May Seeks Big Vote Win to Make Her `Unassailable,' Hammond Says
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May wants an "unassailable" position after the June 8 elections to get the best deal for Britain in the coming Brexit negotiations, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said.
European Union leaders need to know they are negotiating with a prime minister who has the full authority of voters, Hammond said in an interview with Fox Business News in New York Thursday. The election was welcomed by markets, boosting the pound, when they realized the premier was “strengthening her hand,” Hammond said.
A clear mandate would "silence voices in the U.K. that are still questioning whether what we are doing here is the right way to go," Hammond said. "Ensuring that when we win this election, hopefully with an increased majority, we’ll have a strong leader in an unassailable position for the next five years."
The election will give an “opportunity to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond,” May told lawmakers on Wednesday. Increasing her majority from its current 17 would also allow her to weather criticism from euroskeptics pushing for the hardest possible severance from the EU. Hammond said in an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month that some Tory lawmakers favor Britain leaving the bloc without a deal.
"It was very reassuring to see that the markets when they thought about it for 30 minutes and realized what she was doing was strengthening her hand in order to get the best possible deal for Britain," he said. "Markets love certainty and that will give them increased certainty."