May to Remind U.K. Cabinet of Need to Keep Meetings Private

  • Weekend newspapers included leaks about Hammond from cabinet
  • Hammond says leaks from people unhappy with his Brexit stance

Prime Minister Theresa May will remind her cabinet colleagues on Tuesday of the need to keep their meetings private after a series of leaks over the weekend targeting Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.

The Sunday Times cited five unidentified sources as saying Hammond had described public-sector workers as “overpaid” during the cabinet meeting last week, while Saturday’s Sun newspaper reported that Hammond made a sexist comment about women driving trains.

Philip Hammond

Photographer: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

"Of course cabinet must be able to hold discussions on government policy in private, and the prime minister will be reminding her colleagues of that at the cabinet meeting tomorrow,” May’s spokesman, James Slack, told reporters in London on Monday. "She’ll 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."

The leaks expose the divisions at the heart of May’s cabinet. With a prime minister weakened by losing her majority in the snap election she called last month, the U.K. media are packed with reports of political intrigue and secret plots. Some 30 Tory lawmakers would back a leadership bid by Davis, the Sunday Telegraph reported, citing unidentified allies of the Brexit secretary including two former cabinet ministers.

Hammond himself used a BBC interview on Sunday to put the leaks down to “people who are not happy with the agenda that I have, over the last weeks, tried to advance of ensuring that we achieve a Brexit which is focused on protecting our economy.”

Slack told reporters that he’s “not aware of” any plans for a formal investigation into the leaks.

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