LABOUR Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti yesterday called for uniting with ‘moderate’ Tory MPs to stop a no-deal Brexit ‘by any means necessary’ – a position echoed by Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond.
Appearing on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, McDonnell said: ‘I think the next step for us now is bringing the other opposition parties together for a discussion about where we go from here … and yes, talking to a number of Conservative MPs as well.’
He continued: ‘We need to get agreement on a way forward and if that does include going back to the people, yes, let’s now have that discussion, consult our party members, consult the parliamentary party, consult the other opposition parties, and let’s go forward. We’ve got to block a no-deal.’
He went on: ‘The reality is, on Friday when Theresa May stood down, there was a dramatic change in the nature of our politics and we’re now faced with Tory Party candidates who are pressing for a no-deal, no matter what the consequences for people’s jobs, their livelihoods and the future of our economy and our country.
‘We can’t allow that to happen. We’ve got to move forward now, bring people together and block a no-deal and if that means going back to the people, so be it.’
Ridge said: ‘When Mrs May stood on the steps of Downing Street and announced her resignation, it was an emotional speech. Did you feel sorry for her?’
McDonnell replied: ‘Yes, you know, you would have had to have had a heart of stone not to feel for her.’
Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Chakrabarti said: ‘We need to deal with this terrible issue of Brexit that has riven this country for the last three years.’
Asked: ‘How do you stop a no-deal Brexit? she replied: ‘By any means necessary. My colleague John McDonnell, just this morning, has been reaching out to leaders of other parties across the United Kingdom.
‘We’ve got to break this deadlock and that means, perhaps more votes testing the opinions of the House of Commons in particular and then quite possibly a confirmatory vote.’
She said: ‘We can try and trigger a vote of no confidence and hope that some sensible, moderate Conservatives who realise what a catastrophe no deal would be … We would hope that in those circumstances moderate Conservatives would help break the deadlock and support a vote of no confidence.’
She added: ‘I do think there are people of goodwill in the Conservative Party, people that I’ve worked with in the past who realise what a catastrophe no-deal would be for the people of this country.’
Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond told the Andrew Marr Show: ‘First of all, the European Union will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, I’m quite clear about that.’
He went on: ‘I think people who say “I’m going to go and have one last go at negotiating the backstop away and then we’ll have to leave on no-deal terms”, in fact the negotiation is a fig leaf for what is actually a policy of leaving on no-deal terms.
‘But that policy has a major flaw in it, apart from the fact that it would have serious implications for our country, and that is that parliament has voted very clearly to oppose a no-deal exit.
‘This is a parliamentary democracy. A prime minister who ignores parliament cannot expect to survive very long.’
Asked: ‘Are you going to stand as the next Conservative leader?’ Hammond replied: ‘I have not put my hat in the ring, as you will have noticed Andrew. It is early days, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.’
He went on: ‘The only way forward on Brexit is compromise, compromise in parliament and compromise in the country and I think going to parliament with a hard-line, absolutist view and daring parliament to accept it is quite a dangerous strategy.’