I could not be in a government that advocated a no-deal Brexit | Stephen Hammond

Last week I let my job as a health minister. I would not sign up to Boris Johnson’s ‘by any means necessary’ 31 October Brexit

A new prime minister enters Downing Street promising to help the less advantaged, bring prosperity and opportunity to every area of the country, and make a success of Brexit. Conservative MPs cheer, a new era begins and there is a bounce in the polls. Three years ago that was Theresa May, and the rest, as they say, is history. Our new prime minister is well versed in history, so undoubtedly he will know the famous quote that history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce.

Last week I left the government. I would not have signed up to Boris Johnson’s pledge to leave the European Union on 31 October with no deal if necessary. Initially he said leaving without a deal was a “million-to-one” possibility. However, the rhetoric soon changed to the more confrontational tone of “do or die”. He has even rejected negotiations over a time limit to the Irish backstop. Now only a completely new withdrawal agreement would be acceptable. New red lines have been introduced for the political declaration that will shape our ongoing relationship with our former partners. There is talk of no-deal preparations being ramped up, but in reality these are mitigations.

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