Hammond, who quit as chancellor just hours before Johnson took over from Theresa May on July 24, said there was no popular or parliamentary mandate for a no-deal Brexit, saying most people wanted an orderly exit from the EU. “No-deal would be a betrayal of the 2016 referendum result. It must not happen,” he wrote in The Times newspaper.
He said it could turn Britain into “a diminished and inward-looking little England.”
The British parliament three times rejected the withdrawal agreement May negotiated with Brussels, with many MPs troubled by the “backstop” – a mechanism that would keep the UK in EU customs arrangements to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Hammond said the shift of position from seeking changes to the backstop to demanding its removal “is a pivot from a tough negotiating stance to a wrecking one,” setting an impossibly high bar.
“This is a demand the EU cannot, and will not, accede to.
“It’s time for our government to demonstrate its commitment to a genuine negotiation with the EU to achieve a deal.”
Britain is due to leave the European Union on October 31.
Johnson has pledged to stick to this date, whether a deal can be struck with Brussels or not.
Hammond said a no-deal Brexit would also threaten the United Kingdom’s integrity as it risked collapsing the peace accords in Northern Ireland and triggering a referendum on the province leaving the UK and joining the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state.
It would also lead to a second secession referendum in Scotland and the likely break-up of the UK, Hammond claimed.
He also said US talk of a “great trade deal” meant a trade deal that was great for them, opening up Britain to US produce that would “destroy British agriculture.”
Hammond warned that if parliament wanted to go down a particular route to prevent a no-deal Brexit, the means would emerge to allow that to happen.