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Hammond hits back after public pay comments leaked

By Gavin Cordon

Chancellor Philip Hammond has lashed out at Cabinet rivals who briefed against him, accusing them of trying to undermine his efforts to secure a "softer" Brexit deal.

As tensions at the top of the Government spilled out into the open, Mr Hammond warned fellow ministers to focus on "the job in hand" rather than leak details of confidential discussions to the media.

His outburst followed a report in The Sunday Times that he had told the weekly meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday that public sector workers were "overpaid" when their pensions were taken into account. The paper said it had five sources for the story, the latest in a series of hostile briefings against the Chancellor, which threatened to fuel growing public anger over the Government's continuing 1% public sector pay cap.

The row came amid reports of senior ministers such as Boris Johnson and David Davis jockeying for position in anticipation of a Tory leadership contest in the wake of last month's general election which left Theresa May weakened.

Mr Hammond linked the briefings against him to his attempts to prioritise jobs and the economy in the Brexit negotiations, to the obvious irritation of hardline Brexiteers like Mr Johnson, the Foreign Secretary. "I think on many fronts it would be helpful if my colleagues, all of us, focused on the job in hand," the Chancellor told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show. "If you want my opinion, some of the noise is generated by people who are not happy with the agenda which I, over the last few weeks, have tried to advance of ensuring that we achieve a Brexit which is focused on protecting our economy, protecting our jobs, and making sure that we have continued rising living standards in the future."

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