Philip Hammond says Theresa May was ‘RIGHT’ to spend £4bn on no-deal plans

Operation Yellowhammer, a civil contingencies programme set up to deal with any unexpected emergencies arising from a no-deal deadlock, was wound down.

But the Chancellor argued that the Government had been right to make preparations just in case.

He said: “It would have been irresponsible not to prepare for no-deal so long as it was a real, possible outcome.

“Making preparations for events we hope will not happen is an everyday part of Government – we prepare for all sorts of outcomes to ensure we have readiness and we can manage them and mitigate the effects of them if they arise.”

He added: “Just to be clear about this, we’ve spent £4billion so far on preparing for Brexit, but that is not just for a no-deal Brexit.

“Much of that money would be needed to be spent anyway in preparing us for Brexit, putting in place new systems to replace EU systems we’ve been using up to now.”

Britain was due to leave the EU yesterday under a deadline set last month.

But an emergency EU Council agreed on Wednesday to postpone the deadline until Halloween to avoid a no-deal exit by default.

Soon after the agreement, Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill told the Civil Service to “wind down” the emergency preparations for a worst-case scenario.

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