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Truss slams 'macho' male Cabinet ministers

By Jon Craig, senior political correspondent
A female Cabinet minister has launched a blistering attack on male colleagues over their "macho" demands for more public spending and telling people how to live their lives.
Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss took aim at at least four of her colleagues in a speech that will be seen by MPs as putting down a marker for a future Tory leadership bid.
Her most savage attack was on Environment Secretary Michael Gove, whom she ridiculed for his demand for curbs on wood-burning stoves and said his department was full of "hot air".Other targets for the chief secretary, who is Chancellor Philip Hammond's number two and responsible for negotiating Whitehall budgets with Cabinet ministers, were::: Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who is demanding more military spending and is reported to have said of Theresa May: "I made her - and I can break her.":: New Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who is also asking for a bigger budget to tackle the growing menace of knife crime and violent muggings on the country's streets.:: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who this week unveiled a Childhood Obesity Strategy proposing banning two-for-one deals on junk food and extending the sugar tax.
Truss slams 'macho' male Cabinet ministers

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Michael Gove was tackled for his 'woodburning stoves' crackdown
Conservative MPs will note that all four of Ms Truss' targets are cabinet ministers most talked about as potential candidates to succeed Mrs May as Tory leader.The chief secretary's outspoken attack came in a hard-hitting lecture at the London School of Economics, which is likely to open a civil war in the Cabinet over tax-and-spend policies.On Mr Williamson and Mr Javid's bids for more Treasury cash, Ms Truss said: "Those familiar with the 1984 film Gremlins - will recall how the cute Gizmo, when fed after midnight, turned into a slime-soaked baddie Stripe."In much the same way, there's a tendency for governments and bureaucracy to multiply and exert further control. And before you know it gremlins are everywhere.
Truss slams 'macho' male Cabinet ministers

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Sajid Javid is asking for a bigger budget to tackle knife crime
"There is a temptation to feed these creatures after midnight."But more widely we have to recognise that it's not macho just to demand more money. It's much tougher to demand better value and challenge the blob of vested interests within your department."
And in a warning that putting up taxes could see the Tories "crushed" at the polls, she said: "Some of my colleagues are not being clear about the tax implications of their proposed higher spending."Many Tory MPs will be particularly delighted by her attack on Mr Williamson, whose nickname at Westminster is "Private Pike", after the hapless Dad's Army character.A number of senior backbenchers regard the former chief whip, who turns 42 this week, as over-promoted and believe he is over-playing his hand with his strident public demands for more defence cash.
Truss slams 'macho' male Cabinet ministers

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Gavin Williamson reportedly called for ?20bn for the MOD
Talking in her speech about "freedom to live", Ms Truss attacked Mr Hunt and his latest obesity crackdown, declaring: "Many of the rules that we have in place are important in guaranteeing public safety."But it's hard to shake the feeling that sometimes they just get in the way of consumer's choices and lifestyles."And government's role should not be to tell us what our tastes should be."Too often we're hearing about not drinking too much, eating too many doughnuts."
Truss slams 'macho' male Cabinet ministers

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Jeremy Hunt's action on child obesity was referenced in the speech
Then she switched attack to Mr Gove, quipping: "Or enjoying the warm glow of our wood-burning Goves…I mean stoves."And amid laughter from her audience, she added: "I can see their point: there's enough hot air and smoke at the Environment Department already."She omitted a pre-briefed line that tackled a crackdown on "drinking from disposable cups through plastic straws".
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Defending her LSE lecture, Ms Truss' supporters told Sky News she was frustrated that Cabinet colleagues - in particular Mr Williamson - are not making the link between more spending and more taxes.Friends also insisted that she and Mr Gove are "good mates" and claimed: "He won't take it badly."
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