U.K.’s Hammond Calls for ‘Pragmatic’ Brexit to Safeguard Economy

  • Chancellor comments suggest shift to softer Brexit by Britain
  • Hammond may be in vanguard of post-election transition

Hammond Says Prioritize U.K. Jobs in Brexit Talks

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U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond called for a "pragmatic" Brexit focused on safeguarding jobs and the economy, signaling a post-election shift from Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.

With divorce talks between the U.K. and European Union set to start on Monday, Hammond said in Luxembourg on Friday that he sided with “the majority of people in Britain” who want to prioritize economic security in the negotiations.

That marks a transition from before the election, when the focus was on trying to win back sovereignty over immigration, lawmaking and the budget from the EU. It suggests a softer approach toward Brexit is now forming after May’s Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority and that Hammond is in the vanguard of forming a new strategy.

“We’ve set out the broad principles from where we will start the negotiation and we will negotiate in good faith, but it is a negotiation and we recognize there will be an exchange of views and we will take that forward in a spirit of genuine cooperation,” said Hammond.

Others who may align with Hammond include Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Ruth Davidson, who leads the Tories in Scotland. Hammond was scheduled to outline his views on Thursday only to cancel a speech after the devastating fire in a London tower block.

Hammond noted May had outlined her "desired outcome" for Brexit earlier this year. But she told fellow Tory lawmakers Monday that she accepted there was a broad range of views on Brexit within the Party and that she would work to reflect that.

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