Rory Stewart is being to lined up to lead campaign to stop No Deal Brexit as Philip Hammond plots with Labour to block Boris Johnson’s plans
- Philip Hammond has been drumming up support for a ‘no to No Deal’ campaign
- Ex-Chancellor wants Mr Stewart to lead charge following his surge in popularity
- Mr Hammond also met with Shadow Brexit Secretary Kier Starmer this week
- They thrashed out how to use parliamentary votes to torpedo a No Deal outcome
Rory Stewart is being lined up to front a campaign to prevent Britain from crashing out of the EU without a deal, it emerged last night.
Philip Hammond, who resigned as chancellor ahead of Mr Johnson’s appointment, has been drumming up support for the campaign to block the Prime Minister’s No Deal Brexit plans.
He wants Mr Stewart, the unlikely star of the Tory leadership contest, to lead the charge.
Mr Stewart stood down as international development secretary this week as Mr Johnson doubled down on his No Deal rhetoric.
Mr Hammond is also said to have held secret talks with the Labour Party about how to thwart the Prime Minister’s No Deal plans, according to the Observer.
Rory Stewart is being lined up to front a campaign to prevent Britain from crashing out of the EU without a deal
Philip Hammond, who has been drumming up support for the campaign to block the Prime Minister’s No Deal Brexit plans, wants Mr Stewart to lead the charge
The Remainer Tory MP is believed to have met Shadow Brexit Secretary Kier Starmer shortly after he quit the government.
The pair agreed to work with other senior lawmakers, including former Conservative minister Oliver Letwin, to thrash out how best to use parliamentary votes to torpedo a No Deal .
‘The political direction of travel under Boris Johnson is clear,’ Starmer told the newspaper.
‘And so it is more important than ever that we build a strong cross-party alliance to stop a no-deal Brexit.’
Mr Hammond is also said to have been holding talks with his former cabinet colleague David Gauke, the ex-justice secretary, on how to kick-start the ‘no to No Deal’ campaign.
‘The plan is for a huge national campaign a bit like the People’s Vote, which will mobilise MPs and voters with adverts, rallies and original research,’ a source familiar with discussions told The Sunday Times.
‘Philip is talking to people and there will be no shortage of support from donors. But he’s convinced that Rory has the most cut-through with voters.’
Mr Johnson has said he wants to strike a new Brexit deal with the EU but is prepared to take Britain out of the bloc without one on Halloween, if necessary.
Mr Johnson has said he wants to strike a new Brexit deal with the EU but is prepared to take Britain out of the bloc without one on Halloween, if necessary
He has also said he would not take off the table the possibility of suspending parliament if lawmakers threatened to block a No Deal Brexit.
Speaking at a keynote address in Manchester yesterday to pledge a £3.6billion boost for left behind towns, he said he was bracing the country for a No Deal scenario.
He said: ‘On the… risk of a No Deal Brexit, or the prospect of a No Deal Brexit, well, we have just got to get ready for it. I don’t think that’s where we will end up.
‘But as I have told our European friends, we are going to prepare very actively for that eventuality in high confidence that this is an amazing country and we will get through it if we need to.’
Mr Johnson said he had ‘very friendly relations’ with other EU leaders. He added: ‘As to whether my friends across the Channel are warming to me, well I have always had very good relations.
‘I have very friendly relations with the other EU foreign ministers already and EU leaders as well. We will build on them.’
Mr Johnson also used the speech to pledge funding for a new rail link between the city and Leeds, as well as a boost for broadband connectivity and extra resources for crime-fighting.
The emphasis on the domestic agenda continued to fuel speculation the PM is keeping his options open for a snap general election, despite his strong denials.