The UK’s finance minister Philip Hammond has vowed to resign if Conservative Party leadership hopeful Boris Johnson becomes the next prime minister, as expected.
Asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr if he thought he would be sacked this week, Hammond replied: “No, I’m sure I’m not going to be sacked because I’m going to resign before we get to that point.”
“Assuming that Boris Johnson becomes the next prime minister, I understand that his conditions for serving in his government would include accepting a no-deal exit [of the European Union] on the 31st of October, and it’s not something I could ever sign up to.
“It’s very important that a prime minister is able to have a chancellor who is closely aligned with him in terms of policy and I therefore intend to resign to Theresa May before she goes to the palace to tender her own resignation on Wednesday,” Britain’s finance minister, known in the UK as Chancellor of the Exchequer, added.
May will step aside when the winner of the ongoing Conservative leadership contest is announced on Tuesday, bringing to an end a three-year tenure that will be defined by her inability to take Britain out of the EU.
Johnson is widely expected to have beaten his rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in a ballot of party members. The leader of the party commanding a parliamentary majority is automatically prime minister.
May was forced into quitting after losing the support of her Cabinet, many of whom were fed up with the ongoing turmoil over Brexit.
Johnson is bitterly opposed the withdrawal deal that May negotiated with the EU, and resigned from her Cabinet over it. During the leadership contest, both he and Hunt refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit.
Hammond has repeatedly warned of the risks of a no-deal Brexit to Britain’s economy, and has even hinted he might back a no-confidence vote against the new PM should they pursue it.
He told reporters Thursday that he is “greatly” afraid of the economic impact of the type of break that is “realistically being discussed” by some prominent politicians.
Justice Secretary David Gauke has also threatened to resign if Johnson becomes PM. He told British newspaper the Sunday Times: “Given that I’ve been in the Cabinet since Theresa May came to power, I think the appropriate thing is for me to resign to her.”
CNN’s Rob Picheta contributed to this report.