Nicola Sturgeon urges 'clear response' on damning Philip Hammond letter to Boris Johnson

The First Minister has demanded a clear response from Boris Johnson after Philip Hammond said the government needed to apologise to former Ministers over Yellowhammer leak allegations.
The First Minister has demanded a clear response from Boris Johnson after Philip Hammond said the government needed to apologise to former Ministers over Yellowhammer leak allegations.
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Nicola Sturgeon today demanded a "clear response" from the Prime Minister after the publication of an "extraordinary" letter to Boris Johnson from the former Chancellor, Philip Hammond.

Mr Hammond has revealed he wrote to Mr Johnson "on behalf of all former Ministers" in the last government demanding the withdrawal of allegations that one of them leaked the Yellowhammer dossier on no-deal Brexit preparations.

According to a Downing Street source the leak of the "outdated" government plans last week was the result of a disgruntled former Cabinet Minister "in an attempt to influence discussions with EU leaders".

However it has since been revealed that the briefing - which warned of food shortages, petrol and medical supplies disrupted and up to 85 per cent of lorries not yet ready for French customs checks - was only produced this month, so none of the 17 former government ministers sacked by Mr Johnson when he became Prime Minister, would have had access to them.

In his strongly-worded letter Mr Hammond, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer for three years, wrote: "I am writing on behalf of all former ministers in the last administration to ask you to withdraw these allegations which question our integrity."

He also urged the Prime Minister to "acknowledge that no former minister could have leaked this document, and apologise for the misleading briefing from No10."

Today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Hammond's letter was "extraordinary" and "demands a clear response from the PM and any serving minister who said it was an out of date document."

She added: "More pertinently, given the acute public interest, shouldn’t the ‘no deal’ planning assumptions now be routinely published?"

READ MORE: Philip Hammond's full letter to Prime Minister Johnson
In his letter Mr Hammond wrote: "The clear implication was that a minister in the last government has retained, and then leaked, a copy of this document. The media has speculated accordingly on the source of this document.

"It has now become apparent that the leaked document was, in fact, dated August 2019 and would not, therefore, have been available to any minister who is not serving in the current administration.

“I am writing on behalf of all former ministers in the last administration to ask you to withdraw these allegations which question our integrity, acknowledge that no former minister could have leaked this document, and apologise for the misleading briefing from No.10.”

Ms Sturgeon also commented on Mr Johnson's remarks today that an UK-EU deal on Brexit was "touch and go" after previously saying the odds of a no-deal Brexit were "a million to one".

She said: "A ‘million to one chance’ to ‘touch and go’ in the space of a few weeks. Boris Johnson’s carefree recklessness really is shameful."

In a BBC interview at the G7 summit in France, the Prime Minister said a deal "all depends on our EU friends and partners".

When pressed on the chances, he said: "I think it's going to be touch and go. But the important thing is to get ready to come out without a deal."