Bernard Jenkin slammed Philip Hammond’s Treasury
The Vote Leave campaign director Bernard Jenkin hit out at the Chancellor for his officials’ approach to leaving the EU, saying Theresa May must put her foot down.
He claimed the Treasury had been “co-opted” by the EU to make the whole Brexit process as difficult as possible, potentially leading to a “mess”.
And he joined the growing number of Tory voices calling for Britain to prepare for no deal with Brussels.
The Treasury seems unable to hear any voices except those that reinforce their preconceptions
Writing in the Guardian, Mr Jenkin said: “They are legitimising EU threats of economic disruption. We are fast reaching the point when the prime minister should assert the authority of her office over the negotiations and call time.
“A clean break in 2019 would be preferable to the mess they want to draw us into.
“No government could sustain a policy of Brexit in name only, which is what some seem determined to pursue, flying in the face of the clear referendum result.”
Mr Jenkin, chairman of the steering committee of the European Research Group of MPs, slammed Treasury officials for briefing we must stay in the customs union during the transition period and continue to pay billions to Brussels.
Philip Hammond has come under fire
He wrote: “The Treasury seems unable to hear any voices except those that reinforce their preconceptions.
“It seems blind to the facts, preoccupied with preserving “access” to the EU market seemingly at any cost.
“People such as James Dyson or Anthony Bamford of JCB are ignored. Only a fraction of the UK economy is dependent on membership of the EU.
Theresa May is facing calls to axe Mr Hammond
“The majority of the economy is either domestic or non-EU export.
“It will be a benefit to the public finances and to our trade balance when the exchequer is relieved of contributing to the EU budget (a net £10bn a year and growing, and a total of £390bn since we joined, at current prices).”
His comments came after Nadine Dorries, during an appearance on ITV’s Peston on Sunday show, called for the chancellor to go.
Boris Johnson is facing questions about his future
She told the host: “If I were Prime Minister the person I would be demoting or sacking would be Philip Hammond. I think she very much wanted to do that before the election was called.
“I don’t think he has been totally on board, I think he has been deliberately trying to make the Brexit negotiations difficult, stall them, obfuscate the issues.
“I just don’t think he has been 100 per cent on board.”
But a number of Tories have come out in support of Mr Hammond, including current party darling Ruth Davidson, who claimed Mrs May should “absolutely not” get rid of her Chancellor.
Nicky Morgan branded the attacks “truly extraordinary” and said the Treasury was simply trying to limit the economic risks to Britain.
She said: “This says more about the Brexiters desperately defending their win than them having any interest in supporting the finances of Britain’s households.”
The row came as Theresa May also faced call to sack Boris Johnson for his interventions on Brexit.
Mrs May has repeatedly faced questions about whether Mr Johnson – a potential leadership rival – is “unsackable” due to her weakened position after the gamble of a general election backfired, depriving her of a Commons majority.
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But asked what she might do with the Foreign Secretary, the Prime Minister told the Sunday Times: “It has never been my style to hide from a challenge and I’m not going to start now.”
Following her Florence speech, Mrs May will again attempt to tighten her grip on the Brexit process today.
Speaking to MPs, she will call for flexibility from the EU over its approach to negotiations, currently mired in details of the divorce bill, EU citizens’ rights and the Irish border.
The PM will say the UK can get a deal to prove the anti-Brexit “doomsayers” wrong as she attempts to use a Commons statement to move on from her mishap-hit conference speech and the attempted coup against her leadership.
Mrs May will tell the EU “the ball is in their court” as talks resume between the UK’s negotiators and Michel Barnier’s team of Brussels officials.