‘Red Wall’ Tories tell Boris Johnson to act on cost-of-living crisis or ‘end up out of power’

Northern Research Group warns swing voters will ‘lose trust in us’ unless taxes and fuel bills are slashed

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Wednesday 12 January 2022 13:20 GMT
(AFP via Getty Images)

Tory MPs in ‘Red Wall’ seats are telling a beleaguered Boris Johnson to act on the cost-of-living crisis or “end up out of power”, in a new challenge to his authority.

The Northern Research Group of 70 MPs is warning that voters who put the prime minister in No 10 that they will “lose trust in us” unless taxes and fuel bills are slashed.

Jake Berry, the group’s founder – and formerly a close ally of Mr Johnson – pointed to the way Labour lost seats across the North and Midlands at the 2019 general election, because it didn’t “understand” voters.

And he warned: “I worry that, unless there is urgent action on the cost of living, millions of voters who switched to the Tories in 2019 are going to lose trust in us after just one term.

“It is sadly undeniable that we are all going to struggle to make ends meet over the next few months,” Mr Berry said, adding: “We can all see this crisis coming, so now is the time to act.”

The group’s three-point plan would spare poorer households from the hike in National Insurance contributions in April, by lifting the threshold for paying the tax to £12,570.

The MPs are also demanding a two-year freeze to council tax – to prevent bills also soaring in April – arguing local authorities can dip into their reserves instead.

Third, ‘green levies’ would be removed from domestic fuel bills for one year, to ease the pain of a predicted £600 leap in the energy price cap, also from April.

“This triple whammy is creating a cost of living crisis and it is going to hurt,” said Mr Berry, writing in The Sun.

“Our simple, three-point plan would put hundreds of pounds back into your pocket and demonstrate it is the Conservative Party that is the true party of the North and in touch and on the side of our hard-pressed working families.”

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