Philip Hammond backtracks after branding Brussels 'the enemy' in Brexit talks

Posted On: 
13th October 2017

Philip Hammond was today forced to backtrack after he branded Brussels “the enemy” in Brexit negotiations.

Philip Hammond Philip Hammond speaking in Washington today
Credit: 
PA Images

In a hastily-penned Tweet, the Chancellor said: “I regret I used a poor choice of words.”

Mr Hammond had made the incendiary comment less than an hour before, as he urged his Conservative colleagues to end their bitter rows over Brexit.

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Numerous prominent Tory MPs have accused him of being pessimistic about Britain's future, while ex-chancellor Lord Lawson branded him a “saboteur” and called for him to be sacked.

Mr Hammond told Sky News this afternoon: "My message is this: I understand that passions are high and I understand that people have very strong views about this but we're all going to the same place, we all have the same agenda.

"The enemy, the opponents are out there, they're on the other side of the negotiating table. Those are the people we have to negotiate with, negotiate hard to get the very best deal for Britain."

Mr Hammond’s comments sparked a frenzy in Westminster. He swiftly took to Twitter in a bid to quell the outcry.

Meanwhile, he hit back at the claims he is trying to talk down the British economy over Brexit, branding them “bizarre”.

It comes after No 10 was forced to insist Theresa May had “full confidence” in her Chancellor, following speculation he could be dumped in a looming Cabinet reshuffle.