Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

Hammond Calls EU ‘The Enemy’ on TV — Then Apologizes on Twitter

  • Chancellor made error during interview about U.K. Tories
  • He tweets out an apology within an hour of saying it

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond tripped up during a Sky News interview, referring to other European Union countries in the Brexit talks as “the enemy.” It may well have been a Freudian slip, but it begged the question of what he really meant.

The context was a discussion about the Conservative Party colleagues who have this week called on Prime Minister Theresa May to fire him. Hammond, in Washington for the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund, was asked what his message to them was.

“I understand that passions are high,” he replied. “But we’re all going to the same place. We all have the same agenda. The enemy, the opponents, are out there, on the other side of the table. Those are the people that we have to negotiate with.”

Within an hour of the remark being broadcast, the chancellor had apologized. “In an interview today I was making the point that we are united at home,” he said on Twitter. “I regret I used a poor choice of words. We will work with our friends and partners in the EU on a mutually beneficial Brexit deal. #noenemieshere.”

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