Hammond: Britain will 'fight back' if no deal with the EU is reached

Tom Peck

Britain will "fight back" and not "slink off like a wounded animal" if finishes its negotiations with the EU without striking the deal it wants, the Chancellor Philip Hammond has said.

Mr Hammond told the BBC's Andrew Marr that Britain would "do whatever we need to do" including striking deals and building alliances with the rest of the world, to protect and drive the British economy if it were forced to face a future without a trade agreement with the EU.

Mr Hammond said: "If there is anybody in the European Union who thinks that if we don't do a deal with the European Union, if we don't continue to work closely together, Britain will simply slink off as a wounded animal, that is not going to happen.

"British people have a great fighting spirit and we will fight back. We will forge new trade deals around the world. We will build our business globally.

"We will go on from strength to strength and we will do whatever we need to do to make the British economy competitive and to make sure that this country has a great and successful future."

It has been suggested that this future might mean a low tax, low regulation, Singaporean style economy. Asked if the UK would cut corporation taxes to attract investment away from the EU, the Chancellor said: "People can read what they like into it. I'm not going to speculate now on how the UK would respond to what I don't expect to be the outcome.

"But we are going into a negotiation. We expect to be able to achieve a comprehensive free trade deal with our European Union partners, but they should know that the alternative isn't Britain just slinking away into a corner."

Appearing later on Peston on Sunday, the Chancellor also faced questions over his article in The Sunday Times, in which he revealed plans to build up £60bn in reserves to deal with problems that could arise from Brexit over the next two years. Jeremy Corbyn yesterday said that the NHS and social care are in crisis and "the money's there" to deal with them. Mr Hammond said the problems with the NHS and social care were to do with an ageing population, and that it would be "reckless" simply to throw more money at it.

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