Tensions grow between Philip Hammond and Downing Street : i News

Claims of a damaging rift between Chancellor Philip Hammond and Theresa May’s closest aides over the Conservative manifesto have been dismissed as “tittle tattle” by a senior minister. Relations between Mr Hammond and Downing Street have not fully recovered since his disastrous Budget when he was forced to abandon a planned rise in National Insurance for the self-employed. There have also be tensions over whether Mrs May should repeat David Cameron’s “triple lock” pledge not to raise income tax, national insurance or VAT. She is understood to favour renewing the promise, while the Chancellor has resisted the move on the grounds that it would limit his room for manoeuvre in future Budgets. Relations ‘strained’ The Times reported that Mr Hammond’s relationship with Nick Timothy, the Prime Minister’s joint chief of staff, was understood to have become strained. The Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, dismissed the claims as “tittle tattle”. Asked if the report was true, he replied: “Absolutely not. The top team in government, we are working alongside each other every day now on the manifesto.” The men have very different outlooks. The Chancellor is a strong free marketeer, while Mr Timothy is passionate about the need for intervention to help disadvantaged parts of society.


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