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Hammond takes a hit in cabinet warfare

17 July 2017

Today he was accused of trying to frustrate Brexit and treating pro-Leave ministers like "pirates who have taken him prisoner".

Hammond told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the government is becoming more convinced on the need for a transitional arrangement to be made, saying it would be "right and sensible both for the United Kingdom and EU".

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said several factors were at play, including some ministers' belief Mr Hammond was trying to slow down the Brexit process, and Mrs May's weakened position after the general election.

He added there was "no chance" all the details of Brexit could be hammered out before the March 2019 deadline. But I'm very happy to talk about the substantive issue.

May's grip on control of her cabinet, which is divided over Brexit, has been severely weakened by last month's election result.

As The Canary previously reported, five sources [paywall] allege that Hammond said public sector workers are "overpaid". He did not say that public sector workers were overpaid.

The chancellor committed two known offences at cabinet last week: claiming that driving a train is so easy that "even a woman can do it" (The Sun); and suggesting that public sector workers were "over-paid" after pensions are taken into account (The Sunday Times).

All the three men, and also First Secretary of State Damian Green, blamed the wrangling on too much "warm prosecco" and insisted Cabinet ministers needed a long holiday.

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In the latest salvo in the civil war between Tory leadership contenders, a Cabinet minister told the Daily Telegraph that that the Chancellor and the Treasury are the "establishment" and that without the Prime Minister in place the "the whole thing will fall apart".

The infighting came as the second round of European Union withdrawal talks got under way in Brussels.

DG: "Every July Westminster gets feverish and every July people say it's different this year and you know what it's the same every year". Later in the meeting both Boris Johnson and the PM said we should not say public sector workers are overpaid.

Speaking on BBC TV's "Sunday Politics" show, Fox sought to play down differences with the chancellor.

Number 10's official spokesman said there would not be a "formal investigation" into the leaks from the Cabinet meeting, but Mrs May would be "reminding" ministers of their "responsibilities".

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith told Cabinet members engaged in such behavior to "just for once shut up for God's sake" as there is "no mood" among backbench Tories for a leadership contest.

Most will hear of his view that public sector workers are "overpaid", reportedly shared with cabinet colleagues last Thursday, and they will recoil in outrage.

"I believe the great majority of my colleagues now recognise that is the right and sensible way to go, both in the United Kingdom and the European Union", he said.

Hammond takes a hit in cabinet warfare