Mon, 15 April 2024

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Theresa May should sack ministers leaking Cabinet discussions, says senior Tory

John Ashmore

2 min read

A senior Tory backbencher has said ministers found to have leaked details of Cabinet discussions should be sacked.

Nigel Evans, the deputy secretary of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, spoke out after a weekend of intense briefing against Chancellor Philip Hammond.

The deputy chairman of the committee, Charles Walker, said MPs had made clear to the Prime Minister that they would support her sacking errant colleagues.

Reports in the Sunday newspapers alleged that Mr Hammond had said public sector workers were “overpaid” and that train driving jobs were so easy “even a woman” could do them.

A story in the Sunday Times about his public sector pay comments was attributed to no fewer than five Cabinet sources.

Today Mr Evans said Theresa May should come down hard and get rid of any colleagues who had been behind the briefings.

Although party sources have told papers they support disciplining the leakers, Mr Evans is the first senior figure to publicly advocate sackings.

He told the BBC’s Daily Politics: “The vast majority of backbenchers are supporting the Prime Minister and, indeed, I’ve got to say it’s rare - normally the men in grey suits as they’re called go up to the Prime Minister and tell them when it’s time to go and make way for somebody else.

“This time we’ve gone up to the Prime Minister and said to her, we are supporting you 100% PM. We want you to use the message from the 1922 committee to tell your Cabinet, which she’s clearly done today, to get in line.”

Asked whether that should mean dismissing ministers responsible for leaks, the former deputy speaker said: “I believe that they should be, yes I do.

“If they’re found to be briefing against one another and against the Prime Minister I don’t think they should last any longer.

“And the PM does have the authority to do that and she’ll have the backing of the 1922 if she does.”

His comments were backed up by Mr Walker, who told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "The truth of it is the ‘22 had a meeting with the PM last week and made it perfectly clear, we unanimously made it clear to her that if she had to remove secretaries of state then she would have our support. 

"The party is united behind the Prime Minister and those who have leadership ambitions should really try to understand that. They’re not doing themselves any favours at all." 

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