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Remember five months ago when Hammond thought he was unsackable?

March 16th, 2017

After his budget U-turn he’s now joint 2nd favourite to be next cabinet minister out

Back in October the Telegraph’s James Kirkup wrote how the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond believed that he was in a uniquely strong position in the cabinet

Mr Hammond is, to almost everyone’s surprise, the most interesting man in the Cabinet. Colleagues say that he calculates that he is, for now anyway, unsackable, and so he has the latitude to challenge Mrs May in a way others do not.

More sympathetic to business and the argument for the single market than the PM, Mr Hammond could well emerge as Britain’s real opposition leader when Britain’s Brexit debate is played out inside the Conservative Party…”

How things look differently today following the roasting he has had in the media after his U-turn on National Insurance contributions for the self-employed.

It was widely commented on after last week’s budget that he was treading on thin ice proposing a move that appeared to be in direct contradiction to a Conservative manifesto election pledge from 2015.

The crazy thing is that in revenue terms this proposed change was not going to add up to all that much.

As ever in these circumstances when a minister looks in trouble the bookies try to tempt punters into having a bet. Hammond is now second favourite at 6/1 with Ladbrokes to be the next cabinet minister out. William Hill also have a market up making it 5/2 that he won’t remain Chancellor to out of this Parliament.

I have learnt to my cost in the past that these bets are easy to get wrong and I’m giving this one a miss for now.

Mike Smithson