END FOR HAMMOND? Chancellor to face Tory REBELLION over Autumn Budget

Posted on Oct 23 2017 - 4:01pm by admin

Senior Government figures are concerned that Mr Hammond has become so toxic that he does not have the authority to get difficult measures through the Commons.

He has been told that some of his suggested measures, such as taxing pensioners, would cause a Tory backbench revolt.

One senior backbencher told The Times: “Now there is a difference between No 10 and No 11 that needs to be dealt with: either he gets in line or it’s resolved by the departure of one or the other of them.

“If he goes back to the ideas of the manifesto, of robbing pensions, then he’s in trouble.”

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Lord Lawson accused Philip Hammond of “plotting” to sabotage Brexit

Mr Hammond has been marred by a series of gaffes over the past weeks which has irritated MPs.

A story broke which showed the Chancellor dining with George Osborne, with the pair being accused of “plotting” to sabotage Brexit.

In an apparent attempt to overcompensate, Mr Hammond then described the EU as the “enemy” in negotiations.

Mr Hammond also published an article in The Times and said he was not preparing to make spending preparations for a no deal Brexit.

A source said his team was warned before publication that the article would generate negative headlines and suggested changes to avoid the impression that he was trying to sabotage the prospect of a hard Brexit.

This month former Tory chancellor Lord Lawson demanded Mr Hammond be sacked and said his refusal to prepare for a no-deal Brexit was “very close to sabotage”.

Mr Hammond is also likely to face pressure to raise public sector pay.

It emerged yesterday that public sector wages had dipped below those in the private sector for the first time since the financial crisis.

An analysis of Treasury hourly earnings figures by the GMB union found workers in the public sector were being paid 0.6 per cent less on average than their private sector counterparts.

In 2005 when records began, public sector workers enjoyed a premium of 3.1 per cent compared with the private sector which rose to 5.8 per cent in 2010.

One ally of Mr Hammond said the Budget will be a difficult balancing act for the Chancellor.

He said: “There is very little room for manoeuvre but it is the only chance to make big changes for the next year.

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Philip Hammond has a difficult balancing act in the upcoming Autumn Budget

“But raising money will be hard to get through the Commons while he remains a fiscal hawk when it comes to spending.”

Last week’s cabinet discussion on the Budget was described as “14 different job applications to be chancellor”.

The meeting overran because of the number of figures around the cabinet table demanding to speak.

They included Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, David Gauke and Andrea Leadsom.

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Some cabinet ministers want Michael Gove to be chancellor

One source said that Mrs Leadsom’s suggestions were the most practical and sensible.

One cabinet member said: “This discussion wasn’t about members of the cabinet dividing into doves and hawks, it was about everyone sympathising with the chancellor’s difficult predicament and trying to come up with their own ideas.”

Some cabinet ministers want Mr Gove to be Chancellor.

One Remain-supporting Cabinet source said: “He is the only one with the dynamism and attention to detail to carry this off.”

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