‘Should Philip Hammond Remain Chancellor of the Exchequer: No’, CityAM, 23 November 2017

“And with one bound he was free!”

Or perhaps not. Even if this year’s Budget doesn’t end up unravelling as swiftly as some of its recent predecessors – and even if actually ends up, unlike them, doing something measurably positive in the long term – it’s probably not going to save the chancellor’s bacon.

And nor should it. Philip Hammond is a realist rather than a fantasist, a pragmatist rather than a zealot, a Remainer rather than a Leaver – in other words, everything that many of his cabinet colleagues are not. As such, he has no place in a government obsessed with quitting the EU whatever the economic cost.

Yes, by staying in post, the chancellor can claim to be limiting the damage that might be done by a true-believer. But, in so doing, he’s allowing Johnson, Gove et al. to carry on having their cake and eating it.

It’s about time one of them actually assumed responsibility for Britain’s brittle Brexit economy. I for one can’t wait to see what happens.

Originally published at http://www.cityam.com/276289/debate-should-philip-hammond-remain-chancellor-exchequer

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