Philip Hammond quits as Chancellor of the Exchequer

LONDON: British finance minister Philip Hammond resigned from the government on Wednesday, following through on a promise to leave rather than serve under incoming prime minister Boris Johnson.
Hammond — who strongly opposes leaving the European Union without a deal — said he had left the economy in a state that would allow his successor to choose between tax cuts, higher spending or faster debt reduction if they left the EU smoothly.
“After the decade when the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession meant we had no choices, this is a luxury which our successors should use wisely,” he said.
Hammond’s resignation thrusts the understated political veteran into the frontlines of a brewing revolt against new prime minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy.
The 63-year-old Oxford University graduate is one of Britain’s most respected officials among European leaders and a champion of London’s strategically vital financial hub.
Both hope he finds a way to keep Johnson from pulling Britain out of the European Union without a divorce agreement on October 31 — the “no-deal” option that experts think will sink markets and cripple trade.
Hammond — nicknamed “Spreadsheet Phil” for his dogged devotion to strict budgets — has been that nagging voice who has kept telling Johnson that his promises of a bright no-deal Brexit future are misguided and dangerous.
“I will do everything I can from the backbench to ensure that parliament blocks a no-deal,” Hammond said a few days before he formally quit.
— Reuters/AFP