Philip Hammond: UK will 'not slink off like wounded animal' if no Brexit deal is agreed

Hatty Collier

Britain will “fight back” and not “slink off like a wounded animal” if it does not get the Brexit deal it wants, Chancellor Philip Hammond has said.

In some of his toughest talk yet ahead of the UK triggering Article 50 negotiations, he said Britain would do “whatever we need to do” in the event of leaving the EU without a trade agreement.

Mr Hammond refused to speculate on whether the UK would slash business taxes to attract investment away from the EU if no deal was reached.

Speaking during an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he 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.

Mr Hammond with Ukip leader Paul Nuttall and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who also appeared on the show (PA)

"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."

Asked if this meant the UK would slash business 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."

He also indicated that the UK would pay any Brexit bills it owed to the EU.

During the interview, Mr Hammond was asked if he would publish his tax return ahead of the 2017 budget this week.

But he told Marr he had "no intention" of doing so.

He said: "Just for the record my tax affairs are all perfectly regular and up to date.

"But this demonstration politics isn’t helping to create a better atmosphere in British politics."