THERESA MAY will be trying to instil discipline today in her Cabinet ministers by warning them to keep their mouths shut about their rifts following a series of embarrassing leaks.
The Prime Minister will use her weekly Cabinet meeting to “remind” ministers that they should keep the content of meetings and private discussions top secret, her official spokesman told reporters.
Her attempt to lay down the law comes after a series of reports were published about Chancellor Philip Hammond’s comments at last week’s Cabinet over Brexit.
Mr Hammond also came under fire for allegedly stating that driving trains was easy that “even” women could do the job, a claim that he denies.
And another leak said he had told colleagues that public-sector workers were overpaid.
He defended his comments when appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.
On the show, he also accused Cabinet rivals of trying to undermine him for a “softer” Brexit prioritising jobs and the economy.
But one unnamed Cabinet minister was quoted as having said: “What’s really going on is that the Establishment, the Treasury, is trying to fuck it up. They want to frustrate Brexit.”
The row was being seen as further evidence of the PM’s crumbling government after seeing her Commons majority wiped out in last month’s snap general election.
Conservative former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine said the “very distressing” infighting was a sign of Ms May’s lack of authority and her “enfeebled government.”
He added that she would sack those responsible for the leaks “if she could.”
Shadow minister for the Cabinet Office Jon Trickett said: “Theresa May appears to have lost authority over her party and Cabinet.
“They are fighting like rats in a sack by briefing against each other and leaking Cabinet discussions.
“If the Prime Minister cannot handle her own Cabinet, how can she handle the big challenges the country currently faces. We need a government that can stand up for the British people not one that puts party squabbles before the public interest.”
The infighting came as the second round of EU withdrawal talks started in Brussels.
Brexit Secretary David Davis and European Commission chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that officials would focus on the issues of citizens’ rights, borders and financial settlements during discussions that are due to last four days.
Soon after the formal opening of discussions, Mr Davis returned to London and left officials to get on with negotiations until he returns to Brussels on Thursday for a press conference with Mr Barnier.