Rebels threaten to block Hunt’s tax rises in new five-point election ultimatum

BBC Breakfast: Jeremy Hunt challenged over tax bill concerns

Rishi Sunak and his Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have been warned that Tory MPs are willing to risk collapsing his Government if he tries to raise taxes again.

The threat came from former party chairman Sir Jake Berry as a coalition of MPs on the right of the party unveiled five demands for the next general election manifesto.

The “rally for the manifesto” event hosted by the rightwing New Conservative group at the Tory conference in Manchester saw big names back the new policy platform including Dame Priti Patel and Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Sir Jake warned the government that the group of 33 who have signed the pledge will also oppose stealth taxes.

The man who served as chairman in Liz Truss’s short-lived government made it clear that he believed the chief whip would not dare throw them out because it would eliminate Rishi Sunak’s majority.

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READ MORE: Liz Truss piles pressure on Rishi Sunak and demands he ‘axe the tax’

Sir Jake asked a packed room of Tory activists what they thought was responsible for increasing taxes.

Someone shouted out “Jeremy Hunt” and another “public spending”.

But Sir Jake said: “You are all wrong. It is MPs voting for tax rises.”

He said that was why the new group has been set up to oppose tax rises or demand balancing measures if different taxes go up.

He used the example of alcohol duty saying that if it rises there should be a cut elsewhere.

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Sir Jake said: “After 13 years of Conservative government our tax to GDP ratio now stands at 37 percent.

“I’m sorry, that is too high and that is why it’s to reduce it..”

He said: “The idea behind the group is that it will create a blocking majority in the House of Commons.

“That means that no chancellor can bring forward a budget that increases the overall tax burden of people who are in the UK.”

Also speaking on the demand to cut tax was Tory MP Miriam Cates, co-founder of the New Conservatives who were hosting the rally.

She said: “It should be no surprise that productivity growth has stalled.

“We look at how our tax system is discouraging people from working harder or longer, especially at particular pinch points of the income scale.”

She highlighted how the threshold of £80,000 turnover by a company before they had to charge VAT was disincentivising growth and productivity.

She said: “That’s another enormous barrier to the productivity of people on ordinary wages with ordinary jobs, from families on relatively modest incomes to business owners just trying to get by and make a reasonable living.”

The rally following one organised by Ms Truss in support of economic growth represents a major challenge to Mr Sunak and his Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

The five manifesto demands include scrapping the European Convention of Human Rights and European Union employment law; cutting taxes; reducing immigration; banning gender ideology and trans lessons in schools; ending pupils who fail their A-levels from being sent to university.

The platform was supported by the New Conservatives led by Danny Kruger and Miriam Cates as well as the influential Common Sense Group chaired by Sir John Hayes and allies of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

It represents the coming together of the right of the party which had previously been fractured.

Mr Kruger said: “We believe that in our heartlands like Devizes that I represent, and in the new seats, we won in the North Midlands, that elected Miriam Cates, voters want the same thing.

“They want to get their country back. They want the government to govern in the interest and the values of the people. And we think that’s what we were elected to do in 2019.”

Veteran MP Sir John Redwood wanted a change of direction.

He said: “Conservatives believe in offering a hand up not a hand out.

“We are very much behind everybody getting on their personal journeys.”

Meanwhile, Dame Priti warned that it was “socialism” that was spreading woke doctrines in schools and said it had happened “on the watch of a Conservative government.”

She said the party had to “wake up” and “take back control of the agenda” from the left on social issues.

Tom Hunt, deputy chairman of the Common Sense Group, and Sir Jacob warned that net migration of 500,000 a year was too much.

Mr Hunt also said that Conservatives needed to stop being afraid of discussing these issues.

He said that when people objected to their communities being transformed by mass migration “it is not xenophobic.”

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