A betrayal of the Brexit vote would have far-reaching consequences for the social fabric of Britain that would outweigh the economic cost of leaving the EU, Philip Hammond has told MPs.
In an admission from a senior government figure that Brexit is a political calculation rather than one that will benefit the economy, the chancellor said that Theresa May’s deal allowed the country to “move on” without large swathes of Britain feeling as though they had been betrayed.
Speaking to MPs on the Commons Treasury committee ahead of next week’s vote on the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement, the chancellor said that supporting the deal would allow Britain to “accept that, in a rather British way, we have made a compromise solution and moved on”.
He added: “Any solution which left the country divided, left a large segment of the population betrayed, in my view would have a negative political and societal impact which would far outweigh the very small economic impact [of May’s deal].”
Hammond’s comments come after a string of official studies published by the Bank of England and the government revealed that the UK economy would be better off under a remain scenario, striking a blow to May’s Brexit plan.