Theresa May has “full confidence” in Philip Hammond, a Downing Street spokesperson said on Friday.
The statement comes following reports relations between the PM and Chancellor are at “breaking point” and amid hints by Hammond’s predecessor, George Osborne, that there are ongoing talks among cabinet members over ousting the precariously positioned May.
The prime minister slapped down Hammond earlier this week by promising to spend cash now in preparation for a Brexit ‘no deal’ – just hours after he had ruled out any such splurge.
She told the Commons on Wednesday afternoon £250 million of taxpayers’ money had already been set aside to help departments plan for the UK leaving the EU without a trade deal.
She also announced the Treasury will soon set out how ministers can apply for extra cash to help with contingency planning.
Earlier that day, Hammond told the Treasury Select Committee funds would not be handed over until “the very last moment” – despite the fact £250 million has already been set aside.
Some Brexiteers within the Tory party have made clear they would like to see Hammond sacked, claiming his tendency to “wind up” Eurosceptics are making Brussells negotiations on Britain’s exit from the EU harder.
Meanwhile, an event in central London on Thursday evening, former No.11 resident-turned Evening Standard editor George Osborne revealed he’d been talking to members of the Cabinet about May’s future.
According to PoliticsHome, when asked if the party should get behind the PM, he said this: “It’s no good the Conservatives saying ‘well I wish we would stop talking about it’ – you can’t talk to a member of the Cabinet without talking about it and so we’ve got to confront that…Of course it matters who the prime minister is.”
He added that “closing your eyes and hoping it will all go away” while pretending the party remain unified “does not work in politics”.