Hammond Demands High Alignment and Free Movement

Speaking in Davos Philip Hammond has called for a Brexit which brings only “very modest” changes, sees continued close alignment with EU rules and regulations, and the continued free movement of people. Hammond praised the ultra-Remain CBI, before arguing that he didn’t want to see any serious material change in our relationship with the EU:

“We are taking two completely interconnected and aligned economies with high levels of trade and selectively moving them, hopefully very modestly apart…”

And on free movement:

“We want to maintain the closest possible relationship in people to people exchanges”

The Chancellor also mocked May:

“I’m told a walk in the mountain air was what encouraged the PM to call the general election last year so I’m hoping she stays indoors this time”

And Boris:

“As we came into Davos, there was an avalanche warning yet the foreign secretary isn’t even here.”

If the change to our relationship with the EU is only “very modest”, if we continue with high alignment with EU regulations and the “closest possible” outcome on free movement, what is the point of Brexit? How is that delivering on the referendum result? Number 10 slapped down Boris for going public with policy demands that haven’t been agreed by Cabinet this week. Will they slap down Hammond too?

UPDATE: The backlash begins. A Whitehall source tells Guido:

“Hammond is the most tin eared politician in the U.K. He has no following in the Conservative Party and bears the imprint of the last City special interest who sat on him.”

UPDATE II: A second Whitehall source says:

“People voted to take back control yet Hammond clearly wants to keep control in Brussels. His high alignment plan pushed by ultra Remainers would be a disaster – making us a submissive rule taker. This unsanctioned intervention should slapped be down hard.”

UPDATE III: And a third Whitehall source:

“Hammond should stop listening to the CBI and other EU flunkies and start listening to the 17.4million people who voted to leave the EU. If he doesn’t then he may as well hand the keys to the Treasury to McDonnell now.”


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Quote of the Day

Emmanuel Macron comes over all euro-sceptic…

“We ended the day on what we can call a failure. It’s a very bad image we are giving of the Council and Europe, no one can be satisfied with what happened over so many hours. Our credibility is profoundly tainted with these meetings that are too long and lead to nothing, we give an image of Europe that isn’t serious. We cannot hold talks with world leaders, in an ever more violent world, and be a club that meets at 28 without ever deciding anything.”

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