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Philip Hammond has launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson as public infighting among senior Tories intensified. The chancellor predicted the former foreign secretary would never be prime minister, saying he said had “no grasp of detail”.

It comes after the first day of the Conservatives’ annual conference in Birmingham was dominated by criticism of Mr Johnson, who is widely thought to be planning a bid to replace Theresa May.

Lord Digby, a former director of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), called him “irrelevant and offensive”.

And in a clear attack on hardline Brexiteers, Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, will today tell party members to dismiss the “ivory-towered schemes of the ideological puritan”.

No 10 will be desperate to ensure the rest of the conference is not overshadowed by the major internal row over the government’s Brexit strategy.

Mr Hammond’s attack came after Mr Johnson called Ms May’s Chequers plan “deranged” and “preposterous”.

Asked about the comments during an interview with the Daily Mail, the Chancellor mocked his former Cabinet colleague.

Quizzed on whether he thought Mr Johnson could become prime minister, the chancellor replied: “I don’t expect it to happen.”

He said: “Boris is a wonderful character, but he’s never been a detail man. I’ve had many discussions with him on Brexit.

“Boris sits there and at the end of it he says ‘yeah but, er, there must be a way, I mean, if you just, if you, erm, come on, we can do it Phil, we can do it. I know we can get there.’ And that’s it.”

Continuing to impersonate Mr Johnson, who he said had “no grasp of detail”, the Chancellor added: “’We just have to want it a bit more, we just have to wish a bit harder, we just have to be a bit more bullish and it will all be fine.’ Read more

Related news: Conservatives take aim at Theresa May ahead of party conference with warning Tories are ‘stuck in the past’. Read more