Theresa May refuses to say she won't sack Philip Hammond as Chancellor after the election

There are signs of a split between the two top Tories

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 17 May 2017 10:34 BST
Theresa May refuses to say she won't sack Philip Hammond as Chancellor after the election

Signs of a split between Downing Street and the Treasury intensified on Wednesday after Theresa May refused to confirm Philip Hammond would continue to be Chancellor after the general election.

At a joint press conference with the two Cabinet colleagues the Chancellor dismissed reports of a rift between him and the Prime Minister as media “tittle-tattle”.

But standing beside him, his boss Ms May twice failed to confirm that Mr Hammond would stay as Chancellor if the Conservatives returned to government after 8 June.

Ms May said she was “very happy” to “endorse” Mr Hammond but shied away from actually pledging to keep him in the post.

She added: “We’ve worked together over the years for many years, longer than we could care to identify. That’s an age-related comment, nothing else, just in case you try and relate anything into that.”

Speaking at the same press conference, Mr Hammond said: “We do work very well together as a team and all this media tittle-tattle is just that, media tittle-tattle.”

Rumours of a split between the pair emerged after the Government took a sharp U-turn on Mr Hammond’s plans to raise National Insurance for self-employed workers just days after he delivered his Budget.

Mr Hammond did not deny rumours that he had sworn at one of Ms May’s top aide Nick Timothy.

He said: “What I candidly admitted, and my family will confirm this, is that I do occasionally swear. I wasn’t referring to any particular conversation, but I do occasionally swear.”

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