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Sunday shows round-up: Philip Hammond – ‘I’m going to resign’

21 July 2019

1:32 PM

21 July 2019

1:32 PM

In his final show before the summer break, Andrew Marr sat down with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. With the results of the Conservative leadership contest to be announced on Tuesday, Philip Hammond told Marr that if Boris Johnson emerged victorious, he believed his only course of action was to follow in the footsteps of fellow cabinet minister David Gauke:

AM: Do you think you’re going to be sacked?

PH: No, I’m sure I’m not going to be sacked because I am going to resign before we get to that point… I understand that [Johnson’s] conditions… would include accepting a no deal on 31st October. That is not something I could ever sign up to… I therefore intend to resign to Theresa May before she goes to the Palace to tender her own resignation on Wednesday.

Hammond: I did not have permission to abstain:

Hammond also clarified that he had not been given the green light to abstain on a vote on Thursday which restricted the incoming government’s chances of proroguing Parliament. Hammond explained his reasons for defying a three line whip:

PH: The principle of collective responsibility is based on the principle of collective decision making, and at no time did I join in a cabinet discussion… that said the government should oppose [this] measure… I don’t think we have a government policy that supports attempts to close Parliament down.

Simon Coveney – No deal ‘is a British choice’

Marr also spoke to the Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney. Coveney said that neither Ireland nor the EU wished to see a no deal Brexit, but the ball was in the UK’s court:

SC: [No deal] will be a British choice. Not an Irish choice, not an EU choice… We all want to avoid a no deal Brexit… but we won’t do it on the basis of being told what must happen because that is the only thing that can pass in the House of Commons.

GATT 24 ‘is a non-starter’

Coveney also rejected the plan of action put forward by Boris Johnson to secure free trade between the UK and the EU if no deal is agreed. Johnson hopes to rely on Article 24 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to prevent tariffs from being enacted in this scenario, but this has been a source of controversy:

SC: We just don’t think that’s a viable option at all. It’s not just the Irish government. I think the Brexit [select] committee on the House of Commons has also made it very clear that’s a non-starter.

Iain Duncan Smith – There has been ‘major failure’ over Iran

Boris Johnson’s campaign manager Iain Duncan Smith, who some have touted as in line to become Deputy Prime Minister next week, has criticised the government’s actions in dealing with the recent hostilities in the Persian Gulf, where a UK flagged oil tanker has been seized by Iranian forces. Britain’s HMS Montrose was reportedly too far away to prevent this from happening:

IDS: I understand… that Washington had offered… US assets to support British shipping and they were not taken up at the point, and I want to know why… This is a major failure and the government has to answer this charge very quickly indeed.

Tobias Ellwood – It ‘isn’t possible’ to escort every vessel

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood joined Sophy Ridge. He told Ridge that the UK was increasing its presence in the Gulf, but the resources involved in accompanying all British ships through the Straits of Hormuz wasn’t ‘a long term solution’:

TE: It isn’t possible, simply, to escort each individual vessel… This has been a sudden spike in… threat that has ratcheted up in the last few weeks… We are sending an additional Type 45 destroyer there. There’s also an RFA support ship that’s coming… We are absolutely committed to… keeping these straits open.

Royal Navy is ‘too small to manage our interests’

Ellwood continued by saying that the government must seriously consider investing more in the Royal Navy, in order to help prevent future standoffs:

TE: If we want to continue playing a role on the international stage, bearing in mind that threats are changing… then we must invest more in our defence, including our Royal Navy. Our Royal Navy is too small to manage our interests across the globe, if that’s our future intention, and that’s something the next Prime Minister will need to recognise.

Richard Burgon – Military action in Iran ‘would be worse than Iraq’

Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary urged caution over escalation in the Gulf and argued strongly against taking military action to try and resolve the impasse:

RB: We don’t want to get into a situation where things get out of control. I think we’re with the mainstream opinion on this where we don’t want it to ratchet up, ending up getting out of control, ending up with military action because if we did it would be even worse than Iraq and that doesn’t help anybody.

Tweets should not rule out Milani from Labour candidacy:

Ridge asked Burgon about Ali Milani, the Labour candidate standing against Boris Johnson in the seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip at the next general election. Amid a struggle with anti-Semitism in the Labour party, it has been revealed that Milani had posted offensive tweets in his teenage years. Burgon came to Milani’s defence:

SR: Surely you can find candidates in high profile seats who haven’t made offensive comments about Jewish people in the past?

RB: I don’t think he should be prevented from being a Labour candidate because of tweets that he’s apologised for that he sent when he was a teenager. I’m sure that there are plenty of things that Boris Johnson did as a teenager which, if you applied that rule, would rule him out from being Prime Minister.

Steve Barclay – £90 billion no deal cost is not accurate

And finally, the Brexit Secretary has argued that a forecast presented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that a no deal Brexit could cost the UK economy up to £90 billion is highly exaggerated:

SR: Is that a price worth paying?

SB: The figure you quote relates to a Treasury forecast for 2035… and it also assumes that the government would take absolutely no action in response to no deal… The reality is a no deal would be disruptive, but we’ve got over 300 teams across Whitehall working on our preparations.

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