Gainsborough Conservative MP asks what is the point of the Conservative Party?

Published on 18 October 2022, by Gainsboroughlive | No comments yet |

MP for Gainsborough Sir Edward Leigh has asked the new Chancellor of the Exchequer “what is the point of the Conservative Party?” The veteran Tory was called by the Speaker of the House to ask Chancellor Jeremy Hunt a question following an economic update on Monday, October 17.

Mr Hunt reversed much of his predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng’s controversial mini-budget. The U-turns included the scaling back of the energy price cap, which will now be in place until April 2023, rather than for two years. Income tax will also no longer be cut by a penny as planned, remaining at 20p.

Sir Edward backed Prime Minister Liz Truss in the Conservative leadership race and questioned the reversals of the policies she initially implemented. He said: “I congratulate the Chancellor on his soothing and competent tone and, of course, we’ve got to calm the markets, but what is our vision?

On 2 August 2022, he tweeted his support for Truss and believed her plan to cut taxes would get the economy going.

“Of course, we accept the shortcomings of the mini-budget, but does he accept we can’t just slide into a sort of second-rate economy going the direction of France with a bloated public sector, the highest taxes for 70 years, gross inefficiencies. So, by the time of the next election, can we as a Conservative Party promise to get taxation back [to] at least the level we started at the start of this parliament and get corporation [tax] back to one of the most competitive in Europe?

“Otherwise what is the point of Conservative Party?” The Labour benches jeered and Mr Hunt said: “Here’s the problem, Mr Speaker, with all the noises coming from the party opposite. This compassionate Conservative government was able to step in with massive help for members of the public with the furlough scheme, with the energy price guarantee, because we took difficult decisions on the economy and years that proceeded it.

“Each and every one was opposed by the party opposite. I say to my right honourable friend that the point of a Conservative Government is to build a strong economy. That’s what we will do. It’s an important point I wish to make, Mr Speaker. It is the job of the Chancellor, not just to balance the books, but also to have a vision for economic growth and I hope I will persuade him in two weeks time that I have just that.”

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