Downing Street offers a vote of confidence to embattled Hammond

Philip Hammond has been backed by the Prime Minister amid reports suggesting a growing rift between the chancellor and other members of cabinet.

Hammond has previously expressed coded concerns over a so-called “Hard Brexit”, which would see the UK resort to World Trade Organisation rules and face tariffs on trade with both European and Non-European partners.

In his speech at Conservative party conference in Birmingham, he warned that voters did not opt for Brexit “to become poorer”, and since then it has been repeatedly suggested that Hammond’s view is at odds with senior ministers.

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One colleague told the Daily Telegraph that Hammond is “arguing from a very Treasury point of view. He is arguing like an accountant seeing the risk of everything rather than the opportunity.”

Such has been the furore that Downing Street today moved to back the Chancellor, scotching suggestions that Theresa May is unhappy with Hammond’s work.

“The Prime Minister has full confidence in the chancellor and the work he is doing,” a spokeswoman for May said.

However, Downing Street also appeared to admit that ministers are divided over Brexit by stating that May wants ministers to debate issues.

“The Prime Minister is pushing a collective government approach where, at cabinet, or through cabinet committees, the relevant ministers involved are able to discuss and debate issues before decisions are reached,” May’s spokeswoman said.

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