Downing Street seeks to quell reports of rift between Johnson and Sunak
Downing Street has sought to quell reports of a damaging rift between Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Mr Johnson continued to have full confidence in his neighbour in No 11.
However one Cabinet minister acknowledged that there was a degree of “creative tension” between the two most important figures at the top of the Government.
They have been in lockstep throughout this incredibly challenging period for the country
It followed reports at the weekend that Mr Johnson had threatened to demote Mr Sunak to health secretary in a Cabinet reshuffle.
According to The Sunday Times, a furious Prime Minister went “tonto” after a letter from the Chancellor calling for travel restrictions to be lifted was leaked to the press.
Mr Johnson’s spokesman refused to be drawn directly on Mr Johnson’s reported comments, said to have been made in an “open meeting”.
“I am not going to get into internal meetings,” the spokesman said.
He insisted however that there were no plans for a reshuffle and that the two men were working “in lockstep”.
There was always going to be a slight creative tension perhaps between No 10 and No 11
“The Prime Minister and the Chancellor have always enjoyed a close and effective working relationship, and will continue to do so,” the spokesman said.
“I think you can see, particularly during the pandemic, they have worked closely together.
“They have been in lockstep throughout this incredibly challenging period for the country.
“There no plans for any reshuffle.”
The reports come as the Government prepares for the autumn spending review, with Mr Sunak thought to be more focused than Mr Johnson on rebuilding the public finances following the pandemic.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said that, while the two men generally got on well together, disagreements between No 10 and No 11 were inevitable at times.
“There are always disagreements.
“There was always going to be a slight creative tension perhaps between No 10 and No 11,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
“I can’t remember a time in the last 30 years when there hasn’t been a debate, conversations, between the Prime Minister and the Chancellor.
“I happen to think that this Prime Minister and this Chancellor are working very closely together.
“They are as cohesive as any relationship of that kind that I have seen.”
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