Chancellor Philip Hammond has pleaded with cabinet colleagues to stop undermining his bid for a pro-jobs Brexit after a spate of “malevolent” cabinet leaks exposed further divisions within Theresa May’s government, according to The Herald.
A separate story in The Sun claimed Mr Hammond told the same meeting that modern trains are so easy to drive that “even women can do it”.
Meanwhile, Hammond said businesses were holding off on investment where they can.
The chancellor denied making the latter comment – he said he was making the point it was outrageous there were not more female train drivers – but did not deny making the comments about pay.
John McDonnell slammed the Chancellor for the comments, allegedly made during a cabinet meeting last week.
Another minister, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, attacked the “self-indulgence” of those doing the leaking.
Earlier on Sunday, finance minister Philip Hammond had said senior British government ministers were becoming convinced of the need for transitional arrangements to reduce disruption as Britain leaves the EU.
Speaking about the leaks, Hammond said: “If you want my opinion, some of the noise is generated by the people who are not happy with the agenda that I have over the last few weeks tried to advance of ensuring that we achieve a Brexit that is focused on protecting our economy, protecting our jobs and making sure that we can have continued rising living standards in the future”.
“I think most people are willing to accept a transition so long as it’s of a limited duration in order to avoid a hard landing”.
Mr Hammond, regarded as one potential successor to Mrs May, has repeatedly talked about the need for a transitional deal, saying such an arrangement would see Britain replicate as much as possible the existing arrangements in order to minimise the impact on business. “I think my colleagues should be very quiet, stick to their own departmental duties and I think the public expects us to be disciplined and effective”.
Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory leader, said he was dismayed at the leadership speculation in the Sunday papers, telling some of his colleagues: “Just for once, shut up for God’s sake”.
The National says Scotland’s Brexit secretary has warned that Theresa May’s government is set to use “Tudor-era measures” to decide which responsibilities Holyrood can and cannot be trusted with.
His comments “will fuel public anger that the Tories are out of touch with the public mood and will plunge Tory MPs into despair at the Chancellor’s political tin ear”, says the Times.
He said: “This is about the relationship between public and private sector pay and it is a simple fact, independent figures show this, that public sector workers on average are paid about 10% more than private sector workers”.
The minister claimed Mr Hammond views Brexiteers as “a bunch of smarmy pirates” who have “taken the Establishment prisoner”.