Phillip Hammond. The most important speech of Tory conference?

The crucial relationship between Prime Minister and Chancellor is yet to be seen.

The relationship between Prime Minister and Chancellor shapes the tenor of a government, or so we have come to expect. In recent years Blair/Brown defined New Labour and the scars are still visible; Cameron/Osborne eschewed psychodrama, stood and fell together.

And yet how Theresa May and Phillip Hammond will rub along is one of the big unanswered questions of this administration. To many observers, the Chancellor will step to the lectern a man in search of a role. He has been overshadowed by media fascination with the Three Brexiteers, (Davis, Johnson and Fox), whose exuberance seems not to be punctured by slapdowns by the boss.

The Chancellor, always circumspect, has avoided pitfalls, but failed to project a strong sense he is dictating the government’s direction or tone.

His authority, and that of his department, is being questioned. There has been talk (which seems not to have been strenuously discouraged in the Treasury), that he might be seen as the standard bearer of “soft Brexit” – a counterbalance to prominent former Leavers in the cabinet.

The dry, pragmatic Chancellor is a man inclined to having, or eating cake, but not both. The question is how vocal he chooses to be now. The Brexit timetable is coming into focus, and injecting greater urgency into an already fraught debate.

After the Prime Minister’s opening speech suggested control over immigration is her paramount concern, some whose priority is retaining access to the single market are already wondering whether the Chancellor might be their last hope. No pressure, then!