BRITAIN has no plan of action in the event of a European Union exit, according to George Osborne.
The Chancellor made the comments while appearing to show confidence in David Cameron’s beleaguered renegotiation plans.
Mr Osborne backed the Prime Minister’s troubled dealings with the bloc and said Germany and France are among an emerging consensus that Britain is making a “perfectly reasonable case for change”.
He also claimed “essential pieces” of his close friend Mr Cameron’s reform blueprints are falling into place.
Asked if the Treasury had a contingency plan for if the Brexit vote claims victory in the upcoming referendum, he denied any such talks as having taken place.
Mr Osborne said: “No, the Treasury is 100 per cent now focused on achieving the renegotiation.
“That is where the resources of the Treasury are deployed.”
But the No10 hopeful refused to rule out campaigning to leave the EU if the Prime Minister’s renegotiation talks fail.
He said: “Our focus, our efforts, are on making sure that we achieve a successful renegotiation and I see, not just here in Germany, but in France, other key member states in the European Commission, a consensus emerging that Britain has made a perfectly reasonable case for change, that this new settlement we’re offering is not just better for Britain, but potentially better for the rest of Europe as well. So I am optimistic.
“Just a few weeks before a crucial European Council where we’re going make these decisions… I see the essential pieces of the deal falling into place.”
Speaking about how long the referendum decision will stand, he added: “There’s no second vote.
“This is the crucial decision of our lifetimes.
“I think anyone who votes out on the assumption that a year or two later you can have another vote to vote back in is being unrealistic about the nature of the choice and I think it’s really important that the British people focus on the fact this is the once in a lifetime decision.”
Answering questions just hours after fellow cabinet minister Chris Grayling hinted he was in favour of the leave vote, the Chancellor warned those flirting with a Brexit stance that they still have many questions left to answer.
“If it comes to the referendum and there are people advocating that we leave in that referendum, they are going to have to answer the question: what is the alternative, are we going to have free movement of people, are we going to have to pay into the European budget in order to have access to their market?
“Are we going to have to sign up to their rules, even if we don’t have a vote on those rules? Those are all the things that countries like Norway face today, and they’re going to be good questions to put during the referendum campaign.
“I’m a Eurosceptic like many of my Conservative colleagues because I’ve been concerned about some of the things that have happened in the European Union, that’s why I want to make those changes,” he said.
“I think the majority (of voters) want to stay in a reformed European Union and that’s why this renegotiation matters because it offers the chance of a new settlement between Britain and Europe, where we’re not part of ever closer union, where the eurozone can’t impose changes on us, they need our consent.
“I think if we achieve that new settlement, then we will finally have put at ease that often fractious relationship between Britain and Europe.”