Boris Johnson sparks furious Cabinet bust-up with £5bn NHS Brexit cash demand

Posted On: 
23rd January 2018

Boris Johnson has sparked an angry Cabinet backlash over his calls for the NHS to be given an extra £100m a week after Brexit.

Theresa May and a number of Cabinet ministers laid into Boris Johnson for speaking out of turn
PA Images

Ministers lined up at this morning's meeting of Theresa May's top team to condemn the Foreign Secretary's decision to go public with the demand.

Allies of Mr Johnson said he was concerned that No 10 was allowing Jeremy Corbyn to dominate the health service debate, and that the Government must make clear it is committed to ploughing more money in.

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But speaking after the Cabinet meeting, Mrs May's official spokesman said: "The Prime Minister and a large number of Cabinet ministers made the point that Cabinet discussions should take place in private."

Mrs May also made clear to the Cabinet - which spent an hour discussing the NHS - that now was not the time to be discussing extra cash for the service.

Her spokesman said: "The Prime Minister said that at the Budget, the Government announced £6bn additional funding for our NHS. She said this priority at the Budget reflects the fact the NHS is one of the Government's top priorities.

"As regards the future, and how any return of the EU contribution would be spent, the Prime Minister reminded Cabinet that the Government has consistently said that we will spend money on our priorities, such as housing, schools and the NHS. There will also be other calls on that money, but we will discuss those priorities at that time."

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Cabinet that hospitals were struggling to cope with the worst flu outbreak in several years.

Mrs May also set out the work on the NHS the Government is already doing, including an efficiency review, and the integration of health and social care.

Her spokesman added: "The Prime Minister said she was working with the Chancellor and the Health Secretary to ensure this work is done and to ensure the Government continues to invest in the NHS as we did at the Budget only a few weeks ago."

Mr Johnson was also reprimanded by Nick Timothy, a former top aide to the Prime Minister, who suggested his actions went beyond usual Downing Street grievances about ministers speaking out of turn.

And this morning he was brutally slapped down by Philip Hammond as the Chancellor attended a meeting of finance ministers in Brussels.

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."