Coffee House

Philip Hammond: a very Eurosceptic Foreign Secretary

14 July 2014

11:55 PM

14 July 2014

11:55 PM

Philip Hammond’s promotion to Foreign Secretary means that we now have a Foreign Secretary who is on the record as saying he would vote to leave the EU unless substantial powers are returned. This is a major challenge to Foreign Office orthodoxy.


Hammond isn’t the kind of politician to set the heather alight. He’s not an exciting figure or a man who delivers brilliant speeches. I suspect that Cameron has sent him to the Foreign Office as a safe pair of hands.

But the fact that someone who has said that they’d vote to leave if substantial powers were not returned to the UK in the renegotiation is now Foreign Secretary sends a clear message to the rest of the EU about the British position. Combine this with Dominic Grieve’s departure as Attorney-General, which paves the way for the Tories to propose leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, and this reshuffle could be the precursor to some major shifts in European policy.

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  • Conway

    we now have a Foreign Secretary who is on the record as saying he would
    vote to leave the EU unless substantial powers are returned
    ” He may have said it, but would he do it?

  • Denis_Cooper

    Fascinating to hear Hammond talking last year about how the eurozone would need changes, almost as if Cameron had not already given Merkel an EU treaty change she demanded in late 2010, and without asking for anything in exchange for his assent. What we have here is just another Tory shyster.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Hague provided the Tory party with a “eurosceptic” façade to hide the truth
    that it has long been and still is a eurofederalist party.

    But now that façade is worn out and riddled with too many holes through which increasing numbers of voters can see the reality that lies behind it; so it is being
    replaced with a new façade, a chap called Philip Hammond who is relatively
    little known but who by the accounts of the Tory supporting press is even more
    of a fierce “eurosceptic” than Hague was previously thought to be.

    You see, back in May 2013 Hammond followed Gove by saying that if the EU didn’t
    change then he would be prepared to leave it:

    But adding of course that first of all Cameron should be given the chance to change it and bring back powers, which would make it acceptable.

    “I believe that we have to negotiate a better solution that works better for Britain if we are going to stay in and play a part in the European Union in the future, but let me be absolutely clear: I think it is defeatist to sort of say we want to leave the
    European Union.

    “We should say no, this is a club that we are members of, and before we talk about leaving it, first of all we’re going to try and change the rules and change the way it works and change the objectives that it has in order to make it something that works for Britain.”

    And if people believe that would be possible then they will believe anything.

  • HookesLaw

    What a bunch of cretins you kippers are.

    • Smithersjones2013

      From a lower intestinal parasite like you that is indeed a compliment!

  • misomiso

    its not enough.

    Only getting out of Freedom of movement will do.

    • Conway

      We’ve been told often enough that’s non-negotiable, so getting out is the only option.

  • rtj1211

    I wouldn’t read too much into anything right now quite frankly.

    Until 2015 GE is over, this reshuffle might just be a ‘who fancies a jolly where then? OK – Foreign Secretary for you, Climate Change secretary for you’ etc etc.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      We can definitely read into it that the Lib Dumbs are history, and are not being given a moment’s consideration in any of this.

      • Conway

        They are getting reshuffled later as per the coalition agreement.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Philip Hammond: The Bruges Group website voting history has him voting -62% (ie in favour of transfers of power to the EU.)

    Some EU sceptic he is! Look at what they DO, not what they say.

    Hague meanwhile is +4% (ie anti EU).

    • Blindsideflanker

      Indeed, if I remember correctly Hammond’s statement about the possibility of leaving the EU , if insufficient powers have been clawed back, had to wrung out of him, and then it is based on a subjective value, for we never got to find out what the value of sufficient actually was. As such I get a feeling that all this hooha about Hammond being a EUsceptic is a bit of spin from the Cameroons attempting to keep the backbenches quiet.

    • telegrampus

      Thank you for pointing this out. I am encouraged that Hammond may not be as sceptical as some of the commentariat would have us believe. Presumably he will now study the Balance of Competences reports, as he reads himself into his new job, and realise how modest are the changes that the evidence suggests the UK should be seeking. None, I suspect, require Treaty change.

    • xDemosthenesx

      Unfair, Lady Magdalene, unfair – you know perfectly well that Hammond simply votes as he is told. To try and pretend that any of the thoughts or votes he has are his own is misleading. If Farage were leading the party his history would be +100%

    • Conway

      Yes, just like Owen Paterson – pretends to be Eu sceptic, but votes in favour of the EU.

  • Lady Magdalene

    It’ll be interesting to see (in due course) whether Hague jumped or was given a shove.
    I suspect Hammond is a caretaker Foreign Secretary. I expect Osborne will get the job post-General Election, if Cameron manages to win a majority, with Javid promoted to Chancellor.

    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      Osborne will make an excellent Foreign Secretary, what with serving all those foreign johnnies during his towel-folding days.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Yes, the perfect lapdog, he is. Nice and docile, and he only growls at the people in his own house.

  • xDemosthenesx

    Fantastic, not content with gutting and near-on destroying the armed forces we now want to finish off the flailing corpse of the FCO by installing a man who thought Saddam Hussain was the one we were trying to bomb in Syria. While Defence Secretary. Dear Lord.

    • MirthaTidville

      Not to mention his supine uselessness over the Spanish and Gibraltar. He allowed the Guardia Civil to run rings round the Royal Navy down there, without doing a damn thing. Any different in Brussels?..not a chance

      • Andy

        The Spanish need a short and very sharpe shock. That is how you treat silly children.

        • MirthaTidville


      • starfish


        Dealing with Spanish over border issues is an FCO job not Defence. Maybe he will remember MOD’s fustrations with the FCO EUphiles

  • jazz606

    “…a very Eurosceptic Foreign Secretary….”

    I’m sure he’s just as eurosceptic as Cameron needs him to be.

    • Tim Baker

      better than being a UKIP eurobore

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …not if you’re getting bounced out of your comfortable sinecure come May 2015, by those eurobores.

        • Redrose82

          Have a look at the latest poll. Reality is setting in and people are beginning to see that to indulge oneself by voting UKIP is a sure way of getting the opposite of what they wish for. There will be no prospect of getting a referendum on Europe with Miliband in Downing Street.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Heh. You’re actually trumpeting an establishment poll as proof of something? Please.

            You’re mistaken about what conservatives “wish for”. They see LibLabCon as a socialist monolith, and none of that monolith will ever discuss anything but ever closer bondage to the EUSSR. It doesn’t matter which of the monolith’s factions tell the lie… it’s still a lie. This week’s drag show only cements those attitudes.

            UKIP will take 10% minimum, and the previous LibDumb voters will not be soiling themselves with the Cameroons, you may depend. That means Call Me Dave is going to have his pudgy head mounted on a spike, 9.5 months from now.

            • Redrose82

              Actually, I quoted the Guardian/ICM poll – the gold standard of pollsters that has been the most accurate in three of the last four general elections plus the vote on AV. I am a fervent believer that we would be better off out of the EU which is why I am a member of the Better Off Out campaign. However I am a realist and I can see that the only possible way of achieving it is through a Conservative majority government. Thinking that UKIP will get more that two or three MPs is being optimistic in the extreme. Get down from cloud cuckoo land.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                No, there is no “gold standard of pollster”, and certainly not one 9.5 months before an election, lad. Sorry.

                Again, you can believe that the Cameroons are going to work to get out of the EUSSR, but it’s only your belief. The reality is that Call Me Dave has already said he’s going to campaign to stay in. Nobody believes otherwise, except you true believers.

                It doesn’t matter if UKIP gets MP’s or not, it’s about them influencing politics and electoral affairs. They blocked Dave’s lovely Syrian war not long ago, and they’re making him bounce like a basketball over the EUSSR and immigration, even though they have zero MP’s right now.

                Your boy Dave’s head is going to have cuckoos landing on his head, when it’s mounted on a spike 9.5 months from now. That’s the reality of all this.

  • Smithersjones2013

    But the fact that someone who has said that they’d vote to leave if
    substantial powers were not returned to the UK in the renegotiation is
    now Foreign Secretary sends a clear message to the rest of the EU about
    the British position.

    Does It? Hasn’t Cameron made his position clear to the EU already and hasn’t the EU responded with what Cameron can do with his position?

    Less a case of ‘Night Of The Long Knives’ and more a case of ‘Night Of The Rusty Hacksaw’ by the looks of it……

    • Alexsau91

      No, the EU has no say. It’s up to member states, if they can agree on a position that can satisfy the Tory right i’d be shocked. But at the end of the day, the United Kingdom leaving would isolate Germany politically and economically, leaving it at the mercy of Club-Med.

      Will it be enough to satisfy Eurosceptics? Of course not.

      Will it be enough to keep us in the EU? Probably. 2014, 2017 or whatever, the “fear of the unknown” from the establishment will be enough to cause people to vote status quo, by default.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Since when are member states not part of the EU? And if you think that the EU Commission will have no say in what is decided you know nothing about the EU. Who do you think will advise the member states?

        Next you’ll be telling us that Civil Servants have no influence over the Government…………

    • Conway

      The night of the short wives was how one poster on another thread described it.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    So the Cameroons are going for a bit of a head fake here, is it? It’s amusing that these poor muppets think some marketeering manipulation and a bit of “He’s very Eurosceptic!” is going to trick UKIP.

    And that attempted trickery is almost as amusing as the other half of their strategy: To trick women voters into thinking the Cameroons are something other than privileged and self-entitled poshboys.

    But the tricksters will have the Speccie kids’ help, apparently.

    • goatmince

      That’s what I just stated elsewhere, dumbo – make up your own lines.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        And do all your gibberish spouting socialist nutter sock puppets agree lad? Do dado trunking, you kid, barking at tree Huggers, Dalai Guevara all follow that line lad?

        • goatmince

          Stop faffin’ about, boy – make up your own lines

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …is that incoherent gibberish supposed to mean something, lad?

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Your still spouting EU sponsored socialist nutter gibberish laddie. Perhaps you can identify one of your fellow socialist nutters to translate it into English from EU gibberish or better still, try Cyrillic lad it would make more sense.

            • goatmince

              Laddie, I will not repeat this again. Make up your own lines. You can’t, you’re too much of a moron to come up with anything at all.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …do you or any of your army of sockpuppets rise to the intelligence level of a moron, lad?

              • Inverted Meniscus

                No lad because I don’t need to. I am simply sick of your EU sponsored incomprehensible socialist nutter gibberish and the gibberish of your other sock puppets, Dalai, you kid, dado, barking etc etc. You are a group of sock puppet trolls spouting gibberish laddie now go away.

    • Lady Magdalene

      Check out The Bruges Group.
      Philip Hammond is -62% (ie voting in favour of EU).

  • goatmince

    He is ‘on record’ for saying that?

    Well lads, come on now – you don’t want to renegotiate, you don’t even know who with and what about. You had a year to communicate that. You failed.
    Then that Wharton PM bill and another chap Afriyie demonstrated beyond any further doubt that the Tories do not intend to give the electorate a referendum.
    The sad show ends in 10 months time anyhow. Why don’t you take your trousers to the dry-cleaners now. Please, they smell!

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …so does your army of sockpuppets, lad.

    • Alexsau91

      How so? They attempt to put on the statutes that a referendum must be held by 2017, and somehow that is them showing that they don’t intend to give us a referendum. No, it shows that they know that most people don’t trust that they will keep to their promise.

      And quite simply, if you think they won’t you’re utterly deluded. If the Tories are in power in 2017 and they do not hold a referendum, the party will implode.

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        If the Tories do get into power then it will be via another coalition, which means all manifesto promises will be ignored, including one for a referendum.

      • Conway

        If Cameron is in charge there will be some way he will wriggle out of it. He is, after all, committed to our staying in regardless of what we want.

    • Redrose82

      Are you for real? It was the Labour and Lib Dem Lords who blocked the bill not the Conservatives.

  • WatTylersGhost

    Didn’t Cameron also promise to reform the EU and then re-sign us up to the European Arrrest Warrant. Until Hammond challenges Cameron’s hypocrisy directly, he will be seen as just another, “say one thing, do another” Tory.

  • Kerr Mudgeon

    I remember Hammond as a particularly useful shadow chief secretary. Good with numbers, and good in opposition. He has failed to impress at transport and defence, and I do hope that rumours of his elevation turn out to be unfounded.

    • Charles

      Setting up a job swap for Hammond / Osborne if the Tories are still in power after the election.

      Osborne gets to renegotiate EU status / lead the campaign in favour of staying/leaving depending on the outcome & then well positioned in the leadership campaign when Cameron steps down in early 2018.

      Hammond gets switched to Treasury where his detail orientated approach will be helpful in what will be a much more difficult process of cutting government costs.

      Of course there is a big ‘if’ somewhere in this post…

    • Barakzai

      And then after the Chancellorship . . . ? The John Major route to No 10? Hammond in No 10. What a dispiriting prospect.