HomeWorld NewsTories fear Rishi Sunak has 'already checked out' after King's Speech
Tories fear Rishi Sunak has 'already checked out' after King's Speech
Tories fear Rishi Sunak has ‘already checked out’ after lacklustre King’s Speech with warnings that bold tax cuts at Autumn Statement in a fortnight are the only way to avoid election catastrophe
Fears were raised that Rishi Sunak has ‘already checked out’ today after Tories warned that the King’s Speech lacked ‘big ideas’.
The PM laid out his Parliamentary agenda for the coming year yesterday insisting the country had ‘turned the corner’ and it was time to build a ‘brighter future’.
But the crackdown on crime, limited easing of the Net Zero ‘burden’ and phased ban on cigarette sales underwhelmed many Conservatives with a general election looming.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is now facing a mounting clamour to bring forward eye-catching tax cuts at the Autumn Statement on November 22, with concerns that could be the last opportunity to avoid an election disaster.
Mr Hunt has been playing down the prospects of a big shift to stop taxes reaching new post-war highs, warning the public finances are already stretched and it could fuel inflation.
However, economists have suggested that he does have some wriggle-room after tax revenues came in higher than anticipated and borrowing slightly lower.
Rishi Sunak laid out his Parliamentary agenda for the coming year yesterday insisting the country had ‘turned the corner’ and it was time to build a ‘brighter future’
The Tories have been consistently trailing Labour by double-digits in polls
Mr Sunak tried to go on the attack during the Commons debate on King’s Speech yesterday, saying Labour would bring ‘higher inflation, more strikes, more immigration and higher borrowing’.
‘The Labour Party’s plan to unnecessarily borrow £28billion more every year and give in to inflation-busting pay demands from its union paymasters is dangerous, inflationary, and the British people would pay the price in higher interest rates and higher taxes,’ he said.
He warned that Sir Keir’s ‘naive’ plan to ban new exploration for oil and gas would leave the UK ‘more dependent on Putin’s Russia’, adding: ‘What’s even more absurd is that he is not against all oil and gas – he’s just against British oil and gas.
‘They want to pursue Net Zero with ideological zeal – we are cutting the cost of Net Zero for working people.’
Sir Keir described the King’s Speech package as a ‘missed opportunity’ and said that Mr Sunak’s bid to present himself as the candidate of change was ‘desperate’.
Some Tory MPs warned privately that the speech lacked a big, voter-friendly proposal – and said it would increase pressure on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to bring in tax cuts before the election.
One minister said: ‘It’s all right as far as it goes, but where are the big ideas? We are miles behind [in the polls] – we should be throwing everything at it. It sometimes feels like No 10 has given up.’
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is now facing a mounting clamour to bring forward eye-catching tax cuts at the Autumn Statement on November 22
A former Cabinet minister told MailOnline there were ‘no big ideas’. ‘Still banging on about AI, which may be important but is hardly the basis of a strong retail offer to voters,’ they said.
The MP warned that the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in a fortnight must be ‘better’ and include tax cuts. ‘We need some pro-growth measures,’ they added.
A minister who attended a drinks event with Mr Sunak in No10 on Monday told The Times: ‘It felt like he’d already checked out, his wheelie was at the door and he was pottering around for his final hours, looking forward to a few foreign sightseeing trips.’