Chancellor Hammond slams Brexiteer’s impatience over no-deal divorce fund

Exchequer Chancellor, Philip Hammond has slammed backbench Tory MPs calling for him to spend billions on planning for a ‘no-deal’ EU divorce.

• The Chancellor preaches calmness

In a message targeted at the excessively anxious Brexiteers, he claimed no contingency cash would be committed “earlier than necessary just to make some point”.

“The point I was making is that we do have planning for all scenarios including a no-deal scenario,” he added.

When asked when the Government would have to start spending to mitigate a no-deal fallout, Mr Hammond said spending would have to begin in early 2018. He also admitted that crashing out of the EU without a deal was “sub-optimal”.

He added: “I don’t think anybody seriously believes that that is where we will get to”, warning it could result in all flights being grounded between the UK and the EU.

• The ongoing Brexit negotiations

Also relating with the stalemate experienced in the ongoing negotiations, the Chancellor warned that the UK should brace for a “bad-tempered breakdown in negotiations”.

He equally revealed that £250m had already been earmarked for some departments to work on a no-deal scenario – a sum the PM Theresa May announced in PMQs will be spread between the Home Office, HMRC, Department for International Trade and DEFRA.

• Comments from other corners

A Labour MP who also doubles as a Treasury committee member, Wes Streeting, said Mr Hammond had admitted that “spending money preparing for a damaging no-deal Brexit will leave our crumbling public services short of funds”.

He added: “Philip Hammond’s heart isn’t in this because he, unlike many in his party, at least recognises the terrible risks and pitfalls Brexit has left this country vulnerable to.”

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