Tory Leadership ballot – battles recommence

So we are down to six:

  • Kemi Badenoch
  • Suella Braverman
  • Penny Mordaunt
  • Rishi Sunak
  • Liz Truss
  • Tom Tugendhat

Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi did not make the cut.

What does this mean for Liberal Democrats? We are conflicted here – which contender would be best for the country and which would be better for our party’s electoral prospects?  Boris Johnson was a disaster for the country but a huge asset to us in recent by-elections, but that is, of course, is no reason to want him to stay in post.  I would certainly put integrity and decency in a Prime Minister at the top of my requirements, even though it would probably produce an upswing in Tory support.

Sadly, those on the more centrist or liberal wings of the Conservatives, that is, those we have most in common with, simply won’t find enough support these days in either the Parliamentary or wider party membership. Tom Tugendhat, a liberal Conservative, is likely to reach peak support in the next day or two.

Instead cultural warriors like Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman and Liz Truss represent the beating heart of the Conservative party – who will the MPs coalesce behind?

But what of Penny Mordaunt? – described as the dark horse of this contest. She is seen by some as a social liberal, but economic conservative, who seems to stand outside the normal rhetoric.

And then there’s Rishi Sunak, in a class of his own. Too many right wing connections, too much reckless spending during the pandemic (though matched by beneficial furlough schemes and, close to my heart, the Cultural Recovery Fund), too little understanding of the impact of his actions on the poorest members of our society, and too much money of his own – no wonder he appeals to the Tory faithful.

What’s your take on the race?

 

 

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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49 Comments

  • John Lib Dem 13th Jul '22 - 7:37pm

    I’ve been impressed by Kemi Badenoch. I’m sure on most policy issues I’d disagree with her – but she’s been excellent on freedom of speech, is straight-talking and clearly a conviction politician (whether you agree with those convictions or not). And I personally think it’d be quite amusing to see Labour struggle with her.

    We’ve just got rid of one self-serving liar, so I don’t think the country needs Penny Mordaunt – and Braverman will be gone from the running probably in the next vote. Otherwise, not overly bothered. The Tories will elect who they elect. It’s natural to take an interest, but it’s noticeable on social media that many on the left seem to forget that they aren’t pitching their campaigns at us (if they were, we’d be Tory voters wouldn’t we).

  • George Thomas 13th Jul '22 - 8:22pm

    They’re all Boris Johnson in their own way:

    – Badenoch and Braverman eager to continue the culture war and can reach out to voters the Tory party usually can’t…while turning many others off by how bad their vision of Britain is.

    – Mordaunt appeared to champion LGBTQ+ rights but dig a little deeper and this falls down quickly. She’s already had to change her campaign video at least 3 times which is about as embarrassing as Boris’ speech on Peppar Pig.

    – Sunak is so slick it might make voters forget how bad many of his policy moves have been so far. Trying to distance himself from ruined economy in the same way Boris tried to distance himself from nearly a decade of Tories in Westminster.

    – Truss is a fairly big name much admired within the Tory party but incompetent at the day-to-day work.

    – Tugendhat is unknown to me. I think he could win a lot of votes with general public but don’t think he’ll end up Prime Minister because of how much Tories love saying they take action to promote diversity while their policies do opposite for everyone else.

    Opposition parties probably want Truss (obviously incompetent) or Braverman (obviously nasty) but I think the final two will be Sunak and Mordaunt.

  • I think that Kemi Badenoch would appeal to liberal voters and that yellow conservative and blue lib dem cohort that the Lib Dems always need in any winnable seat. She’s much stronger on freedom of speech, free trade, and the primacy of the individual over the group than the Lib Dems, who sadly have not only drifted away from these core liberal values, but now too often are actively fighting against them.

    Of course Kemi Badenoch is very pro-Brexit. But given the Lib Dems’ hostility to new trade deals and new love of protectionism (but only when it is protectionism from non-European economies) and their deprioritisation of anything Brexit related on the front-bench, this may be a moot point of the Lib Dems creation.

  • The problem has never been Boris Johnson in isolation; the problem is the entire Tory party. The problem will not be solved with a change at the top.

    Tugendhat is not really centrist or liberal. He said a few good things about Afghanistan but other wise his voting record is solidly totally the right.

    Badenoch is a terrifying prospect. She will intensify the culture war and bring destruction. In Liberalism values like equality and community are as important as individual freedoms or being allowed to say what you want.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Jul '22 - 12:40am

    I value the intro, from Mary, but it is all rather , as the late Yul Bynner, in The King And I, he of the great bald head pre Javid, Zahaw, said ” a puzzlement!”

    I confess I have long found Penny Mordaunt a very attractive person and politician, since coalition days. A real social liberal, measured, in tone, thoughtful in views. She has just gone down a rabbit hole of distancing herself from previous more liberal positions.

    Very sad as she ought to stand up for who she is, her brother, active, gay, LGBT campaigner, surely must be going to be whispering in her ear, he is close to her, they are twins, and he is not a Tory but is, her words, a hero to her, since coming out years ago. Like Ed , our Ed, she lost her parents young, cared for her younger brother. Even worked in Romania in orphan voluntary placement for a year, when younger.

    I would think if she stays authentic, she is a threat to the Liberal Democrats and Labour party doing better, but better for the country than most. But I reckon she is to move right to please the blue rinse and jodpers brigade!

    Braverman is the worst most right wing leadership candidate the country’s three parties have seen. Awful!

  • John Lib Dem 14th Jul '22 - 3:04am

    It’s strange to see a comment like that Lorenzo, though you aren’t the only one to make the point. It reads to me that because Penny Mordaunt supported self-ID (which I personally don’t consider to be a sensible policy) and has a gay brother then that makes her some sort of moderate liberal type. It reminds me of Zac Goldsmith – where many members up until his Mayoral campaign were under the impression that he was basically a liberal because he claimed to be interested in the environment.

    She has form for flat-out lying before this weekend – on Turkey during the EU referendum and about firefighter pensions. She may well pose a threat to Lib Dems and Labour, and she’s not a terrible person or politician at all – but I don’t think she’ll be exuding much authenticity if selected. She’s clearly the kind of politician willing to say whatever she thinks suits her at the time.

    I don’t want to dominate the thread, so won’t keep commenting. Just wanted to make that point.

  • Martin Gray 14th Jul '22 - 5:22am

    @George Thomas…
    When the party bans a female member for standing in any election for ten years because of a t shirt stating the dictionary definition of a women – you need to look long and hard at to why that culture war exists …

  • It’s not that hard, Martin Gray – the culture war exists in order to create a narrative which justifies the persecution of LGBT+ people, hence their dusting off of the same tired old arguments which were used against Lesbian and Gay people in the 1980s. It’s for this reason that the Lib Dems have no truck with its arguments.

    As for which Tory leadership candidate would be preferable, it’s hard to see how this isn’t a contest to see who will be made responsible for any failure at the next general election. As Lorenzo pointed out, Mordaunt has a history of untruth as troubling as any other. For the country’s sake, it would probably be best for whoever the far-right candidate ends up being to be defeated – or perhaps, in the long term, for them to win and create such a disaster as to exile the far right back to the outer reaches for a generation (though it’s hard to see how the latter scenario would be bearable in the short term).

  • David Blake 14th Jul '22 - 9:54am
  • Catherine Crosland 14th Jul '22 - 10:02am

    Like Lorenzo, I was initially inclined to support Penny Mordaunt, for her apparent support for LGBT rights. Like Lorenzo, I was moved by the way Mordaunt spoke of her pride in her twin brother James, who she described as her hero, and of James’ courage in coming out as gay as a teenager. She seemed wholeheartedly committed to trans rights, stating firmly that trans women are women, and trans men are men.
    But in the last few days, it has been heartbreaking to see her distancing herself from her previous support for LGBT rights, in an attempt to prove that she is not “woke”. She posted a series of rather bizarre and incoherent tweets, the gist of which seemed to be that she herself was a “biological woman”, and a trans woman could never be a biological woman, like her. She also said that she had always supported “women’s rights”, the implication clearly being that trans rights were somehow in conflict with women’s rights.
    This must have felt like a kick in the teeth to LGBT people who had previously supported her.
    I would like to think that her previous support for LGBT rights represents her “real” views. But that means that her recent comments are just a cynical ploy to win over the more bigoted section of the Tory membership. What use are principles if they are sacrificed so easily for personal gain?

  • The only candidate that is free to change the government approach to the main issues of the day is Tom Tugendhat and he is likely to be eliminated very soon. I am in despair as the candidates try to outbid each other with tax cut promises when public services are so grossly underfunded at present.

  • I see Liz (The Cheese – and ex Lib Dem) Truss wasn’t quite sure where the war in Ukraine was taking place in her speech this morning. Great to see we have such global giants in the Tory Party aspiring to lead this ‘great country of ours’.

    PS Has anybody out there got any Lib Dem memories of said Ms Truss from the days when she bestrode the Lib Dem stage ?

  • Catherine Crosland 14th Jul '22 - 11:50am

    Something I have found very strange is that since the contest began, there has been virtually no mention of the fact that Rishi Sunak received a fixed penalty notice for one of the events at Downing Street, just like Boris Johnson. Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson received one fixed penalty notice each. I believe it was for the same event.
    It was widely believed that Boris should have resigned when he received the fixed penalty notice. It was also generally felt that Keir Starmer was right to promise to resign if he received a fixed penalty notice. So how can it be considered acceptable for Rishi Sunak to be a candidate for Prime Minister?

  • — no wonder [Rishi Sunak] appeals to the Tory faithful.

    Polling of Conservative Home’s large (self-selected) panel of party members suggests that out of the remaining candidates, Sunak would only win in a runoff against Tugendhat…

    ‘Next Tory Leader run-offs. Sixth: Rishi Sunak.’:
    https://conservativehome.com/2022/07/12/next-tory-leader-run-offs-sixth-rishi-sunak/

    Other polls have shown similar results.

    Have Team Rishi got enough support to lend Tugendhat the votes to keep him in the race? It seems unlikely. Once Tugendhat’s been given his marching orders I’m thinking Sunak’s support could collapse – why vote for a candidate who no longer looks able to win? If so, then perm any two from Badenoch, Mordaunt, and Truss for the runoff. If Badenoch makes it through, will party members do what’s expected or follow Admiral Lord Nelson’s adage: ‘The boldest measures are the safest’?

  • Catherine Crosland 14th Jul '22 - 12:03pm

    Martin Gray, The slogan on the T shirt was not just a “dictionary definition”. It is a slogan often used to attack trans rights. People using it can disengenuously claim that it is “just the dictionary definition of a woman”, but everyone is aware that the literal meaning of words, and what they are being used to imply, are two very different things. We probably shouldn’t comment on this specific case, but I assume it was actually about rather more than the slogan on the T shirt

  • Watching the ‘hopefuls’ re-invent themselves is like watching a revivalist meeting where their previous life counts for nothing and a ‘New Jerusalem’ is in sight..

    I’m also reminded of a quiz where ‘who said it?” is the question and, like finding out that the quote, “Children are our future” was from king Herod, the most unlikely candidate is usually the correct answer..

    We will have no say in selecting a PM from this bunch of incompetents but we should be savouring the chance to use the irreconcilable differences between ‘now and then’ in all future exchanges..

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Jul '22 - 12:25pm

    John Lib Dem

    Thanks John, although I do not really do as you say. I believe Penny Mordaunt is socially liberal, not fake. I also think her comments on Turkey were an exageration not a lie. When expanded she said she thought because Cameron , Clegg etc were gung ho for Turkey to join, those who opposed would not be able to stop that. I think she was correct. There would be no way anbody could. Ditto when the EU expanded to the East. It was decided by govt, not populace in a referrendum, of all EU members. On the firefighters, the govt, actually the coalition, let the union down, she, yes, but she was part of a collective.

    John Grout.
    I did not say she lied before. This was John Lib Dem. I do think she has wriggled this week. As I like her I am very concerned now she is being inauthentic.

    Catherine

    Excellent piece. I hope if she wins, it is for all the good reasons, not bad. At least she is not one of the swivle eyed extreme right. We might get a govt we are not fully ashamed to see. And yes, Rishi seems to be able to have cake and eat it!

  • Javid or Greg Clark would have been the Tories’ strongest candidates, but one withdrew and one didn’t stand. Hunt dropping out shows how much the Tory Parliamentary party has been cleared of moderates since he last stood.

    It probably will be Sunak and Mordaunt: Truss is probably just a bit too close to Johnson and difficult to take quite seriously.

    Badenoch has a very narrowly-focussed record. We know she’s belligerently anti-woke, but what about poverty, climate emergency, fixing the electoral system, civil liberties? She is popular with the membership. I don’t reckon that’s for being Black.

    James’ view of traditional Liberal values isn’t everyone’s. Co-operation to the common good (which requires a group) has always been part of our core beliefs, as has a belief in something you can call human rights and a rejection of narrow nationalism.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Jul '22 - 12:39pm

    Can I say that Penny Mordaunt is to the left of my views on abortion. I fasvour a slight reduction in weeks, to twenty maximum. The bills to bring this into law, by more than one Tory mp, were defated. Penny Mordaunt was one who voted against these bills, with most Lib Dems and Labour.

    I agree about Badenoch. She has thus far been divisive and entrenched in her stances and positions. She does seem only to most to be overly concerned with cultural war continuation and advancement. But she is strong and eloquent.

    Barverman is the most right wing and terrible. As she and Mordaunt seem to have a conflict, one advantage to PM FOR PM, no Braverman in the cabinet!

  • How much further right can the Conservative Party go? Talking to two local Party high ups in Tesco this morning, they were shaking their heads and one was “embarrassed” by what is happening, Badenoch in particular. They think Mordaunt is best placed to defeat Labour and the Lib Dems, but NOT the SNP!
    Despite his wife’s “Non Dom” status issue, Sunak does appear as the best candidate for anything like a reasonable, sensible approach, but still……….. Pity Tugendhat will not make it.We have a local election in the next week, very Tory safe, usually uncontested, affluent and rural ward, see how the Tory leadership campaign affects things one way or the other.

  • @Jeff – re: Riski, i would tend to agree that Riski is actually the outside candidate, he isn’t sufficiently “true-blue Tory” for the mainstream Conservatives and is perhaps a little politically naive, so is a little more honest and straight talking; even though he is probably the best candidate for the country.
    However, whatever the result of this election, there is still the Chancellor appointment, of the known candidates for this office, I know who I would prefer to do right for the country rather than playing to the Conservative sheep…

  • It’s like watching mud wrestling. The lack of talent is very worrying for the country.

  • Roland 14th Jul ’22 – 12:50pm:
    @Jeff – re: Riski, i would tend to agree that Riski is actually the outside candidate,…

    Agree with whom? Not me. Sunak is very much the establishment candidate as can be seen from his list of (publicly declared) backers. The media see him as certain for the runoff. I’m not so sure.

  • @Jeff
    “Sunak would only win in a runoff against Tugendhat…”
    Whilst Riski might have establishment backers, they don’t control the race. So from your piece, I suggest you also feel that ‘horse’ Ricki isn’t a favourite but an ‘outsider’ over the ground (ie. the Conservative MP’s and voting members) in this race.

    The media see him as certain for the runoff. I’m not so sure.
    Agree. Hence the question about who becomes Chancellor.

  • I think the last two will be Mordaunt and Sunak.. At the moment Sunak is ahead with Mordaunt second but with Truss’s supporters on 60+ (none of whom are likely to support Sunak) I believe Mordaunt will win..

    I’m ‘sorry’ that Braverman is out; I was looking forward to singing
    “Suella De Vil
    Suella De Vil
    If she doesn’t scare you
    No evil thing will…”

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Jul ’22 – 12:25pm:
    I also think [Mordaunt’s] comments on Turkey were an exageration not a lie.

    Not even that. It would have been no more realistic for the UK to have vetoed Turkey joining the EU than for Turkey to have vetoed Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Legally possible in theory, but in practice it’s not how such clubs work.

  • Martin Gray 14th Jul '22 - 7:16pm

    @john grout, Catherine crosland….
    Have watched Ed’s interview on Marr at conference weekend on the subject – believe me the average voter would of found it excruciating , as did I …
    Outside of metropolitan areas voters are socially conservative & have repeatedly returned Tory governments….As Cameron once said ‘Britain & twitter are not the same thing’ – one of the few things he got right ..

  • Alex Macfie 14th Jul '22 - 7:37pm

    James Pugh: Most ordinary voters don’t think deeply about politics and so aren’t that interested in abstract discussions about “the individual” and “the group”. They focus principally on their lived realities. As such they are mostly turned off by the “culture war” stuff, and in particular the obsession of the political Right with fighting it as a distraction from bread & butter issues.
    As for trade deals, the problem with all the ones done by the Tories so far is that they are on less favourable terms for the UK than the ones the UK had when it was in the EU. The UK simply isn’t as powerful on the international stage as the buccaneering go-it-alone crowd think.

  • Adrian Bagehot 15th Jul '22 - 3:11am

    “which contender would be best for the country and which would be better for our party’s electoral prospects?”

    Do not Liberal Democrats also have to ask the question “which candidate would be most suitable for working with in a coalition government if the Conservative and Unionist Party fail to win an overall majority of seats at the next election?”

    Having to wait another 75 years (1935 until 2010) for the Liberal Democrat party to be in government again seems an unreasonably long time, and history teaches us that Liberals have only ever been part of a coalition government when members of the Conservative and Unionist Party have also been present in the coalition (1915-1916, 1916-1922, 1931-1935, 2010-2015).

  • Alex Macfie 15th Jul '22 - 8:55am

    Adrian Bagehot: History also tells us that each time the Liberals / Lib Dems have gone into coalition with the Tories they have lost support. There is absolutely no possibility of Lib Dems entering a government with the Tories after the next election, whoever becomes leader. We had a near-death experience after the 2010–2015 Coalition, any repetition would wipe us out completely. Not just because the Tories are now even more right-wing than under Cameron (and will remain so whoever takes over), but because it would look bad for us to come to the rescue of the Tories when they have just lost their majority in an election. Let them go begging cap in hand to the DUP once again.

  • Adrian Bagehot, some facts about Liberals in office :

    In1915-1916, 1916-1922 Labour was included in the Coalition – first with the Liberals and the Unionists (Tories), and then after the Lloyd George coup in December, 1916, with the sort of Liberals (LLG). and the Unionists (Tories). Labour left the Coalition when LLG was discourteous to Arthur Henderson.

    In 1923 the now reunited Liberals gave general support to enable the first Labour Government to take office, but then often voted/abstained in three different directions on particular issues – or defected to other parties.

    In 1931-35, official Liberals (Samuelites) were in Coalition for a few months in 1931 with the Tories and splinter Macdonald Labour Party. The National Liberals (Simonites) stayed on in the 1931-40 Coalition throughout, though became virtually indistinguishable from the Tories. From 1940-45 Liberals of all shades were in the Government.

    So I suppose it all boils down to who or what you can describe as Liberal. Trevor Wilson, G.R. Searle and David Dutton (and many others) have written about this at great length.

  • I agree with Martin’s judgement and conclusions on the current situation.

    To Alex Macfie, I would say it was more than just the decision to join the Cameron Coalition, it was the policy decisions and outcomes throughout those five years.

  • Martin 15th Jul ’22 – 10:06am…. How times change.

    In 2010 I, and others, were deemed ‘disloyal’ for daring to suggest that we should go no further than offering ad hoc cooperation to Cameron; instead we had the ‘rose garden love in’ and the rest is history…

  • nigel hunter 15th Jul '22 - 1:24pm

    Ad hoc cooperation is all we should do no matter which of the 2 are in govnt.

  • Jason Connor 15th Jul '22 - 1:28pm

    Yes but as one of the signatories of Libdems4change, many of us who opposed the coalition and Nick Clegg’s leadership were accused of betrayal by some. This is the thing, lack of respect of other people’s views, intolerance, even if you disagree with them. I do dislike some of this ‘hate’ speech aimed at certain candidates and tend to agree mostly with Alex on this thread. By the way Keir Starmer on LBC yesterday ruled out voter reform. I think these labels like cultural warrior aren’t helpful for a reasoned discussion. I may not agree with Kemi Badenoch’s views on most issues but she has the right to express them and I even heard pro Corbyn Nick Abbott say she comes across well.

  • Adrian Bagehot 16th Jul '22 - 5:30am

    Thank you to all for your responses (especially the historical details on the schism between Samuel and Simon) to my question about the feasibility of a coalition government after the next general election for the Westminster Parliament.

    I did not wish to imply that Liberals had not at times supported Labour party governments., of which (the Lib-Lab pact is the most recent example. Some commentators have argued that the Liberal Party gained more in advancing their policies through that arrangement than they did from becoming coalition partners in 2015.

    What I would argue is important, regardless of whom the Conservative and Unionist Party chooses as their new leader, is that for the Liberal Democrat Party to make any significant electoral gains, it needs to commit to and promote policies which are distinctive from either of the other two main parties, especially on electoral reform and the absolute necessity to end the undemocratic and unrepresentative first past the post system.

    (Even the almost exclusively two party USofA is moving ever so slowly away from first past the post elections towards ranked-choice voting mostly at the municipal level, also in some cases at the state level, and for Alaska and Maine now even at the presidential level.)

  • Adrian, like Nick Clegg in 2010, you also ignore the successful example of Lib Dems governing in Coalition with Labour for 4 years in the Welsh Assembly and for 8 years in the Scottish Parliament.

    Neither resulted in their collapse -that came with the Tsunami of devastation unleashed on Lib Dems at every electoral level by the disastrous 2010-2015 Coalition with the Conservatives at Westminster.

  • Paul Holmes 16th Jul '22 - 1:03pm

    Jason – yes Kier Starmer stated yesterday that electoral reform was not a priority for ‘his next Government.’

    In which case Lib Dems should under no circumstances enter a Coalition with him in the likely event of a no overall majority election outcome. Just as they should not have done with the Conservatives in 2010.

    However attractive Ministerial Seats may be to some, the long term growth and success of the Liberal Democrats is more important. Having been near destroyed last time (8, 12 and 11 seats in the last 3 General Elections) we must not squander any revival in our desperately low numbers that might be achieved next time.

    Without an absolute commitment to introduce PR then Coalition should be an absolute no. Confidence and Supply at the very most but then vote issue by issue.

  • @ Adrian Bagehot. I can see why PR would be attractive to the modern Lib Dem’s, but I’m afraid I have to point out that they could have got it in the 1918 Representation of the People Act when there was a Liberal Prime Minister. For reasons best known to themselves they turned it down.

    These days, of course it might be desirable (we have it in Scotland), but it wouldn’t tackle the issues of the economy and the concomitant issues of poverty and inequality nor I think would it arouse any passion amongst the general population.

  • What seems to be often lost in this debates is that the voting public want a stable government and these days don’t really care that much about the name or ideology of the political party that can provide it.
    Stable government was the whole point of the 2010-15 coalition. In 2015 much was made (by the Conservatives) of the potential for the SNP holding the balance of power in a hung government (with even Vince Cable being ousted from his Twickenham seat) and the Tories making a sweep of LibDem seats in the Southwest.
    Coalitions or supply and confidence arrangements will become the norm under proportional representation. Until then the potential for holding the balance of power in a hung parliament remains the LibDems main threat to the duopoly of power at Westminster.
    In the Conservative leadership race, Sunak appears to be the only candidate prepared to speak, in part, to the realities of the economy with all the rest relying on unfunded tax cuts and cutting public spending to boost an economy that is teetering on the borders of stagflation.

  • ……………Tory leadership contender Rishi Sunak has again insisted that inflation must be brought under control before the government can consider cutting taxes…………

    We are so lucky to have such a ‘savior’, appearing from nowhere in our ‘hour of need’, to tackle inflation and the cost of living crisis.
    If only he had graced us with his expertise earlier then truly the sunlit uplands, with their attendant unicorns, would already be with us..

  • Alex Macfie 17th Jul '22 - 9:30am

    @David Raw: As I have stated many times before in this forum, I do not believe it was a mistake to go into coalition in 2010. The mistake was how it was conducted, starting from the rose garden love-in and continuing with poor negotiation, policy and optics. Clegg & co had plenty of examples of successful coalitions to draw on (including the Scottish and Welsh administrations mentioned earlier) but chose to ignore them.

  • Neil James Sandison 19th Jul '22 - 3:09am

    It is clear the Conservatives have moved further to the right and we should expect little in the way of social liberal policy from them . Labour is just offering a watered down version of tory policy and seems to have forgotten that some form of EFTA type agreement will be required to avoid a trade war with Europe . So we have a niche position to occupy on the political spectrum ,economic liberalism with EU trading partners , social liberalism around domestic policy that values individual effort above wealth and power of corporate bodies so loved by the Tories . What we must not do is water our own message down but build upon its strength . We are not here to be the mindless minions to the stale politics they offer but to be champions of renewed and refreshed ideas that a modern liberal democracy and that the public does not have to settle for a self serving form of liberalism offered by both the tory and Labour machines .

  • Joe Bourke 16th Jul ’22 – 2:35pm:
    …all the rest relying on unfunded tax cuts…

    Not necessarily unfunded…

    ‘Can the UK afford tax cuts? Net tax receipts in 2024/25 (even after allowing for additional spending) will be £60 billion more than the Chancellor’s calculations imply’ [18th. July 2022]:
    https://cebr.com/reports/can-the-uk-afford-tax-cuts-net-tax-receipts-in-2024-25-even-after-allowing-for-additional-spending-will-be-60-billion-more-than-the-chancellors-calculations-imply/

    Our current forecast is that nominal GDP in 2024/25 will be 5.7 percentage points higher than the OBR assumes. This alone generates £133 billion of net additional revenues. Against that needs to be offset likely higher spending. If we assume that public spending will be the same share of GDP as in the OBR projections, this increases the cost of public spending by £34 billion; higher inflation will raise indexed debt payments by about £7 billion while higher interest rates could raise debt payments by as much as £30 billion. Even allowing for all these, it is pretty clear that the OBR’s forecasting failures mean that substantial additional net revenues are likely to be generated compared with those expected. Which in turn means that net tax (after allowing for expenditure) receipts in 2024/25 will be about £60 billion more than the OBR’s base estimates.

    Since these receipts will come from the effects of inflation and fiscal drag meaning that people will be paying more tax than they would have expected, it would not be unreasonable for the additional revenues to be used for tax cuts.

  • Peter Martin 19th Jul '22 - 10:54am

    @ Jeff,

    “Can the UK afford tax cuts? Net tax receipts in 2024/25 (even after allowing for additional spending) will be £60 billion more than the Chancellor’s calculations imply’”

    You’re probably right about revenue being higher than expected. However, this is a sign that the economy is also running hotter than expected. Spending generates tax receipts whereas saving doesn’t. This is a reason for being more cautious than usual with any planned tax cuts or increased public spending.

    In other words, fiscal policy should be set the other way around from what you’re suggesting.

  • Neil James Sandison 19th Jul ’22 – 3:09am:
    [Labour] seems to have forgotten that some form of EFTA type agreement will be required…

    The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) already gives us 100% tariff free access to the EU on better terms than EFTA.

    ‘Center Party: The UK’s Brexit agreement is better than Norway’s EEA agreement with the EU’:
    https://norwaytoday.info/news/center-party-the-uks-brexit-agreement-is-better-than-norways-eea-agreement-with-the-eu/

    “[The UK] get access to the internal market and the common trade, but they do not have to be part of a dynamic regulatory development that places strong binds on the individual countries’ national policies,” [Marit Arnstad, Center]. […]

    “This agreement is qualitatively different and safeguards national sovereignty in a better way than the EEA does for us,” [Heming Olaussen, SV].

    Our exports to the EU have rebounded to a record high…

    ‘UK trade: April 2022’:
    https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/bulletins/uktrade/april2022

    EU exports have increased for the third consecutive month in April 2022 and are at the highest levels since records began.

    Even full EEA (‘single market’) membership couldn’t raise that by much. And the downsides and costs, both economic and democratic, of rejoining would be huge. Perhaps Starmer has finally realised what Barry Gardiner, then Shadow Trade Secretary, knew five years ago…

    ‘Brexit means leaving the single market and the customs union. Here’s why’ [July 2017]:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/24/leaving-eu-single-market-customs-union-brexit-britain-europe

  • Jeff,

    it is a fair point that the CEBR makes with respect to fiscal drag and there is a strong case for uprating personal tax allowances and Ni thresholds in line with inflation. This does not of course involve cutting income tax or NI rates. This HoC report gives a current analysis of tax take https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8513/.
    The CEBR assumes that public spending will be the same share of GDP as in the OBR forecasts. However, there are clearly many areas where funding remains inadequate not least in local authority finance, justice , schools and social welfare. Defense spending is also likely to require significant increases and we may well see above inflation wage demands from public sector workers over the summer.

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