PhIlip Hammond was urged to ‘put a sock in it’ last night as Cabinet anger over his public attempts to dilute Brexit boiled over.
The Chancellor was accused of undermining Theresa May after appearing to rule out the option of walking away from talks without a deal.
Downing Street moved to reassure Leave supporters that Theresa May will end free movement in 2019.
The Chancellor suggested change would take years and that the UK economy would remain ‘recognisably European’.
PhIlip Hammond was urged to ‘put a sock in it’ last night as Cabinet anger over his public attempts to dilute Brexit boiled over
One Cabinet source said ministers were angry about his attempt to bounce the Government into backing his vision of Brexit while Mrs May was abroad.
‘He should put a sock in it, stop undermining the Prime Minister and get back to developing a sound economic plan,’ the source said.
‘The mood is angry. The PM is leading on Brexit, not him. He and his people need to go away – they are crashing the car before we’ve started to really get stuck into the big discussions.’ No10 insiders also voiced exasperation at Mr Hammond’s claim last week that ‘literally nobody’ wants a significant fall in EU immigration after Brexit – a view not shared by Mrs May.
There was also concern about his suggestion that a transition deal could last three years – ending barely two months before the scheduled date of the next election.
The Chancellor (pictured with Brazil's Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles) was accused of undermining Theresa May after appearing to rule out the option of walking away from talks without a deal
Former local government minister Andrew Percy suggested the Chancellor should resign if he wished to continue speaking out on Brexit. He said most Eurosceptics were willing to accept a time-limited transition from the EU to give new customs and immigration systems time to bed in.
But in a thinly-veiled swipe at Mr Hammond, he criticised ‘almost daily freelancing about the contents of such an agreement’, adding: ‘The current principles of free movement have to end.
‘We need to maintain flexibility, but it cannot retain the current rules because that would not be delivering the will of the people. The only views we need to hear are that of the Government, not members of the Government.
‘If they want to express views as individuals they need to quit and make their views known as backbenchers.’