CABINET duo Philip Hammond and Greg Clark infuriated Brexiteer Tory MPs yesterday by urging Britain’s next prime minister to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
Business Secretary Mr Clark said the next Downing Street administration – expected to be led by Boris Johnson – should “strain every sinew” to avoid leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. He also claimed leaving the bloc without a deal would lead to “many thousands” of job losses. Chancellor Mr Hammond warned that a “constitutional crisis” would erupt if the next prime minister attempted to suspend Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.
But leading Eurosceptic Tory MP Andrew Bridgen lambasted them, saying: “We need to leave by October 31 and quite honestly, people like Greg Clark and Philip Hammond have been roadblocks to preparing for no deal.”
Yesterday’s spat between senior Tories follows Mr Johnson’s promise to lead the UK out of the EU on October 31 “come what may, do or die”.
Mr Clark warned over jobs in an interview on Sky News yesterday. He said: “It’s evident that if you have the disruption that comes from a no-deal Brexit there will be people that will lose their jobs.
“It’s many thousands of jobs. Everyone knows that.”
In a separate interview, Mr Hammond told financial news service Bloomberg that any attempt to shut down Parliament “in order to carry out a course of action which Parliament is known to oppose” would provoke a constitutional crisis.
He added: “And, if we aren’t able to prevent that course of action through Parliament, then, certainly, there will be resort to the courts, and I strongly support the position that Sir John Major has taken.”
Former Tory prime minister Sir John has threatened legal action against any attempt to suspend Parliament in order to prevent MPs blocking a no-deal exit in October.
A spokeswoman for Theresa May said: “The Prime Minister has always been clear that leaving without a deal would be disruptive.”