THE Cabinet is in ‘a state of civil war’ over transitional arrangements after Brexit, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has claimed.
It comes after senior government figures clashed over border controls after withdrawal from the EU.
Trade secretary Liam Fox insisted the Cabinet had not agreed a deal on immigration, contradicting chancellor Philip Hammond.
Last week, Mr Hammond signalled there was ‘broad acceptance’ in Cabinet of a post-Brexit transitional period lasting up to three years.
But Dr Fox, speaking to The Sunday Times, said: ‘We made it clear that control of our own borders was one of the elements we wanted in the referendum, and unregulated free movement would seem to me not to keep faith with that decision.’
Sir Vince said Dr Fox’s remarks ‘directly contradict the chancellor’ over a transitional agreement on Brexit.
He added: ‘The latest clash over freedom of movement in the proper transitional period reveals a deep, unbridgeable chasm between the Brexit fundamentalists and the pragmatists. Businesses which might have hoped that Philip Hammond had pulled the government back from a commitment to a catastrophic cliff edge, crashing out of the EU, have been misled.
‘There is no Cabinet consensus for moderation. And the rumours of Boris Johnson being about to resign fuel the uncertainty.’
Last night Mr Johnson’s spokesman accused Mr Cable of ‘peddling lies’ and ‘making his stuff up’.
Tory tensions were also on display as former Brexit minister David Jones branded Mr Hammond’s transition initiative ‘deeply dangerous’.
He accused the chancellor of ‘going on manoeuvres’ while Theresa May was on holiday. ‘All this agitation by the chancellor and his allies is hugely discourteous to her and undermines her authority,’ Mr Jones said in The Mail on Sunday.