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Philip Hammond MP

Foreign Secretary

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Stories involving Philip Hammond

European treaties pose problems with renegotiation, says Hammond

Britain may not be able to rewrite European Union treaties in part of renegotiations with Brussels, the Foreign Secretary has admitted.

Philip Hammond, speaking at an event hosted by Open Europe think-tank, said that treaty change may not be possible as it would trigger referendums in other countries.

“The need [is] for something that is tangible major change but is delivered in a way that is concrete and irreversible,” he said.


Reports of Russian military incursion into Ukraine

The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenkohas told David Cameron that his forces destroyed part of a military convoy entering the east of the country.

Russia has denied that any military units have entered Ukraine as part of an aid convoy currently entering the country.

Speaking yesterday, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he feared any incursion by Russian forces would have serious consequences and said he was very alarmed by the situation.

The Russian Ambassador Alexander Vladimirovich Yakovenko was summoned to the Foreign Office yesterday afternoon to meet Acting Permanent Under Secretary Matthew Rycroft to discuss the alleged incursion by Russian forces. 

In the meeting, Mr Rycroft urged Russia to follow the international community in doing all it could to bring the crisis to an end. 


The Ministry of Defence is to cut 25% of its head office staff, Philip Hammond revealed today.

The Defence Secretary also announced a new senior structure in the department, to allow it become less "top heavy". An MoD statement said the move would save around £3.8m a year.

About 26 civilian and military posts at Senior Civil Service level, equivalent of Commodore, Brigadier, Air Commodore or above are set to go, the MoD said. Mr Hammond said:

"At a time when we are making difficult decisions about Defence spending and have had to accept reductions across the board we cannot ignore the volume of posts at the top. For too long the MoD has been top heavy, with too many senior civilians and military."


Cameron condemns Israel land move

David Cameron has condemned as "utterly deplorable" Israel's decision to expropriate almost 990 acres of privately-owned Palestinian land near Bethlehem.

According to reports, signs have been posted in the occupied West Bank by military administrators, reading: “state land – no trespassing”.

The US State Department and Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond have already condemned the move.

"We will continue to support Israel and Israel's right to defend itself," the Prime Minister said this afternoon.

"But that does not mean we support every decision the Israeli government takes. Most recently the appropriate of nearly 1000 acres of land in the West Bank near Bethlehem is utterly deplorable.

"Settlements are illegal under international law, they will do nothing to create the kind of peace process we all want to see, and we urge the Israeli Government to reverse this decision.

Labour Leader Ed Miliband backed the Prime Minister's view on land appropriates, and urged an end to the "appalling cycle of violence" in the Middle East.

Mr Cameron's remarks were also welcomed by Baroness Warsi, who resigned from the Government over its position on the recent Gaza conflict.

She told PoliticsHome: "the stronger language is to be welcomed, now let's move to stronger action."

Mr Cameron told MPs he was also "deeply concerned by growing reports of anti-semitism" on the streets of Britain.

"Let me be clear: we must not tolerate this in our country," he said.

 


Prince Charles: Afghanistan deaths astonishing

The number of troop deaths in Afghanistan is "astonishing", Prince Charles has said.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond earlier admitted he was only made aware of the decision to reduce joint Nato/Afghan patrols on Monday.

The Prime Minister's spokesman also said David Cameron "probably" found out about the move for the first time on Tuesday.


Hammond hint on Afghan exit

British troops could leave Afghanistan as early as 2013, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has suggested.

The Defence Secretary hinted that if American forces began to speed up their withdrawal that British forces were likely to follow suit, saying "we don't want to be left out on a limb – if our allies are drawing down more quickly we will look to drawdown on a pattern that reflects that."

Mr Hammond also told BBC Radio 4's The World at One that equipment had already begun to be removed from the country.

He argued no exit would be feasible before the middle of 2013, but said "you can draw the [exit] curve with varying degrees of steepness".