Matt Hancock Changes His Mind And Says MPs Can't Block A No-Deal Brexit

Health secretary says parliament has shown it will not prevent October 31 exit.

Matt Hancock has said he no longer believes parliament will be able to stop a no-deal Brexit, amid rumours Boris Johnson is preparing for a snap general election.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Monday morning, the health secretary said: “When the facts change, even as a politician, you have to change your mind”.

Hancock had previously said “no-deal will not happen whether people want it or not” as MPs would block it.

But asked today whether he thought no-deal could still be stopped, he said: “I now don’t think it can.”

Hancock said he had expected MPs to prove they would vote against no-deal - but had failed.

“My view on that has changed. And it has changed because there were votes in parliament just before we rose for the summer that I thought would stop a no-deal Brexit and actually were defeated,” he said.

His comments came as the government announced a £1.8bn boost for the NHS.

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The injection of cash has fuelled speculation Johnson is anticipating an election in the next few months.

Hancock said he had not talked to “anybody” in Westminster, including the prime minister, about an election.

“I don’t want one. I don’t think we need one. I think what we need is to deliver Brexit and deliver on our top domestic priority which is the NHS,” he said.

But he did not rule out the possibility an election could take place over the October 31 Brexit deadline date, preventing MPs from voting against no-deal.“I don’t want to see that,” Hancock said.

He told BBC Radio 4′s Westminster Hour there was “utter determination” among MPs from all parties to prevent that outcome.

But he said the precise mechanism by which MPs made their move “remains to be seen”.

Johnson has made a “do or die” declaration to get the UK out of the bloc by the Halloween deadline, regardless of whether he has brokered a new deal or not.

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve warned on Sunday that he could still quit the Tory party over no-deal.

While James Cleverly, the Tory party chairman, yesterday insisted the Conservatives were not going to “initiate” an election.


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