Philip Hammond: Conservatives 'not deaf' to message at ballot box

Theresa May's BBC Newsnight interview revealed once again that when under pressure she finds it very hard to cope

Theresa May's BBC Newsnight interview revealed once again that when under pressure she finds it very hard to cope

At the time senior Conservatives accused the party of believing in a magic "money tree".

But he left the door open to raising taxes and said borrowing more was "not the solution".

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "My understanding is the cladding in question, this flammable cladding which is banned in Europe and the USA, is also banned here".

Asked in an interview with BBC television whether he would push ahead with planned cuts of £3 billion (RM16.4 billion) for funding of local authorities, Hammond said he would look again at the government's proposals in the light of the general election result when he announces his next budget in November.

He also sidestepped questions over whether he felt guilty about the tragedy, telling BBC Radio 4's The World At One: "I feel awful about the whole position we find ourselves in".

"There's not going to be a summer budget or anything like that".

Pressed on whether the government would have to change direction, particularly if it did a deal with the DUP, which is opposed to cuts to the winter fuel allowance and the end of the triple lock on pensions, he replied: "We will look at all these things".

"We have looked, obviously, at those recommendations and what has happened to them". I've not heard this and what I did see on Monday when Theresa May addressed the whole parliamentary party in the House of Commons was a party united and in support of our Prime Minister, getting on with the job of delivering a programme for government, which we will see on Wednesday in the Queen's Speech, starting the Brexit talks tomorrow.

He said he understood people were exhausted of the "long slog" of spending cuts, but added: "We have to live within our means, and more not the solution".

"The question is not whether we are leaving the customs union", he said.

Mr Hammond appeared to kick the government's 100,000 net migration target into the long grass, saying the focus after Brexit would be to "home-grow the skills we need" before seeking to significantly cut the number of workers entering the UK.

He said residents are "angry not simply at the poor response in the days afterwards from the council and the government, but the years of neglect from the council and successive governments".

Ms Davidson called for an "open Brexit" that put the needs of the economy before cutting immigration, although a Scottish Conservative spokesman later denied suggestions that she was seeking continued membership of the single market, which requires the free movement of European Union nationals.

Criticising Mrs May's election strategy, Mr Hammond joked that he had been kept "not quite in a cupboard" over the course of the campaign. I would have liked to have made much more of our economic record, which I think is an excellent one, creating 2.9million new jobs, getting the deficit down by three-quarters'.

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