Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
USA | By Angel Wallace

UK's Hammond says economy should be priority in Brexit talks

UK's Hammond says economy should be priority in Brexit talks

Mr Hammond's comments are likely to be seen as reflecting a softer approach to Brexit than Mrs May, who has insisted that no deal would be better than a bad deal.

A Treasury spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

Speaking as he arrived in Brussels ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers, Hammond said the prime minister's pledges to take the United Kingdom out of the single market and the customs union remained the "broad principles" of the government's position going into the talks.

"As we enter negotiations next week we will do so in a spirit of honest cooperation taking a pragmatic approach to trying to find a solution that works both for the United Kingdom and for the European Union 27", Hammond told reporters before a meeting of the 28 EU finance ministers in Luxembourg. Two former Conservative prime ministers have also urged May to soften her approach.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer will say at an annual address to bankers in London's financial district that the in talks with EIB officials to ensure the institution continues to offer loans for infrastructure and other projects while Brexit talks are ongoing, according to excerpts of his prepared remarks released by his office in advance.

But Ms May has so far rebuffed calls for cross-party talks to build a parliamentary consensus on how to deliver Brexit with the creation of a so-called Brexit commission. Earlier on Tuesday, senior British minister Michael Gove had said that the Britain would leave the customs union, in line with government policy prior to the election.

"We will be outside of the customs union as it is understood", he told the BBC, adding that the Government will have to make sure the measures it presents in its Queen's Speech legislative programme command broad support in order to be voted through.

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