The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has been caught describing the prospect of a No Deal Brexit as a “threat” as he along with Business Secretary Greg Clark and Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay spoke to more than 300 business leaders on a conference call. It will confirm the suspicions of many that around the Cabinet table there are plenty of Remainers who are more interested in maintaining the status quo for the establishment than delivering on the will of the people.
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In a recording leaked to The Telegraph, Hammond talked up the prospect of No Deal being blocked: “Everyone on the call will be aware that a bill has been tabled today and amendments will be tabled on Monday by backbenchers from across the House which would have the effect of removing the threat of No Deal.”
And he added: “I can simply as a parliamentarian say it is clear to me there is a large majority in the Commons that is opposed to No Deal in any circumstances.”
Hammond also mentions the possibility of Brexit being delayed: “My understanding is that because the bill being brought forward will simply and solely rescind the Article 50 notice.” Not good.
Meanwhile Business Secretary Greg Clark told big business: “Our purpose in the next few days is essentially to reflect all the things you have told us. First that we can’t have No Deal”. Two-thirds of Conservative Party members prefer a WTO Brexit to the government’s defeated deal, something that appears to be completely ignored in all of this.
Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay struck a slightly different tone on the call, pointing out that: “One of the issues with No Deal is that taking that off the table does weaken the negotiation hand from the UK perspective”. This is common sense.
It is disappointing, though hardly surprising, to see senior government officials who campaigned against Brexit still talking down the prospect of a No Deal. it is the default position in law and come 29th March 2019, the government should deliver what it promised the people of this country, deal or No Deal.