DURING Tuesday’s questions and answers on Treasury matters in the Commons, the Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond informed MPs that he would block any attempt by whoever becomes the next Tory prime minister from leaving the EU without a deal and is prepared to bring down the Tory government to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
Hammond, who expects to be kicked out of his post as soon as a new leader is elected, used his last stint as chancellor to launch an attack on both Johnson and Hunt for their extravagant election pledges to the Tory party membership on cutting taxes and increasing spending on the military.
His main line of attack was to warn that leaving the EU would create a ‘black hole’ of £90 billion under the ‘disruptive’ exit without a deal that both candidates are promising in order to win support for their campaign.
It was at this point that Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, made a revealing intervention, saying:
‘This morning, the Chancellor has eloquently set out the consequences of no deal. Bearing in mind what he said, may I ask him very straightforwardly whether he will join us and commit himself to doing everything he possibly can to oppose the prorogation of Parliament to try to sneak no-deal through, and also to voting against no-deal?’
Hammond was only too delighted to join with McDonnell and Labour’s right wing, assuring him that he had been ‘consistently clear’ that a no-deal Brexit would be ‘bad for the British economy’, before continuing: ‘We cannot, however, rule out that that could happen because it is not entirely in our hands. But I do agree with him that it would be wrong for a British government to seek to pursue no-deal as a policy.’
Hammond pointedly ended, saying: ‘And I believe that it will be for the House of Commons, of which I will continue proudly to be a member, to ensure that that doesn’t happen.’
After the session ended, McDonnell told reporters that Hammond ‘represents a certain bloc’ amongst Tory MPs who will do anything to stop a no-deal Brexit and keep British capitalism tied to the EU indefinitely.
If Hammond represents a bloc in the Tory party determined to overturn the 2016 referendum result, then McDonnell is clearly a part of exactly the same bloc in the Labour Party and what he intends is for these two blocs to come together in a government of national ‘unity’ to kill Brexit.
McDonnell predicted that Hammond had a vital role in any future coalition between Tories and Labour saying he would be ‘one of the most influential backbenchers to align himself’ with Labour’s position although he was careful to deny that any formal talks between the Tory bloc of Remainers and their Labour equivalents had taken place.
Only last March, McDonnell was loudly condemning Hammond as the man responsible for shifting the country’s huge national debt ‘onto the backs of many of the poorest in our society’.
How things have changed in three months with Hammond, previously reviled for his vicious austerity attacks on workers and their families, now transformed into an ally of McDonnell and the right-wing conspiracy in the Labour Party to dump Corbyn and go forward to a reactionary coalition in the form of a national government.
The calculation of McDonnell and his fellow conspirators is that Corbyn, who still insists that Labour’s policy must be directed at forcing a general election and his opposition to completely reneging on the referendum result, is a block in the road to this
The campaign to oust Corbyn was clear in the ‘briefings’ by civil servants about his alleged frailty preventing him from ever becoming prime minister.
The emergence of this move towards a right-wing coalition to betray the referendum result must be halted in its tracks by the working class demanding the TUC call a general strike to kick out the Tories and put an end to this reactionary plotting by advancing to a workers government that will expropriate the bosses and bankers, break completely with the EU and advance to socialism.