In a speech at Mansion House in London today, the Chancellor will urges Tory candidates to set out a Brexit “plan B” in a desperate bid to break the Parliamentary impasse. His speech will come just two hours after MPs cast their votes to confirm the final two candidates in the Tory leadership race. Mr Hammond will tell the audience that all four Tory candidates – Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Sajid Javid – will have to be realistic and draw up a second plan incase their Brexit ambitions fail. Four candidates are left to face a ballot with over 160,000 MPs voting on who will become the UK’s next Prime Minister.
All the candidates have promised to renegotiate the Brexit withdrawal agreement with the EU, and possibly leave the bloc without a deal.
The chancellor will say: “I cannot imagine a Conservative and Unionist-led Government, actively pursuing a no-deal Brexit, willing to risk the union and our economic prosperity.”
It would also risk a general election “that could put Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street”, he will add.
He will say: “I will fight, and fight again, to remake the case for pragmatism and, yes, for compromise in our politics – to ensure an outcome that protects the union and the prosperity of the United Kingdom.”
He will also say that the £26.6 billion of “fiscal headroom”, which he plans to use for higher public spending or cut taxes, would be eaten up if a no-deal Brexit were to take place.
The chancellor will add: “Then the question to the candidates is not ‘What is your plan?’; but ‘What is your plan B?’. If your plan A is undeliverable, not having a plan B is like not having a plan at all.”
He will say that former Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated “the best possible deal” with Brussels, warning that Parliament could continue to reject a no-deal and extend the Brexit deadlock.
In a hint at the possibility of a second Brexit referendum, the chancellor is due to say:”If the new prime minister cannot end the deadlock in Parliament, then he will have to explore other democratic mechanisms to break the impasse.
“Because if he fails, his job will be on the line – and so too will the jobs and prosperity of millions of our fellow citizens.”
A YouGov poll by members of the Conservative Party found that almost two-thirds would be willing to see Scotland depart the UK in order for Brexit to go ahead.
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson leader told the BBC: “I think there are a number of people within the Conservative party who need to take a long, hard look at themselves.”
Meanwhile, Downing Street has dismissed Mr Hammond’s suggestion that the next Prime Minister will have to call a second Brexit referendum to break the impasse.
Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May said “we should get on with delivering the verdict of the first one”, according to a No 10 spokeswoman.