Lord Lawson wants Hammond sacked over Brexit stance
Former Tory chancellor Lord (Nigel) Lawson has called for Philip Hammond to be sacked from the Treasury, accusing him of undermining Brexit negotiations.
Lord Lawson said that Mr Hammond’s refusal to release money now for preparations for a “no deal” Brexit was “very close to sabotage”.
But Downing Street insisted that Theresa May retained full confidence in her chancellor and leading Brexiteers Boris Johnson and Liam Fox played down suggestions of a split in the Cabinet over Brexit preparations.
Mr Hammond said on Wednesday that he would delay until the last moment authorising millions of pounds of funding for facilities – such as beefedup customs operations and lorry parks near ports – if talks end without a deal.
His comments led to a wave of attacks from supporters of a hard Brexit, with a national newspaper even branding him “treacherous”.
Asked whether he should remain as chancellor, Lord Lawson told BBC2’s Daily Politics: “I fear not. I fear that he is unhelpful. He may not intend it but in practice what he is doing is very close to sabotage.”
The Conservative peer, a fervent enthusiast for Brexit, said: “The really important thing now is that we prepare for the no deal
“In practice what he is doing is very close to sabotage”
outcome and it is grossly irresponsible if we don’t prepare.”
Asked whether this meant Mr Hammond was being irresponsible, he replied: “I fear he is, yes. You have to spend money from time to time, and there is nothing more important than preparing for what has always been the most likely outcome.”
DEADLOCK: David Davis, left, and European chief negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier in Brussels