A Whitehall turf war has reportedly broken out over Britain's blueprint for Brexit, with Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet split over what a withdrawal from the European Union should mean.
Senior Tory MPs claimed the chancellor, Philip Hammond, has locked horns with fellow ministers by resisting proposals that the UK should pull out of the EU single market.
The Treasury's efforts to torpedo any economic withdrawal have caused a row with David Davis and Liam Fox, according to The Sunday Times.
Davis and Fox, the two ministers appointed to lead Brexit, will appear with Hammond as Theresa May hosts a cabinet meeting at Chequers on Wednesday, 31 August.
May has ordered all cabinet ministers to outline how best to leave the EU to ensure Brexit is a success for the country.
Hammond has reportedly insisted in private that "everything is on the table", with nervous treasury officials keen to ensure top priority is given to ensure the financial services industry retain its access to the single market.
Other ministers, like Davis and Fox, believe access to the single market will mean the government will be unable to regain border controls and end the free movement of people – something echoed by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and other EU leaders as they met privately last week.
"There's a tussle going on here," a senior Conservative told The Sunday Times. "The chief culprit is the chancellor [Hammond].
"He has taken the position that there are no red lines, that you've got to stay part of the market and it doesn't matter what you give way on. Hammond is operating as a blocking mechanism."
The unnamed source said May's team "believe controls on immigration are vital — this is the bit where the chancellor has been dragging his feet. The Treasury wants to run all this stuff. They are furious that anyone else is responsible for it."
Treasury vs Brexiteers
Those close to Hammond reportedly denied he was frustrating the plans of his fellow cabinet ministers, saying he was "flexible at the moment" over what form Brexit takes and that single-market access could be maintained "on a sector by sector basis".
Both Davis and Fox want May to activate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – which formally triggers the UK's withdrawal from the EU – early next year.
May caused anger among pro-Europe MPs when it was reported earlier this week that the government would trigger Brexit without seeking parliamentary approval. It comes amid fears some Remain MPs could use the vote to stop the withdrawal from the EU completely.
In the meantime, some have called for May to give at least some idea of what Brexit would look like.
Andrew Bridgen, the first Tory MP to call for David Cameron to resign, said this weekend: "The prime minister is going to have to say something to her backbenchers. She's got to elaborate on what she means by 'Brexit means Brexit'. We need some red meat. The public want it too. We can't wait until Christmas."