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Philip Hammond mocked after suggesting Brexit is like buying a house

3 min read

Philip Hammond has been mocked after he suggested leaving the European Union was like buying a new house.

The Chancellor said post-Brexit transitional arrangements were necessary because “when you buy a house, you don't necessarily move all your furniture in on the first day you buy it”.

But critics said the bizarre analogy showed Mr Hammond was out of touch with ordinary people, most of whom do move their personal belongings into a property on the same day they pick up the keys.

The top Tory – who is known to be at odds with Cabinet colleagues Boris Johnson and David Davis over the type of Brexit the UK should pursue – made the gaffe in an interview on BBC Radio Four's Today programme.

Mr Hammond said he had been arguing for transitional arrangements to be put in place after Britain leaves the EU on March 31, 2019, to avoid a so-called “cliff edge” which could damage the economy.

Asked if those arrangements could last longer than four years, the Chancellor said: “When you buy a house, you don't necessarily move all your furniture in on the first day you buy it – this is a process

“We will have left the European Union and what people will expect us to do is put in place arrangements that allow us then to move from where we were when we were members of the European Union to where we are going to be in a long-term future partnership.”

Almost immediately, Mr Hammond was attacked on social media, including by Labour deputy leader Tom Watson. 







Elsewhere in the interview, Mr Hammond denied rumours of a rift between him and Theresa May, who had been expected to sack him until she lost her majority at the election.

He said: “We get on very well, this is a piece of popular mythology that's been peddled by the media. I've known Theresa May for many, many years, we work very well together. We have discussions of course we do, on different issues - who wouldn't?

“She is doing a very difficult and important job now, leading the country through this critical period. I am supporting her, right behind her, with her all the way in the job that she is doing because it's in the national interest that we make this government work and work well for Britain.”

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