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Chancellor calls his role in election campaign ‘not the one I would have liked’

Philip Hammond said the Conservatives should have focused more on their economic record.

Philip Hammond has refused to say how long he believes Theresa May will remain in number 10 as he criticised the way the election campaign was run.

The Chancellor, who was barely visible in the run up to the June 8 vote, said the Conservatives would have “probably done better” if they had focused on its economic record.

Mr Hammond said his role in the campaign had not been the “one I would have liked it to be”.

He told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “I’m not going to repeat to you the private conversations I had with Theresa May on Friday.

“Yes, it’s true that my role in the election campaign was not the one I would have liked it to be. I did a lot of travelling around the country. I met lots of very interesting people, I heard lots of interesting stories.

“I would have liked to have made much more of our economic record, which I think is an excellent one, creating 2.9 million new jobs, getting the deficit down by three quarters.”

Asked if Mrs May’s former aides Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill had kept him off the airwaves, he replied: “I’m not going to speculate about what happened inside the campaign leadership team.

“The end result is, in my judgment, we didn’t talk about the economy as much as we should have done.

“We didn’t put enough energy into dismantling Jeremy Corbyn’s economic proposals and his spending plans, which would be catastrophic for this country and we will now do that.”

Asked how long Mrs May had left in number 10, he replied: “I think what the country needs now is a period of calm while we get on with the job at hand. Theresa is leading the Government and I think the Government needs to get on with its job.”

The Chancellor also indicated the Government will ease austerity as he admitted the public is “weary of the long slog” it has endured since the financial crash.

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Mr Hammond said he would be delivering his next Budget in autumn (Victoria Jones/PA)

He said the Conservatives were “not deaf” to the message that had been delivered at the ballot box on June 8 and would be looking at the plans it had for cuts to winter fuel allowances and ending the triple lock on pensions.

But Mr Hammond left the door open to raising taxes and said borrowing more is “not the solution”.

“I will be delivering a budget in the autumn and you will find out then what we are proposing. 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 does 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. Obviously we are not deaf. We heard a message last week in the General Election and we need to look at how we deal with the challenges we face in the economy.”

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From Belfast Telegraph