Labour Demands Probe Over Claims Financial Backers Of Boris Johnson Stand To Profit From A No-Deal Brexit

It comes after a searing article by former chancellor Philip Hammond about the PM.
<strong>Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell </strong>
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell
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John McDonnell has demanded an investigation into claims that financial backers of Boris Johnson stand to profit from a no-deal Brexit.

In a letter to cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill, the shadow chancellor called for a probe into the prime minister’s alleged “conflicts of interest”.

Writing in The Times, Hammond – who was one of 21 Tory rebels kicked out of the party for backing legislation to block a no-deal Brexit – said: “Boris Johnson asserts, ever more boldly, that we will leave the EU on October 31, ‘with or without a deal’.

“But as his sister has reminded us, he is backed by speculators who have bet billions on a hard Brexit — and there is only one outcome that works for them: a crash-out no-deal Brexit that sends the currency tumbling and inflation soaring.

“So they, at least, will be reassured to see no evidence at all that his government has seriously pursued a deliverable deal; still less that it has been pursuing a deal that could get us out by October 31.”

Referencing Hammond’s article, McDonnell called for an independent inquiry into the claims.

There have been widespread reports of increases in “short positions” being taken against sterling in anticipation of a possible no-deal, he said in the letter to Sedwill.

Meanwhile, the Conservative Party and the PM have received a “significant sum” in donations from people who back a no-deal Brexit, McDonnell wrote. “A number of these individuals are involved with hedge funds.”

Finally, Johnson has “expressed a willingness” to pursue a no-deal Brexit.

“These three facts have caused concern that the prime minister may have a conflict of interest,” the Labour frontbencher wrote.

“Donors to the Conservative Party and/or prime minister could stand to gain from a no-dealBrexit (even if only through cushioning losses by adopting short positions).

“The prime minister could reasonably be seen as having an interest in securing a no-deal Brexit to financially benefit his donors.”

McDonnell added: “It is becoming increasingly apparent from public comment that the prime minister is bringing into doubt whether he is upholding the highest standards, thereby further undermining public confidence and trust in him and his government.”

HuffPost UK has contacted the Conservative Party for a response to McDonnell’s letter.