Brexit: Hammond demands ‘genuine’ negotiations with EU

The government must commit to a « genuine negotiation with the EU », former Chancellor Philip Hammond has said.

In his first comments since stepping down last month, Mr Hammond said a no-deal Brexit would « break up the UK ».

« The reality would be a diminished and inward-looking little England, » he said in an article in the Times.

A no deal would be a « betrayal of the 2016 referendum, » he said, adding « it must not happen. »

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for the EU to remove the Irish border backstop plan before the Brexit deadline of 31 October.

In his article, Mr Hammond said: « The pivot from demanding changes to the backstop to demanding its total removal is a pivot from a tough negotiating stance to a wrecking one: the unelected people who pull the strings of this government know that this is a demand the EU cannot, and will not, accede to. »

He said it was a « myth that a no-deal exit will be painless » and that « all credible economic analysis shows that the losses will far exceed the potential benefits ».

« There is no popular mandate for a No Deal Brexit; and no Parliamentary mandate for a No Deal Brexit, » he added.

Mr Hammond’s comments come as Downing Street said it expects a group of MPs to try to block a no-deal Brexit by attempting to pass legislation when Parliament returns next month.

Source: The Guardian

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