CHANCELLOR Philip Hammond has predicted a “constitutional crisis” if the next Prime Minister suspends Parliament to try and push through a no-deal Brexit.

In a thinly veiled warning to frontrunner for the Tory crown, Boris Johnson, the Chancellor said he would back legal moves suggested by ex-prime minister Sir John Major to challenge any prorogation of Parliament in the courts.

Hammond told Bloomberg: “If anybody were to attempt to shut down Parliament in order to carry out a course of action which Parliament is known to oppose, that would be very serious indeed.

“That would provoke a constitutional crisis.

“And, if we aren’t able to prevent that course of action through Parliament, then, certainly, there will be resort to the courts, and I strongly support the position that Sir John Major has taken.”

Major has threatened to drag Johnson through the courts if he attempts to suspend Parliament in order to prevent MPs blocking a no-deal exit from the European Union in October.

Hammond’s comments came as Business Secretary Greg Clark said a no-deal Brexit would lead to the loss of “many thousands” of jobs.

Clark implored colleagues to “strain every sinew to avoid that”, with leadership rivals Johnson and Jeremy Hunt both pledging to leave the EU without a deal if need be.

But the men vying to succeed Theresa May face a battle to force through their commitment, as some MPs vow to block any attempt.

Johnson has pledged he will enact the EU exit by the Halloween deadline “do or die”, while Foreign Secretary Hunt said he would be willing to delay if a deal was in sight.

Clark warned in an interview yesterday the disruption of a no-deal departure would lead to the shedding of jobs. “It’s evident that if you have the disruption that comes from a no-deal Brexit there will be people that will lose their jobs,” he told Sky News. “It’s many thousands of jobs. Everyone knows that.”

Meanwhile, former UK attorney general Dominic Grieve has said the chances of an Irish border poll will “go up” if crashes out of the EU without a deal.

The Tory MP said the risk of violence and the status of Northern Ireland would be “thrown into jeopardy” in the event of a no-deal scenario. He also suggested he was worried about Scotland becoming independent.

Grieve made the comments ahead of a speech at the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin yesterday. He said: “A crash-out Brexit makes a political crisis in respect of Northern Ireland’s future status more likely... clearly the chances of a border poll go up for a whole variety of reasons.”

Grieve said he would be “very surprised” if Johnson does not win the leadership race, and he expected a “period of major political crisis”- especially in the eight weeks in the lead-up to the October 31 Brexit deadline.

He went on to say he did not believe the UK will leave the EU without a deal, adding: “He [Boris Johnson] must realise a no-deal Brexit is a really bad idea for the United Kingdom but equally he’s made a series of promises, because we’re in the middle of a leadership election campaign where in order to get elected you need to make promises which have an appeal to a very restricted section of the electorate.” He said having made those promises, it might be “quite difficult” for Johnson to escape from them.