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Former top Theresa May adviser says Philip Hammond is 'on manoeuvres' over Brexit

3 min read

A former top aide to Theresa May has accused Philip Hammond of being "on manoeuvres" and claimed the Chancellor's actions risk the UK getting a bad Brexit deal.


Nick Timothy - who quit as the Prime Minister's joint-chief of staff after the election - said the Treasury has been "reluctant to even mention the positives of leaving the EU".

He also hit out at Boris Johnson, who has been accused of undermining Mrs May by setting out his own Brexit vision in the Daily Telegraph last week.

Writing in the same newspaper, Mr Timothy said the Chancellor and Foreign Secretary "must stop their games now" and throw their weight behind his former boss.

His comments come as the Prime Minister prepares to make a major speech on Brexit in Florence tomorrow.in which she will try to break the deadlock in negotiations between the UK and Brussels.

Mr Timothy said: "[The Prime Minister] deserves the full support of her ministers, Leavers and Remainers alike.

"Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond – who has also been on Brexit manoeuvres this summer – must understand that the surest route to a bad deal, or no deal at all, is to go on behaving as they are. They must stop their games now, because the stakes for Britain’s future are too high."

He added: "The Prime Minister does not need to set out the exact solution tomorrow, but she can set out the Government’s parameters.These details are important but they are inherently technical. 

"That, together with the Treasury’s reluctance to even mention the positives of leaving the EU, such as the Brexit dividend, is why the Government has not talked positively often enough about the opportunities of Brexit.

"In that respect at least, the Foreign Secretary was right in his Daily Telegraph column last Saturday. But this negotiation is complex, and we cannot wish our way to future prosperity: we need a serious plan to cut through the complexity."

Mrs May is expected to drop a clear hint that the Government is willing to pay around £18 billion into the EU's coffers in order to gain access to the single market during a post-Brexit transition period.

It has also emerged that the Prime Minister plans to appeal directly to the other 27 EU leaders over the head of Michael Barnier, the bloc's chief Brexit negotiator.

Speaking to reporters during her trip to New York for the UN General Assembly, the Prime Minister said: "What I’ll be doing on Friday is setting out where we are and looking ahead at negotiations. Of course the EU Council has given a mandate to the commission, and it has appointed Michel Barnier.

"But the decision will always be one that will be taken by leaders."

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