Philip Hammond Should Be Sacked, Says Former Tory Chancellor Nigel Lawson

AlistairCarmichael_TheresaMay

AlistairCarmichael_TheresaMay

Tory grandee Lord Lawson grabbed a few headlines at lunch time with a call for the chancellor to be sacked.

Lawson was referring to comments made by Hammond on Wednesday, when he said he was not yet prepared to start spending money on contingency arrangements in the case of Britain and the European Union being unable to reach a Brexit deal.

But Mr Hammond later told MPs that the Treasury was "prepared to spend when we need to spend" on contingency plans for "no deal" outcomes including a possible "bad-tempered breakdown" in negotiations.

She said she wanted a Chancellor who gave an "upbeat message" about the economy and Brexit.

Asked if that meant Hammond should no longer be chancellor, he said: "I fear not".

"He may not intend it, but in practice what he is doing is very close to sabotage", Lawson said.

Asked about Lord Lawson's comments, the prime minister's official spokesman said: "The prime minister respects the views of all her Cabinet colleagues". Spending money now on Brexit preparations would divert cash away from priorities such as the NHS and social care and the investment may turn out to be unnecessary if talks result in a good deal, he said.

Michel Barnier said the the impasse was "disturbing" and said the European Union was not yet prepared to move onto talk about any future trade deal.