Cut taxes now to save your job! Top Tories urge Boris Johnson to take drastic action to shore up his position as he bids to ‘draw a line’ under revolt after confidence vote win
- Boris Johnson was warned last night that he needs to cut taxes to save his job
- He urged Tory MPs to ‘draw a line’ under the revolt against his leadership
- Mr Johnson won Monday night’s bruising confidence vote by 211 to 148 votes
- The Prime Minister told the Cabinet he wanted to get back to the ‘fundamental Conservative instinct’ of cutting taxes as the next general election approaches
The Prime Minister told the Cabinet yesterday he wanted to get back to the ‘fundamental Conservative instinct’ of cutting taxes as the next general election approaches.
It came after Mr Johnson won Monday night’s bruising confidence vote by the narrower than expected margin of 211 to 148.
He stressed to Cabinet colleagues that delivering tax cuts would help produce ‘considerable growth in employment and economic progress’. The PM also ordered ministers to bring forward new initiatives to slash Government spending in order to free up cash for tax cuts.
There was traditional banging of tables after the PM thanked his team for supporting him during the confidence battle
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will tonight repeat his pledge to introduce ‘a range of tax cuts’ for business in the autumn in order to encourage investment. But senior Tories warned it was now time to turn the rhetoric about cuts into reality in order to boost growth, help families with the cost of living and restore Tory fortunes. It came as:
- Rebel MPs were urged to ‘knuckle down’ and accept the result of Monday’s vote amid warnings that continuing divisions could usher in a Labour-SNP coalition.
- Plans for a snap Cabinet reshuffle were shelved as Downing Street digested the scale of the revolt.
- A key ally of rebel ringleader Jeremy Hunt said that efforts to depose the Prime Minister were ‘not over’.
- Leading rebel Tobias Ellwood warned that top Tories were ‘looking at’ changes to party rules to enable another attempt against the PM’s leadership this year.
Former Brexit minister Lord Frost said the PM needed to ‘change direction’ in the wake of the confidence vote. He insisted: ‘We’re delivering an economic policy that’s not going to deliver prosperity and wealth. If he can change that he can get on to a different path and save his premiership and Government.’
Boris Johnson gathered his senior ministers urging them to push the ‘massive agenda’ of Levelling Up investment in the wake of the brutal confidence vote that saw more than 40 per cent of his MPs try to oust him
The Tory peer told the BBC that increases in national insurance and corporation tax should be reversed. He said: ‘It is not Conservative to be raising taxes, and it is undermining growth and prosperity. We need to improve productivity and investment, and not weaken it.’ Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the Government’s agenda now had to include ‘getting taxes down and getting the economy going.’ At the Cabinet meeting, Mr Johnson said: ‘We are able now to draw a line under the issues that our opponents want to talk about.’ No 10 acknowledged that the tax burden is ‘higher than it has been’. The PM’s spokesman said: ‘It’s always about getting the balance right and the Chancellor and the Prime Minister have been very clear that, as we move away from these unique challenges of the global pandemic and the war in Europe, the intention is to further reduce taxes.’
Why an early election is that little bit closer
BY JASON GROVES FOR THE DAILY MAIL
The chances of an early election just got higher. Tax cuts have inched a bit closer. And if you’ve been waiting for a local bypass to be built, that might come along a little sooner too.
Boris Johnson yesterday insisted it was business as usual as he gathered his Cabinet in the wake of Monday’s dramatic confidence vote.
But the truth is that the vote looks set to press the fast-forward button on Mr Johnson’s premiership as he scrambles to show he can still get things done.
Time is of the essence now.
Under Conservative Party rules, the PM’s victory has bought him a year before he can be challenged again.
Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, announces that Boris Johnson has survived an attempt by Tory MPs to oust him as party leader at 9pm last night
But it also highlights the scale of the disenchantment among his MPs. If 148 of them have no confidence in him now, it seems a fair bet they will be able to muster the 54 names needed to mount another challenge next year unless he can change minds fast.
Allies of the PM say they would rather call a snap election next year than face another leadership challenge.
‘If they come for him again next year we’ll have an election and let the people decide,’ said one.
Whether that threat is real is open to debate. But if it is to become a serious option then, again, the PM needs to achieve significant change in the next 12 months. Top of the list for action is tax. Tory MPs are chafing at the taxes imposed to help pay off the huge bills run up during the pandemic.
Many feel the enormous tax burden is choking off growth and will cost the Tories the next election.
It is also clear that any contest to succeed Mr Johnson would be dominated by candidates offering to slash taxes.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss got in early yesterday, saying it was time for the Government to be ‘getting taxes down and getting the economy going’.
If his potential successors are going to offer tax cuts, the PM has little choice but to come up with his own.
It would now be a surprise if the autumn Budget did not contain a significant package. Earlier action this summer is not impossible.
Boris Johnson (pictured yesterday) is trying to move on from the Tory confidence vote despite four in 10 MPs calling for him to quit
Mr Johnson also has to accelerate his ‘levelling up’ programme to show Red Wall supporters they did not waste their votes in 2019.
During the arm-twisting sessions ahead of Monday’s vote, some Tory MPs also claim they were offered ‘improved funding’ for their constituencies. Expect to see a steady stream of minor announcements on new bus stations, bypasses and bridges in the coming months as the PM tries to honour his commitments.
Much has been made of the fact that Mr Johnson fared worse in his confidence vote than Theresa May did when she was challenged in December 2018.
Mrs May was forced from office six months later, despite securing 63 per cent of the vote.
Mr Johnson got less than 59 per cent, but the nature of his opposition means his position might be more secure.
Where Mrs May faced a determined band of Brexiteers, with a clear alternative policy agenda, Mr Johnson’s opponents are divided on everything but their dislike of him.
The May regime was paralysed by leadership threats. But in Mr Johnson’s case, there is no widespread opposition to the Government’s programme.
The PM will have to offer more concessions to MPs on details of his proposals. But there is no reason he cannot get the bulk of his programme through, despite the massive revolt.
And the clock is ticking.