LONDON-Former Chancellor Philip Hammond has accused the PM of trying to wreck the chance of a new Brexit deal, by making demands the EU could never accept.

In a Times article, Mr Hammond said a no-deal Brexit would be “a betrayal” of the 2016 referendum result. He told the BBC he was “confident” that Parliament “has the means” to express its opposition to a no-deal exit. A No 10 source said the UK would leave on 31 October despite Mr Hammond’s “best efforts to the contrary”.

The source added that Mr Hammond, as chancellor, “did everything he could” to block preparations for leaving and had “undermined negotiations”.

The former chancellor rejected this suggestion in a tweet, saying he wanted to deliver Brexit “and voted to do so three times”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants to leave the EU with a deal, but the UK must leave “do or die” by the latestBrexit deadline of 31 October.

He wants the EU to ditch the Irish border backstop plan from the deal negotiated by former PM Theresa May, which was rejected three times by Parliament.

‘Wrecking tactic’

He said that agreeing to changes now would “fragment” the EU, adding: “they are not going to take that risk”.

“Pivoting to say the backstop has to go in its entirety - a huge chunk of the withdrawal agreement just scrapped - is effectively a wrecking tactic,” he said.

He also told Today that he was “very confident” MPs would be able to pass legislation to express their opposition to a no-deal exit.

However he said he did not favour the tactic of replacing the PM with a national unity government designed to prevent no deal, saying: “I don’t think that’s the answer”.

‘Travesty of the truth’

In his Times article, Mr Hammond said “the unelected people who pull the strings of this government know that this is a demand the EU cannot, and will not, accede to.”

BBC political correspondent Tom Barton said that remark was an apparent aim at the prime minister’s closest adviser, Dominic Cummings - the former Vote Leave campaign director.

It was a “travesty of the truth”, Mr Hammond wrote, to pretend that Leave voters backed a no-deal Brexit in the 2016 referendum.

But Leave-supporting former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, also speaking on the Today programme, said he was “astounded” by Mr Hammond’s remarks.

“Talk about hubris. This man did nothing to prepare us for leaving with no deal,” he said.

“The fact we are now doing that means we have a much better chance to get some kind of agreement from them because they now know we’re going to leave with no deal and he’s undermining that.”