Theresa May to reprimand warring Tory MPs as Brexit splits cabinet


A clearly angry Mr Hammond linked the briefings against him to his attempts to prioritise jobs and the economy in the Brexit negotiations, to the obvious irritation of hardline Brexiteers like Mr Johnson, the Foreign Secretary.

JOHN McDONNELL condemned "out of touch" Philip Hammond yesterday after the Tory Chancellor was reported as saying that public-sector workers were overpaid.

"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".

The Telegraph speculates there may be as many as 40 backbenchers ready to rebel over the issue, while the Financial Times says "dozens of Conservative MPs" have now made their unease heard.

Senior Conservatives are said to be concerned that a "shrivelled" Theresa May is struggling to control her squabbling ministers, increasing speculation that she could be forced to stand down soon after the party conference in October.

Ministers had been discussing the cap on public sector pay increases.

Duncan Smith, who was on the Marr show reviewing the papers, claimed the leaks were coming from people who wished to see Theresa May ousted as Prime Minister.

"I think on many fronts it would be helpful if my colleagues - all of us - focused on the job in hand". I think the public expect us to be disciplined and effective and the only people smiling at this are in Brussels and Paris'.

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"They are all low paid, all vital, and all in need of a pay rise now", the union leader argued.

As Mr Hammond continued speaking, Ms May reportedly said: "Chancellor I am going to take your shovel away from you" - a reference to the adage: "When you're in a hole, stop digging".

Mr Hammond refused to deny he made the comments and said that public-sector workers were 10 per cent better off than private-sector workers as they enjoy "very generous contributions" that their employers pay in for their "very generous" pensions.

He told the Today programme: "What I was reading over the weekend was about rows in the Cabinet which simply didn't happen".

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 said they were "overpaid". His overall tone was that we shouldn't give them more cash because they are overpaid.

In particular, Boris Johnson has joined a list of prominent ministers demanding a rethink over the public sector pay cap, which now limits annual salary increases for the likes of nurses and firefighters to one per cent.

The 1% pay rise cap for public sector workers has been in place since 2012 and is expected to remain until at least 2018/19.