Chancellor Philip Hammond has been widely criticized amid reports he told cabinet colleagues that public sector pay is too high.
His alleged comments have been further undermined by data from the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which shows the real impact of Tory austerity.
The chancellor was grilled on Sunday morning by the BBC’s Andrew Marr over reports he told ministers in a cabinet briefing that public sector workers such as firefighters and police officers are “overpaid.”
Hammond refused to comment directly on the allegations, telling Marr: “It’s easy to quote a phrase out of context. But I’m very happy to talk about the substantive issue.”
In the same meeting Hammond was reported to have said driving trains was so easy nowadays that “even a woman can do it.”
He defended himself against accusations of sexism.
“I’ve got two daughters in their early 20s, both high achievers. I don’t think like that. I wouldn’t make a remark like that.”