Stop leaks now, Theresa May urges ministers

Catherine Neilan
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Cabinet is a leaky ship (Source: Getty)

Theresa May will tomorrow tell cabinet ministers to stop leaking details of meetings to the media, following a bruising weekend for her and colleague Philip Hammond.

The Prime Minister will use her last cabinet meeting before recess to stress the "responsibilities" of the office and the need for discussions around government policy to be conducted in private.

“She’ll just be reminding them of their responsibilities and making the point that ministers across government need to be focused on getting on with delivering for the British public," a spokesman said today. No formal investigation is planned.

Chancellor Hammond has taken the brunt of the briefings, with papers variously reporting his comments on public sector pay and women train drivers. He denied the latter report, although only sought to clarify the former.

Read more: Evidence shows public sector pay is still higher

And when it came to Brexit negotiations, a briefing given to a Sunday newspaper accused the Treasury of "trying to **** it up".

One backbench MP told City A.M. this rang true, but urged ministers to stop behaving "like fourth formers".

"The Treasury is completely out of control, and Philip Hammond is just going along with their bidding, " he said. "Most people are absolutely infuriated by it... We can’t afford the extravagance of being petty and vindictive at the top of government when we haven’t got majority.

"The 1922 Committee is very much in favour of settling down, living with what we've got and making sure Brexit works so by April 2019 we will be able to capitalise on what we have won, but getting to that point is looking fraught because we are being undermined continually by our own people."

Another suggested there was no appetite for leadership change among MPs and said it was wrong to leak cabinet discussions "full stop".

"On the backbenches everyone is pretty much united in getting on with things and supporting the Prime Minister. You're always going to find tension, but there is a clear consensus that Brexit will happen, and on a clear timescale," he added.

A third agreed that the apparent mood of the cabinet was not reflected in that of his colleagues. "It's bizarre," he said.

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