It is time to get Brexit “off the table” so that Britain can focus on other issues, the chancellor has said.

Philip Hammond told the BBC that getting a deal done soon would release the “bandwidth” needed to take key economic decisions facing the country.

He called the UK’s involvement in May’s European elections “pointless” and hoped a deal would be done before then.

Mr Hammond was speaking in Washington, where he is attending World Bank and IMF meetings.

The chancellor said talking to the Labour Party about finding a way forward to resolve the Parliamentary impasse was not his “preferred route”.

But it offered a new way forward to achieve a Brexit deal, after which he could concentrate on issues such spending and “where our economy is going

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