Former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson has told Sky News he thinks the Prime Minister should remove Philip Hammond from his post at the next reshuffle.
The Vote Leave chairman and major figure from the Thatcher government said he thought Philip Hammond’s position, in refusing to allocate Treasury funds to prepare for a no-deal scenario with the European Union on Brexit, was “damaging to the country.”
He said: “He’s pursuing a line which is not in the public interest, not in the country’s interest and is not responsible.”
Lord Lawson also expressed his dismay at the Prime Minister’s refusal earlier this week to answer a question on how she would vote in the event of another Brexit referendum.
“I was surprised by that equivocation – I couldn’t see why on Earth she’d want to equivocate,” he said.
“Why on Earth would she want to do that? What possible gain could it be?”
He went on to suggest that such equivocation actually weakens the UK’s negotiating hand.
“It only helps the negotiators on the other side of the table,” he said. “It doesn’t help our position. I suppose you could say it was a sign of honesty but I don’t think it was politically astute.”
Brexit was not the only issue in Lord Lawson’s cross hairs.
On the day the Government unveiled its energy price cap, the former chancellor – who in the Thatcher government led its privatisation efforts – described the policy as “a big mistake”.
“It won’t help the public at all,” he said. “It’s an error.”
He ascribed the Prime Minister’s efforts on the issue to her understanding of economics, saying: ” I think the problem is that economics, and economic policy and economic thinking, is not her thing.
“She’s never had any experience of that whatever. She was home secretary for a long time. She’s never been an economic minister of any kind nor has she ever run a business.
“She’s never had the opportunity to think these things through.”
Business leaders have long criticised the Prime Minister for being disengaged from the interests of the commercial world.
But these comments might strike a chord most with free-marketeer Thatcherite Conservative MPs, many of whom feel uncomfortable with the Tories aping what was first an Ed Miliband policy.
Dozens of Tory MPs feel the party has been drifting too far left and is providing the intellectual and political space in which a far-left Labour party and Corbynism can thrive.
Comments from one of the architects of Thatcherism will do little to allay those fears.
(c) Sky News 2017: Former chancellor Lord Lawson calls for Theresa May to sack Philip Hammond