Michael Gove Savages Kwasi Kwarteng's Mini-Budget And Suggests He'll Vote Against It

Tory chairman Jake Berry has warned that any MPs who fail to support the government will lose the party whip.
Michael Gove looks on as Liz Truss is interviewed by Laura Kuenssberg.
Michael Gove looks on as Liz Truss is interviewed by Laura Kuenssberg.
Stefan Rousseau via PA Wire/PA Images

Michael Gove has launched a bitter attack on Kwasi Kwarteng’s decision to slash taxes for the rich and suggested he will not vote against it in parliament.

The former cabinet minister, who was sacked by new prime minister Liz Truss, said it was “not Conservative” to fund tax cuts with increased government borrowing.

He spoke out after Liz Truss was grilled by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg at the start of the Tory conference in Birmingham.

Gove, who backed Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership race, said he was “profoundly” concerned by the the chancellor’s mini-budget.

As well as abolishing the 45p income tax rate paid by the highest earners, Kwarteng also scrapped the rise in national insurance, ended the cap on bankers’ bonuses and cancelled plans to increase corporation tax.

The moves caused chaos on the money markets, leading to the pound falling to its lowest ever level, government borrowing costs soaring and the Bank of England having to bail out the pensions industry to the tune of £65 billion.

In her interview, Truss admitted that mistakes had been made in the way the mini-budget was presented - but insisted she would not be U-turning, despite anger among Tory MPs.

Asked for his views on the mini-budget, Gove said: “I don’t believe it’s right.”

He said there remains “an inadequate realisation at the top of Government about the scale of change required”.

Gover said there were “two major things” that were problematic with the plans set out by the prime minister and chancellor.

“The first is the sheer risk of using borrowed money to fund tax cuts, he said. That’s not Conservative,” he said.

The second, Gove argued, was the move to cut the top rate of income tax and axe the cap on bankers’ bonuses “at a time when people are suffering”.

Asked if, given his opposition to the mini-budget, he would vote against it in the Commons, Gove said: “I don’t believe it’s right.”

Former chief whip Julian Smith is among those calling on the government to change course.

He tweeted this morning: “The first job of an MP is to act in the interest of their constituents & in the national interest. We cannot clap for carers one month & cut tax for millionaires months later.”

But Tory chairman Jake Berry warned that any MP who failed to vote for Kwarteng’s measures would lose the party whip.


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