UK Chancellor Remainer Phil Sticks Up For May’s ‘Compromise Solution’ Brexit Plan

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01: Chancellor Of The Exchequer Philip Hammond speaks during day two of the annual Conservative Party Conference on October 1, 2018 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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Philip Hammond has pushed for Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan, telling Parliament Wednesday that it is better than a Brexit “betrayal” where the United Kingdom doesn’t leave the European Union at all.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer — one of the senior offices of state and second only to the Prime Minister in the British government — was a firm Remainer during the 2016 referendum and spoke to Members of Parliament in a committee session that the Prime Ministers’ plan was the best thing available.

The plan has been widely criticised as a Brexit in name only that will fail to bring the UK out of the EU in any meaningful sense, issues intensified Wednesday as the government released legal advice that revealed the deal would see an internal customs border created inside the United Kingdom. Controversially, the legal advice also reveals the UK could end up trapped in the backstop indefinitely, even if talks totally break down with the European Union.

Regardless, the anti-Brexit politician said giving May’s deal with the European Union would allow the country to “move on”, apparently by allowing all sides in the Brexit debate to not get what they want equally, and this would be better than one be “betrayed”.

In remarks quoted by Reuters, the Chancellor said Wednesday: “Any solution which left the country divided, left a large segment of the population feeling betrayed, in my view, would have a negative political impact and societal impact that would far outweigh the very small economic impact that [Theresa May’s deal] the White Paper scenario is showing here.”

Not “moving on” from Brexit would be “catastrophic” for the United Kingdom, Hammond said. The Guardian reports he said: “My own judgement is that we need a way forward that heals our country. We have a deeply fractured country with opinion deeply polarised and trust in the political system correspondingly damaged.

“Divided countries are not successful countries.”

Hammond’s comments echo others he made when previously providing cover for Theresa May. In November, he claimed May’s deal was “the best compromise possible… satisfying both sides” of the Brexit debate in Britain.

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