0 1160 0 Eric July 17, 2017
Theresa May is to reprimand her Cabinet ministers for leaking and briefing against one another, Downing Street has said.
The Prime Minister's spokesperson said the PM would use a meeting on Tuesday to remind her deputies that they should be "having all discussions of government policy in private".
The intervention comes amid increasing signs of infighting amongst top Tories – with Chancellor Philip Hammond the target of several negative briefings in recent days.
Mr Hammond was accused by anonymous ministers in three national newspapers on consecutive days of various claimed misdeeds.
"Cabinet must be having all discussions of government policy in private and the Prime Minister will be reminding her colleagues of that in cabinet tomorrow," Ms May's official spokesperson told a briefing of journalists in Westminster.
But asked whether he could confirm that the negative briefings were originating from Ms May's Cabinet, the spokesperson said: "I'm not going to get into speculation of who said what where and when."
The Chancellor was said by an anonymous minister in The Sun to have made a sexist remark during a Cabinet meeting; was said by an anonymous minister in the Sunday Times to have said public sector workers were overpaid; and was said by an anonymous minister in the Daily Telegraph to be trying to stop Brexit.
Taken together, the stories appear to be evidence of a concerted campaign of negative briefing against Mr Hammond, who is widely regarded as the most senior Remain supporter in the Cabinet and has has sometimes been treated with suspicion by Leave-supporting colleagues.
Earlier this month Mr Hammond further wound-up his Leave-supporting colleagues by saying post-Brexit trade deals with other countries would be of little help to large parts of Britain's economy. He also described an intervention by anti-Brexit business groups as "helpful".
Ms May has tried to crackdown on leaks before, apparently without success. In December 2016 a leaked memorandum showed that Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood had written to senior officials informing them the Prime Minister had demanded urgent action to tighten Whitehall security.
In his note, dated 28 November, Sir Jeremy had referred to a “spate of leaks and unauthorised briefings” which had appeared in the press regarding Britain's departure from the EU, the US elections and the Autumn Statement
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