Fri, 14 May 2021

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Cabinet row erupts as Philip Hammond allies brand Boris Johnson ‘simple minded’

Cabinet row erupts as Philip Hammond allies brand Boris Johnson ‘simple minded’

Liz Bates

2 min read

The Cabinet rift over Brexit negotiations has deepened after Boris Johnson was branded “simple minded” by allies of Philip Hammond. 

Tensions between the pair have escalated in recent days following reports that the Foreign Secretary had forced a change in the Government’s Brexit policy against the wishes of the Chancellor. 

Mr Johnson was said to have boasted that his 4,000 word article laying out his vision for Brexit successfully reduced the planned transitional period for when Britain quits the bloc.

The Prime Minister announced in a major speech in Florence this week that she wanted a period of about two years to smooth the transition for businesses and government departments.

Sources close to Mr Johnson suggested he had defeated Philip Hammond in getting Mrs May to pledge a two-year rather than five-year transition.

But the Chancellor’s camp hit back today, with one ally telling the Telegraph: "The bottom line is that this is not going to be easy, something that's over-looked by simple-minded Brexiteers like Boris. When it comes down to practicalities it may well take longer.

"Philip isn't being ideological about it, he pragmatic. What he wants is for it to work in the interests of the economy and the country, that is what is driving him. Boris is talking tough for the sake of it."

This follows an intervention yesterday from Brexit Secretary David Davis who cast doubt on Mr Johnson’s influence over the process.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: “The policies in the Prime Minister’s speech have been coming for a long time. Some of them on transition we were designing right back at the beginning of the year.

"Some of it we have been designing months ago. I don’t think there has been any change of policy in the last few weeks.”

Read the most recent article written by Liz Bates - Jeremy Corbyn admits he would rather see a Brexit deal than a second referendum


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