Eurosceptic and ‘a safe pair of hands’ Hammond named new British Foreign Secretary

What kind of advantage, if any, is new Foreign Secretary Hammond for PM David Cameron? Read few comments.

Robin Pettitt, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Kingston University

Philip Hammond is an outspoken Eurosceptic, opposed to same sex marriage and very much on the right of the party. He will not make much of a difference in practical terms as Foreign Secretary, the nature of Foreign Policy means that a single individual is unlikely to change much. However, he will be a, shall we say, peace offering to the right wing Conservative members and voters who are attracted to UKIP. This big reshuffle is very much about sending signals to voters. The rumour is that we will see a younger and more women dominated Cabinet, to show the Conservative as fresh, youthful (relatively speaking), and progressive in the lead up to the next election due on 7 May 2015. Hammond is a signal to the more traditional ‘old fashioned’ Conservatives.

Bill JonesAdjunct Professor of  Politics,  Liverpool Hope University

Cameron is keen to freshen up the appearance of his government with the election only  10 months away. He especially wants to remove middle aged white males and replace them with women who are not well represented in the Conservative party. William Hague’s departure was a surprise but his period as leader 1997-2001- was not a success. He always looked too young and gauche and dressed oddly; he ‘won’ the 1999 euro-election on a ‘sceptical’ ticket but when he tried the same trick in 2001 it failed and his party reduced Blair’s majority by only one seat. He emerged as a major force under Cameron through his experience, genuine wit and increased maturity. He is also an accomplished historian and has written a brilliant book on the Younger Pitt- worth reading.

Why replace such a competent minister with Hammond? It’s hard to say as Hammond is not female, obviously, and is older than Hague (58 to latter’s 54). Hammond is on record as saying he would support UK leaving EU if we can’t negotiate satisfactory terms, so maybe he wants to pacify his euro-sceptics and claw back some voters leaning towards UKIP.

Hammond has been seen as a competent minister but no more than that. By moving to his new job he becomes a possible candidate, along with Theresa May, for Cameron’s job should he lose next year and have to resign.

Tim BaleProfessor, Chair in Politics, Queen Mary, University London, Author of the book: The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron

​He is seen as more Eurosceptic than Hague, but he is also seen as ‘a safe pair of hands’ – someone who won’t shout and scream, and won’t mess things up.  He lacks charisma but is seen as someone who can take tough decisions and get deals if they’re possible.

Peter Snowdon, Researcher, The Politics Show at BBC News, Co-Author (with Anthony Sheldon) of the book The Conservative Party: An Illustrated History

Philip Hammond is seen as a safe pair of hands and has impressed David Cameron at Transport and the Ministry of Defence. He has not disguised his Eurosceptic views, having said that he would vote to leave the EU if a referendum was held on Britain’s current terms of membership. However he is fully behind Cameron’s renegotiation strategy. Whether he remains as Foreign Secretary after the election, assuming Cameron stays as Prime Minster, is a good question.




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