'Be quiet and drink less prosecco', Liam Fox tells leaking cabinet colleagues
Liam Fox has told his cabinet colleagues to “be very quiet”, “drink less prosecco” and stop briefing against each other.
The civil war between Tory leadership contenders burst into the open this morning after five ministers told the Sunday Times that Philip Hammond told a Cabinet meeting that public sector workers are "overpaid".
A separate story in The Sun claimed Mr Hammond told the same meeting that modern trains are so easy to drive that "even women can do it".
The International Trade Secretary told the BBC’s Daily Politics: “I absolutely deplore leaks from the Cabinet, I think my colleagues should be very quiet and stick to their own departmental duties. I think the public expect us to be disciplined and effective and the only people smiling at this are in Brussels and Paris.”
Dr Fox denied that members of the Cabinet do not have a good working relationship with Mr Hammond.
“I don't think that's true. I've got a very good working relationship with him. I read in the press that we’ve got very different views. In fact, our views… are very similar on things like transition. I don’t know where the briefings are coming from but I do know it should stop because our colleagues on the back benches do not like it.”
He also threw his support behind the Prime Minister, dismissing speculation that there were plots being hatched against her.
“We don't need an interim leader, we don't need an alternative leader. We've got a very good leader in Theresa May.”
Dr Fox’s call for the leaking to end echoes Iain Duncan Smith telling Tory plotters this morning to "shut up" and get on with seeing through Brexit.
The former Tory leader said most of his fellow backbenchers were not interested in trying to oust the Prime Minister, who has all-but admitted she will not lead the party into the next general election.
Mr Duncan Smith said he would "lay money" that there would not be a leadership election, and he urged other Conservatives to stop speculating.
He told the Andrew Marr Show this morning: "The honest truth about all this...there's a big divide in the Conservative party at the moment on another level and it's between some of them in the Cabinet, it appears and the rest of the backbenchers because it's quite interesting that a lot of the new gen and everything else come in are absolutely seethingly furious about what this is rep at the moment.
"Their view is they want Theresa to get through, get through the Brexit stuff she's already said at some point she'll then step down and their view is 'none of the above'. At some point maybe somebody else will step through."