Fri. Feb 22nd, 2019

Minister hints he could resign to vote against no-deal Brexit

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A minister has hinted he could resign to vote against a no-deal Brexit in the Commons next week.

Stephen Hammond said he would be “clear where my responsibilities lie” if it transpires that 14 February is the last opportunity to vote against Britain leaving the EU without an agreement.

The Wimbledon MP, who is a health minister, was a vocal backbench opponent of such a scenario until being given a government role in November.

Theresa May is set to return to the Commons on 13 February to update MPs on the latest in her Brexit talks.

MPs will be able to table a number of amendments the following day, including on potential ways forward in the negotiations.

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A cross-party plan to delay Brexit by extending Article 50 and avoid no deal in the process is expected to be voted on again.

The amendment, spearheaded by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Conservative MP Nick Boles, was defeated by 23 votes last week.

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When asked if he would resign to back a similar amendment next week, Mr Hammond told The House magazine: “We will all have to look into our conscience at that stage.

“But I don’t think anyone can doubt my principles and what my view would be if that is the last opportunity.

“I’m pretty clear where my responsibilities lie, much as I love this job, much as I think the NHS is a wonderful, wonderful institution.

“I’m also very clear that as members of parliament we have a moral duty to our country and our constituencies. If you look at my record over the last year, no one can question my moral view on that.”

Mr Hammond said he was still “hopeful” that Mrs May would be able to agree a deal with the EU.

But he added that if this does not happen by next week, the votes on 14 February would give MPs “the opportunity to ensure that no deal doesn’t happen by mistake”.

Mr Hammond said: “I have no doubt that many of my colleagues and I will take that opportunity if that appears to be the eventuality.”

Despite backing the Remain campaign in the 2016 referendum, Mr Hammond said he accepted that result, but added that leaving without a deal would be “a catastrophe for the country”.

http://news.sky.com/story/stephen-hammond-minister-hints-he-could-resign-to-vote-against-no-deal-brexit-11630892

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