Remainer Philip Hammond ordered to be ‘silent’ after warning about loosening EU ties

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As Brexit talks heat up, Rupert Lowe, former Brexit Party MEP, said he would welcome a period of silence from both Mr Hammond and former prime minister Theresa May. Last week Mrs May hit out at Boris Johnson’s decision to appoint the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator as the country’s top civil servant.

During a speech in the House of Commons, she fiercely criticised the Government’s appointment of David Frost as the new national security adviser, in what was her angriest public outburst in months.

And on Tuesday, Mr Hammond said the UK should not be distancing itself from China while loosening tie” with Europe.

Mr Lowe took to Twitter to remind the pair their days of leading the UK’s Brexit efforts had come to an end and urged them to accept it.

He said: “Let’s not mince our words.

“Theresa May and Phillip Hammond were total failures as PM and Chancellor.

“Why they feel like their contributions are welcome now is beyond me.

“The damage they did to our country’s standing in the world was immense.

“A period of silence would be welcome!”

As the latest round of trade talks with the EU kicked off in London on Tuesday, Mr Hammond touched on the subject in an interview with the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He said: “Right now, the UK is in the process of loosening its ties with trade partners in Europe in the name of expanding its global reach.

“It seems to me this is not a time to be wanting to weaken our trade links with the world’s second largest economy.

“We have to find a way, and I think we have done it in the past with many countries, of continuing to trade, continuing to invest and welcome investment from countries with which we have frank disagreements about political issues.”

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The ex-foreign secretary also weighed into the debate surrounding China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said he is “concerned about the outbreak of anti-Chinese sentiment within the Conservative Party” and called its rise “alarming”.

Mr Hammond also had some advice for his successor Rishi Sunak, who took over from Sajid Javid following a Cabinet reshuffle in February.

Mr Hammond said Mr Sunak must be prepared to let some businesses fail.

The Chancellor is due to announce fiscal measures designed to aid the UK’s economic recovery after COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Mr Hammond said: “I think it is important to recognise that the Chancellor faces an extraordinarily complex challenge.

“He’ll want to continue to support businesses and people who are affected by regulatory shutdown in what are otherwise viable businesses.

“But he will also sadly need to facilitate a transition for those businesses and people who are, what they are doing is no longer viable.

“Some businesses will close, some viable businesses will close units – we have already heard the announcement of retailers closing stores – and that’s where a focus on re-training and re-skilling, getting people turned around and ready to go back into the workforce as quickly as possible, will come into it.”

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