LABOUR’S Shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer, yesterday welcomed Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond’s announcement on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that he will resign on Wednesday and join with other MPs from all parties to seek to organise a parliamentary coup to stop Brexit.
Starmer tweeted: ‘I respect Philip Hammond’s decision to announce that he cannot serve in a Boris Johnson government. As I wrote in today’s Observer, I want to work with all those MPs who, like me, want to ensure Parliament can stop a disastrous no deal exit.’
Earlier, Marr asked Hammond: ‘As chancellor, do you think you are going to be sacked?’
He replied: ‘No, I’m sure I’m not going to be sacked, because I’m going to resign before we get to that point. Assuming Boris Johnson becomes the next prime minister, I understand that his conditions for serving in his government would include accepting a no-deal exit on 31st October and that is not something I could ever sign up to.’
He went on: ‘I therefore intend to resign to Theresa May before she goes to the Palace to tender her own resignation on Wednesday.’
Marr said: ‘So you are going to go onto the back benches and you are going to campaign along with other former cabinet ministers I hear to stop no-deal happening?’
Hammond replied: ‘Yes, to stop no-deal happening on 31st October without the consent of Parliament.’
He went on: ‘Look, we can’t have wheezes like suspending Parliament or proroguing Parliament in order to deny Parliament its voice. This matter must be decided in Parliament.’
Marr asked: ‘Would you vote against a government determined to take us out without a deal on October 31st in a motion of no confidence?’
Hammond responded: ‘I don’t think it will get to that … I am confident that Parliament does have a way of preventing a no-deal exit on 31st October without parliamentary consent and I intend to work with others to ensure that Parliament uses its power to make sure that the new government can’t do that.’
In his Observer newspaper article, Starmer wrote: ‘I will want to work with all those former ministers who want to ensure Parliament can stop a disastrous and chaotic exit.’
He went on: ‘We simply cannot allow this to happen. Parliament must be put on a war footing to stop a no-deal Brexit when the new prime minister enters office. We did so in March and we must do so again.
‘Every tool in our armoury must be deployed: Amending legislation, forcing emergency debates and triggering no-confidence votes. The majority in Parliament must act – and that will involve coordinated work across all political parties.
‘Last week we claimed a significant victory by making it clear that shutting down Parliament in the autumn would be not only unconstitutional, but also unlawful.
‘The significance of the victory was not just that we succeeded in preventing a future prime minister shutting down Parliament, but also its size and spirit. To win by a majority of more than 40 demonstrates a bloc vote determined to stop Johnson’s reckless ideas. And as for the spirit of the vote, I was struck by the fact that many Tory MPs seemed relieved rather than reluctant about rebelling – feeling a sense of pride in doing the right thing …
‘After they have resigned this week, I will want to work with all those former ministers who, like me, want to ensure that Parliament can stop a disastrous and chaotic exit from the EU.’