Philip Hammond says criticism over Brexit comments 'absurd'

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Chancellor Philip Hammond answering questions at the Commons Treasury Select Committee in Westminster London

PA Wire PA Images Chancellor Philip Hammond answering questions at the Commons Treasury Select Committee in Westminster London

"The enemy, the opponents are out there, they're on the other side of the negotiating table".

Philip Hammond will meet the bosses of major United States banks this week as part of a charm offensive aimed at promoting the UK's global standing amid a faltering domestic economy and intense Brexit fears.

Mr Hammond's United States trip comes amid fears that Britain is racing to a hard Brexit that would hammer businesses and the lucrative financial services sector. Those are the people that we have to negotiate with.

Lord Lawson, who served in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet, said that Mr Hammond's unwillingness to prepare properly for a no-deal outcome to Brexit talks was close to sabotage and should lead to his dismissal as chancellor.

Philip Hammond had been criticised for saying that the Brexit process has created uncertainty.

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Mr Hammond was speaking in Washington, where he is attending an International Monetary Fund meeting. Hammond who campaigned for Britain to remain part of the European Union ahead of the June 2016 vote.

He refused to answer how he would vote if another referendum was held now.

He said: "Let's move forward like grown-ups to talk about our future relationship, resolve any differences that we have and get to a clearer understanding of how we are going to work and live together in the future".

Hammond is considered one of the most pro-EU members of May's cabinet and pro-Brexit lawmakers and campaigners have accused him of trying to water down or even halt Britain's exit. "You know how I voted in it".

On Thursday May's spokeswoman said the prime minister had full confidence in Hammond.

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