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Cabinet exit of ‘Boris the bogeyman’ boosts hopes of good Brexit, says Hammond

Britain’s hopes of a Brexit deal may have been boosted by the Cabinet exit of ‘Brussels bogeyman’ Boris Johnson, according to Philip Hammond.

The Chancellor claims that the resignations of Brexiteer Ministers Mr Johnson and David Davis could ease negotiations because of the EU’s hostility to both men.

But while it could make talks easier, the revolt by Mr Johnson and Mr Davis had raised fears that Mrs May could find it impossible to win Conservative backing for any EU agreement, the Chancellor fears.

Britain’s hopes of a Brexit deal may have been boosted by the Cabinet exit of ‘Brussels bogeyman’ Boris Johnson (pictured), according to Philip Hammond

Mr Hammond told friends the resignation of the two men in protest at what they saw as Mrs May’s soft Brexit had ‘upsides and downsides.’ 

The ‘upside’ was that ‘the two main (EU) bogeymen have been taken off the board,’ he said, comparing the Cabinet to company directors.

The ‘downside’ was ‘there are now serious questions we can deliver on a deal.’

Mr Hammond’s comments were disclosed as Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, defended Mrs May’s Chequers Brexit deal.

Pro-European Ms Davidson aimed a series of thinly veiled side swipes at Mr Johnson.

Writing in today’s Mail on Sunday, she denounces those who ‘toasted Mrs May’s Chequers Brexit plan on Friday only to resign over it on Monday’.

Ms Davidson does not name Mr Johnson but leaves little doubt as to her target, going on to lambast the ‘howls of rhetoric and disdain’ of Mrs May’s Brexit critics.

The Chancellor (pictured) claims that the resignations of Brexiteer Ministers Mr Johnson and David Davis could ease negotiations

The Chancellor (pictured) claims that the resignations of Brexiteer Ministers Mr Johnson and David Davis could ease negotiations

In his Commons resignation speech, delivered on Wednesday, Mr Johnson mocked Mrs May’s ‘fog of doubt’ over Brexit.

Ms Davidson, seen by some as one of Mr Johnson’s main Tory leadership rivals, rejects Brexiteer claims that the Prime Minister’s proposal was a ‘betrayal’.

She says it was time to ‘get behind’ Mrs May, who was in ‘a hellish position’ – and the rebellious antics of Brexiteers were ‘making the EU’s job easier’. 

Conservative dissidents risk the ‘catastrophe’ of handing power to Jeremy Corbyn,’ says Ms Davidson. 

She says: ‘If that doesn’t give some of the louder or more tribal voices pause, I don’t know what will.

‘We have a duty to serve the public in the national interest. That means compromise, no matter how uncomfortable, whichever side of the [EU] debate we were on two years ago.’

Mr Hammond was at the centre of a fresh Cabinet split yesterday after it was revealed that he clashed with the Home Secretary Sajid Javid at the Chequers summit over freedom of movement. 

Leaked official minutes from Chequers said that the Chancellor had ‘disagreed with the Home Secretary on labour mobility and ending free movement’, and called for European Union workers to be given ‘preferential’ treatment in an attempt to strike a post-Brexit trade deal.

Mr Javid argued that ‘free movement had to end’ and that there could be ‘no back door’.

European Union negotiators have made clear that the retention of access to the single market for goods, set out in the Chequers deal, is unlikely without reciprocal concessions on free movement from the UK side. 

A separate leak of the Chequers minutes showed that Leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, privately attacked the Prime Minister’s plan for Brexit as a betrayal of the referendum result, saying she ‘hated’ the proposals and viewed them as ‘breaching the Government’s red lines’. 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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