Hammond calls Europe ‘the enemy’ in Brexit talks

The Chancellor has risked opening a major rift with Europe after describing Brussels as “the enemy” in the Brexit negotiations.

Philip Hammond told Sky News that he understood emotions in the Government were running high, but urged his colleagues to stop squabbling and focus on the Brexit talks.

He said: “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.”

:: , said he had no intention of standing down.

He described as “bizarre” allegations from some MPs that he was “talking down the economy”.

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“It would be absurd to pretend that the process we’re in at the moment hasn’t created uncertainty in the business community. As you know, businesses crave clarity and stability,” Mr Hammond said.

“The sooner we get that clarity the better for the UK economy. This is a very short term uncertainty problem around the UK economy.”

The Chancellor has been under fire after writing in a newspaper column this week that he had no immediate plans to spend more to buttress the economy against the prospect of there being no deal in the Brexit talks.

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He admitted that his column “didn’t land as planned”.

Mr Hammond said: “It was intended to rebut the allegation that I was blocking plans for no deal.

“The Treasury and other departments are planning for a full range of outcomes – from a comprehensive deal right the way through to a breakdown in talks. We are planning for a range of scenarios.”