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Philip Hammond mocks Boris Johnson in Brexit speech

2 min read

Philip Hammond has taken a swipe at Boris Johnson in a speech in Germany. 

The Chancellor quoted former German economy minister Ludwig Erhard’s “wise” statement that “compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece”.

In a clear reference to the Foreign Secretary’s cake mantra of “pro having it, pro eating it”, Mr Hammond jibed: “I try to discourage talk of ‘cake’ amongst my colleagues.”

Mr Hammond and Mr Johnson were on different sides of last year’s referendum debate and several reports have suggested that the divisions have continued into Cabinet discussions about the UK’s priorities for the Brexit negotiations.

The barb came in a speech to the CDU economic council conference in Berlin.

Mr Hammond said Mr Erhard’s ideas articulated the mutual advantage of the UK and European Union both thriving beyond Brexit.

“For if we get the negotiations between the UK and the European Union right and reach a deal that protects jobs, business, and prosperity across the continent of Europe by maintaining trade flows, and avoiding dangerous cliff edges, then we can maximise the size of the cake and each enjoy a bigger piece,” he added.

With Brexit negotiations now formally underway, Mr Hammond reiterated the Government’s goal was to secure a “close and mutually beneficial relationship” with the EU.

But he warned that a deal that damaged the UK’s economy would have knock-on consequences for Germany and other EU countries as well.

“It is my hope that the economic partnership and longstanding friendship between our two countries – that has helped bring about peace, security, and prosperity on this continent for over seventy years – can be mobilised to support our common goal of a deep, special, and mutually beneficial partnership between the EU and the UK,” he said. 

“But the risk of a bad outcome that does not promote jobs, growth, and prosperity is a real one. Not just for the UK economy…but for the EU economy.”

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