Philip Hammond has officially resigned as chancellor of the Treasury, but not without leaving a no-deal Brexit warning for his successor.
Hammond wrote to outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May today to confirm his decision to quit her cabinet before Boris Johnson gets the keys to Number 10 later this afternoon.
The Remain-voting minister pointed to successes in office, such as cutting public sector borrowing to just over one per cent last year, after it hit almost 10 per cent at the height of the financial crisis in 2009.
But of more significance was his warning to whoever Johnson chooses to replace Hammond at the helm of the UK’s public finances.
Hammond hinted that his efforts to balance the books would be wasted in a no-deal Brexit.
He stated that his work to cut debt meant the next chancellor had freedom to bolster the economy – but only if Johnson secures a Brexit deal.
“We bequeath to our successors genuine choice, once a Brexit deal is done,” Hammond wrote.
“The ability to choose, within the fiscal rules, between increased public spending, reduced taxes, higher investment or progress towards faster debt reduction – or some combination of all four,” Hammond added.
“After a decade when the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession meant we had no choices, this is a luxury which our successors should use wisely.”
Hammond has repeatedly railed against Johnson’s policy to pull the UK out of the EU with or without a deal by 31 October, and has vowed to attempt to frustrate it as a backbencher in parliament.
The outgoing chancellor has claimed a no deal scenario could cost the UK as much as £90bn, a figure Brexiters have ridiculed.
Hammond upped 2019-20 no-deal Brexit funding to £2bn to help departments to prepare for such an exit.
Johnson is set to visit the Queen later today to get her permission to form a new government, after which he is expected to announce cabinet appointments.
However, Jeremy Hunt has reportedly rejected the role of defence secretary, seeing it as a demotion from his current job as foreign secretary.
Meanwhile Rory Stewart has also officially resigned as international development secretary and David Gauke has quit as justice secretary. Neither were expected to hold roles in Johnson’s cabinet.
Earlier today Gauke tweeted a picture using a Snapchat filter that ages people, to show him and Stewart as old men, with the caption: “A few Ministers leaving government today. Some of us hope to return…one day #BRB.”
Main image: Getty