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Jobs and economy must take priority in Brexit talks - Hammond

By Conor Coyle

Date: Friday 16 Jun 2017

Jobs and economy must take priority in Brexit talks - Hammond

(ShareCast News) - Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has said the government's priority as it enters Brexit negotiations should be on jobs and the economy.
Discussions are to due to begin next week between British and European leaders in an attempt to forge an agreement over the UK's exit from the bloc, with major sticking points including immigration and an exit bill.

Speaking the day after he cancelled a speech at Mansion House on Thursday, and before he flies to Brussels for a key meeting on Thursday, Hammond said the UK's policy had already been set but added that negotiators would have to be "pragmatic".

There had been speculation that in Thursday's speech Hammond had planned to speak of the benefits of a so-called "Soft Brexit" - contrary to previously established positions from PM Theresa May.

"We've set out very clearly our desired outcome in the Prime Minister's Lancaster House speech and in the Article 50 letter that we've sent," Hammond said on Friday.

"But it is a negotiation, and as we go into that negotiation my clear view. and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain, is that we should prioritise protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward."

May's plans included Britain's departure from the single market, as well as spelling out that no deal would be better than a bad deal, as far as the government was concerned.

The Conservatives will enter the negotiations significantly weaker than they had expected, following last week's general election in which the party lost its absolute majority in the House of Commons.

Now the Tories are seeking an agreement with Northern Ireland's DUP in order to form a government.


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