Johnson to ‘End Up in Court’ If He Does Not Request Brexit Delay from EU
According To Iran News, Downing Street’s threat to take the UK out of the EU without a deal on October 31 is mere “bravado” and Boris Johnson will be blocked by the courts if he tries to do it, former chancellor Philip Hammond said.
The is “no way round” the legal requirement under the so-called Benn Act for the prime minister to seek an extension to Brexit negotiations if he fails to secure a deal by the end of next week, Hammond insisted.
He was speaking as he set out proposals for a new “super-soft Brexit” customs arrangement with Europe which he believes could be agreed with Brussels and MPs in place of Johnson’s plan, which he said “will not fly”
The former chancellor said Brexiteers should give up the “myth” that it is in the UK’s economic interest to quit the EU customs union in order to strike lucrative trade deals around the world, The Independent reported.
He pointed to estimates from the Treasury and independent forecasters which suggest the value of deals with English-speaking countries including the US, as well as the BRICS emerging economies, would be worth less than 0.4 per cent of GDP by 2030, while trade barriers with the EU could cost 4-7 per cent over the same period.
Hammond, who lost the Tory whip after rebelling over no-deal, said that the Johnson plan “is not going to fly, was never going to fly”, and it was vital for the UK to demonstrate that other ideas are available for discussion during the extension to the end of January which he expects the EU to grant.
Dismissing the PM’s continuing insistence that he will take Britain out the EU deal or no deal on October 31, Hammond told Sky News: “I don’t care what they say in Downing Street. This is bravado. All the top legal authorities are clear there is no way round the Benn Act.
“The prime minister has given an assurance in the Scottish court that he will deliver his obligations under the Benn Act.
“This is a legal issue. If Boris Johnson doesn’t comply with his obligations under the Benn Act, there will be action in the court to force the government to comply.”
In an interview in the Daily Telegraph, Hammond set out proposals for a quick-fire tariff-free GB/EU trade deal to be implemented immediately after withdrawal next January, under which Britain would continue to follow single market rules and social, environmental and state aid regulations.
Under the plan, Northern Ireland would remain in a separate backstop, and there would be a “break clause” allowing parliament to withdraw the UK from the arrangements with a year’s notice.
The ex-chancellor said this would deliver low-friction regulatory borders and no customs borders for both Channel ports and the Irish Sea.
He claimed the arrangement could win a majority in parliament on the back of the votes of Tory rebels and Labor Leave supporters, once Johnson’s approach reaches stalemate.
“We have to find a way forward here,” said Hammond. “What the government has put on the table isn’t going to deliver that.”
Confirming that he intends to stand in his Runnymede and Weybridge constituency at the next election, whether as a Conservative or an Independent, he warned that Johnson was risking his party’s future if he continued to exclude anyone who challenged his hardline Brexit stance.
“The Conservative party has no future if it turns its back on the idea of being a broad church,” warned Hammond.