Hammond takes a hit in cabinet warfare


"It appears that Cabinet members haven't yet finished negotiating with each other, never mind the European Union", he said.

Claims that the Chancellor Philip Hammond had made sexist comments about women driving trains, and that public sector workers were "overpaid" in last week's Cabinet have dominated the headlines over the weekend.

"But what I would say is this and I've been saying this since I was transport secretary, it is a disgrace that 95 per cent of train drivers are men".

Asked if there is now a fight to succeed Theresa May as PM, he said: "I certainly hope not".

The extraordinary disclosures have exposed the deep divisions at the heart of Government as Britain attempts to negotiate Brexit and Mrs May battles to keep her job in the wake of her miscalculated General Election gamble.

Mr Hammond said that government ministers were becoming increasingly convinced of the need for transitional arrangements to reduce disruption as the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

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Hammond has sought to curb enthusiasm for Prime Minister Theresa May's desire to abandon further austerity - a shift which followed her poor election performance.

"I have to say I think all of this is somewhat overblown".

On the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Mr Hammond defended his stance, claiming public sector pay had "raced ahead" of the private sector after the economic crash in 2008.

"Our backbenchers are furious and the only people smiling at this will be in Berlin and Paris".

'We don't need an interim leader, we don't need an alternative leader.

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".

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Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said: "We have got to respect the result of the referendum, we have got to respect the will of the people in terms of having greater control over our laws, greater control over our borders".

"Cabinet meetings are supposed to be a private space when we are supposed to have serious discussions", Mr Hammond said.

He told the BBC's Sunday Politics there should be a time limit with strict conditions, but steered away from his own previous comments that it should be in the months, indicating the rifts running through May's Cabinet.

"He is too removed from the reality of daily life to see the impact of seven years of pay pinching on ambulance workers, nurses and teaching assistants", she said. His overall tone was that we shouldn't give them more cash because they are overpaid.

Pay rises for most public sector workers, including nurses, are set by independent pay review bodies, but have been capped at 1% since 2013.

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