Tory civil war: Michael Gove threatens to lead Commons rebellion against Truss's tax plans


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Michael Gove has signalled an all-out civil war in the Tory party strongly hinting that he will lead rebels in voting against Liz Truss’ mini-budget.

He said that his “biggest problem” with the announcements made by Kwasi Kwarteng last month was that the Government was “borrowing money to fund tax cuts”.

The Tory heavyweight is doing a tour of the conference speaking at nine fringe events and on Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday this morning he made it clear that he opposed Ms Trus’ radical economic plans.

He said: “It is not Conservative to borrow to fund tax cuts.”

Asked three times how he would vote regarding the fiscal event he refused to say he would back the Government.

The Surrey Heath MP backed Ms Truss’ leadership rival Rishi Sunak over the summer who described the planned tax cuts as “immoral”.

Mr Gove’s comments come after a leading Tory donor told that Ms Truss “could be out by Christmas” because of missteps which caused a run on the pound.

And Mr Gove’s public comments reflect disquiet among many Tory MPs over the strategy with some even suggesting they want to trigger a leadership election.

Mr Gove also strongly criticised the removal of the top 45p rate saying that it was a bad look for the top tax cut to be aimed at the rich.

He said: “I don’t think it’s right”.

Party chairman Jake Berry told Sky News this morning that the mini-budget would be “treated as a vote of confidence” and those who voted against it would lose the right to sit as a Conservative MP.

He added, “although that is a decision for the chief whip, as far as I am concerned, yes” they would lose the whip.

In the House of Commons earlier this month, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed measures to reverse the national insurance contributions hike and to scrap next year’s rise in corporation tax.

However, he announced new measures that surprised members MPs and members of his own party including ending the cap on bankers’ bonuses and ditching the 45p top rate of tax.

Ms Truss admitted this morning that even members of the Cabinet were unaware of some of the tax cuts before they were unveiled in Parliament.

Exclusive polling for has also revealed public disquiet over the strategy with the Prime Minister admitting that she had lessons to learn on communications.

According to the findings from Techne UK, 50 percent think the government cut taxes too much while just eight percent thought it was too little and 16 percent thought the mini-budget got the balance right.

Meanwhile, 55 percent thought Ms Truss was not on the side of working people despite reversing the National Insurance rise.

The poll of 1,629 voters on 28 and 29 September also revealed that Labour now has a poll lead of 20 points in a week where the pond crashed.

The Prime Minister admitted this morning that she could have “laid the ground better” after the market turmoil that followed her announcements.

She said: “I do want to say to people I understand their worries about what has happened this week.

“I do stand by the package we announced and I stand by the fact we announced it quickly, because we had to act. But I do accept we should have laid the ground better.”

More to follow…


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