Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The Telegraph: Theresa May needs to make clear that Remainers aren't traitors – and that Philip Hammond is just doing his job


The Telegraph: Theresa May needs to make clear that Remainers aren't traitors – and that Philip Hammond is just doing his job

by James Kirkup

"The suggestion from Iain Duncan Smith that Mr Hammond should shut up or ship out is intellectually alarming. Do IDS and friends really want a Cabinet devoid of debate, ministers all adhering to a single orthodoxy on pain of being fired? That's a recipe for stupid, narrow government that makes mistakes and fails to reach out to those beyond its core supporters – something I'm sure Mr Duncan Smith would never want to bring about.

It also borders on the irresponsible at a time when markets and business are damagingly uncertain about the path the government will take through the next decade. I'm no expert, but I reckon the prospect of a finance minister being forced from office for the apparent thought-crime of advocating the single market would take at least three cents off the pound in a matter of minutes, not to mention the chilling effect on potential investment. I always thought these were things that the Conservative Party cared about, but perhaps Brexit has changed even more than I realised.

So Theresa May needs to do a little more than expressing via a spokesman "full confidence" in Mr Hammond, not least because of that phrase's unfortunate associations with political doom. She needs to make clear – in person – that she values full and frank Cabinet debate and all those who take part in it."

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