Law­son: He’s grossly neg­li­gent

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Ja­son Groves Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

A FOR­MER Tory chan­cel­lor yes­ter­day ac­cused Philip Ham­mond of be­ing ‘grossly neg­li­gent’ in re­fus­ing to re­lease bil­lions now to pre­pare the UK for the pos­si­bil­ity of leav­ing the EU with­out a deal.

‘I fear he is un­help­ful,’ Lord Law­son said. ‘He may not in­tend it, but in prac­tice what he is do­ing is very close to sab­o­tage.’

Asked what Theresa May should do with her Chan­cel­lor, he replied: ‘I think prob­a­bly a reshuf­fle.’

Lord Law­son said that a ‘no deal’ Brexit was the most likely out­come from the ne­go­ti­a­tions be­cause the EU was ter­ri­fied other coun­tries would leave if the UK is given a good trade deal. He told the BBC’s Daily Pol­i­tics show: ‘The really im­por­tant thing is we pre­pare for no deal. It is grossly ir­re­spon­si­ble if we do not.’

The in­ter­ven­tion from a Tory grandee fu­elled spec­u­la­tion Mr Ham­mond could face the sack in an au­tumn reshuf­fle, par­tic­u­larly if next month’s Bud­get fails to im­press. Mrs May planned to axe Mr Ham­mond after the elec­tion but had to drop the plan after los­ing her Com­mons ma­jor­ity.

No 10 yes­ter­day of­fered the Chan­cel­lor only luke­warm sup­port. Asked about Lord Law­son’s com­ments, a spokesman for the Prime Min­is­ter said: ‘The PM re­spects the views of all Cab­i­net col­leagues.’

Tory MP Na­dine Dor­ries stepped up calls for Mr Ham­mond to go.

Mrs Dor­ries, a cheer­leader for Boris John­son, said: ‘What we need in the Trea­sury is a can-do man, and what we have in Philip Ham­mond is a can’t-do man.’

She said the Gov­ern­ment needed a Chan­cel­lor who was more ‘pos­i­tive and up­beat’ about the econ­omy and Brexit. ‘We don’t have that at the mo­ment,’ she said. ‘We have a sour Eey­ore, and that is not good for the econ­omy, it’s not good for UK plc and it’s not good for busi­ness in gen­eral.’

For­mer Tory leader Iain Dun­can Smith also urged Mr Ham­mond to strike a more pos­i­tive note, say­ing: ‘You never win an ar­gu­ment by say­ing, we are in a ter­ri­ble state and there’s noth­ing we can do.’

Mr Ham­mond’s par­lia­men­tary aide Kwasi Kwarteng ac­knowl­edged he fields reg­u­lar com­plaints about his boss from Tory MPs ex­as­per­ated by his gloomy ap­proach.

Mr Kwarteng in­sisted that Mr Ham­mond is signed up to mak­ing Brexit work. And he sug­gested his ‘tem­per­a­ment’ ex­ac­er­bated ‘slight dif­fer­ences of opin­ion’.

Un­der pres­sure: Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond

Prepa­ra­tions: Lord Law­son

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