Philip Hammond is the unlikely headline act of the day at the Conservative party conference. The Chancellor used his speech to row back on his predecessor George Osborne’s plan to cut the deficit and also promised to up spending. But Hammond also had some words of warning about Brexit. He said that while the referendum vote marked the ‘beginning of a new age’, there was no room for complacency as he pledged to prepare Britain for possible turbulence ahead. So how did his speech go down? James Forsyth, who was in the hall listening, has this to say on the podcast:
‘Philip Hammond isn’t a classical orator. This was not a tub-thumbing speech at all. I think the hall listened respectfully but it wasn’t exciting. There was a moment where he said this subject doesn’t set the pulses racing. Philip Hammond is not a politician who sets pulses racing. But I think what is interesting is that he is certainly the person in Government who is most worried about Brexit.’
So did that Brexit worry translate into a credible plan of action? Isabel Hardman joins James on the podcast and had this to say:
‘Basically what he is saying is that he’s taking a new economic course and that fiscal credibility is really important but that the Treasury needs to be flexible at a time like this because of the uncertainty that Brexit has caused. He wasn’t downbeat about Brexit but he wasn’t quite as glib about it as Boris Johnson was in his speech yesterday. He had to acknowledge that businesses found uncertainty difficult and that the Treasury needed to respond to that.’
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