Defence Secretary Philip Hammond spoke out against prospective cuts to the armed forces following comments by Lib Dem ministers Danny Alexander and Vince Cable, a Whitehall source has said.
Their calls for welfare to be protected and defence to be cut apparently prompted their Conservative Cabinet colleague to go public.
"There is a real concern that the Lib Dems wants to protect the benefits culture at the expense of the armed forces," the source said.
More top news
We've not seen such widespread cold so late in April for over three decades and in the next 24 hours more sleet and snow to come.