UK's Hammond at Odds With Trade Chief on Brexit Transition

Marie Harrington
July 17, 2017

"They shouldn't have done it frankly because Cabinet meetings are supposed to be a private space in which we have a serious discussion", he said.

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 Prime Minister will use Tuesday's regular Cabinet meeting to "remind" ministers that they should maintain silence about the content of meetings and focus on their job of delivering for the public, Mrs May's official spokesman told reporters.

According to media reports, during a discussion on transport, the chancellor quipped that driving trains had now been made so easy that "even a woman" could do it. Ms May rebuked him after his remark, The Sun reported.

The PM's spokesman made clear she intends to assert her authority by telling colleagues to focus on their departmental responsibilities.

He was pointing out that public sector earnings are still higher than those in the private sector, despite years of pay restraint after the credit crunch sent the economy into a tailspin.

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.

"I'm not going to get into speculation of who said what where and when".

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"Some of the noise is generated by people who are not happy with the agenda I've tried to advance over the past few weeks", Mr Hammond said.

"It appears that Cabinet members haven't yet finished negotiating with each other, never mind the European Union", he said. "Did the Chancellor say 'public sector workers were overpaid?'".

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.

British Chancellor Philip Hammond seems to have irked many, including Prime Minister Theresa may, by making a sexist remark in cabinet.

"He should try and live on a public sector worker's wage for a week to understand the struggle to make ends meet so many are facing as the cost of living rises".

Hammond's confidence in the consensus over such an arrangement, whereby there would be a longer period to negotiate the terms of leaving than the two year period offered by triggering Article 50, comes after new meetings between business and government commenced. May, who's already said she'll step down at some point, should "keep going", Duncan Smith said, and those agitating for a leadership election should "shut up".

"No I didn't and I wouldn't say anything like that", he said.

He reportedly asked colleagues when was the last time they had seen a female train driver, before pointing out that there was no physical bar to them doing it.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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