Hammond warns no deal will ‘knowingly damage’ economy

By Justin Cash

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May 22, 2019

Backing a no deal Brexit would “knowingly damage” the economy, chancellor Philip Hammond will warn in a speech to business leaders today.

Hammond will use the platform at the Confederation of British Industry to criticise those pushing a for a clean break with the EU, saying they would be doing deliberate damage to the UK economy.

The likes of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party have been advocating a no deal approach, as prime minister Theresa May prepares to head to parliament yet again in an attempt to get a compromise past MPs.

Hammond’s speech is set to be critical of those “on the populist right” claiming that the only way to have a “truly legitimate Brexit” is to leave without a deal.

“The 2016 leave campaign was clear that we would leave with a deal,” Hammond will say, according to advance extracts of the speech.

“So to advocate for ‘no deal’ is to hijack the result of the referendum, and in doing so, knowingly to inflict damage on our economy and our living standards. Because all the preparation in the world will not avoid the consequences of no deal.”

May is set to outline a timetable for her departure after a vote on her latest Brexit deal early next month, but Hammond warns that, while there is no mandate for no deal, her successor could have to pull the trigger on a clean break.

Hammond will say: “If we do not resolve this issue in the next few weeks, there is a real risk of a new prime minister abandoning the search for a deal, and shifting towards seeking a damaging no deal exit as a matter of policy…in order to protect an ideological position which ignores the reality of Britain’s economic interests and the value of our union.”

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