Speaking in Washington yesterday afternoon the Conservative politician said that the Tories were united in their approach to Brexit and should be focusing on tackling the real ‘enemy’ rather than fighting among themselves.
The Chancellor, who has come under fire from critics who claim he is dragging his feet over Brexit, was quickly forced to humiliatingly retract his comments about the EU on social media.
Writing on twitter he said: “In an interview today I was making the point that we are united at home. I regret I used a poor choice of words.”
He went on to say: “We will work with our friends and partners in the EU on a mutually beneficial Brexit deal #noenemieshere.”
Downing Street was forced to defend Philip Hammond following his comments as a spokesperson said that Theresa May has full confidence in the Chancellor.
Hammond has come under pressure within his party in recent weeks after he refused to guarantee funding for Government departments to prepare for the potential of a ‘no-deal’ outcome from the negotiations with the EU.
Speaking earlier this week on BBC2’s Daily Politics Nigel Lawson, who served as Chancellor to Margaret Thatcher between 1983 and 1989, called on the Prime Minister to sack Hammond.
The party veteran said Hammond was a “complete fanatic” and when asked whether he believes he should remain as Chancellor Lord Lawson said: “I fear not. I fear that he is unhelpful.”
Theresa May is expected to reshuffle her cabinet in the coming weeks.
The Chancellor’s comments were also criticised by Peter Dowd MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
“The Chancellor should be putting the country before the infighting in his own party when he is representing us overseas, and refrain from acting like Basil Fawlty on holiday” he said.
“The tone of this rhetoric will obviously not unblock negotiations or help protect our economic interests.”