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United Kingdom chancellor Philip Hammond irks may with sexist remark
17 July 2017, 01:09 | Max Haynes
Brexit Secretary David Davis
The extraordinary public rebuke came after a series of stories emerged seemingly created to damaged Mr Hammond.
ChancellorPhilip Hammond is at the centre of a sexism row after he reportedly suggested that driving a train was now so easy "even" a woman could do it.
"It depends how long we need to put in place new customs systems, new migration systems; these things can't be magicked up overnight", Hammond said on BBC Television's "Andrew Marr Show" Sunday.
He slammed unions for failing to allow women to become train drivers, saying that was the reason 95 per cent were male.
Mr Hammond refused to be drawn on whether he said "overpaid" in an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr, but conceded that public sector workers get a 10% "premium" over the private sector.
"But when you take into account the very generous contributions public-sector employers have to pay in for their workers' pensions - their very generous pensions - they are still about 10 per cent ahead".
He blamed the "tittle tattle" and "gossip" on the "silly summer season" as Parliament prepares for recess.
"Some of the noise is generated by people who are not happy with the agenda I've tried to advance over the past few weeks", Mr Hammond said.
"We're into a real process now with the start of negotiations and I think you'll find the cabinet rallying around a position that maximises our negotiating leverage and gets the best possible deal for Britain".
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'I think on many fronts it would be helpful if my colleagues - all of us - focused on the job in hand. Worldwide trade secretary Dr Liam Fox yesterday accused those of leaking as having "too much self-indulgence". "Our backbenchers are furious and the only people smiling at this will be in Berlin and Paris".
He threw his support behind the Prime Minister, dismissing speculation that there were plots being hatched against her.
"I think my colleagues should be very quiet, stick to their own departmental duties and I think the public expect us to be disciplined and effective".
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said on the BBC that "there is no mood in the Conservative Party in Parliament for a leadership election".
"I absolutely deplore leaks from the cabinet", Fox said, also rejecting calls for May to be replaced. At some point maybe somebody else will step through'.
Hammond's defence came after a cabinet source at the meeting told the Sunday Times: "Philip used a fairly inflammatory phrase - he said they were "overpaid".
Johnson is among ministers who've suggested the Treasury's cap on public-sector pay should be eased.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said: "We have got to respect the result of the referendum, we have got to respect the will of the people in terms of having greater control over our laws, greater control over our borders".
'That caused some general astonishment. One can only wonder what excuse is he going to give when presented with the EU Brexit payment, a figure bandied at anything upwards of some £75 Billion, and more importantly how we are actually going to pay the bill.yet another round of austerity cuts?
The comments are likely to spark a backlash with public sector workers, who have been campaigning for the current 1% pay cap to be lifted.
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