CABINET Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood has been asked by the Prime Minister to look into a public row between two of the government's most senior ministers about policy on Islamist extremism, Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed.

David Cameron has asked for a report on the spat between Education Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary Theresa May to be delivered to him "in short order", and Mr Osborne confirmed that Sir Jeremy is taking part in the inquiry.

The pair's dispute spilled into the public domain, overshadowing the launch of the Government's legislative programme in the Queen's Speech, with the publication of a letter earlier this week in which Mrs May questioned the Department for Education's response to allegations that extremists had attempted to infiltrate schools in Birmingham.

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Reports suggest that the pair have clashed over Mr Gove's insistence that radicalisation must be tackled at its roots by stepping up the government's Prevent strategy to take on those spreading extreme messages in the community, which Mrs May is said to fear risks antagonising mainstream Muslims.

Mr Osborne told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The Prime Minister has asked Downing Street, and that includes the Cabinet Secretary, to establish the facts of who said what to whom in the arguments."