Tories at war: Boris and Rishi at loggerheads on key policy ‘The Prime Minister hates it’

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

Mr Sunak is widely regarded as Mr Johnson’s heir apparent, and a Savanta ComRes poll this week suggested he remains far more popular among the British public than other senior Tory figure. However, Mr Johnson is uncomfortable at a proposal by Mr Sunak which would see pension protections put on ice to prevent large increases in line with the “triple lock” system used to calculate how much people of pensionable age receive.

Mr Sunak is believed to have flagged what he regards as “anomalies” in the mechanism, and is keen to get to grips with them in his Autumn budget.

A Government source told The Times: “The prime minister hates it because it was a manifesto pledge.

“He really doesn’t want to do it. The optics are terrible for older voters.”

The Tory manifesto commits the party to raising the state pension in line with whatever figure is higher – wages, inflation or 2.5 percent.

Mr Sunak is worried costs will soar largely as a result of a drop in wages caused by the Government’s furlough scheme, which covers 80 percent of the cost of them.

Research undertaken by the Resolution Foundation think tank has suggested as a result pensions could rise by 7.4 percent over the next two years, costing taxpayers an additional £2billion – the last thing Mr Sunak needs in the middle of a recession induced by the coronavirus pandemic.

JUST IN: Brexit showdown – Frost ‘stresses UK’s £2trillion financial muscle’

Figures yesterday suggested the crisis had pushed national debt past £2trillion for the first time.

Mr Sunak said: “Today’s figures are a stark reminder that we must return our public finances to a sustainable footing over time, which will require taking difficult decisions.

“It is also why we are taking action now to support the growth and jobs which pay for our public services.”

PM ‘naive about sharp claws in US’ as he tries to clinch Brexit deal [LATEST]
Corbyn would be in power today if it wasn’t for 2011 decision [INSIGHT]
Three-stage plan for ending lockdown REVEALED – starting with shops [LIVE]

Torsten Bell, chief executive at the think tank, said: “Honesty about tax rises to come should be combined with a bigger role for taxes on wealth that are currently riddled with exemptions, loopholes and inconsistencies.

“Doing so would help ensure the government raises revenues in a fair way among rich and poor, across regions and between generations.”

Mr Sunak’s personal popularity rating currently stands at +25, according to a Savanta ComRes poll of 2,038 adults interviewed between August 14 and 16 and published on Wednesday.

The disagreement between him and Mr Johnson is not the first to make headlines.

In June it was reported that the pair were increasingly at odds over China, with Mr Johnson keen to take a tougher stance with Beijing, and Mr Sunak wary of putting up an “economic wall”.

An unnamed Tory MP said: “The sense among my colleagues is that Rishi is allowing more cracks to grow between him and Boris.”

Assessing Mr Sunak’s prospects of replacing Mr Johnson in Number 10, he added: “Rishi’s time could come sooner than expected.”

Bookmakers Coral is currently offering odds of 3-1 on Mr Sunak being the UK’s next Prime Minister.

Significantly longer odds of 8-1 are being offered on closest rival, Michael Gove.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is rated at 12-1.

Source: Read Full Article