Philip Hammond has said MPs can prevent Boris Johnson taking the UK out of the EU without a deal on 31 October, calling no deal a “betrayal of the referendum” and suggesting advisers in Downing Street have no intention of negotiating a new deal.Hammond expressed scepticism about the prospect of a national unity government taking over after a no-confidence vote but said if parliament could not agree on a way to honour the referendum result, a referendum or general election was inevitable.
Any attempt to bypass parliament would provoke “a constitutional crisis”, the former chancellor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.Speaking after a letter from more than 20 Conservative MPs warning Johnson not to pursue no deal was leaked, Hammond said the British people were never offered the prospect of no deal at the referendum.
“To set the bar for negotiations so high that we inevitably leave without a deal would be a betrayal. The prime minister said he would get a deal and we want to see him deliver that deal,” Hammond said.“Pivoting to say the backstop has to go in its entirety, a huge chunk of the withdrawal agreement just scrapped, is effectively a wrecking tactic.
The people behind this know that means there will be no deal.”Hammond said Johnson had privately promised him that he wanted to get a deal with the EU but said there were people “pulling the strings in Downing Street … whose agenda is different.”The letter from Hammond which was leaked to the Sun was also signed by former cabinet ministers including David Gauke, Greg Clark and Rory Stewart.
It said Johnson now needed to “operationalise that commitment” to get a deal and then he would have the support of the majority of his Conservative colleagues. Timeline Countdown to an election? Show Hide 3 September 2019 The date on which the Commons is likely to return from summer recess. It is the first date that MPs could hold a vote of no confidence in the new prime minister.
However, rebel MPs would need to be confident they could form an alternative government, as many wish to avoid triggering an election. 12 September 2019 Mps would be due to go on conference recess - but could continue to sit if a no-confidence vote had been lost. 17 September 2019 Assuming the government has lost a confidence vote, this would be the deadline for Labour or any unity government to win a confidence vote.
If not achieved, Boris Johnson would call an election. Parliament could then be prorogued. 22 September 2019 – 2 October 2019 The Labour and Conservative party conferences are due to be held on consecutive weeks. 27 September 2019 Parliament would be dissolved if an election were to be held on 1 November.
17 October 2019 – 18 October 2019 EU leaders meet for the final European council summit before the UKs extension is due to expire. Rebel Tories and remainers may choose to call a no-confidence vote if an extension is not offered as a way of preventing no deal. 31 October 2019 The six-month article 50 extension.