Unions hit back at chancellor describing public sector workers as 'overpaid'

Theresa May will warn her ministers to stop briefing against one another after a series of highly damaging leaks from Cabinet meetings appeared over the weekend.

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

Another party member has gone on to say that the quip had been said by another minister entirely and was "unfairly characterising Hammond's position".

That's why we have to keep Theresa there.

But Mrs May will attempt to put a halt to further covert attacks in today's meeting as she "reminds" ministers that Cabinet "must be able to hold its discussions on Government policy in private".

"We would not be members of the single market because we would leave the single market when we left the European Union on 29 March, 2019", he told the BBC's Andrew Marr. The Chancellor was describing the public sector pension premium.

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.

The Treasury has denied he used the words attributed to him but the report added five sources had attested to the Chancellor using the language.

Mr Hammond said the Government needed to provide as much clarity as possible, as soon as possible, to restore business and consumer confidence and get the economy moving. However, a Whitehall source said Johnson "strongly believes" the cap can be lifted in a "responsible way" and "without causing fiscal pressures", reports the Daily Telegraph.

Ms Rudd rejected suggestions that Mrs May had lost her authority as a result of the botched election, insisting: "She is respected by the Cabinet, she is our Prime Minister, we do have 54 more seats than Labour and we are getting on with the job in hand".

The 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers wrote to the prime minister last week offering support for her to remain until the Brexit negotiations are completed in 2019. Fox said last week that he'd be "very happy" with a transitional phase - also known as an "implementation phase" - lasting just "a few months".

If the Government then the Conservative Party itself is not to split itself apart with round after round of constant in-fighting someone amongst them - anyone - must get a grip on the situation.

This is despite the fact that wages have fallen by 14% in real terms since 2010, making it harder for the public sector to recruit and retain quality talent into the workforce.

Vanessa Coleman

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