Former chancellor calls on May to sack current chancellor

GETTYSenior Tory Bernard Jenkin hit back at his gloomy predictions

"He may not intend it but in practice what he is doing is very close to sabotage".

The Tory backbencher told Iain Dale the Treasury needed a "can do man", but at the moment it had a "can't do man" with Mr Hammond.

The former Chancellor called on Theresa May to act, branding his successor "grossly irresponsible" for refusing to spend many millions now to prepare for an exit with no deal struck with the EU.

Many in Westminster reckoned that Lawson was taking his cue from the Daily Mail, which published a scathing editorial this morning calling Hammond "dismal, defeatist [and] relentlessly negative" and even went as far as suggesting that he could be replaced by Jacob Rees Mogg.

After a week of tension between the chancellor and his cabinet colleagues, No 10 gave... "As the PM has said before, what matters to the country is delivering a smooth Brexit". "The chancellor along with the rest of the cabinet are united around the position she set out in her Florence speech".

Asked by a reporter if May had full confidence her finance minister, the spokesman said "Yes". I think that's correct. I'm sure he can rise to it - he needs to want to rise to it. Spending money now on Brexit preparations would divert cash away from priorities such as the NHS and social care and the investment may turn out to be unnecessary if talks result in a good deal, he said. Now, clearly, that makes a no deal deal scenario more likely because. the clock is ticking. "Of course that's the responsible thing to do and that's what we are going to do".

This prompted a tide of criticism against Mr Hammond from Brexiteers, underlining the divisions at the heart of the Conservative Party.

May is under pressure to carry out a reshuffle to make way for some younger Conservatives in her top team but would find it hard to move the foreign secretary and chancellor at the same time, risking a backlash from both sides of the party's European Union divide.

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