British PM downplays cabinet Brexit tensions
BRITISH Prime Minister Theresa May’s office sought to downplay cabinet tensions over Brexit after reports her finance minister is antagonising colleagues with his warnings about the economic dangers.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has reportedly been pushing to delay measures designed to control immigration, which would likely be viewed by EU leaders as incompatible with continued membership of the single market.
An anonymous ministerial source quoted by the Daily Telegraph said, “He is arguing like an accountant seeing the risk of everything rather than the opportunity.”
Mr Hammond had campaigned to stay in the EU ahead of the June 23 referendum.
The newspaper said there was even speculation Mr Hammond might resign, although it quoted anonymous aides as saying this was “complete and utter nonsense”.
Reports that Mr Hammond was irritating colleagues also appeared in The Times newspaper, laying bare tensions in government over how to leave the European Union, ahead of the start of formal negotiations by March next year.
The newspapers said Mr Hammond had pushed for delays on measures proposed by Home Secretary Amber Rudd that would effectively close the door to unskilled migrants from the EU.
European leaders have stressed that membership of the single market – which British businesses say is vital – depends on continued freedom of movement into Britain. –