Tory MP Blasts 'Comedic Figures' In Government In Threat To Rebel Over Budget

Former minister Johnny Mercer says "they can do whatever they like with the whip" as recent chaos has been "deeply unfunny for normal people".
Johnny Mercer was last month removed as veterans affairs minister by new prime minister Liz Truss.
Johnny Mercer was last month removed as veterans affairs minister by new prime minister Liz Truss.
Charles McQuillan via Getty Images

A Conservative MP has hit out at the “comedic figures masquerading as government ministers” as Tory anger over Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget continued despite an astonishing U-turn on income tax cuts for the highest earners.

Johnny Mercer, who was last month removed as veterans affairs minister by new prime minister Liz Truss, said “they can do whatever they like with the whip” as he warned he would be speaking out in the Commons about the controversial package.

Tory MPs who vote against the prime minister’s tax measures have been warned they will be kicked out of the parliamentary party – known as losing the whip.

In a Facebook post, the Plymouth MP wrote: “You know I will not accept budgets like the ones we saw last week. It is hard watching these rather comedic figures masquerading as government ministers sprawling around in the media.

“Last week my friend had to close his coffee shop. Another had his mortgage pulled. It is deeply unfunny for normal people, and I will waste no time in letting them know in the Commons at the first opportunity.

“I will not support anything that doesn’t help the brilliant people of Plymouth through intensely difficult times – they can do whatever they like with the whip.”

When Mercer was fired, his wife, Felicity Cornelius-Mercer, took to Twitter to call Truss an “imbecile” as she said the Cabinet system “stinks” and “treats people appallingly”.

The MP’s comments came on the same day as Kwarteng abandoned plans to scrap the 45% rate for earnings over £150,000 to stave off a Tory revolt.

Former Cabinet minister Michael Gove suggested he could now support the package and fellow potential rebel Grant Shapps welcoming the U-turn.

But HuffPost UK has reported that many angry Conservative MPs now want the government to stick by Boris Johnson’s promise to raise benefits by the rate of inflation — something Truss and Kwarteng have so far failed to do as they draw up plans to slash public spending.

One MP said: “Thank the lord for the 45p U-turn, but that’s after billions lost from shares, £65 billion spent by the Bank of England to prop up pension funds, asking MPs to defend the indefensible and threatening MPs with losing the party whip if they vote against.

“What they have to do now is maintain the real term increases in benefits and spending for essential public services. If not, that’s when people will speak out again.”

At the Tory party conference in Birmingham, the chancellor joked about his humiliating 45p tax rate U-turn.

“What a day,” he told the Tory conference as he admitted there had been “a little turbulence” since his mini-budget, a reference to the economic chaos caused by his unfunded tax cuts.

Unease is mounting among Tory backbenchers as the Labour Party has mounted a 30-point poll lead in at least two surveys in the last week, enough for a landslide election victory.

Johnson loyalist Nadine Dorries has called for an early election as she accused Truss of trashing the former PM’s legacy.

The former culture secretary said there is “widespread dismay at the fact that three years of work has effectively been put on hold”.


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