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Tory MPs oppose Lis Truss mini-budget | Liz dress

 

Liz Truss is struggling to persuade Conservative MPs to back her controversial mini-budget, with some threatening a rebellion amid fears she will once again be known as the “bad party”.

The Prime Minister is facing a surge of discontent overshadowing the Tory conference, which she insists will “stick to” her plans to cut the top rate of income tax and public spending cuts.

Michael Gove launched a dramatic broadside on Truss’s economic plans, saying it was “not conservative” to finance tax cuts from borrowing or slashing the welfare budget, and warned he must change course or risk having his budget voted down.

However, President Kwasi Kwarteng vowed on Monday to “continue the course” with a “sound, credible” plan, which he will insist is “backed by an iron-clad commitment” to fiscal discipline despite unleashing economic turmoil. Small budget.

Truss lamented the way the mini-budget was received after a temporary slump in the pound, condemnation from the International Monetary Fund and warnings that interest rates could rise again.

The prime minister tried to quell anger over his handling of the economy, but later firmed up his tax plans and refused to rule out public spending cuts and a real-term fall in benefits owed to them.

He told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg program on Sunday: “I accept that we should have done a better landing, I accept that, I’ve learned from that and I’ll make sure we do a better job of landing in the future.”

But he added: “I think there’s too much focus in politics on the optics or how things are – as opposed to the impact they have on our economy.”

“I hope the taxpayer gets value for money,” he said, promising “better public services” but warning it would be a “tough and stormy” winter.

In less than a month, Truss has faced criticism from many in his own party for measures including a cap on bankers’ bonuses and scrapping the 45p tax rate in a bid to spur growth, and has been hammered in the polls.

On Sunday night, when he made a surprise appearance at the Tory conference dinner, he won a standing ovation at the Conservative Home event for saying he had delivered “a package of tax cuts and supply-side reforms to turbo-charge our economy”.

But Tory insiders admitted they were worried the conference hall could be half-empty for his speech on Wednesday, with delegates leaving early because of the rail strike.

As a large crowd of protesters gathered outside the Birmingham conference, one senior Tory admitted the “bad party” – a label Theresa May applied to the Conservatives in 2002 – was back. “No one says those words, but that’s what everyone thinks when they see what we’re proposing,” they said.

Cabinet minister Robert Buckland expressed his unease at the tax cuts disproportionately benefiting the wealthy, saying that while tax simplification is sensible, he wants to see “intelligent intervention” rather than “trickledown economics”.

The Wales Secretary said at a fringe event: “A sensible Conservative government would be very careful to ensure that those most in need are not left behind, at the other end of the equation.

“We need to remember that those who are in real need will need our help as a government. Even if we have to spend more for now, we should not shirk our responsibilities in that regard.

Senior Tory MP Damian Green has warned the party will lose the next election unless it changes. “If we paint ourselves as the party of the rich and the party of those who have already won,” he said, “funny, most people will not vote for us and we will lose.”

Indicating he hoped there would be a review, the former cabinet minister added: “Quite clearly, as we move between now and the general election there needs to be conversations about the direction of the government.”

Former transport secretary Grant Shapps criticized the moves, saying the move to scrap the 45p tax rate was “full of tin”. In an op-ed for The Times, he wrote that the government should “not hand out large handouts to the least needy,” adding that “when there is pain, the pain must be shared.”

Jack Perry, the Tory leader, sparked anger among colleagues when he said MPs would have to back tax measures or no longer be allowed to sit as Conservatives. embankment” and more forcefully in the open.

Rebel MPs will not get a chance to test support for the controversial measures for months. Number 10 is now understood to be planning a vote on the tax cuts in March, possibly after the Spring Budget. The only immediate legislation needed is to abolish stamp duty and national insurance hikes, which Tory MPs will support.

However, in a frenetic day of interventions on Sunday, Michael Gove said he supported moves to cap energy bills, but that 35% of extra debt in the Budget report went to unfunded tax cuts left him “deeply” concerned.

“There are two main things that are complicated by the financial phenomenon,” he said. “The first is the risk of using borrowed money for tax cuts. That’s not conservative. The second is the decision to cut the rate to 45p while changing the law on how bankers are paid in the City of London.

“Finally, at a time when people are struggling … when you have an extra billion pounds at play, a major decision, a headline tax measure, a tax cut for the rich, it’s a display of false values.”

Pressed on whether he would vote against the package in the Commons, he eventually conceded: “I don’t believe it’s right.” Later in a fringe event, he added: “If a mistake has been made, I think the right thing to do is to admit it and correct course.”

In his speech to the Tory conference on Monday, Kwarteng, who was revealed to have attended a private champagne reception with financiers after delivering his small budget, said: “We have to face the facts that our economy has been underdeveloped for a long time. The path ahead of us is a slow, managed decline.

“We need a new approach, focused on boosting economic growth. That’s the only real way to fund higher wages, more jobs and, most importantly, our invaluable public services. It’s the only way to achieve long-term fiscal sustainability…I believe our plan is right.”

Tory MPs oppose Lis Truss mini-budget | Liz dress

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