December 5, 2018 / 1:42 PM / 9 days ago

Brexit betrayal would hurt UK more than leaving - Hammond

LONDON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Any Brexit outcome that left a large chunk of the British people feeling betrayed would damage the country more than the modest economic cost of pursuing Prime Minister Theresa May’s preferred Brexit plan, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Wednesday.

May’s government is facing an uphill struggle to win parliament’s backing for the plan she has agreed with the EU to leave the European Union on March 29.

If May loses a parliamentary vote on the deal on Dec. 11, it would open the possibility of a wide range of outcomes including Britain leaving with no transition deal at all, new elections or a second referendum on leaving, something May has ruled out.

Hammond warned parliament’s Treasury Committee of the dangers of rejecting May’s plan. A government economic analysis last week showed a similar plan causing only a small amount of damage compared with staying in the EU.

“Any solution which left the country divided, left a large segment of the population feeling betrayed, in my view, would have a negative political impact and societal impact that would far outweigh the very small economic impact that the White Paper scenario is showing here,” he told the committee. (Reporting by Andy Bruce and Amy O’Brien, writing by David Milliken; editing by Stephen Addison)

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