Tory leadership contest has become ‘arms race of fantasy economics’, says Starmer – UK politics live | Politics

Several Tory leadership candidates, or their proxies, have been giving interviews, or making announcements, this morning. Here is a round-up of the main developments.

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  • Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, has launched her campaign for the leadership. In an article in Daily Telegraph says she would reverse the national insurance increase that took effect in April. She said:
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I would reverse the national insurance increase that came in during April, make sure we keep corporation tax competitive so we can attract business and investment into Britain, and put the Covid debt on a longer-term footing.

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She has also launched a campaign video.

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Robert Peston, ITV’s political editor, thinks Truss’s plan to refinance the government’s Covid debt is unrealistic.

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  • Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary who is backing Truss for leader, told the Today programme said “there need to be spending reductions” to fund tax cuts – but refused to say which services should be hit.
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  • Robert Jenrick, the former communities secretary who is supporting Rishi Sunak’s leadership campaign, defended the fact that Sunak still held a US green card (meaning that he was entitled to work in the US, and expected to eventually settle there) when he became chancellor. Asked about the story, Jenrick said:
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With respect to his green card, [Sunak] was someone who lived and worked abroad and in a fairly normal way applied for a green card, and then when he returned to the UK he kept it for a while and then relinquished it, I don’t begrudge him that.

n

I actually think it’s quite refreshing that we might have a prime minister who’s lived and worked around the world, is extremely knowledgeable about finance and technology, having lived in California and run businesses there, and will be a respected figure on the international stage for the fact that he has those connections and understanding.

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I was clearly being smeared. I was told that the Serious Fraud Office, the National Crime Agency, HMRC, were looking into me.

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I’m not aware of this. I’ve always declared my taxes – I’ve paid my taxes in the UK.

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  • Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, has released a video saying that he should be PM because he can plan, deliver, communicate, campaign – and help Tory candidates win their seats.
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  • Jeremy Hunt, the former foreign secretary, has said he wants to “cut all taxes”. He also said half the cost of cutting corporation tax would be recouped by the Treasury because it would stimulate the economy, leading to businesses paying more tax. He told BBC Breakfast:
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We need to have a lower tax environment to help businesses get off the ground … I want to cut all taxes …

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The Treasury’s own numbers say that you’ll get half the money back that you invest in cutting corporation tax because of increased business activity.

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  • Suella Braverman, the attorney general, has said that, as PM, she would toughen up the Northern Ireland protocol bill. She said:
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As prime minister, I would make the changes to the NIP bill that I’ve been arguing for within government, to make it fully compliant with UK sovereignty. That means from day one after the Bill becomes law, the EU would have no more say over VAT and Excise in Northern Ireland and no say in our regulation of medicines. After my changes, UK law – and tax rates – would apply directly.

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  • Tom Tugenhdat, the chair of the Commons foreign affairs commitee, has said that he would lower taxes across society. He told the Today programme:
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I certainly think that we should be looking to lower taxes across every aspect of society.

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Good morning. After Boris Johnson there was an assumption that British politics might become conventional, sensible, predictable – and perhaps boring (not necessarily a bad thing). Perhaps it will eventually, but with the Conservative party leadership contest now now fully under way, we are certainly not at that point yet. For three reasons, it’s all rather surreal.

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First, for the third time in six years, the prime minister of the United Kingdom is due to be chosen by around 200,000 Conservative party members (predominantly white men over the age of 60 living in the south of England). That is more akin to what happened before the Great Reform Act of 1832 than what you would expect in a modern democracy.

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Second, Conservative MPs produce the shortlist for MPs, and currently the list of candidates includes absolute no-hopers. “Why oh why do these insignificant figures think so much of themselves?” Sir Alan Duncan, the former Foreign Office minister, wrote in his diaries in 2019, when 10 candidates were in the contest. This time round, there are already 11 – of whom the one who declared most recently, Rehman Chishti, is almost a complete unknown.

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Both these factors applied last time round, but the third, and relatively new, feature of this contest is that it involves a slew of cabinet ministers campaigning to reverse tax increases that they they voted for and defended while they were sitting in the very cabinet that approved these measures in the first place. Leadership contests always involve debates about changing policy. When Boris Johnson stood in 2019, he called for a new approach to Brexit. But he had resigned from cabinet over the policy that he wanted to overturn. Liz Truss, Sajid Javid, Nadhim Zahawi, Grant Shapps and Suella Braverman are all running on a promise to abandon, or at least consider abandoning, tax increases they used to defend.

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(Most ministers stay in office even though they disagree with some government policies, because they take the view that what matters what the government is doing overall. But to suddenly declare that the entire fiscal policy of the cabinet of which you are a member is a mistake is much more unusual.)

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Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, is giving a speech this morning and he will say the Tory leadership contest has become an “arms race of fantasy economics”. According to extracts released in advance, he will say:

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n

I cannot believe what we are hearing from the candidates to be the next Tory leader. The vast majority of them served in Boris Johnson’s government. They went out every day for months and years to defend his behaviour. They backed every one one of his 15 tax rises. They nodded along and trooped through the voting lobbies to support them. Now, it turns out they were opposed to them all along. The hypocrisy is nauseating …

n

Over the weekend, the contenders have made more than £200bn of unfunded spending commitments. Let that sink in. That’s more than the annual budget of the NHS, splurged onto the pages of the Sunday papers, without a word on how it’ll be paid for. I can tell you now – you’ll never get that from me. When I say decency and honesty matter, that means being honest about how we fund every single thing we promise you.

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Here is the agenda for the day.

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Morning: Boris Johnson is doing a visit in London.

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10.30am: Keir Starmer gives a speech in Newcastle.

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11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.

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1.30pm: Tory leadership candidates Nadhim Zahawi and Suella Braverman are due to speak at a Conservative Way Forward event. Steve Baker, the MP who has relaunched the pressure group, is also due to speak.

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3.15pm: Tory leadership candidate Sajid Javid holds a campaign launch event.

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After 4pm: The ballot closes in the election of a new Conservative 1922 Committee executive. Once the votes have been counted, Sir Graham Brady, the chair is expected to hold an immediate executive meeting to fix the rules for the parliamentary stage of the leadership contest. After that, at 6.30pm, the Conservative party board is expected to meet to arrangement the timetable for the ballot of party members, who will choose between the two candidates on the final shortlist.

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I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

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If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

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Alternatively, you can email me at [email protected]

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Key events:

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies thinktank, told the Today program this morning that the tax cuts being proposed by almost all Tory leadership candidates could be inflationary, or could lead to the Bank of England putting up interest rates. He explained:

Usually when we talk about tax cuts and spending, we’re looking at whether that’s fiscally feasible at the moment, Of course, we’ve got inflation heading up towards 10% or 11% now. When inflation is that high, you don’t normally want to be putting significant additional amounts of money into the economy.

So, if you’re looking at big tax cuts funded by borrowing in the short run, then that might have some small effect in the wrong direction on inflation, or may result in the Bank of England increasing interest rates a little bit further and a little bit faster than they otherwise would have done.

Rishi Sunakthe chancellor, is still well ahead of other candidates in terms of public declarations of support from MPs, the Mirror’s. Dan Bloom reports.

Candidates/backers as of 8.30am (including themselves)

Rishi Sunak – 33
Penny Mordaunt – 20
Liz Truss – 16
Tom Tugendhat – 16
Nadhim Zahawi – 14
Jeremy Hunt – 13
Kemi Badenoch – 13
Suella Braverman – 11
Sajid Javid – 11
Grant Shapps – 8
Rehman Chishti – 1

— Dan Bloom (@danbloom1) July 11, 2022

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Candidates/backers as of 8.30am (including themselves)

Rishi Sunak – 33
Penny Mordaunt – 20
Liz Truss – 16
Tom Tugendhat – 16
Nadhim Zahawi – 14
Jeremy Hunt – 13
Kemi Badenoch – 13
Suella Braverman – 11
Sajid Javid – 11
Grant Shapps – 8
Rehman Chishti – 1

— Dan Bloom (@danbloom1) July 11, 2022

Round-up of this morning’s announcements from Tory leadership campaigns

Several Tory leadership candidates, or their proxies, have been giving interviews, or making announcements, this morning. Here is a round-up of the main developments.

  • Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, has launched her campaign for the leadership. In an article in Daily Telegraph says she would reverse the national insurance increase that took effect in April. She said:

I would reverse the national insurance increase that came in during April, make sure we keep corporation tax competitive so we can attract business and investment into Britain, and put the Covid debt on a longer-term footing.

She has also launched a campaign video.

I have a clear vision for our country and economy – and the experience and resolve to deliver it.https://t.co/koPyqw4wIG#lizforleader pic.twitter.com/V9jENJmyj6

— Liz for Leader (@trussliz) July 11, 2022

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Robert PestonITV’s political editor, thinks Truss’s plan to refinance the government’s Covid debt is unrealistic.

Liz Truss’s leadership manifesto in @Telegraph says she wants to put £400bn of the government’s Covid related debt on a “longer term footing”. It might have been practical at the time the money was borrowed. But if refinanced now, the interest rate would probably be horrendous pic.twitter.com/vhdWq4pcV5

— Robert Peston (@Peston) July 11, 2022

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Liz Truss’s leadership manifesto in @Telegraph says she wants to put £400bn of the government’s Covid related debt on a “longer term footing”. It might have been practical at the time the money was borrowed. But if refinanced now, the interest rate would probably be horrendous. pic.twitter.com/vhdWq4pcV5

— Robert Peston (@Peston) July 11, 2022

  • Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary who is backing Truss for leader, told the Today program said “there need to be spending reductions” to fund tax cuts – but refused to say which services should be hit.
  • Robert Jenrick, the former communities secretary who is supporting Rishi Sunak’s leadership campaign, defended the fact that Sunak still held a US green card (meaning that he was entitled to work in the US, and expected to eventually settle there) when he became chancellor. Asked about the story, Jenrick said:

With respect to his green card, [Sunak] was someone who lived and worked abroad and in a fairly normal way applied for a green card, and then when he returned to the UK he kept it for a while and then relinquished it, I don’t begrudge him that.

I actually think it’s quite refreshing that we might have a prime minister who’s lived and worked around the world, is extremely knowledgeable about finance and technology, having lived in California and run businesses there, and will be a respected figure on the international stage for the fact that he has those connections and understanding.

As I understand it Nadhim Zahawi is NOT proposing 20% cut to department spending as is being suggested on here today.

He is proposing a 20% reduction in civil service staff. Which is the current government position (Boris wants to shrink it by a fifth).

— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) July 11, 2022

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As I understand it Nadhim Zahawi is NOT proposing 20% ​​cut to department spending as is being suggested on here today.

He is proposing a 20% reduction in civil service staff. Which is the current government position (Boris wants to shrink it by a fifth).

— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) July 11, 2022

I was clearly being smeared. I was told that the Serious Fraud Office, the National Crime Agency, HMRC, were looking into me.

I’m not aware of this. I’ve always declared my taxes – I’ve paid my taxes in the UK.

  • Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, has released a video saying that he should be PM because he can plan, deliver, communicate, campaign – and help Tory candidates win their seats.

I’m a campaigner and a doer – and I will deliver for you as the next Prime Minister. pic.twitter.com/Nl0OAIe9rn

— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) July 11, 2022

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  • Jeremy Hunt, the former foreign secretary, has said he wants to “cut all taxes”. He also said half the cost of cutting corporation tax would be recouped by the Treasury because it would stimulate the economy, leading to businesses paying more tax. He told BBC Breakfast:

We need to have a lower tax environment to help businesses get off the ground … I want to cut all taxes …

The Treasury’s own numbers say that you’ll get half the money back that you invest in cutting corporation tax because of increased business activity.

  • Suella Braverman, the attorney general, has said that, as PM, she would toughen up the Northern Ireland protocol bill. She said:

As prime minister, I would make the changes to the NIP bill that I’ve been arguing for within government, to make it fully compliant with UK sovereignty. That means from day one after the Bill becomes law, the EU would have no more say over VAT and Excise in Northern Ireland and no say in our regulation of medicines. After my changes, UK law – and tax rates – would apply directly.

  • Tom Tugenhdat, the chair of the Commons foreign affairs commitee, has said that he would lower taxes across society. He told the Today program:

I certainly think that we should be looking to lower taxes across every aspect of society.

Tory leadership contest has become ‘arms race of fantasy economics’, says Starmer.

Good morning. After Boris Johnson there was an assumption that British politics might become conventional, sensible, predictable – and perhaps boring (not necessarily a bad thing). Perhaps it will eventually, but with the Conservative party leadership contest now now fully under way, we are certainly not at that point yet. For three reasons, it’s all rather surreal.

First, for the third time in six years, the prime minister of the United Kingdom is due to be chosen by around 200,000 Conservative party members (predominantly white men over the age of 60 living in the south of England). That is more akin to what happened before the Great Reform Act of 1832 than what you would expect in a modern democracy.

Second, Conservative MPs produce the shortlist for MPs, and currently the list of candidates includes absolute no-hopers. “Why oh why do these insignificant figures think so much of themselves?” Sir Alan Duncan, the former Foreign Office minister, wrote in his diaries in 2019, when 10 candidates were in the contest. This time round, there are already 11 – of whom the one who declared most recently, Rehman Chishti, is almost a complete unknown.

Both these factors applied last time round, but the third, and relatively new, feature of this contest is that it involves a slew of cabinet ministers campaigning to reverse tax increases that they voted for and defended. while they were sitting in the very cabinet that approved these measures in the first place. Leadership contests always involve debates about changing policy. When Boris Johnson stood in 2019, he called for a new approach to Brexit. But he had resigned from cabinet over the policy that he wanted to overturn. Liz Truss, Sajid Javid, Nadhim Zahawi, Grant Shapps and Suella Braverman are all running on a promise to abandon, or at least consider abandoning, tax increases they used to defend.

(Most ministers stay in office even though they disagree with some government policies, because they take the view that what matters what the government is doing overall. But to suddenly declare that the entire fiscal policy of the cabinet of which you are a member is a mistake is much more unusual.)

Keir Starmer, the Labor leader, is giving a speech this morning and he will say the Tory leadership contest has become an “arms race of fantasy economics”. According to extracts released in advance, he will say:

I cannot believe what we are hearing from the candidates to be the next Tory leader. The vast majority of them served in Boris Johnson’s government. They went out every day for months and years to defend his behavior. They backed every one one of his 15 tax rises. They nodded along and trooped through the voting lobbies to support them. Now, it turns out they were opposed to them all along. The hypocrisy is nauseating …

Over the weekend, the contenders have made more than £200bn of unfunded spending commitments. Let that sink in. That’s more than the annual budget of the NHS, splurged onto the pages of the Sunday papers, without a word on how it’ll be paid for. I can tell you now – you’ll never get that from me. When I say decency and honesty matter, that means being honest about how we fund every single thing we promise you.

Here is the agenda for the day.

Morning: Boris Johnson is doing a visit in London.

10.30am: Keir Starmer gives a speech in Newcastle.

11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.

1.30pm: Tory leadership candidates Nadhim Zahawi and Suella Braverman are due to speak at a Conservative Way Forward event. Steve Baker, the MP who has relaunched the pressure group, is also due to speak.

3.15pm: Tory leadership candidate Sajid Javid holds a campaign launch event.

After 4pm: The ballot closes in the election of a new Conservative 1922 Committee executive. Once the votes have been counted, Sir Graham Brady, the chair is expected to hold an immediate executive meeting to fix the rules for the parliamentary stage of the leadership contest. After that, at 6.30pm, the Conservative party board is expected to meet to arrangement the timetable for the ballot of party members, who will choose between the two candidates on the final shortlist.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at [email protected]

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