POLITICS
07/03/2019 09:19 GMT

Philip Hammond Warns No Extra Cash For Public Services In No-Deal Brexit

Chancellor also tells police to re-direct resources to fight knife crime.

PA Wire/PA Images

Philip Hammond has suggested there will be no extra money for public services – including the police – if MPs vote to leave the EU without a deal.

The chancellor issued the warning on Thursday morning amid calls for the government to find more money to tackle knife crime.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, Hammond said only if parliament voted in favour of a deal would there be “more money available for public services”.

“We’ve got adequate fiscal reserves now,” he said. “But we have been holding those in reserve precisely because of the possibility of we might leave the EU without a deal.

“We would need a pot of money to support the UK economy though the inevitable disruption. If that money is spent on dealing with the disruption of a no-deal exit it can’t be spent on policing, on social care, on schools, on higher education, on defence.”

Asked if he would provide more money to crack down on rising knife attacks, Hammond said the police should make better use of the resources they already had.

“What you have to do is redirect your resources, change your priorities, to deal with the immediate priority issue,” he said.

MPs are expected to once again vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal when it is put to the Commons next week. Parliament will then be given a vote on whether to leave the EU without a deal, or to extend Article 50.

Hammond warned pro-Brexit Tory MPs that if they rejected the PM’s agreement then Brexit would likely be delayed or softened.

“For those people who are passionate about ensuring that we leave the European Union on time, it surely must be something that they need to think very, very carefully about now because they run risk of us moving away from their preferred course of action if we don’t get this deal through on Tuesday,” he said.

Jeremy Corbyn has said he is “more certain than ever” MPs will back a deal to keep the UK closely tied to the EU after talks with senior Tories.

The Labour leader said he believed the Commons would force the government to back a “sensible” Brexit plan.

On Wednesday he held talks with former Tory ministers Nick Boles and Sir Oliver Letwin, along with Labour’s Stephen Kinnock and Lucy Powell, about their “Common Market 2.0” plan, which would keep the UK in the single market and customs union.