Chancellor Philip Hammond has been labelled “treacherous” by the MP for Christchurch after he told business leaders a no-deal Brexit could be “taken off the table” and Article 50 “rescinded”.
Sir Christopher Chope expressed his unhappiness in the Commons after a transcript of a leaked conference call featuring the Chancellor was obtained by The Telegraph.
The Eurosceptic former minister suggested during Business Questions that Mr Hammond was undermining the Prime Minister with his comments.
He said: “Can I ask if we can have an early debate on ‘collective Cabinet responsibility’ and what it means in current circumstances?
Mr Chope, the MP for Christchurch, asked Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom if she would lead the debate, so “she can explain to the House the frustration we all feel on her behalf”.
He said the 2017 Conservative manifesto was being: “Undermined by treacherous comments from her own Cabinet colleagues.”
Ms Leadsom replied: “My honourable friend is really tempting me but I can resist.
“All of my Cabinet colleagues are absolutely in agreement that we will deliver on the will of the people as expressed in the referendum of 2016.
“We will be leaving the European Union on March 29, that remains Government policy and we will continue to prepare for all eventualities.”
The row came after the leaked call from Tuesday night, which took place shortly after Theresa May’s Brexit deal was voted down in the Commons by a record margin.
The Chancellor began the call by explaining that the defeat raised two questions; can Article 50 be revoked and “whether we can somehow take the option of no deal off the table”.
And he spoke about a cross-party Bill from Tory MP Nick Boles, which aims to force the Government to extend Article 50 if a Brexit deal cannot be reached, according to The Telegraph.
The business leaders sought assurances from him, along with Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Business Secretary Greg Clark – who were also on the call, that a no-deal could be ruled out.
Mr Hammond said: “The Government is not in control of this. I am only telling you what information I have been able to glean.
“My understanding is that because the bill being brought forward will simply and solely rescind the Article 50 notice, the legal opinion that they have is that that will meet the test that the European Court of Justice has laid down for unilateral recision of an Article 50 notice.
“It is not within their power to mandate any future course of action, that would be for a Government to do.”
A Treasury spokesman confirmed the phone call took place shortly after the vote on Tuesday, but would not confirm any details.