Philip Hammond on Boris Johnson chances of being PM: 'I don't expect it will happen'

Chancellor suggest former foreign secretary could not do 'grown-up politics'

David Wilcock
Monday 01 October 2018 01:11 BST
Revenue is coming in a lot higher than expected, while spending, at least in the first six months of the financial year, rather lower
Revenue is coming in a lot higher than expected, while spending, at least in the first six months of the financial year, rather lower (EPA)

Philip Hammond has launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson, saying he does not expect the former foreign secretary to become prime minister.

After a day in which Theresa May and senior Tories lined up to heap criticism on her most high-profile critic, the c0hancellor launched his own attack on his former Cabinet colleague.

“I don’t expect it to happen”, Mr Hammond told the Daily Mail when asked whether Mr Johnson could become prime minister.

He went on to suggest Mr Johnson could not do “grown-up politics”, adding that he had ”no grasp of detail” on complex subjects like Brexit.

The former London’s mayor’s greatest achievement to date had been introducing the “Boris Bike” cycle scheme in the capital, Mr Hammond said.

The attack came at the end of the first day of the Conservative Party’s annual conference in Birmingham in which its fault lines over Brexit, already exposed, started to crack open with just weeks to go to settle a withdrawal deal with Brussels.

Mr Johnson had described Ms May’s Brexit policy as “deranged” and “preposterous” in the lead up to the conference.

In remarks that fuelled speculation about his leadership ambitions, the former foreign secretary suggested that he could negotiate Brexit better than Ms May, he said: “Unlike the Prime Minister, I fought for this.”

Ms May meanwhile, sought to put herself on the front foot by announcing a new levy on foreigners buying homes in the UK and plans for a national festival in 2022.

Asked about his suggestion that her Chequers plan for the future relationship between the UK and the EU was “deranged”, Ms May insisted she was acting in “the national interest”.

She told The Andrew Marr Show: “I believe that the plan that we have put forward is a plan that is in the national interest. This is a plan which ensures we deliver on the vote of the British people.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson meanwhile called for “a period of silence” from Mr Johnson, pointing out that he had given his endorsement when in Government to Brexit policies he was now criticising.

And former Brexit secretary David Davis, who quit Mrs May’s Cabinet along with Mr Johnson in protest at the Chequers plan, was dismissive of his fellow Leaver’s proposals on housing and a bridge to Ireland.

“I think one of the blights of British politics is politicians having fantastic ideas that cost a fortune and don’t do much good,” Mr Davis told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday. “Boris is a great mate of mine, we have a very knockabout friendship, but quite a lot of his ideas, I think, are good headlines but not necessarily good policies.”

Press Association

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in