Government splits are starting to emerge – and they’re only going to get worse

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JayLike real wars, Whitehall briefing battles come with varying intensity. Usually it’s a few grenades thrown at the departmental wall: an anonymous derogatory remark about the disputed origins of some impractical policy, or the prospects of a collaborator in a potential ministerial reshuffle, say. The conflict between the Treasury and the Department of Trade has escalated at a remarkable pace.

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Within 45 minutes of the end of Business Secretary Quasi Quarteng’s appearance on BBC One Andrew Marr Show On Sunday, the chancellor’s aides launched weapons of mass destruction in the Quarteng, telling rolling news broadcasters that the poor man was making it as he was walking along. Hunking in his bunker, Quarteng fires back, but the Treasury goes nuclear, accusing Quarteng of “beautifying” a meeting without doing his paperwork (sounds familiar).

Under such heavy Treasury bombardment, Quarteng felt the need to summon a close political ally, and so the hotline for Marbella was activated. Number 10 would soon reveal that Boris Johnson was on Quarteng’s side, and Rishi Sunak would “have to step back”. Financial help will be given to the heavy industry which is pleading for help on the rising electricity bill. Or at least that’s the line for today.


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