Theresa May’s former chief of staff launches blistering attack on Philip Hammond as crunch Budget looms
Theresa May’s former chief of staff has slammed Philip Hammond, saying he lacks the “desire” and “imagination” to change the lives of ordinary voters.
Nick Timothy, who quit the Prime Minister’s top team following June’s poor general election performance, accused the Chancellor of blocking crucial reforms.
In an article for the Sun he said: “Instead of being bold in seeking solutions, Philip Hammond’s instinct will always be to maintain existing policy, regardless of its quality.
“He lacks a burning desire to change people’s lives for the better, and imagination to see possibilities beyond how the world works today.”
The assault comes just a week ahead of Mr Hammond’s crucial Budget.
The Chancellor has been under pressure in recent weeks to loosen fiscal constraints to solve the housing crisis and give public sector workers a pay rise, but is thought to be cautious about making big spending pledges.
Mr Timothy also criticised Mr Hammond's previous Budget performance last year, suggesting he had ignored Mrs May's advice not to hike National Insurance Contributions for self-employed workers. Mr Hammond was forced into a humiliating U-turn a week later.
He wrote: “Theresa May warned him repeatedly that he was making a mistake, but the Chancellor insisted on going ahead.
“The inevitable occurred: Conservative MPs rebelled and he dropped the policy and the tax receipts that came with it.”
The former Downing Street aide also goes on to accuse Mr Hammond of standing in the way of economic progress saying: “He is against any kind of worker representation in corporate decision-making.
“He will not support significant protections for people working in the precarious “gig economy”, and he lacks the ambition to create a comprehensive national retraining programme as technology eliminates many existing jobs.”
A source close to the Chancellor hit back at the accusations, however, saying: “This article completely misunderstands Philip.
"He is deeply dedicated in his job to improve the British economy and help Britain’s workers.
“He and the PM have been working on that together closely, and will present their plans to that nation next week.”