Hammond’s Budget blunder – and a bitter row with No 10
CHANCELLOR Philip Hammond’s Budget announcement in March that he was hiking National Insurance for the self-employed triggered a tsunami of criticism and almost led to his resignation. A week later he was forced into a humiliating U-turn.
The episode provoked a spectacular private briefing war between No 10 and the Treasury.
The row became incendiary after a source close to Hammond was quoted describing May’s aides of being ‘economically illiterate’. May’s co-chief of staff at the time, Nick Timothy, took it personally. He was ‘incandescent’, and his disrespectful attitude to Hammond and his views shocked officials. The row became so bitter that Hammond considered quitting Government.
On Brexit the pair clashed repeatedly. Hammond is the Cabinet’s most vocal supporter of a ‘soft Brexit’, while Timothy can claim responsibility for transforming Theresa May from a reluctant Remainer into a passionate Leave supporter.
U-TURN: Chancellor Philip Hammond