An internal dispute over the government’s response to the gas and energy crisis opened in dramatic fashion on Sunday afternoon.
The trade secretary, Quasi Quarteng, told broadcasters in the morning that the Treasury was in talks with the energy industry to work out ways to help during the crisis.
But the seemingly benign suggestion apparently sparked fury in Rishi Sunak’s department.
Treasury sources told Sky News: “This is not the first time the BEIS secretary has made things up in the interview. To be clear, the Treasury is not involved in any talks.”
The prickly explosion prompts questions about relations between different parts of the government, with Britain facing a tough winter and rising fuel bills.
The Sunday Times reported that Mr. Quarteng was preparing to demand billions from the chancellor for a manufacturing industry bailout.
This will help boost businesses in the steel, ceramics, chemicals and glass sectors – some of which are facing production disruptions due to rising energy costs.
Mr Quarteng told Sky News that some businesses are in need of short-term assistance.
“I am very clear about what we need to do to help them deal with this situation – it is a difficult situation, gas prices, electricity prices are at a very high level around the world and of course I want to help government colleagues. I am talking to the Treasury, in particular, to try and see a way through this,” he said.
Bridget Phillipson, Labor’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said the government had spent the morning “in squabble over” whether they were negotiating with each other.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /