PHILIP Hammond is being warned he faces a Budget ambush – but the Tory rebels trying to oust him have been labelled “deeply irresponsible” by Jacob Rees-Mogg.
The Chancellor’s Cabinet colleagues fear some measures set to be unveiled in next month’s key financial statement will cause a revolt by his backbench enemies.
The Times is reporting that senior government figures fear Mr Hammond has become too toxic among Brexiteers who think he is trying to frustrate our EU exit that he will not be able to get his Budget through the House of Commons.
Tory MPs are thought to be unhappy with Mr Hammond on a number of fronts, including reported plans to raid pensioners to pay for measures to help younger people.
They are also unhappy with his description of EU negotiators as “enemies” last week, which he later retracted.
But any defeat on such an important piece of legislation could destabilise Theresa May’s regime, which Mr Rees-Mogg says is unthinkable.
The eccentric MP, touted in some quarters as a Tory leadership contender, said opposing measures in the Finance Bill, which enact the Budget, would effectively be giving a vote of no confidence in the Government.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: “Nobody has mentioned to me that it would be a good idea to vote against the Budget to upset Mr Hammond.
“I think any MP who thinks like that, any Tory MP is effectively giving a vote of no confidence in the Government, it would be deeply irresponsible.
“Budgets are really a matter of confidence and people should support the Budget.”
But the Chancellor is facing pressure to spend enough money to help public sector workers squeezed by the one per cent pay cap, as well as freezing the 3.9 per cent hike in business rates next year.
Mrs May has been lobbied to sack Mr Hammond in recent weeks, and he has reportedly angered No10 with an article suggesting he was delaying spending on preparations for a “no-deal” Brexit.
Last week’s Cabinet discussion on the Budget – due to be delivered on November 22 – was described as “14 different job applications to be Chancellor”.
Some of the names touted as a possible replacement include Michael Gove, David Gauke and Andrea Leadsom.
PM should shuffle her top team, public suggest
Voters want Theresa May to reboot her Government by carrying out a Cabinet reshuffle, a new poll said today.
The survey revealed that 45 per cent of voters think the PM should stamp her authority on ministers by shuffling her top team.
Just 18 per cent are happy with the Cabinet as it is, according to the poll carried out by BMG Research for the Independent.
Mrs May has floated the idea of a reshuffle but may feel too weak to move powerful ministers.
She recently vowed to face down the “challenge” faced by Boris Johnson’s repeated interventions on Brexit.
And Brexit-backing MPs have called on the Prime Minister to sack Philip Hammond as Chancellor.
Many observers believe Mrs May should start promoting younger Tories to pave the way for a handover of power to the next generation.
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