Philip Hammond brutally slaps down Boris Johnson over NHS £100m per week demand

Posted On: 
23rd January 2018

Chancellor Philip Hammond has slapped down Boris Johnson after the Foreign Secretary prepared to demand Theresa May find an extra £100m a week for the NHS.

Philip Hammond is meeting finance ministers in Brussels
PA Images

Mr Johnson will make the plea directly too the Prime Minister at this morning's meeting of the Cabinet.

Sources close to the Foreign Secretary told the Guardian he wanted to neutralise Labour's advantage on the NHS with a bold policy move to boost its funding.

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But speaking from Brussels, where he is attending a meeting of finance ministers, Mr Hammond pointedly highlighted the fact that Mr Johnson is not responsible for the nation's finances.

And he gave a clear hint that the Foreign Secretary will be left disappointed over his cash demand.

He said: “Mr Johnson is the Foreign Secretary. I gave the Health Secretary an extra £6bn at the recent budget and we will look at departmental allocations again at the spending review when that takes place."

Meanwhile, Tory backbencher Anna Soubry demanded that Mr Johnson should be sacked over his latest intervention.

Mr Johnson's proposal would mean substantially less than the £350m a week emblazoned on the side of Vote Leave's bus during the referendum campaign - a figure some prominent Leave campaigners have since distanced themselves from.

However allies of Mr Johnson insisted his latest gambit was about nullifying one of Jeremy Corbyn's strongest electoral weapons, rather than harking back to the Brexit campaign.

“Every poll conducted shows the NHS is top of swing voter concerns and every expert says it needs more money. The Cabinet will have to act and the sooner the better," one supporter told the paper.

“This isn’t about the referendum, it’s about delivering on the number one concern for the public and beating Corbyn at the next election.”

The source also said Mr Johnson would continue arguing for his proposals as "the Tories simply cannot afford to concede the NHS to Labour".

It follows suggestions that key advisers in 10 Downing St had effectively given up on the debate and wanted to focus on areas such as education and the environment instead.

A No10 source said the Government had already prioritised the NHS by giving it extra resources.

“Look at the budget: the NHS got a significant amount of money and although outcomes are improving we want to ensure that progress is secured for the future," the source added.