Were you in the room when the PM threatened to demote Rishi Sunak?

9 August 2021, 08:19 | Updated: 9 August 2021, 12:27

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

This is the moment Nick Ferrari put a Cabinet Minister on the spot over reports the PM threatened to demote the Chancellor.

"Were you in the room when your boss went 'flipping Tonto' and threatened to demote Rishi Sunak?"

Answering Nick Ferrari's question, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said he was not in the room "when that was reported to have been said."

Mr Kwarteng said he thought the Chancellor is "doing a great job, he's got a lot of confidence with his colleagues."

Nick asked if the PM and Chancellor worked in "glorious harmony" to which Mr Kwarteng said he thought the pair worked together very well.

The conversation comes after reports Boris Johnson ‘threatened to demote Rishi Sunak’ over a leaked letter calling for travel restrictions to be lifted.

The Sunday Times reported that a furious Boris Johnson suggested the move after the leak of a letter from the Chancellor calling for the easing of travel restrictions ahead of the relaxations announced on Wednesday.

A senior source told the newspaper: "He said: 'I've been thinking about it. Maybe it's time we looked at Rishi as the next secretary of state for health. He could potentially do a very good job there.'

"In an open meeting, after ranting about Rishi, he then suggested the Chancellor could be demoted in the next reshuffle."

The newspaper reported that Mr Johnson is not expected to carry out his threat and noted the Prime Minister's reputation for off-the-cuff remarks made "half in jest".

A Treasury source said: "The Chancellor is solely focused on securing the country's economic recovery and continuing to protect and create jobs."

The leak of the comments, reportedly made in a meeting on Monday, will do little to help relations between No 10 and No 11.

Boris Johnson has full confidence in Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Downing Street has said.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said there were no imminent plans for a Cabinet reshuffle.

Weekend news reports suggested Mr Johnson had threatened to demote Mr Sunak to health secretary amid anger over Government leaks.

The spokesman said: "The Prime Minister and the Chancellor have always enjoyed a close and effective working relationship, and will continue to do so."