Is Hammond in the firing line?

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Dry-as-dust Chancellor Philip Hammond is almost certainly unwittingly creating consternation in the Parliamentary Conservative Party by appearing to dilute plans for Britain’s exit from the EU.

Indeed, some Tories have become so incensed by Hammond’s views that they have publicly called on the Prime Minister to sack him before things get any worse. What these Tories fail to recognise is that, if Hammond is the threat they think he is, he could become a far greater danger man on the back-benches than he is within Cabinet. As the old adage has it, he would be less of a problem spitting out, than outside it and spitting in. Let it not be forgotten that Hammond has plenty of Tory supporters, including former leader Lord (William) Hague who has publicly backed him. But his critics will not back off. The Prime Minister is unlikely to take the drastic step of firing Hammond, but she will return from holiday highly displeased at the outbreak of discord in the high echelons of Government.

- The Government is responding to the threat of massive increases in energy prices later this year. British Gas had announced that, thanks to so-called green taxes, electricity charges would be rising by more than 12 per cent for three million consumers. During the election, Theresa May pledged to cap price rises for seven million households. Now a review is to be conducted which, we are assured, will fulfil this pledge. We shall have to “wait and see”.

- We do not expect our party political leaders to resemble all-singing, all-dancing cabaret artistes, but Sir Vince Cable does not seem to possess a single chuckle muscle. He is one of the diehard band of Remainers who still will not accept losing the EU referendum in June last year. Sir Vince has attacked the elderly, who voted in large numbers to leave the EU, of “shafting the young”. I doubt whether many, or indeed any, of the old people who voted had any thought in their heads of “shafting the young”. But that aside, it is a sure-fire way of losing votes for a party leader to lay into the so-called “grey vote”.