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Hammond: a safe pair of hands for Brexit finance minister

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Like May, Hammond had backed staying in the EU but has long been a critic of the bloc, previously saying he was open to the prospect of Britain cutting loose from the union/FILE

Like May, Hammond had backed staying in the EU but has long been a critic of the bloc, previously saying he was open to the prospect of Britain cutting loose from the union/FILE

LONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 13 – Philip Hammond was named Wednesday as Britain’s new finance minister, bringing a steady hand to guide the economy through an uncertain post-Brexit future.

The former foreign minister is an unshowy performer dubbed the “grey man” by some, but his work ethic and attention to detail have much in common with those of new Prime Minister Theresa May.

His understated style is likely to reassure investors given the volatility of the markets and fears of a recession sparked by Britain’s seismic vote to leave the EU.

Hammond was an enthusiastic supporter of May’s bid to succeed David Cameron — and has now been rewarded with the most senior job in government, after her own.

“The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Philip Hammond MP as Chancellor of the Exchequer,” a statement from Downing Street said.

His predecessor George Osborne, the architect of the past six years of austerity and a close friend of Cameron, has resigned from government.

Like May, Hammond had backed staying in the EU but has long been a critic of the bloc, previously saying he was open to the prospect of Britain cutting loose from the union.

His new job puts him in the firing line as Britain tries to carve out a new future and, crucially, new trade deals outside the EU.

In a newspaper article earlier this month, Hammond said negotiations on leaving the EU would inevitably involve a trade-off between access to the single market and ending free movement of people to Britain.

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