A senior Tory minister insisted that business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng was not “telling porkies” when he promised support for UK businesses throughout the fuel crisis.
Home Office minister Damian Hinds’ statement comes after Rishi Sunak’s colleagues denied Kwarteng has been in talks with the business department.
Speaking to Sky News, Hinds was asked if Kwarteng has been “telling porkies” – to which he replied “no, of course not”.
But pressed to say why the Treasury accused Kwarteng of “making things up in interviews”, Hinds insisted UK’s rising prices are a “global” problem which the business secretary is focused on.
“I know these unknown sources stories come out from time to time,” Hinds said.
He added: “The fact is, government departments, government ministers talk to each other the whole time and of course, with an issue like this, with these rising global prices and businesses having to grapple with that, having to deal with it to make sure they break even and can make a margin, of course that is something that the business secretary and, of course, the energy secretary is going to be totally focused on.
“Something that the Treasury is very focused on as the economic management department of the nation.”
Boris Johnson’s holiday
Damian Hinds was also asked by Sky News if now is the right time for the prime minister to go on holiday.
“When is the right time?,” he replied.
He added: “I think it is important that people do have an opportunity to be with their families to have some relaxing, unwinding.
“But I wouldn’t want to overstate the amount of unwinding and relaxing you get to do as prime minister because as I say you are constantly in touch, you are constantly being briefed and you remain in charge of the government.
“What is important for the rest of us actually, for the whole country, is that the prime minister does get to have some family time, does get to have a break.”
Government is ‘not in the business of bailouts’ – Kwarteng
Hinds’ TV appearance comes as the government is going through talks with industries such as steel and paper to cap energy prices in order to avoid factory closures.
But Kwarteng said last weekend that the government is “not in the business of bailouts”.
The minister seemed to maintain his position of refusing to help energy firms since last month, despite more firms risking going bust because of soaring costs.
The UK’s sixth biggest energy company, Bulb, was among the firms allegedly looking for a bailout, as a rise in wholesale gas prices is threatening the industry and Brits’ pockets.
Four small energy suppliers have announced they would stop trading so far – and, out of 70 energy suppliers in Britain, there could only be 10 left by the end of this year according to the BBC.