brexit. It’s just that we will leave on October 31 because it is what we voted for.
“After three years I point out very gently to Mr Hammond that what he was doing in terms of preparation wasn’t exactly working.
“We didn’t really prepare properly, and part of the reason we didn’t get a satisfactory deal, in fact Parliament itself rejected the deal he was involved with three times, it’s clearly not going to go through – that withdrawal agreement.
“And part of the reason we didn’t get the right deal was we didn’t prepare in the right way, so it didn’t look like we were serious.
“This time we are leaving on October 31, deal or no deal, we will be ready to leave with no deal if that’s what we need to do.
“But actually our central aim is to get a deal and we will see what happens.”
Mr Hammond, who resigned in anticipation of Mr Johnson becoming Prime Minister, urged the Tory leader to take the UK out of the EU with a deal in place.
But he said early signs for that “are not encouraging”, warning the move from demanding changes to the backstop to demanding its total removal was “a pivot from a tough negotiating stance to a wrecking one”.
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Downing Street hit back with a Government source accusing Mr Hammond of having done “everything he could to block preparations for leaving and undermined negotiations” when he was Chancellor.
The source said: “We are leaving on October 31 and we will be ready to do so despite the former chancellor’s best efforts to the contrary.
“Philip Hammond actively undermined the Govternment’s negotiating position by frustrating and obstructing preparation to leave EU.
“Everyone knows the ex-chancellor’s real objective was to cancel the referendum result.”
Mr Hammond said: “The unelected people who pull the strings of this Government know that this is a demand the EU cannot and will not accede to.
“Most people in this country want to see us leave in a smooth and orderly fashion that will not disrupt lives, cost jobs or diminish living standards, whether they voted Leave or Remain in 2016.
“Parliament faithfully reflects the view of that majority and it will make its voice heard. No deal would be a betrayal of the 2016 referendum result. It must not happen.”
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