The deal Boris Johnson secured with the EU was available to Theresa May 15 months ago, Philip Hammond has said.
Talking on Sophy Ridge the former chancellor said May rejected the agreement the current Prime Minister championed as a “great new” deal.
Calling it of “limited achievement”, he said:
“The deal that Boris has done is a deal that was available to Theresa May 15 months ago.
“A deal that would have split Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
Theresa May rejected it
“Theresa May rejected that, [and] Boris agreed with her at the time that [it] [was not something any British prime minister could agree.
“He said as recently as 11 September that a Northern Ireland-only backstop would be completely unacceptable to the UK.
“So pivoting to accept something that’s previously been on offer from the EU – it was their preferred solution – and has been rejected because it didn’t work for the UK is an achievement maybe, but a limited achievement.”
Stop throwing tantrums
Mr Hammond, who sits as an independent MP after being effectively expelled from the Conservatives by Mr Johnson last month, also urged the government to “stop throwing tantrums” and to offer a longer timetable for MPs to pass the Brexit deal, without pushing for the UK to go to the polls.
Vowing to oppose the PM’s demand for an election in a Commons vote tomorrow, the ex-chancellor said: “This is not the time to be holding a general election.
“It’s a time for cool heads and grown-up government.”
He added: “The key thing now is to get the deal properly scrutinised in parliament.
“That doesn’t mean delaying it by months, it means giving parliament a few days, a couple of weeks, to scrutinise the bill, amend it if necessary, and then we can make progress.
Get on with the grown-up business of doing its business
“The government should stop making threats, stop throwing tantrums, and get on with the grown-up business of doing its business.
“Just because it can’t get exactly what it wants, doesn’t mean it should stop working.”
Mr Hammond also suggested it is “perfectly feasible” for the UK to leave the EU at the end of November “if the government just stops messing about”.
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