UK's May to warn cabinet ministers over top-level leaks: PM's spokesman

Theresa May's Cabinet members leave Downing Street

The GMB has now hit back at Hammond's comments, describing them as "foolish" "insulting" and displaying "arrogant contempt".

The report claimed Mr Hammond said public sector workers were "overpaid" when their pensions were taken into account and train drivers were "ludicrously overpaid". Taking public sector pay before pensions contributions - that gap has now closed.

He has been accused of telling fellow ministers that public sector workers are "overpaid", and also allegedly suggested that driving trains were so easy even women could do it.

"And I don't for a moment deny that there are areas in the public service where recruitment and retention is becoming an issue, that there are areas of the country where public sector wages and private sector wages are getting out of kilter in the other direction and we have to look at these things and we have to discuss them". We have to bear that in mind.

The Chancellor said: "That is a ridiculous figure, it is plucked out of the air, there is no substance to it". After seven years of a punishing pay cap, all public sector employees need a pay rise.

Asked if the premier thought Hammond was trying to frustrate Brexit, May's spokesman said: "The government is all working together to deliver a Brexit which delivers on the will of the British people". We don't need an interim leader, we don't need an alternative leader. "The chancellor's remarks are nothing short of offensive". "But far from learning their lessons, they now risk repeating them - and adding insult to injury". He said they were "overpaid".

"Later in the meeting both Boris Johnson and the PM said we should not say public-sector workers are overpaid".

The extraordinary disclosures have exposed the deep divisions at the heart of Government as Britain attempts to negotiate Brexit and Mrs May battles to keep her job in the wake of her miscalculated General Election gamble.

Ministers will come under fresh pressure to lift the pay cap this week when the TUC stages a protest in Westminster.

Recently, the health secretary told NHS managers that he was planning to relay concerns about staff pay to the chancellor, following a future meeting with the head the Royal College of Nursing.

Mr Hammond said the majority of his colleagues now recognised this was "the right and sensible way to go". It appears not if you believe what the Chancellor has been saying.

However, Nursing Times understands that this meeting is yet to take place.

Public-sectors workers will be joined by Ms O'Grady at a protest at Victoria Tower Gardens, outside Parliament, at 10.15am today. Our protests will continue until the Government scraps the 1% cap'.

A Cabinet minister failed today to paper over glaring Cabinet rifts on Brexit and public sector pay.

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