The chancellor has been found! Here's what he said

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Monday 27 June 2016 11:10
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Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images

George Osborne made his first public appearance since before the EU referendum early on Monday morning with the aim of calming market jitters in the face of ongoing turmoil in the global economy caused by Brexit.

Apart from a few tweets, neither hide nor hair had been seen of the chancellor of the exchequer, who campaigned for a remain vote, since the Leave victory.

In the face of the resignation of long time ally David Cameron, people have been wondering whether the radio silence means that Osborne is also considering how best to plan an exit, or whether he's going to throw his lot in with Team Boris.

In the speech Osborne dialled down his starker economic warnings from during campaigning, saying that the UK is ready to face the future "from a position of strength" thanks to Tory economic policy over the last six years. (That's a debate for another time.)

Growth has been robust and employment is at a record high. Our economy is now about as strong as it could be to confront the challenge the country now faces.

It will not be plain sailing in the days ahead... But we should not underestimate our resolve. We were prepared for the unexpected.

While £1.5trillion was wiped off the global stock markets on Friday - more than when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 - and the pound is still down against the dollar, outside the UK the markets appear to be rallying slightly. The FTSE 100 at time of writing was down just over 0.5 per cent.

The most important take away from Osborne's speech, though, is the fact he said that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would set the process of leaving the EU in motion, will not be triggered straight away. Like Cameron, he's leaving the mess that will be Brexit negotiations to those who wanted them.

Osborne was coy when asked about whether he is going to step down, telling reporters:

There will be questions about the future of the Conservative party, and I will address my role within that in the coming days.

It's my country right or wrong and I intend to fulfill my responsibilities to the country.

The chancellor also said his threatened 'punishment' budget could wait until the autumn - by which time Cameron will have been replaced, and he might be gone too.

Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Gettty Images

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