Tory Conference latest LIVE: Truss and Kwarteng in ‘lockstep’ over tax cuts as Gove remains coy over support

Tory Conference latest LIVE: Truss and Kwarteng in ‘lockstep’ over tax cuts as Gove remains coy over support

Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng are in “lockstep” over scrapping the top rate of income tax, a spokesperson for the Chancellor has said.

Ms Truss was accused of throwing the chancellor “under the bus” after she said the move to abolish the 45p rate was his idea and had not been discussed in Cabinet.

But now a spokesperson for the chancellor has sought to clarify matters, saying: “As the PM said this morning, the 45p rate raises very little and makes our tax system more complicated.

“While the chancellor obviously makes all tax decisions, the prime minister and Kwasi are in lockstep on this.”

The Prime Minister also insisted she has a “very clear plan” for the economy as she faced questions from Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday morning.

Also present on the programme was former Cabinet minister Michael Gove who remained coy over his support for the new tax plans, saying he was “profoundly” concerned about Ms Truss’s vast tax cuts

Later he was asked about his support as he arrived at the conference centre but refused to be drawn, saying “we’ll wait to see what’s brought forward”.

Pollster predicts gloom for Torys at election

20:35 , Miriam Burrell

A pollster predicted gloom for the Conservative Party at the next general election.

Matthew Goodwin, professor of politics at the University of Kent, told a Tory conference fringe event: “My instinct is telling me it is going to get worse before it gets better, and it may not get better at all.”

Prof Goodwin said the “broader mood in British politics” did not support the Government’s tax-cutting agenda, with it being a “6% position in the country”.

He added: “It is not even fringe, it is not even on the radar, so as we go through winter and the conversation evolves into where is the money coming from, what public services are being cut, efficiency savings… that is all going to roll into a much broader discussion about austerity 2.0, whatever you want to call it – we may actually see further losses in the Conservative coalition before we see any stabilisation.”

Rees-Mogg ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if 45p tax cut raises extra revenue

19:50 , Miriam Burrell

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said he would not be surprised if the cut to the top rate of income tax would raise extra revenue.

He told a ConservativeHome event: “Cutting the tax rate from 50p to 45p didn’t actually cost the taxpayer anything at all, it saw income come in.

“So let’s be careful about these forecasts. They are not holy writ, they are guesses at what may happen and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least that 40p raises more money for HMRC than 45p does.”

Mr Rees-Mogg also suggested the Bank of England had lagged behind the US Federal Reserve in increasing interest rates.

He said: “With interest rates, the Federal Reserve has moved faster than the Bank of England. I think that’s one of the key things that has been going on in financial markets and currency markets not just in the UK but across the world.”

Tory minister surprised by ‘backbiting’

19:21 , Miriam Burrell

Tory minister Dehenna Davison said she had been surprised by the amount of “backbiting” among her fellow Conservative MPs.

The levelling up minister told a conference fringe event she had expected “more camaraderie” among her colleagues.

Asked what had surprised her most about being an MP, she said: “Call this naivety, but just the amount of backbiting among some colleagues sometimes.

“You see things about yourself leaked to the press, half of which is completely made up or fabricated, and you know that it’s come from your own side.

“I expected there to be a little bit more camaraderie than that.”

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