Who is the Brexit Secretary David Davis?

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWho is the minister leading the UK's Brexit negotiations? Nicholas Watt reports

Until well into the 1980s, Tory grandees tended to show interest in new MPs only if they had aristocratic heritage or were a waspish intellect in the mould of Chris Patten.

The odd exception was made. Sir John Major was eventually admitted into the Blue Chip group of Tory MPs first elected in 1979, though only when it became clear he was racing to the top.

David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, who was elected to Parliament a generation ago, in 1987, is neither an aristocrat nor a whimsical intellectual.

He had a troubled upbringing and is more of an intellectual bruiser dating back to the time when he stood up to his bullying stepfather.

But Mr Davis marked himself out to Tory grandees after accepting a dare.

Read full article Who is the Brexit Secretary David Davis?

Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: Hardliner or deal maker?

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWatch Nicholas Watt's in-depth profile of the EU's chief Brexit negotiator

Just over half a century ago Britain's place as an estranged member of the European family was cemented by a Frenchman when President Charles De Gaulle vetoed the UK's attempts to join the EEC.

Britain eventually joined the club. Now, as it leaves the EU, a political descendant of the wartime Free French leader will play the decisive role in deciding the nature of the UK's future relationship with the EU.

Read full article Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: Hardliner or deal maker?

Who is the real Philip Hammond?

  • 23 November 2016
  • From the section UK
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWatch Nicholas Watt's in-depth profile of the man nicknamed SpreadSheet Phil

Chancellor Philip Hammond has delivered his Autumn Statement, setting out his economic vision. But what do we know about him as a man? BBC Newsnight's political editor has been speaking to some of his closest friends and colleagues.

For years Philip Hammond has been dubbed the ultimate boring accountant whose idea of fun is to spend his holidays poring over spreadsheets.

Read full article Who is the real Philip Hammond?

Chancellor Philip Hammond 'still aspires for surplus'

Philip Hammond Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver the Autumn Statement on Wednesday at 12:30 GMT

Philip Hammond is expected say in his Autumn Statement he will still aim to achieve a budget surplus, despite abandoning a formal target by George Osborne to do so by 2020.

The chancellor's friend, MP Stephen Hammond, said Mr Hammond planned to set out an "intellectual framework" to bring the economy back to surplus.

Read full article Chancellor Philip Hammond 'still aspires for surplus'

'Major shift' in economy policy planned

Theresa May and Philip Hammond on a construction site Image copyright PA

Chancellor Philip Hammond is planning to embark on a major shift in gear on economic policy as the government embraces a more interventionist approach with increased spending on infrastructure projects.

A senior adviser to Prime Minister Theresa May has told BBC Newsnight that the chancellor is expected to herald a move towards a greater focus on fiscal policy - tax and spending - in his Autumn Statement on 23 November.

Read full article 'Major shift' in economy policy planned