- Chancellor meeting US counterpart Steven Mnuchin in Downing Street today
- Put on brave face and smiled for the cameras after humiliating Budget volte face
- Tensions between No10 and No11 threatening to boil over after tax raid debacle
Philip Hammond was meeting US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in No11 today
Philip Hammond was attempting to get on with business as usual today despite his abject climbdown over the Budget tax raid.
The Chancellor put on a brave face and smiled for the cameras as he welcomed US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for talks at 11 Downing Street.
The two men are due to discuss the Trump administration's economic plans - and potentially the prospects for an early Transatlantic trade deal after Brexit.
But despite the brave face, Mr Hammond is under intense pressure after his humiliating volte-face over hiking national insurance for the self-employed.
Relations with the PM have plunged to a new low after Theresa May forced Mr Hammond into dropping the key Budget measure.
Mrs May told the Chancellor his hike to Class 4 National Insurance, which smashed a Tory manifesto pledge, had to be scrapped at a tense 8am meeting yesterday.
Mr Hammond made the embarrassing announcement in a letter to MPs shortly before Mrs May took Prime Minister's Questions - easily fending off a weak response from Jeremy Corbyn.
It leaves him struggling to fill a £2billion hole in his spending plans, with warnings that workers face more austerity.
There is speculation he could opt to crack down on the use of 'service companies' by well-paid contractors, or cut back pensions relief for high earners.
The row has laid bare the growing friction between the holders of the two most important roles in government, with the PM taking the opportunity to stamp her authority.
Mrs May's aides are believed to have been particularly infuriated by briefing to Sunday papers from 'friends' of the Chancellor, complaining of 'economic illiteracy' in No10 and saying they had been pressing for the Budget to raise more money.
According to The Times, Mrs May's team warned the Treasury before the fateful package was announced that raising NI for the self-employed was a 'bad idea'.
The Chancellor put on a brave face as he greeted his counterpart despite the embarrassing volte face on hiking national insurance for the self-employed
The two men are expected to discuss the Trump administration's economic plans - and potentially the prospects for an early Transatlantic trade deal after Brexit
'No 10 said don't do it, but Philip wouldn't listen,' a ministerial source said.
The screeching U-turn has dealt a massive blow to the standing of the Chancellor, who previously held a reputation in Westminster as a safe pair of hands.
He is now facing questions about his future in the role.
Mr Hammond tried to shore up his position today by pleading for the public to keep 'faith' in him, saying the climbdown showed he could be 'trusted'.
After delivering his Budget a week ago, Mr Hammond was accused of lying and breaching the Tory manifesto by placing the £2billion tax raid at the heart of his Budget.
He appeared to confess to MPs yesterday that he had not realised there could be a conflict with the manifesto until he saw it mentioned by journalists.
Theresa May ordered Mr Hammond to drop the NI raid amid fury that it smashed a pledge in the Tory manifesto
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