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Fri, 5 June 2020

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By Dods General Election Hub 2019

Jacob Rees-Mogg accuses Philip Hammond of 'co-ordinating business attacks on Brexit'

Jacob Rees-Mogg accuses Philip Hammond of 'co-ordinating business attacks on Brexit'
3 min read

Philip Hammond is "co-ordinating" attacks on the Government's Brexit strategy by businesses, Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed.

The leading Tory Brexiteer said he agreed with Boris Johnson that the Treasury is "the beating heart of Remain".

Mr Rees-Mogg, who is chairman of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Conservative MPs, hit out during a visit to the Irish border town of Blacklion with Sky News.

Aerospace giant Airbus warned last week that they could move their UK operations to Europe or China because of continued uncertainty over Theresa May's handling of Brexit.

Their warnings were echoed by the UK motor industry, which said the Government's approach was putting hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.

But North East Somerset Mr Rees-Mogg said: "I think there is co-operation between the Remainers in the Cabinet and some businesses, some of the more politicised businesses."

Asked who in the Cabinet was responsible, Mr Rees-Mogg replied: "Oh, the Chancellor. Boris Johnson was quite right when he said the Treasury is the beating heart of Remain. That's obvious."

His comments are just the latest attack he has mounted on the Treasury over its approach to Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

Appearing on Radio Four's Today programme in February, Mr Rees-Mogg said: "What I’m talking about is the way the Treasury has behaved, both before and after the referendum.

"If you look at the forecasts the Treasury made before the referendum, they were a humiliation. They were clearly politically influenced.

"With the referendum and with the EU, the Treasury has gone back to making forecasts. It was politically advantageous for them in the past, it’s the same now, so yes I do think they’re fiddling the figures."

Mr Hammond last week hit back at the Foreign Secretary over his criticisms of his department, which he made at a private dinner.

In his Mansion House speech, the Chancellor said: "We need to forge a new relationship with our European neighbours that protects those patterns of trade; those business relationships that have been painstakingly built over decades - that maintains low friction borders and open markets.

"That does not make the Treasury, on my watch, 'the enemy of Brexit'; rather, it makes it the champion of prosperity for the British people outside the EU, but working and trading closely with it."

Business Secretary Greg Clark has also insisted the Government must listen to the concerns of business during the Brexit negotiations.

A Treasury source told Sky News that any suggestion their department was trying to undermine government policy was "nonsense".

"The Treasury is the champion of prosperity for the British people," they said. "All of us, government and industry alike must make the case for an EU exit that protects that prosperity, protects jobs and allows business to go on trading, investing and creating the growth that supports our economy."