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Philip Hammond slams Cabinet rivals
17 July 2017, 04:41 | Erica Roy
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Cabinet tensions erupted into the open today as Philip Hammond warned colleagues to "get on with the job" of Brexit rather than briefing against him.
"The care worker hurrying from house to house doesn't feel overpaid, nor does the hospital cleaner working round the clock, or the teaching assistant going the extra mile for the children she supports", she said.
The Sunday Times claimed to have five separate sources for its story, suggesting a breakdown in cabinet discipline and a danger that the normal functioning of government is in danger.
One leak claimed, amid cabinet divisions over lifting the one per cent public pay cap, that Mr Hammond had told colleagues he thought public sector workers were "overpaid"; a claim he denied.
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.
Liam Fox, the global trade secretary, who is seen as among the hardline Brexiteers, condemned the leaks, which, he argued, would only give succour to Brussels.
"Ask Philip Hammond if he can live on that".
He added some of the "noise" came from people who were "not happy" with his agenda of "ensuring that we achieve a Brexit which is focused on protecting our economy, jobs, and making sure we can have continued rising living standards in the future".
Mr Hammond blamed colleagues opposed to the agenda he had been setting out for extended transitional arrangements when Britain leaves the European Union in 2019 so business was not faced with a "cliff edge" break.
"I do know, I think my colleague David Lidington who appeared on your show last week was probably spot on the money when he said we're in the middle of the silly summer season with lots of warm prosecco. lots of parties going on, lots of tittle tattle, lots of gossip, we've got a summer recess coming up".
Former party leader Ian Duncan Smith told the BBC there was no appetite among conservative lawmakers for a leadership contest and said his colleagues should "shut up" and "let everyone else get on with the business of governing".
Unison's Christina McAnea called the chancellor's remarks on public pay "nothing short of offensive".
"It's been seven long years of pay cuts for our public servants".
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has also spoken against the official government position, telling the Sunday Times ministers need to respect the independent bodies that review public sector pay and accept their findings.
"We do keep this under constant review and I think the fact that is apparently now well known the Cabinet has been discussing this issue sends a clear signal that we do understand the concern both of public sector workers and of the wider public", he said.
But an unnamed minister was quoted in this morning's papers stating that Mr Hammond was attempting to derail Brexit.
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