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Nigel Lawson: Philip Hammond should be sacked for trying to ‘sabotage’ Brexit

2 min read

Former Tory Chancellor Nigel Lawson has said Philip Hammond should be sacked for trying to "sabotage" the Government's attempts to prepare for Brexit.

The peer and staunch Brexit supporter said the current occupant of 11 Downing Street should be removed from his post for “unhelpful” comments which are undermining negotiations.

His intervention comes after Mr Hammond told the Treasury committee yesterday that he was not yet willing to commit funds to preparing for Britain leaving the EU without a formal withdrawal agreement.

But he was quickly slapped down by Theresa May, who said £250m was being made available to help Whitehall departments prepare for all eventualities.

Mr Lawson, who served as Chancellor during Margaret Thatcher’s premiership, accused Mr Hammond of being “grossly irresponsible”.

“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,” he told the BBC's Daily Politics.

“I’ve been on the record throughout the Brexit process as saying realistically the most likely outcome is no trade deal.”

When asked specifically if the Chancellor was undermining the Government in talks with the EU, Mr Lawson added: “That may not be his intention but I fear that he is."

Mr Lawson suggested the Prime Minister should have a Cabinet reshuffle and, asked whether Mr Hammond should keep his job, said: "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."

However, the Tory grandee did support Mr Hammond’s suggestion yesterday that air traffic could be grounded on day one of Brexit in the event of a ‘no deal’ outcome.

He added: “It’s not realistic with the exception of this. That if there are no contingency arrangements made, no preparations made, no money spent on preparations, then there might be difficulties of this kind.

“And that is why it is so irresponsible not to be making those contingency arrangements.”

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