Johnson is 'clear' government is 'looking at tax cuts' says MP
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Conservative Party MP Brendan Clarke-Smith has revealed that Boris Johnson has dangled the possibility of tax cuts in front of his backbenchers as the Prime Minister looks to secure enough support to see off a defeat in Monday evening’s vote of confidence over his leadership.
Mr Clarke-Smith told BBC News: “I mean, the cost of living generally for people whether that’s the cost of their housing, whether that’s the cost of their energy bills, and of course one of the biggest bills that you get, of course, is your tax bill.
“As conservatives, I want to see a small state I want to see individual responsibility, low taxes, people keeping more of the money in their pockets.”
Asked whether Mr Johnson was privately promising that, the MP replied: “Well, I believe, yes, that’s something that we’re going to be moving towards.
“The Chancellor, of course, has already said that that’s the path that we go in down but the Prime Minister is very clear that that is something that we are looking at yes.”
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Conservative MPs will vote on Monday evening to decide whether they still have confidence in the Prime Minister following rows over lockdown-busting parties in No 10, splits over economic policy and divisions over his leadership style.
The Prime Minister wrote to Tory MPs and addressed them at a private meeting in Westminster two hours before voting began.
He reminded Conservatives that “under my leadership” the party had won its biggest electoral victory in 40 years.
Mr Johnson warned them that Tory splits risked the “utter disaster” of Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour entering Downing Street, propped up by the SNP.
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The Prime Minister was informed early on Sunday afternoon that he would face the vote after more than 15% of the party’s MPs – 54 parliamentarians – had submitted formal letters, emails or messages saying they had lost confidence in him.
Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, confirmed he had received the 54 letters from Conservative MPs needed to trigger the vote on Sunday with a “clear indication” that there would be more to come following the conclusion of the Platinum Jubilee festivities.
The secret ballot will take place at Westminster on Monday between 6pm and 8pm, with the result announced at 9pm.
A steady stream of Tory MPs called publicly for the Prime Minister to stand down in the wake of Sue Gray’s report into breaches of the Covid regulations in No 10 and Whitehall.
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In order to oust the Prime Minister, however, the rebels will need 180 MPs, and allies of Mr Johnson made clear he is determined to fight to stay on.
A succession of Cabinet ministers appeared on TV to voice support for the Prime Minister while Government colleagues and backbenchers also went on social media as part of a co-ordinated operation to bolster Mr Johnson’s position.
Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said victory by a single vote would secure Mr Johnson’s job.
“One is enough, it’s no good saying that the rules of the party say something and then behind it unofficially there is some other rule that nobody knows and is invented for the purpose,” he told Sky News.
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