BREXIT: A second Brexit referendum deserves to be considered says the Chancellor Philip Hammond
Philip Hammond has said a second Brexit referendum is a ‘perfectly coherent proposition’ and that it ‘deserves to be considered’. More than a million people marched through central London on Saturday to demand a final say on Brexit with a People’s Vote and a petition to revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU has gained almost 5 million signatures. *
The Chancellor said Parliament would be given the chance to hold indicative votes on alternatives to May’s Brexit deal this week, and that a vote on holding a second referendum should be included.
‘One way or another Parliament is going to have the opportunity this week to decide what it is in favour of, and I hope that it will take that opportunity – if it can’t get behind the Prime Minister’s deal – to say clearly and unambiguously what it can get behind,’ he told Sky News.
On the topic of a second referendum, he added: ‘I’m not sure that there’s a majority in Parliament for a second referendum but it’s a perfectly coherent proposition – many people will be strongly opposed to it, but it’s a coherent proposition and it deserves to be considered along with the other proposals.’
This morning it was reported that Theresa May faces being forced to quit ‘within days’ by Cabinet colleagues plotting a ‘coup’ to get rid of her over her handling of Brexit. Hammond told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday that MPs trying to oust the PM were ‘self-indulgent’ and said that replacing Theresa May would not ‘solve the problem’.
The Sunday Times reported 11 Cabinet ministers had told the paper they wanted May to make way for someone else and that de facto deputy David Lidington was in line to take over the helm. While the Mail on Sunday reported ministers were plotting to install Environment Secretary Michael Gove as a caretaker leader.
“To be talking about changing the players on the board frankly is self-indulgent at this time,” Hammond said.
Meanwhile David Lidington has today said he has no desire to take over from Theresa May. He told reporters in his Aylesbury constituency: ‘I don’t think that I’ve any wish to take over from the PM (who) I think is doing a fantastic job.
“I tell you this: one thing that working closely with the Prime Minister does is cure you completely of any lingering shred of ambition to want to do that task”. “I have absolute admiration for the way she is going about it.”
Conservative former leader Iain Duncan Smith lashed out at Cabinet ministers briefing against the PM in the papers, saying they should apologise and “shut up”.
We have to decide on what type of Brexit
Hammond added: ‘This is not about the Prime Minister or any other individual, this is about the future of our country. “Changing Prime Minister wouldn’t help us, changing the party in Government wouldn’t help us”. “We have got to address the question of what type of Brexit is acceptable to Parliament, what type of way forward Parliament can agree on so that we can avoid what would be an economic catastrophe of a no-deal exit and also what would be a very big challenge to confidence in our political system if we didn’t exit at all.”
May’s former policy adviser MP George Freeman earlier said it was ‘all over for the PM’, tweeting: ‘She’s done her best. But across the country you can see the anger. ‘Everyone feels betrayed. Government’s gridlocked. Trust in democracy collapsing. This can’t go on. We need a new PM who can reach out (and) build some sort of coalition for a PlanB.’