WATCH: Philip Hammond takes on Brexiteers

Chancellor Philip Hammond wants the UK to remain closely aligned to the EU
Photo: PA / Brian Lawles

Chancellor Philip Hammond wants the UK to remain closely aligned to the EU Photo: PA / Brian Lawless - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Philip Hammond has come out fighting as the row over the Irish border backstop looks set to tear the cabinet apart.

The chancellor has risked angering cabinet ministers who oppose removing the time-limit on the UK remaining in the European Union's customs territory by demanding close link to Europe even after 2020.

Cabinet big-hitters including foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, environment secretary Michael Gove and trade secretary Liam Fox are said to be ready to quit over the row.

READ: Crunch time: PM abandons pledge on Irish border backstop

Pensions secretary Esther McVey pointedly refused to endorse the PM's plan during the latest cabinet meeting and international development secretary Penny Mordaunt and the leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom also made it clear they held deep concerns.

Remaining in the EU customs territory would remove the need for a hard border in Ireland.

You may also want to watch:

But Hammond, who has long argued for a soft Brexit, told Bloomberg TV: 'We are not going to remain in anything indefinitely, we are very clear this has to be a temporary period.

'But it is true that there needs to be a period, probably following the transition period that we have negotiated, before we enter into our long-term partnership, just because of the time it will take to implement the systems required.

Most Read

'It's very important to us that business doesn't have to make two sets of changes, that there will be effectively continuity from the current set-up through the transition period into any temporary period and then a single set of changes when we move into our long-term new economic partnership with the European Union.'

MORE: Brexit mutiny: Air of resignation in Westminster

MORE: Angry caller confronts hypocrite Lord Lawson over French residency

MORE: Sink or swim.. UK's choice in fight for our planet

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus