Philip Hammond sidelined as Theresa May asks Brexiteers to set out their vision for life outside EU

Christopher Hope
Theresa May has excluded Philip Hammond from a series of keynote speeches on the form of Brexit

Philip Hammond has been sidelined from a series of major "road to Brexit" interventions by Cabinet ministers over the next fortnight as Theresa May seeks to agree a cross-Cabinet vision for Brexit.

Theresa May and Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox - the three leading Cabinet Brexiteers - will all give key note speeches on the UK's EU withdrawal stance over the next three weeks, but the Chancellor will not take part.

The decision to exclude Mr Hammond forced David Gauke, the Justice secretary to deny that there was “any kind of plot to gag a particular faction of ministers”.

One Remain-supporting Government minister told The Telegraph he thought Mr Hammond was not required because his message on Brexit was not “nuanced enough” and “I don’t think even he would pretend that presentational skills are at the top of his list”.

Mr Hammond is viewed with suspicion by Brexiteers. Most recently in a speech in Davos, Switzerland he said there would only be “very modest” changes to relations between the EU and the United Kingdom after leaving the EU.

Plot to stop Brexit

Mr Johnson will kick-off the Brexit blitz on Wednesday, Valentine's Day, with a call for unity over Brexit and to reach out to people who voted remain the referendum.

Mrs May will then deliver a major speech on post-Brexit UK-EU security in Germany on Saturday, after an away day with her senior Cabinet ministers.

More “road to Brexit” speeches will follow from Dr Fox, the international trade secretary, on “trading with the world” and from Mr Davis, the Exiting the EU secretary, on “driving higher standards”.

Brexit | Key dates

The only “Remainer” voice in the speeches will come from David Lidington, the Cabinet Office minister, who will speak on “devolving powers” to the regions after Britain leaves the EU.

The final speech in the "road to Brexit speeches" – at the end of this month – will be by Mrs May again and is titled “A Future Partnership”.

David Gauke, the Justice secretary, denied that there was a plot to keep the Chancellor quiet.

He told ITV’s Peston on Sunday: “He is not part of the set of speeches that have been outlined today, but that doesn't mean that the Chancellor is not expressing his views both internally in the Cabinet conversations, but also externally.

“So, I don't think that there really is anything in this, that this is somehow any kind of plot to gag a particular faction of ministers.”

Mr Hammond is today leaving on a 10 day tour of mainland Europe visiting Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden and Norway.

His friends strongly denied a snub, pointing out that “no one is upset that Amber Rudd is not doing a speech” and he had made speeches on Brexit in the past few months. One said: “Philip has had his chance – he has done his bit.”

Rees-Mogg interview

Penny Mordaunt, the International Development Secretary, said the series of withdrawal speeches would set out a Brexit “vision” for the Government.

She told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC 1: “What the public want is, they want the vision and they want some meat on the bones.”

The fightback comes as around 100 Eurosceptic Tory MPs, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, are considering sending Mrs May a letter calling for Britain to break all ties with Brussels once Britain leaves on March 29, 2019.

The fightback comes as around 100 Eurosceptic Tory MPs, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, are considering sending Mrs May a letter calling for Britain to break all ties with Brussels once Britain leaves on March 29, 2019.

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