- Theresa May urges her Cabinet to end growing briefing war inside government.
- Senior ministers have unleashed increasingly strong attacks on each other in the press.
- PM accuses Cabinet of “not taking their responsibilities seriously”.
- Tory MPs have urged May to sack warring “donkeys” in her Cabinet.
LONDON — Theresa May has accused members of her Cabinet of “not taking their responsibilities seriously” as she struggles to contain a growing briefing war among senior members of her government.
The prime minister on Tuesday morning told her Cabinet that the internecine warfare playing out in the press over that past week was distracting ministers from their duties.
“The Prime Minister said the briefings and counter-briefings over the weekend had been a case of colleagues not taking their responsibilities seriously,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman said.
They added that “she said the Government would make better decisions if colleagues were able to hold open discussions, but it was vital that discussions in Cabinet must remain private.”
The extraordinary intervention follows a series of leaks about comments made by the Chancellor Philip Hammond at recent Cabinet meetings.
Reports that Hammond had claimed that public sector workers were “overpaid” were briefed to newspapers at the weekend by multiple members of the cabinet.
The leaks followed claims that Hammond had told the Cabinet that driving trains is now so easy “that even a woman can do it”.
Other reports quote Brexit-supporting ministers accusing Hammond of trying to “f***” Brexit.
In turn allies of Hammon accused the foreign secretary Boris Johnson and the Environment Secretary Michael Gove of being “dangerous and deranged” in their drive for a ‘Hard Brexit’.
Hammond was today mocked by Labour about the row, during Treasury Questions in the House of Commons.
Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth derided Hammond as a “transitional chancellor” while Hammond was later asked whether his position had been weakened by the leaks.
“I don’t know what planet he lives on but I don’t feel particularly enfeebled,” Hammond replied.