Philip Hammond forced into Brexit 'extremist' climbdown after backlash by Tory MPs

Posted On: 
14th December 2018

Philip Hammond has been forced into an embarrassing climbdown after sparking a row by calling Tory Brexiteers "extremists".

Philip Hammond had called Tory Brexiteers 'extremists'.
PA Images

The Chancellor told The Sun he had "not intended to cause any offence" when he made the remarks.

Mr Hammond had claimed that the no-confidence vote in Theresa May earlier this week would "flush out the extremists".

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But his comment angered many of his Tory colleagues, who had demanded he apologise or quit.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said: "I have one simple message for the Chancellor: when you start turning on your own party and making accusations about them, that’s the beginning of the end for your party."

Another rebel, Simon Clarke, said: "The obvious disdain with which the Chancellor views a large number of us is pretty offensive and unsustainable."

Conservative vice-chairman James Cleverly said: "Some colleagues, perhaps out of frustration, are saying foolish things about other Conservatives. Now would be a good time to stop."

In response, Mr Hammond told The Sun: "My comments yesterday were not intended to cause any offence to the vast majority of colleagues whether originally Remain or Leave supporters, who, like me, are trying to ensure Brexit is delivered, while protecting our jobs and our economy.

“We all need to compromise and come together to find a way forward – because divided countries are not successful countries."

The row is the latest evidence of the deep ideological split within the Tory Party which has erupted again as the Prime Minister struggles to win backing for her Brexit deal.