PHILIP Hammond has admitted publicly for the first time that the Treasury did not want companies to prepare for a No Deal Brexit.
He told a BBC Panorama documentary to be aired on Thursday that advising them to prepare for leaving the EU without a deal “might have damaged our economy”.
Brexiteers said his comments vindicated their long-held belief that the Chancellor had deliberately prevented No Deal planning in order to frustrate Brexit.
They have blamed him for the lack of No Deal preparations, which led to Theresa May’s decision to seek a Brexit delay.
A senior Tory source told The Sun: “This is a shameful admission that he acted against government policy as Chancellor and in so doing undermined the Prime Minister at a critical time.
“I can’t think of any other time when the Chancellor so deliberately undermined government policy. His historical record will go down in infamy.”
Mr Hammond also told the Panorama documentary – titled Britain’s Brexit Crisis – that Boris Johnson will have “no way” of controlling events in a No Deal scenario.
He argues that a No Deal Brexit would leave Britain at the mercy of the French, who would be able to “dial up” or “dial down” at will the queues for goods going into the port of Calais.
He said Paris would be able to exploit the Channel crossing to exert pressure in the same way that the Spanish had used the border with Gibraltar.
Despite spending more than £4billion on Brexit preparations, Mr Hammond said there would be a limit to the amount of influence the Government could exert in the event of no-deal.
Asked if the UK could control Brexit, the Chancellor said: “We can’t because many of the levers are held by others – the EU 27 or private business. We can seek to persuade them but we can’t control it.
“For example, we can make sure that goods flow inwards through the port of Dover without any friction but we can’t control the outward flow into the port of Calais.
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“The French can dial that up or dial it down, just the same as the Spanish for years have dialled up or dialled down the length of the queues at the border going into Gibraltar.”
Mr Hammond – who said earlier this month that a disorderly Brexit could cost the Exchequer up to £90billion – has long warned against the dangers of leaving without a deal with Brussels.
The Chancellor, who has indicated he does not expect to remain in post once there is a new prime minister in No10, is heading up a group of around 30 Tory MPs vowing to block a No Deal Brexit.
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