Hammond admits that Brexit deal needs support of DUP

The UK Chancellor, Philip Hammond, says that any Brexit deal would not be put to the vote without the support of the DUP. 

Hammond  also conceded that the Government did not “yet” have the required number of votes, but said that “a significant number of colleagues … have changed their view on this and decided that the alternatives are so unpalatable to them that they on reflection think the prime minister’s deal is the best way to deliver Brexit.”

He was speaking just ahead of revelations by the Commons Speaker that the deal cannot go before MPs again in its current form.

Among the former opponents of the Brexit deal who have now announced their support is the former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey. 

She said, “No deal has been removed [as an option]… So the choice before us is this deal or no Brexit whatsoever – and to not have Brexit you go against the democratic vote of the people.” The backbench rebel Daniel Kawczynski, who has twice voted against the deal, has also said he will support it, describing it as the “only game in town.”

Elsewhere, UK Prime Minister Theresa May urged MPs to make “the honourable compromises necessary to heal division and move forward” by supporting the deal. She added, “If Parliament can find a way to back the Brexit deal before European Council, the UK will leave the EU this spring, without having to take part in the European elections, and we can get on with building our future relationship with the EU. If it cannot, we will not leave the EU for many months, if ever.”

Meanwhile, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has urged MPs to vote against the Brexit deal if it is put to the vote again. He said that under the deal, “We will be legally and politically at the mercy of Brussels, since we will be obliged to accept all EU legislation, during the so-called implementation period. Worst of all, the Irish backstop arrangement gives the EU an indefinite means of blackmail.”

Separately, advice from government officials which was leaked to the press has suggested that there could be potentially no limit on the number of extensions of Article 50. 

The advice said, “Once the UK has taken part in the EU elections, there is effectively no limit to the number of extensions of article 50 the UK can ask for or be required to ask for by parliament.” A senior government source told the paper that this meant that “We could be in the EU forever.”

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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