Hammond compares May's Brexit plan to the light bulb

By Alan McGuinness, political reporter
Philip Hammond has compared Theresa May's Brexit plan to the light bulb, as he called on colleagues to unite behind the prime minister to get the "best possible outcome" in the negotiations.
In his speech to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, the chancellor said he shared Mrs May's "determination" to get her Chequers blueprint for Britain's EU exit agreed.The plan has provoked fierce opposition from many within the party, who claim it would leave Britain too closely aligned to EU rules and fail to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum.While Mr Hammond said he was maintaining "enough fiscal firepower" to support the economy in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit, he predicted a "deal dividend" once the PM agrees an exit deal.

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He described Chequers as "a plan which delivers on the decision of the British people; avoids a hard border in Ireland; preserves our precious Union and safeguards British jobs and British businesses".And referring to opposition to elements of the plan from Brussels, Mr Hammond told delegates: "Mr Tusk says it won't work, but that's what people said about the light bulb in 1878."Our job is to prove him wrong."Brexit has dominated the first two days of the conference, with former foreign secretary Boris Johnson launching yet another attack on the PM's handling of Brexit.
'We must prepare for a no-deal'
Mr Johnson said Chequers was "deranged" and "preposterous" - but Mrs May used an interview on Sunday to say her plan "isn't dead".The chancellor hit out at his former Cabinet colleague ahead of his speech, dismissing Mr Johnson's Brexit strategy as a "fantasy world" and saying he does not expect him to become prime minister.The main thrust of Mr Hammond's speech was a bid to launch a Tory fightback on business and the economy, with pledges to boost apprenticeships and provide more help to small businesses.Four weeks before his next budget on 29 October, the chancellor pledged to work with business to tackle low wages, job insecurity and rising house prices.In one of the more eye-catching sections of his speech, Mr Hammond threatened internet giants with a new digital services tax to ensure they pay their fair share of the cost of public services.


Theresa May hints she could compromise on Chequers plan in Brexit talks
The prime minister kicks off Conservative party conference with a rebuttal to backbench critics, insisting Chequers 'isn't dead'

With international talks on the measure stalling, the chancellor said Britain was prepared to forge ahead on its own with a levy on tech companies.The measure was part of what Mr Hammond referred to as a programme to "regenerate capitalism" to ensure it tackles the challenges of the modern world and appeal to a new generation.
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