Brexit news latest: Chancellor Philip Hammond says second referendum ‘deserves to be considered’… as Iain Duncan Smith calls reported coup ‘appalling’

Chancellor Philip Hammond has said a second referendum “deserves to be considered” in a move that is likely to anger Brexiteer colleagues.

It came as former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith lashed out at cabinet ministers reportedly plotting a “coup” against Theresa May, amid rumours she could be ousted in the coming days.

The pro-Brexit MP told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “I think that’s appalling, I think they should be censured and some of them should be sacked.”

He added: “If there is to be a leadership change that leadership change has to be done through the correct process with the membership out there deciding who will be their leader – not some ghastly five or six man and woman cabal that actually decides things internally.”

Iain Duncan Smith calls reported coup ‘appalling’

Appearing on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Hammond was also critical of MPs allegedly involved in an attempt to topple the PM, calling them “self-indulgent”.

He said replacing Mrs May would not “solve the problem”, despite heavy criticism of her handling of the Brexit process and calls from members of her party to stand aside.

Philip Hammond said a second Brexit referendum was a “perfectly coherent position” (AFP/Getty Images)

“To be talking about changing the players on the board frankly is self-indulgent at this time,” Mr Hammond said.

He denied reports that he wanted Mrs May’s de facto deputy David Lidington to be installed as a caretaker prime minister, but refused to be drawn on whether his colleagues had approached him asking him to make an intervention.

David Lidington has been suggested as a possible replacement for Theresa May (REUTERS)

However, he acknowledged that “people are very frustrated and people are desperate to find a way forward in the just over two weeks that we’ve got to resolved this issue”.

Mr Hammond added: “This is not about the Prime Minister or any other individual, this is about the future of our country.

“Changing Prime Minister wouldn’t help us, changing the party in government wouldn’t help us: we’ve got to address the question of what type of Brexit is acceptable to Parliament, what type of way forward Parliament can agree on so that we can avoid what would be an economic catastrophe of a no-deal exit and also what would be a very big challenge to confidence in our political system if we didn’t exit at all.”

And after hundreds of thousands of people descended on Parliament on Saturday demanding a so-called People’s Vote, he said a second referendum was a “perfectly coherent position” which “deserves to be considered along with the other proposals”.

Thousands attend People’s Vote march

The Chancellor said Parliament would be given the chance to hold indicative votes on alternatives to Mrs May’s Brexit deal this week.

“One way or another Parliament is going to have the opportunity this week to decide what it is in favour of, and I hope that it will take that opportunity – if it can’t get behind the Prime Minister’s deal – to say clearly and unambiguously what it can get behind,” he said.

Meanwhile Mr Duncan Smith said the last week in politics has been “as close to a national humiliation as I think I’ve seen”.

But he added that any idea of a leadership election would create “complete chaos”, and said cabinet ministers owe Mrs May not to behave as they have.

“I think round the country, in the Conservative Party, and outside the Conservative Party there will be real disgust at the behaviour of some of our cabinet ministers who are not fit for their positions if they behave like this,” he told Marr.

“They should be apologising and they should shut up for God’s sake.”

Mr Duncan Smith also urged fellow Brexiteers to keep their options open on whether to support the Prime Minister’s deal if it comes back to the Commons this week.

He said: “I’m going to keep, and I recommend my colleagues do, keep their options open on this because we don’t know what’s happening this week, we’ve no idea what the alternatives are and whether people vote for this or not depends hugely on whether we are able to leave with no-deal or not or whether there is a change to this.”


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