John Curtice says by-election losses ‘bad news’ for Tories
Rishi Sunak has struggled to calm Tory panic following two catastrophic by-election losses this week.
The by-election losses have prompted speculation, reported in The Times, that up to 25 Conservative MPs have submitted letters of no-confidence to Sir Graham Brady, who serves as the chair for the 1922 Committee.
A leadership vote would only be triggered if 53 letters are sent, and the 1922 chairman never reveals how many are received until the threshold is met.
The unease among Tory MPs may only worsen in light of a shock poll that found more voters believe Labour is more likely to cut taxes than Mr Sunak’s party.
The survey, carried out by Redfield & Wilton Strategies survey for the MailOnline, revealed that 37 percent of voters see Labour as a champion of lower taxes compared to just 21 percent who believe the Tories will lower the tax burden.
Cutting taxes was supported or strongly supported by 58 percent of voters, according to the poll.
Many MPs are increasingly angry that Mr Sunak has failed to bring forward more traditional Tory policies to lure back voters.
The tax burden currently sits at a 70-year-high, sparking outrage in the Tory heartlands.
The poll is just the latest in a series of damning polls for the incumbent prime minister.
According to The Times, More in Common will release a poll tomorrow showing that 73 percent of voters want an early general election, before the end of May 2024, compared to just 15 percent who want to wait a year.
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If the by-election results, which saw a 20-plus percentage swing to Labour, were replicated at a general election, the Tories could be reduced to just 20 seats.
The panic has even prompted Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to consider quitting as an MP before the next election.
The Chancellor is reportedly fearful that he could suffer a ‘Michael Portillo’ moment when voters in his new Surrey constituency of Godalming and Ash go to the ballot box.
Mr Hunt has repeatedly rejected calls for significant tax cuts in the Autumn Statement next month.
During the interview rounds this morning, cabinet minister Robert Jenrick told the BBC: “We all want to cut taxes. Everyone wants lower taxes, as a conservative it is one of the central tenets of conservatism that we believe in lower taxes.”
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He added: “But you can trust the Conservatives to make sensible, prudent decisions on the future of the economy and to bring down taxes where it is capable to do so.”
A Treasury source said: “The PM and Chancellor want to lower the personal tax burden as soon as possible, but our priority has to be inflation reduction.
“If we cut taxes too early and pump billions of additional demand into the economy when inflation is already too high, we risk even higher prices and higher interest rates.”
Former trade minister Marcus Fysh urged action, saying: “We need some practical growth-boosting and inflation-lowering tax cuts now to demonstrate to people that we are on their side.”
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