UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was said to “threatened to demote Rishi Sunak to Health Secretary” after the Chancellor called for easing of travel restrictions, as per a note written him found its way into the public domain last weekend, Daily Mail reported.
The report said the UK government has been plunged into conflict as Johnson and Sunak clash over travel restrictions and green reforms, with the Chancellor eager for a tough spending review and the PM looking to avoid austerity measures.
It came shortly before the infamous “traffic light” rules were reviewed on Thursday. In his letter, Sunak said that the UK was “out of step” with the rest of the world.
The Chancellor is now preparing for a tough spending review later this year as he attempts to repair the public finances following the coronavirus crisis. That could put him on collision course with a Prime Minister who has promised there can be no return to austerity.
The PM told his allies that by writing the letter, which was copied to Transport Department, it was “bound” to be leaked and fumed that he could move Sunak to Health, where former Chancellor Sajid Javid became the Secretary six weeks ago.
Johnson was said to have been “apoplectic”, and “raging” when he met senior Downing Street aides on Monday, The Sunday Times reported.
He suggested sacking Sunak following the Chancellor’s remarks calling for an easing of travel restrictions due to the threat they pose to the economy.
And in another sign of division, the Prime Minister’s green agenda hit a stumbling block amid growing fears that it will hit poorest households the hardest, with Sunak thought to be leading push-back against Johnson’s commitment to go net-zero by 2050.