Hague backs Hammond in ‘transitional’ Brexit move
PHILIP Hammond has been backed by former Tory leader Lord Hague amid ongoing Cabinet tensions about the approach to Brexit.
The ex-foreign secretary said the Chancellor deserves credit for pushing for a transitional deal which preserves close ties to Brussels, giving time for a new trading relationship to be established and avoiding turning Brexit into a “disaster”.
The Chancellor has dismissed suggestions that Brexit could be “postponed or delayed” as ministers push for a transitional deal.
Mr Hammond insisted that Brexit would go ahead as planned and reiterated that the UK’s legal obligations with the EU will end on March 29, 2019, including the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
But at a press conference in Brazil he acknowledged there was still a “debate” about the nature of a transitional deal.
Lord Hague claimed Mr Hammond had been trying to persuade Cabinet colleagues that the UK should remain in the single market and customs union during the “implementation phase”, which could last until 2022.
In his newspaper column, he said: “This is seen by longstanding advocates of leaving as a ‘soft’ position or a climbdown. But in reality it is a plan to rescue Brexit from an approaching disaster.”
“This should, of course, be the plan of the whole Government, agreed in advance, but it is the most sensible and workable approach.”