Philip Hammond attacks Labour ideology and reassures businesses

The Chancellor said he expected a ‘deal dividend’ to boost the economy if an agreement is thrashed out. But Mr Hammond also risked fuelling Tory splits by making clear his fears about crashing out of the EU. Delivering his speech to Conservative conference in Birmingham this afternoon, Mr Hammond urged members to unite behind the PM’s position – which has come under fierce fire from Eurosceptics including Boris Johnson. He suggested the economy could surge with a ‘deal dividend’ if the premier is successful in hammering out an agreement with Brussels. But Mr Hammond said the government would be ready for any outcome from the talks, including no-deal. ‘I will maintain enough fiscal firepower in my locker to support our economy if that happens,’ he said. Earlier, Mr Hammond said Britain had taken a ‘hit’ from the uncertainty since 2016 and suggested some businesses would leave if negotiations with Brussels failed. He also renewed his attack on Mr Johnson over his ‘fantasy’ vision for life outside the EU and jibed that many critics of Chequers did not ‘understand’ the proposals.

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