October 12, 2017 / 3:27 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-British PM May has "full confidence" in finance minister Hammond

(Adds quotes, context)

LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May has full confidence in finance minister Philip Hammond, her spokesman said on Thursday, following criticism from former Chancellor Nigel Lawson.

Asked by a reporter if May had full confidence her finance minister, the spokesman said “Yes”.

Hammond is considered one of the most pro-EU members of May’s cabinet and pro-Brexit lawmakers and campaigners have accused him of trying to water down or even halt Britain’s exit.

Earlier Lawson, who served as finance minister between 1983 and 1989, said Hammond may be inadvertently undermining the government’s Brexit plans and should be removed from office.

Lawson was referring to comments made by Hammond on Wednesday, when he said he was not yet prepared to start spending money on contingency arrangements in the case of Britain and the EU being unable to reach a Brexit deal.

“I fear that he is unhelpful … he may not intend it but in practice what he is doing is very close to sabotage,” Lawson told the BBC.

Asked directly about Lawson’s comments, May’s spokesman said: “The Prime Minister respects the views of all of her cabinet colleagues. As the PM has said before, what matters to the country is delivering a smooth Brexit.”

“The Chancellor, along with the rest of the cabinet are united around the position she set out in her Florence speech.” (Reporting by William James; writing by Kate Holton; editing by Stephen Addison)

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