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Losing Scotland the price to pay for Brexit - Conservatives

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British finance minister Philip Hammond has warned contenders in the race to become prime minister that a no-deal Brexit could pull the United Kingdom apart and would deprive Britain’s next leader of the money needed to end austerity.

 

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All four remaining candidates in the Conservative Party leadership contest have said they are prepared to take Britain out of the European Union without a transition deal to smooth the economic shock if necessary.

Hammond, who supported staying in the EU before the 2016 referendum, said pursuing a no-deal Brexit was fraught with risk and could lead to the opposition Labour Party, under left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn, taking power.

“I cannot imagine a Conservative and Unionist-led government, actively pursuing a no-deal Brexit, willing to risk the Union and our economic prosperity,” he said in excerpts of a speech he was due to deliver on Thursday.

“And a general election that could put Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street, to boot,” he said on Wednesday.

Calls for an independence referendum in Scotland have grown since the Brexit vote, when a majority of Scottish voters backed remaining in the EU.

An opinion poll published this week showed a majority of Conservative Party members – who will make the final decision on Britain’s next prime minister in July – would accept losing Scotland from the United Kingdom as long as Brexit is delivered.

Furthermore, whoever succeeds Theresa May as prime minister will face a continued Brexit impasse in parliament that has led to speculation about an early national election.

-AAP

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