Theresa May Prepares To Reveal 'New' Brexit Plan As Philip Hammond Warns Against No-Deal

Ned Simons

Theresa May will reveal her “new deal” on Brexit in a speech on Tuesday afternoon following a marathon meeting of her cabinet.

The prime minister held talks with ministers this morning on the package of measures including in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB).

The legislation, which takes the UK out of the EU, is due to be voted on by MPs in the first week of June.

May is expected to argue measures including in the Bill should be supported by both Tory and Labour MPs.

But there is little indication the PM will be able to win the vote given her deal has already been rejected three times.

May has promised to set out a timetable for her departure from No.10 once the Bill has had its second reading – win or lose.

Downing Street said the cabinet discussions covered a “whole range of topics” related to the WABl, including customs arrangements and calls for a second referendum.

There are deep splits in the Tory party over how to best to take the UK out of the EU.

And the PM’s officials spokesperson said Brexit was “a topic which does carry strong opinions” that were “often reflected around the cabinet table”.

With the race to succeed May already underway, Philip Hammond stepped up his warnings that a no-deal Brexit would cause both “short term” disruption and shrink the UK economy in the “longer term”.

“I didn’t come into politics in order to make our economy smaller. I came into politics to make our economy bigger and make our people better off,” he told MPs.

Hammond, who is not running for leader, will take aim at Tory leadership candidates who back a no-deal this evening by accusing them of an attempt to “hijack” the result of the referendum.

John McDonnell, Labour’s shadow chancellor, said he welcomed Hammond’s “clear warnings to his Conservative colleagues of the hit this economy will face from a no-deal Brexit”.

He added: “Especially to some who have said there is nothing to fear from a no-deal.”

One of the likely leadership contenders to have used that phrase is Hammond’s deputy Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury.

Boris Johnson and former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab have also they want to renegotiate May’s withdrawal deal with the EU and have not ruled out a no-deal exit.

After launching a new group of self-styled centre-right Tories called One Nation, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd indicated the bloc could support a leadership candidate who backed a no-deal exit.

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