In Theresa May’s first appointment as Prime Minister, the former Foreign Secretary was promoted to the job he has long been tipped to want.
The announcement comes less than two hours after Mrs May succeeded David Cameron in No 10 with a promise to create “a country that works for everyone”.
Hammond has risen to some of the highest offices in Government while leaving little trace in the public imagination.
His reputation – within Westminster at least – has been as a highly articulate and effective “safe pair of hands” who can plough a steady course without causing drama, upset or excitement.
It is exactly those qualities which have made him the “reassuringly boring” choice for successive promotions to Transport Secretary, Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary and now Chancellor.
Despite being a permanent fixture in David Cameron’s shadow frontbench team and Cabinet throughout his time as leader, he was rarely mentioned as a possible successor – and that is probably the way he liked it.The Treasury has always been his goal, and he is understood to have been disappointed to miss out on the number two job there in 2010 when the necessities of coalition gave Liberal Democrats the Chief Secretary’s post – a role he had shadowed for three years in opposition. Sent instead to the Department for Transport, he was swiftly moved on to Defence in the aftermath of the exit of Liam Fox amid a public furore over his special adviser.
With a reputation forged in the shadow Treasury team as the Tories’ public spending “axeman”, he was ideally placed to preside over a big spending squeeze to close the “black hole” in Ministry of Defence budgets.