Minister Plays Down Defence Secretary's Threat To Sweep Theresa May From Power

24 June 2018, 16:48 | Updated: 24 June 2018, 16:58

Gavin Williamson has been accused of stirring up trouble amongst Tory MPs after threatening the Prime Minister

After the government promised a new spending plan for the NHS, the Defence Secretary has demanded an extra £20bn to the Ministry of Defence.

Gavin Williamson has warned the Prime Minister that if she did not commit to the new defence spending then the next budget would be voted down.

The Defence Secretary is reported to have told senior military leaders: "I made her, so I can break her."

But a Health Minister played down the threat to Tom Swarbrick, suggesting it was normal politics oversold by newspapers.

Steve Brine MP noted that the UK is the EU's biggest defence spender.

"So to use the Defence Secretary's words, he needs to go away and shut up?" asked Tom.

But the minister replied: "No, the Defence Secretary is doing what you would expect any cabinet member and and minister to do ahead of a spending review next year.

"I don't think it's a big news story, is it?"

He said: "A government minister speaks up for his department?"

Tom interrupted: "To be fair, a secretary of state saying 'I made her, I can break her' is pretty astonishing."

The minister replied: "I've been doing this a long time and the difference between what somebody says, and what a newspaper says they said, and how they splash it on their front pages are very different."