No-deal Brexit risks future of UK, warns Philip Hammond

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By Reuters
Philip Hammond has not put his name forward to be Prime Minister
Philip Hammond has not put his name forward to be Prime Minister

Britain's finance minister Philip Hammond has warned candidates hoping to replace Prime Minister Theresa May that a no-deal Brexit would undermine the country’s economy and threaten the United Kingdom's cohesion.

"We need to get the spectre of a no-deal exit off the table," the Chancellor of the Exchequer told the BBC. "Leaving with no deal would be a very bad outcome for the economy."

"I'm not sure that people necessarily have understood what a risk we would be taking, not only with our economy but also with the future of our precious United Kingdom if we left with no deal," he said.

"My personal view is it will not be fine, it will not be ok."

May's departure deepens the Brexit crisis as a new leader, who should be in place by the end of July, is likely to want a more decisive split, raising the chances of a confrontation with the EU and potentially a snap parliamentary election.

Boris Johnson, the bookmakers' favourite to get May's job, has said the United Kingdom should leave the EU on Oct. 31 with or without a deal.

Hammond has not put his name forward to replace May, who resigned last week amid political deadlock.

Eleven Conservative lawmakers have declared they are running for May's job.

When asked if he could be a candidate to succeed May, Hammond did not answer directly, but veered into a discussion about the national minimum wage. He said he was meeting withother candidates.

"My concern is to make sure that there is a voice in this competition representing the views that I hold: that we need to resolve the Brexit impasse in a way that protects our businesses and our jobs," he said.

He did not say which candidate he would back.