Philip Hammond accuses Tory Eurosceptics of plotting to torpedo any chance of a Brexit deal

He predicted 'tensions' in the party as the Prime Minister pushes for a Brexit deal

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Chancellor Philip Hammond has said Tory Eurosceptics are plotting to torpedo any chance of a Brexit deal.

He said there would almost definitely be “tensions” as Theresa May tried to push forward with a plan to secure the “best deal possible” for the UK as it leaves the EU.

His intervention follows comments from Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis that leaving with no deal would not be a disaster for the UK.

Mr Hammond said while on a trip to India: “There are definitely some people on both sides who do not want a deal, they do not want to see Britain continuing to collaborate in what the Prime Minister described in a letter as a deep and special partnership with the European Union.”

Predicting with a “high degree of confidence” there would be “tensions” along the way, he added: “I’m clear the objective from the UK side is to reach a deal and what I’m hearing from my counterparts in Europe is that is their objective.

“Those people who are hoping for no deal, I say we have to disprove their thinking by showing there is clear goodwill on the Europe side to reach a deal.”

Mr Johnson, who was meeting Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in London, said he was confident of reaching an agreement with the remaining 27 EU member states.

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But he said that if there was a failure, it would not be a problem for the UK, which would continue to thrive.

“It is possible to do a deal that is win-win. I don’t want to be unduly pessimistic. I think we can get a deal,” he said.

“But if you ask me ‘If we don’t get a deal would the UK survive?’ I think we would more than survive.”

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Last month, Mr Davis said that leaving without a deal was “not as frightening as some people think but not as simple as some people think.”

In her Lancaster House speech in January Ms May said that “no deal” was better than a bad deal for the UK, but when she triggered Article in March she dropped the language from her speech, taking a more emollient tone.  

The “no deal” comment was seen on the continent as a threat to walk away from the negotiating table if the Prime Minister was not given what she wanted.

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