Philip Hammond was last night at the centre of a sexism row after The Mail on Sunday was told he made a jibe about female RAF pilots being bad at flying
Philip Hammond was last night at the centre of a sexism row after The Mail on Sunday was told he made a jibe about female RAF pilots being bad at flying.
When travelling on a Royal plane last year, the Chancellor is said to have loudly asked after a turbulent landing: ‘Did they let the girls fly the plane today?’
Senior Ministers are allowed to use the No. 32 Squadron RAF fleet for official business, with Mr Hammond travelling ahead of a visit to Halifax on May 17, 2018.
A source said: ‘His comment went down very badly on a plane full of female aides and RAF officers.’
Last night Mr Hammond’s team denied he had made the comment, but the alleged incident on board the BAe 146 flight from RAF Northolt to Leeds Bradford has been widely discussed in the Ministry of Defence and Whitehall.
However no formal complaint was ever made.
The Royal fleet is staffed by junior RAF officers, with Mr Hammond also accused of being rude about the quality of onboard service.
When presented with an inflight meal on the journey, he is said to have asked: ‘What is this? If this is my lunch it is not enough, if it is a snack then it is too much.’
A Treasury spokesman did not dispute that comment when contacted by The Mail on Sunday yesterday.
When travelling on a Royal plane last year, the Chancellor is said to have loudly asked after a turbulent landing: ‘Did they let the girls fly the plane today?’. Above: Mr Hammond in the audience at Wimbledon’s Centre Court today
This is not the first row concerning Mr Hammond and the RAF fleet, after being banned from using the service in 2017 amid an argument over an unpaid bill.
Two dozen flights made by the Chancellor and his team that year had racked up a six-figure sum owed by the Treasury.
After late payment to the Ministry of Defence, then Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told officials to refuse any more requests for travel by Mr Hammond until the outstanding balance was settled.
And it is not the first time that Mr Hammond, who is widely expected to leave Government if Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister in ten days, has been accused of using sexist language.
In 2017, a furious fall-out was sparked over leaked claims he had said ‘even a woman’ could drive a train during a testy Cabinet exchange with Theresa May.
And that same year he was slammed for claiming a Labour MP was being ‘hysterical’.
Last night Mr Hammond’s team denied he had made the comment, but the alleged incident on board the BAe 146 (pictured) flight from RAF Northolt to Leeds Bradford has been widely discussed in the Ministry of Defence and Whitehall
Mary Creagh hit back that such ‘sexist language’ was ‘used to diminish women’.
And last year Mr Hammond was also accused by professional lip-readers of mouthing that a fellow Tory MP was ‘a stupid woman’ during a heated Commons exchange.
Last night Tory MP Nadine Dorries said these latest claims ‘do not reflect well on Mr Hammond’.
Mary Creagh hit back that such ‘sexist language’ was ‘used to diminish women’
‘After his comments about women driving trains, there appears to be a pattern of behaviour here. He should have been sacked years ago,’ she added.
‘Hopefully he will watch from the backbenches as the new Government is stuffed with the sort of powerful woman he takes issue with.’
But his spokesman disputed the claims, telling The Mail on Sunday: ‘As a former Defence Secretary, the Chancellor has huge respect and admiration for all our Armed Forces — regardless of gender.
Having seen first-hand all they do, he is incredibly grateful for their support in helping Ministers travel securely and would never make such comments.’
Mr Hammond is widely tipped to be replaced at No. 11. He is understood to have approached pro-Remain Tory donors for funding to pay the salaries of staff members in his beefed-up backbench office, with the aim of launching a ‘guerrilla campaign’ against No Deal.
Tory MP Nadine Dorries said these latest claims ‘do not reflect well on Mr Hammond’
On Friday he hinted at his plan to bring the Commons to a standstill if Mr Johnson attempted to force through a No Deal Brexit by suspending Parliament.
He said: ‘The idea that elected Members of Parliament will be locked out of their place of work because they might do their job is truly shocking.’
And he also backed calls by former Prime Minister and fellow pro-EU voice Sir John Major to sue the Government in the High Court if they attempt to shut down the Commons to trigger a No Deal exit on October 31.
Mr Hammond’s mooted operation could be a major obstacle to the new Government, with the Chancellor vowing not to leave Parliament to seek a City job, but instead stay and fight No Deal.
A spokesman for Mr Hammond said: ‘Without making assumptions about the next few weeks, many Ministers when leaving Government expand their parliamentary teams to allow them to fulfil their basic duties as MPs.
‘They’re no longer able to rely on the support of their department and so require additional resources in their parliamentary teams — and do so in line with Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority rules.’