Top Tory admits Government continually lied about no-deal Brexit preparations

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

A prominent Tory has extraordinarily claimed that the Government continuously lied about making preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

Iain Duncan Smith hit out at former chancellor Philip Hammond for doing "nothing to prepare us for leaving with no deal”.

The former Conservative Party leader told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: "By not preparing to leave with no deal, they made it certain that we'd have to swallow everything that the European Union gave us.

A top Tory has claimed the previous administration failed to prepare for a no-deal Brexit (PA)

"So the crime that has been committed in political terms was committed by him and those who did not prepare us to leave.”

When asked whether the previous administration had been “lying” about public statements on preparations for no deal, Mr Duncan Smith replied: “It wasn’t correct. The fact is we haven't made all preparations.”

Mr Duncan Smith went on to say that new Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his team were now fully preparing for no deal, adding that the Government would “be public” about what they were doing.

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His comments came on the day that Mr Hammond said that leaving the EU without a deal would be "as much a betrayal" of the referendum as not leaving at all and could cause "irreparable damage" to the union of the UK.

Taking aim at the new PM, Mr Hammond also hit out at "those who are pulling the strings in Downing Street, those who are setting the strategy", and said trying to "bypass Parliament" to force through a no-deal Brexit would "provoke a constitutional crisis”.

Mr Hammond said Mr Johnson’s attempts to get the EU to back down on the backstop are a "wrecking tactic”.

Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith said Theresa May's government continuously lied about preparing to leave the EU without a deal (PA)
Former chancellor Philip Hammond said a no-deal Brexit would 'betray' the result of the EU referendum (PA)

He told Today: "The British people were offered a proposition that we could leave the European Union while having a close relationship, they were told it would be the easiest deal ever done.

"And all the evidence points to people wanting to maintain a close trading relationship with the EU to protect British jobs and British prosperity and minimise disruption in the future.

"To set the bar for negotiations so high that we inevitably leave without a deal would be a betrayal and the Prime Minister said he would get a deal and we want to see him deliver that deal.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the EU by October 31 (PA)

Mr Hammond said there is no mandate for no-deal, and that most people want a close relationship with the EU to protect jobs and the economy.

His intervention came after Speaker John Bercow also warned he "will fight with every breath in my body" any attempt by the PM to suspend Parliament to force through no-deal against MPs' wishes.

Mr Bercow told an audience at the Edinburgh Fringe festival that he "strongly" believes the House of Commons "must have its way”.

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