There is no ‘plot to gag’ soft Brexiteers in the Cabinet says Justice Secretary after claims Philip Hammond has been frozen out of EU policy

THERE IS no “plot to gag” the soft Brexiteers in the Cabinet claims the Justice Secretary, after suggestions Philip Hammond has been frozen out of planning the Government’s new EU policy.

David Gauke insisted the fact the Chancellor was not giving one of a number of speeches on Britain’s plan for the negotiations was not proof that his voice was not being heard by the Prime Minister.

In a bid to regain the initiative on Brexit after a rocky few weeks during which tensions between her top team came to the surface, Theresa May is set to make two keynote addresses.

The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Brexit Secretary David Davis, and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will also make addresses – all of whom are Brexiteers.

Meanwhile the only minister who backed Remain taking part in the project is Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington.

And Mr Hammond, the most senior Cabinet member who backs a softer Brexit, is not part of the plan to outline the Government's vision for the second phase of the talks.

But Mr Gauke said this is not a plot to silence such voices from the policy conversation.

He told ITV's Peston on Sunday: "He is not part of the set of speeches that have been outlined today, but that doesn't mean that the Chancellor is not expressing his views both internally in the Cabinet conversations, but also externally.

"So, I don't think that there really is anything in this, that this is somehow any kind of plot to gag a particular faction of ministers. I don't think that's a fair characterisation at all."

Mr Johnson will kick-off the Brexit blitz on Wednesday, Valentine's Day, with a call for unity before Mrs May delivers a major speech on future UK-EU security in Germany next Saturday.



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She will round-off the process in about three weeks’ time with a keynote address on the overall relationship, following a special "away day" summit of the Cabinet withdrawal committee at Chequers.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said the series of withdrawal speeches would set out a Brexit "vision".

She told The Andrew Marr Show: "What the public want is, they want the vision and they want some meat on the bones."

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