The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has led the fight within Government for a softer, more pragmatic approach to upcoming Brexit talks.
At a meeting with EU finance ministers in Luxemburg, Hammond said: “As we enter negotiations next week we will do so in a spirit of sincere cooperation, taking a pragmatic approach to trying to find a solution that works both for the UK and European Union 27.”
Asked whether he favoured a soft Brexit, where Britain remains in the European single market, Philip Hammond refused to rule out the prospect.
“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, protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward.”
The comments clearly reflect a softer approach to Brexit than Prime Minister Theresa May, prioritising jobs over immigration.
Prior to the meeting of finance ministers, there had been reports in the Daily Mail about Philip Hammond lobbying the prime minister to change her approach, and opt to remain in the single market for the sake of the economy.