The Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which is propping up the Conservative Party’s government, have disclosed they are “deeply concerned” by the chancellor of the exchequer “frustrating” Brexit and have urged the prime minister to “rein in” Philip Hammond.
A senior DUP parliamentary source told The Telegraph that the party’s MPs, who are supporting Prime Minister Theresa May’s government under a Confidence and Supply Agreement, have spoken to Tory backbenchers who share their “deep concerns” about Hammond.
“We are very concerned about Philip Hammond’s behaviour. It is evident to us that he is winding people up and causing unnecessary division within the Conservative Party at a crucial time in the Brexit negotiations, and his behaviour is very unsettling,” the source said.
“One has to wonder what his motivation is. He appears to be at least highly sceptical about Brexit and one could conclude from his current position and his behaviour that he is trying to frustrate the negotiating process and to undermine the prime minister.”
The source confirmed that the DUP, led by Arlene Foster, “will continue to keep a close watch on the situation, but we think that Mrs. May needs to do something to reign her chancellor in and to make it clear to him that this kind of behaviour has to stop”.
‘Fire Hammond for Trying to Sabotage Brexit,’ Demands Senior Tory
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 13, 2017
“We simply cannot allow personal agendas to get in the way of the needs of our nation,” the source added.
The relationship with the DUP is crucial for the Conservative Party following the Tories failure to win a majority in June’s general election. The Confidence and Supply Agreement would see the 10 DUP MPs support the Conservatives on key votes such as on the budget and Brexit.
Last week, senior Conservative and chancellor of the exchequer under Margaret Thatcher Lord Lawson called for Hammond to be sacked for behaviour “very close to sabotage” for failing to prepare the country adequately for a no-deal Brexit.
The chancellor denied that he was trying to sabotage a no-deal Brexit, later referring to the EU as “the enemy” in negotiations and accusing the EU of “very unproductive behaviour”.
“The enemy, the opponents are out there, they’re on the other side of the negotiating table. Those are the people we have to negotiate with, negotiate hard to get the very best deal for Britain,” he told Sky News, before quickly backtracking on his comments, calling them a “poor choice of words”.
A Downing Street spokesman said the prime minister has “full confidence” in her chancellor.