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I will resign if Johnson makes it to No.10, says Chancellor Hammond

Boris Johnson with Philip Hammond
Boris Johnson with Philip Hammond
Jeremy Hunt
Theresa May

By Harriet Line

Chancellor Philip Hammond has become the second Cabinet minister to announce they will quit the Government if Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister.

Mr Hammond, who has been in Number 11 for three years, has been a vocal critic of a no-deal Brexit - something the Tory leadership frontrunner has vowed to do if he cannot secure changes to the withdrawal agreement.

Asked on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show if he thought he would be sacked, Mr Hammond said: "No, I'm sure I'm not going to be sacked because I'm going to resign before we get to that point.

"Assuming that Boris Johnson becomes the next Prime Minister, I understand that his conditions for serving in his Government would include accepting a no-deal exit on the 31st of October, and it's not something that I could ever sign up to.

"It's very important that the Prime Minister is able to have a Chancellor who is closely aligned with him in terms of policy.

"And I therefore intend to resign to Theresa May before she goes to the Palace to tender her own resignation on Wednesday."

It comes after Justice Secretary David Gauke - a former Remainer - told the Sunday Times he would also quit on Wednesday if Mr Johnson enters Number 10.

Mr Gauke said: "If the test of loyalty to stay in the Cabinet is a commitment to support no-deal on October 31 - which, to be fair to him, Boris has consistently said - then that's not something I'm prepared to sign up to.

"I recognise that this spell in Government is coming to an end. Given that I've been in the Cabinet since Theresa May came to power, I think the appropriate thing is for me to resign to her."

Mr Hammond - who is dubbed Spreadsheet Philip due to his dry image - had been widely expected to leave office when Mrs May steps down on Wednesday.

Last week he put down a marker about his willingness to cause trouble on the backbenches for the next Prime Minister as he and three other Cabinet ministers backed a measure aimed at preventing Mr Johnson suspending Parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit.

The Chancellor, along with Mr Gauke, Business Secretary Greg Clark and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, did not support the Government in the vote.

He has previously promised to do "everything" in his power to block a no-deal Brexit and last week left open the possibility of voting to bring down a Conservative Government led by Mr Johnson if the UK were on course to crash out of the EU without a deal on October 31. Asked on Marr whether he would vote against the new Prime Minister in a vote of no confidence, Mr Hammond said: "I don't think it will get to that and, while many clever people have been scratching their heads, parliamentary process is extraordinarily complex and sometimes arcane.

"I am confident that Parliament does have a way of preventing a no-deal exit on October 31 without parliamentary consent and I intend to work with others to ensure Parliament uses its power to make sure that the new Government can't do that. The point of that is not to inflict some defeat on the new Government; it is to ensure that the new Government focuses then on trying to achieve a sensible, negotiated settlement with the EU that protects our economy and allows us all to get on with our lives."

Earlier, Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood repeatedly sidestepped questions over whether he would serve in a Government led by Mr Johnson.

"I really get frustrated with this energy towards no-deal. I know all my parliamentary colleagues on all sides of the House recognise the dangers of no-deal," he told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday when asked.

"The fact that we keep talking about it - it isn't a solution."

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: "Philip Hammond's extraordinary revelation underlines the twin threats posed to the UK economy of a no-deal Brexit and Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister.

"The Conservatives have bungled the Brexit negotiations, dragged down the economy and put jobs at risk. They are now on the brink of appointing a Prime Minister that their own Chancellor believes would be a danger to the economy and the wellbeing of everyone in the UK.

"Boris Johnson's no-deal Brexit would devastate the UK economy and the public finances, compounding nine years of failure to manage our economy.

"While the Tories deny Britain the opportunity to choose our next Prime Minister, Labour would let the people decide the country's future through a public vote on any deal agreed by Parliament, with Labour campaigning for Remain against no-deal or a bad Tory deal."

Independent MP Nick Boles, who left the Conservatives this year because the party was "incapable of compromise" on Brexit, has praised Philip Hammond's decision to resign as Chancellor.

"Philip Hammond has discovered his irreducible core, the point past which he cannot be pushed," Mr Boles tweeted.

"If only others had the same commitment to their principles."

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said he has not asked for a senior role in the next Government if Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister.

Mr Duncan Smith told Andrew Marr he is "quite relaxed" if he does not get one.

He said: "I have finished my role right now, which was to help him get elected; it's up to him what he does."

Belfast Telegraph


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