May 20, 2019 / 8:34 PM / a month ago

Hammond - Backing a 'no deal' Brexit means deliberately harming economy

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Philip Hammond will on Tuesday warn that those pushing for Britain to leave the European Union without a deal would be doing deliberate damage to the British economy.

Nearly three years after the United Kingdom voted 52% to 48% in a referendum to leave the EU, it remains unclear how, when or even if it will leave the European club it joined in 1973. It is currently due to leave on Oct. 31, with or without a deal.

In a speech to business leaders and politicians, Hammond will say there are some “on the populist right” who claim that only leaving without a deal is a “truly legitimate Brexit”.

“The 2016 Leave campaign was clear that we would leave with a deal,” he will say, according to advance extracts.

“So to advocate for ‘no deal’ is to hijack the result of the referendum, and in doing so, knowingly to inflict damage on our economy and our living standards. Because all the preparation in the world will not avoid the consequences of no deal.”

Prime Minister Theresa May plans to try and get her Brexit deal approved by parliament at the fourth attempt early next month and has agreed to set out a timetable for her departure after that vote.

Hammond will say there is no mandate for a ‘no deal’ exit and warn that May’s successor could opt to end the Brexit impasse by cutting the world’s fifth-largest economy off from the EU without an exit agreement.

“If we do not resolve this issue in the next few weeks, there is a real risk of a new Prime Minister abandoning the search for a deal, and shifting towards seeking a damaging no-deal exit as a matter of policy ... in order to protect an ideological position which ignores the reality of Britain’s economic interests and the value of our Union,” he will say.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Susan Thomas

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