The Treasury is not “the enemy of Brexit”, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has insisted.
In a speech in the City of London, Mr Hammond said the UK needed to protect patterns of trade with the EU that had been “built over decades”.
The chancellor also used his Mansion House speech to confirm taxes will have to go up to boost spending on the NHS.
But he said the increase would be partly funded by lower contributions to Brussels post-Brexit.
In the past the chancellor has come under fire from supporters of Brexit.
Earlier this month Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called the Treasury “the heart of Remain”, in comments to a private dinner.
However, addressing a City audience on Thursday, Mr Hammond said the “immediate key” to the UK and London’s economic success was “ensuring we get a good Brexit deal”.
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He said the goal was a partnership that “recognises that our European neighbours are our most important trading partners, and that Dover to Calais is the busiest trading corridor in Europe”.
As the UK leaves the EU, he said the new relationship should “maintain low friction borders and open markets”.
He went on: “That does not make the Treasury, on my watch, ‘the enemy of Brexit’; rather, it makes it the champion of prosperity for the British people outside the EU, but working and trading closely with it.”