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Sunak is considering tax cuts for high earners and senior Tories are plotting a stamp duty slash in efforts to win over voters after Labour by-election victories in Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth


Rishi Sunak is considering tax cuts for high earners as senior Tories plot to slash stamp duty in an effort to win over voters after stay-at-home Conservative voters handed Labour two devastating by-elections wins.

The Prime Minister could raise the threshold for paying the highest rate of income tax the Prime Minister to galvanise the votes of five million high earners.

It comes after the party held surveys to work out which tax cut would have the most effect, the Telegraph reports.

And senior Conservatives are discussing whether to push ahead with cutting stamp duty or abolishing inheritance tax in their manifesto next year.

They say this could appeal to middle-aged voters feeling disenchanted with the party, while making moving house easier would give the country a boost.

‘Cutting stamp duty would cost a lot of money but it is not a good tax because it disincentives people from moving, which is not good for the economy,’ one established Tory told the Times

The Prime Minister could raise the threshold for paying the highest rate of income tax the Prime Minister to galvanise the votes of five million high earners

The Prime Minister could raise the threshold for paying the highest rate of income tax the Prime Minister to galvanise the votes of five million high earners

Senior Conservatives are discussing whether to push ahead with cutting stamp duty or abolishing inheritance tax in their manifesto next year

Senior Conservatives are discussing whether to push ahead with cutting stamp duty or abolishing inheritance tax in their manifesto next year 

Jeremy Hunt dismissed desperate Tory pleas for early tax cuts despite government borrowing coming in lower than expected

Jeremy Hunt dismissed desperate Tory pleas for early tax cuts despite government borrowing coming in lower than expected

It comes despite Jeremy Hunt dismissing desperate Tory pleas for early tax cuts yesterday despite government borrowing coming in lower than expected.

Public sector net borrowing was £14.3billion last month, significantly below the £20billion that had been pencilled in by analysts.

Receipts of inheritance tax – something many Conservatives want the government to target – were £3.9billion, £400million higher than before.  

However, the Chancellor dashed hopes that he might use the wriggle room to act on taxes – given new impetus following disastrous by-election defeats for the Tories.

Mr Hunt said: ‘We had to borrow during the pandemic to protect lives and livelihoods, but since then Putin‘s invasion has pushed up inflation and interest rates.

‘This means we spent twice as much on debt interest last year as we did the previous year.

‘This is clearly not sustainable; we need to get debt falling and reduce public sector waste so that those delivering public services can get back to what they do best; teaching our children, keeping us safe and treating us when we’re sick.’

Keir Starmer said Labour had ‘made history’ after romping home in the previously safe Tory seats of Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth. 

Ministers said the defeats – among the biggest in British political history – had ‘killed off’ any prospect of a general election before the autumn of next year.

 Results suggested that the Labour victories stemmed from thousands of former Conservative voters staying at home.

Turnout was low in both contests, allowing Labour to win without increasing its vote.

Mr Sunak acknowledged that the results were ‘disappointing’, but insisted he would not change course.

Speaking in Egypt on the last leg of his Middle East tour, the Prime Minister stressed that mid-term elections were ‘always difficult for incumbent governments’.

He said that ‘local factors’ had also played a part – code for the controversy surrounding the departures of former MPs Nadine Dorries and Chris Pincher.

The Prime Minister said he would ‘keep on’ trying to deliver his five pledges, but would also ‘bring change’ in other areas, as he did on net zero last month.

Mrs Dorries hit back last night, branding Mr Sunak’s attempt to blame her as ‘pathetic’.

The Prime Minister said that 'local factors' had also played a part ¿ code for the controversy surrounding the departures of former MPs Nadine Dorries (pictured) and Chris Pincher

The Prime Minister said that ‘local factors’ had also played a part – code for the controversy surrounding the departures of former MPs Nadine Dorries (pictured) and Chris Pincher

Keir Starmer said Labour had 'made history' after romping home in the previously safe Tory seats of Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth. Pictured: Newly elected Labour candidate Alistair Strathern with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer said Labour had ‘made history’ after romping home in the previously safe Tory seats of Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth. Pictured: Newly elected Labour candidate Alistair Strathern with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

Newly elected Labour MP Sarah Edwards with party leader Sir Keir Starmer at Tamworth Football Club

Newly elected Labour MP Sarah Edwards with party leader Sir Keir Starmer at Tamworth Football Club

She posted on X: ‘A worthy leader owns it. He apologises and looks for a way to do better. What he doesn’t do is pathetically blame anyone or anything other than himself.’

Lib Dems humiliation 

The Liberal Democrats suffered a disappointing night in Mid Bedfordshire as they came a distant third to Labour and the Tories.

The party had hoped to take the rural seat, after MP Nadine Dorries resigned, to add to their string of by-election victories.

Lib-Dem strategists stressed at last month’s party conference that they could smash the ‘Blue Wall’ – former Conservative strongholds – with Mid Bedfordshire next in their sights.

But the party’s candidate Emma Holland-Lindsay finished more than 3,000 votes behind Labour and the Tories. It prompted Lib-Dem officials to suggest that targeting a seat where they came third in 2019 was a step too far.

Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said: ‘We nearly doubled our share of the vote which would see the Lib Dems win dozens of seats off the Conservatives in a general election.

‘We can play a crucial role in getting rid of this Conservative government.’

But Labour frontbencher Peter Kyle said: ‘The Lib Dems made a lot of noise and heat, but it never translated into action on the ground.’

In Tamworth, the Lib Dems finished joint sixth and lost their deposit.

Shell-shocked Tory MPs yesterday warned the Prime Minister that he now had to do much more to win back traditional supporters.

Former minister Dame Andrea Jenkyns said the Government needed to make ‘far-reaching major changes now to instil confidence in the Conservative voters’.

Sir John Redwood said voters wanted the Government ‘to stop the boats, improve the quality and efficiency of services and cut taxes to get some growth’.

Former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said voters were ‘angry with us because of the cost of living and taxation – they want to know they have a government that gets growth going and get taxes down’.

He added: ‘This will then allow us to talk about other things, like net zero and woke issues.’

Fellow Tory Danny Kruger also called for tax cuts as he urged the Prime Minister to be ‘more coherent, more robust and braver’.

Privately, some ministers called for the resignation of Tory party chairman Greg Hands.

One said: ‘Greg committed the worst sin of all – letting people believe we were going to win at least one of them almost right up until when we lost.’

Polling expert Sir John Curtice said the results were ‘extremely bad news’ for the Conservatives and could presage a 1997-style Labour landslide next year.

‘It is 12 months to go, this isn’t destiny, but it is a pointer that unless the Conservatives can fairly dramatically and fairly radically turn things around, then they are staring defeat in the face in 12 months’ time,’ he said.

Labour saw off stiff competition from the Liberal Democrats to achieve a 23.9 per cent vote swing in Tamworth, and a 20.5 per cent swing in Mid Bedfordshire. Sir Keir hailed the swings as ‘phenomenal results’ which showed the party was on track for government.

He said Labour was ‘redrawing the political map’ by taking seats which had been comfortably Conservative.

‘Winning in these Tory strongholds shows that people overwhelmingly want change and they’re ready to put their faith in our changed Labour Party to deliver it,’ he added.

In Mid Befordshire, the seat previously vacated by former culture secretary Mrs Dorries, Labour’s Alistair Strathern came out on top in a three-way battle to win by 1,132 votes.

The largely rural constituency had a Tory MP since 1931 and has never been held by Labour in its century-long history. Sarah Edwards took victory in the Tamworth by-election, which was triggered when former chief whip Mr Pincher lost his appeal against a proposed suspension from the Commons for drunkenly groping two men.

The union organiser overturned a Tory majority of more than 19,000 to win the Staffordshire seat. Mr Hands acknowledged the results were disappointing but insisted there was no enthusiasm for Sir Keir among voters, and said there was still time for the Government to turn things round.



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