WATCH: Philip Hammond accuses Brexiteers of briefing against him as Tory civil war bursts into open
Philip Hammond has accused hard Brexiters in the Cabinet of briefing against him as the civil war between Tory leadership contenders burst into the open.
The Chancellor hit out after it was reported in the Sunday Times that he told last week's 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".
Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show this morning, the Chancellor repeatedly refused to deny making the "overpaid" comments.
He said: "I'm not going to talk about what was or wasn't said in a Cabinet meeting - it's easy to quote a phrase out of context."
When it was pointed out that five ministers had told the Sunday Times what he had said, Mr Hammond replied: "They shouldn't have done, frankly, because Cabinet meetings are supposed to be a private space in which we have a serious discussion.
"I don't know who's said what. My colleague David Lidington, who appeared on your show last week, was probably spot on the money when he said we were in the middle of the silly summer season with lots of warn Prosecco and lots of tittle tattle and gossip."
In a clear swipe at the likes of Boris Johnson, another contender for the Tory leadership, the Chancellor added: "If you want my opinion, some of the noise is generated by people who are not happy with the agenda that I have, over the last few weeks, tried to advance of ensuring that we achieve a Brexit which is focused on protecting our economy, protecting our jobs and making sure that we can continue having rising living standards in the future."
However, he insisted that he did not say the remarks attributed to him about female train drivers.
He said: "I don't think like that, I wouldn't make a remark like that."
Watch Mr Hammond's remarks here:
Earlier in the same show, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell had produced a payslip from a full-time hospital cleaner at St Barts Hospital in London earning £297 a week.
The out of touch Chancellor thinks public sector workers are overpaid. I've asked him if he could live on the wage of an NHS cleaner. pic.twitter.com/sU9Ps3MIrr