Sat, 20 April 2024

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The House Live All
By Bishop of Leeds
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Theresa May tells her warring Cabinet: 'No minister is unsackable'

John Ashmore

3 min read

Theresa May has warned her feuding Cabinet colleagues that "no minister is unsackable". 

In a rebuke for those briefing against each other in the media, the Prime Minister said her team should "accept collective responsibility" and get on with their jobs.

She said that should include not discussing details of what goes on in Cabinet meetings with anyone outside government.

Mrs May hit out after a flurry of newspaper reports about remarks made by Philip Hammond during last week's Cabinet meeting.

One story in the Sunday Times – attributed to no fewer than five different ministerial sources – said the Chancellor had said public sector workers were "overpaid".

Another, in The Sun, claimed Mr Hammond had told the gathering that driving a train was now so easy "even a woman can do it" - a claim he has denied.

The leaks prompted a backlash from rank-and-file Tory MPs, with senior members of the backbench 1922 committee urging Mrs May to dismiss any ministers found to have been responsible.

At yesterday's Cabinet meeting, Mrs May accused those responsible for the leaks of "not taking their responsibilities seriously".

In an interview with LBC radio this afternoon, she made clear she would be willing to remove ministers who step out of line.

"The issue that came up particularly at the weekend was the issue of reported conversations that had taken place at a Cabinet meeting," the Prime Minister said.

"[We have] a very simple approach in this country that, you know, things that are said in those Cabinet meetings should not be reported out publicly in that way and people should accept collective responsibility when decisions are taken, they’re government decisions.

"There’s no such thing as an unsackable minister, but at the moment the team is together and we’re getting on with the job of delivering what we believe the British people want us to do. Brexit is a key part of that but there’s a lot else that we need to deal with too."

Asked whether that meant no minister could consider themselves 100% safe, she replied “No, no.”


In the same interview Mrs May called on the BBC to make more progress on the gender pay gap, after newly released figures showed male presenters dominate the list of highest-paid presenters.

"What has happened today is we have seen the way the BBC is paying women less for doing the same job as the men. I want to see women paid equally with men. The only reason we know about this though is that the Government required the BBC to publish the figure.

"The director general Lord Hall has said he wants to change this, he wants to make progress, he wants to abolish this gender pay gap. We want to see him doing that too and I think it’s important the BBC carries on publishing figures in the future so we can see the progress they’re making."

Meanwhile, Labour have confirmed that the best-paid stars, such as Chris Evans and Gary Lineker, would see their wages slashed if Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister under his party's plans to tackle "excess pay" in the public sector.

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