Philip Hammond mocks Boris Johnson over Brexit in front of German audience

Boris Johnson had said Britain could 'have our cake and eat it' over Brexit

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 27 June 2017 14:50
Philip Hammond, the Chancellor
Philip Hammond, the Chancellor

Philip Hammond has mocked the Foreign Secretary’s stance on Brexit in front of an audience of German politicians and businessmen.

Speaking at the annual conference of the CDU economic council – which advises Angela Merkel’s political party – the Chancellor alluded to Boris Johnson’s conduct during the EU referendum.

Mr Johnson, who was not present at the gathering in Berlin, famously said during the EU referendum that Britain could “have our cake and eat it” by leaving the bloc.

His comments were widely reported across the European Union and are considered infamous for their alleged naivety about the effects of Brexit. Mr Johnson has become a controversial figure on the continent for his leading role in the Brexit campaign.

During his speech Mr Hammond quoted a German proverb “Ein Kompromiß, ist die Kunst, einen Kuchen so zu teilen, daß jeder meint, er habe das größte Stück bekommen” – which means “a compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece”.

He however added: “Wise words, with some applicability to the Brexit negotiations, although I try to discourage talk of ‘cake’ amongst my colleagues.”

Mr Hammond campaigned for Remain during the EU referendum while Mr Johnson supported the Leave campaign.

The Chancellor is one of the few senior remainers in the Cabinet and is thought to be mistrusted by some of the more anti-EU members of the Cabinet.

The speech is not the first time Mr Hammond has alluded to Mr Johnson's comments in public. Three months ago he said that the Government committing to leaving the single market and customs union “sent a clear signal that we understand we can’t cherry pick, we can’t have our cake and eat it”.

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