WASHINGTON (Reuters) – British finance minister Philip Hammond said on Friday it was very likely that the idea of a second Brexit referendum would be put to parliament at some point, but time was tight before October when Britain is due to leave the European Union.
Hammond also said the process for choosing a new governor of the Bank of England was beginning ahead of the scheduled departure of current governor Mark Carney in January 2020.
Here is a selection of comments by Hammond who was speaking to reporters in Washington where is attending meetings at the International Monetary Fund.
ON A NO-DEAL BREXIT
“No-deal as an immediate threat is off the table. Clearly we could have been in a very different place today. But it hasn’t been removed altogether. It continues to exist. We are managing down the risks of no-deal.”
“Nobody should be under any illusion that if we were ever to get to no-deal, it would be a very uncomfortable place, both for the UK, for its impact on the European and hence the global economy.”
ON BREXIT TALKS WITH LABOUR
“I think we are in with a good chance of being able to reach an agreement on the way forward in the next few weeks. We are in discussion with the Labour Party.”
“We agree on quite a lot. The Labour Party is clear that we have to deliver Brexit. They are clear that we have to end free movement … We have some disagreements on priorities and approach beyond that but we agree on fundamentals.”
“I remain optimistic that over the next couple of months we will get a deal done.”
“It’s no secret that the Labour Party regard a customs union as a negotiating objective for them.”
“Putting it on the table is not the same as having it agreed.”
“We haven’t set red lines.