Labour accuses Sunak of taking election cash from ‘Liz Truss fanboy’ who backed her mini budget

Exclusive: Labour has hit out at the Tories’ first major election donor for previously supporting Liz Truss’s disastrous mini budget

David Maddox
Political editor
Monday 27 May 2024 18:07 BST
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What went wrong for Liz Truss?

Labour have questioned why Rishi Sunak’s first major party donor in the general election campaign is a “a Liz Truss fanboy” who backed her catastrophic mini budget.

Shadow paymaster general Jon Ashworth warned that Mr Sunak agreeing to take a £250,000 donation from controversial Tory peer Lord Michael Spencer raises serious questions about Conservative plans to abolish national insurance at a cost of £46billion.

Billionaire business Lord Spencer told The Daily Mail: “'The economy is like a supertanker, it takes time to turn around but it is turning around and Rishi does deserve some credit for that.

“I understand that there's a lot of frustration with the Conservative Party after 14 years in power and there's a feeling that it's the other side's turn, but those people who are thinking of voting Labour be careful what you wish for and be very careful of what you expect.”

He said he would encourage other business figures to back the Tories warning that Sir Keir Starmer would lead “the most leftwing government ever” warning “he is no Tony Blair”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during his visit to Amersham and Chiltern RFC (Aaron Chown/PA)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during his visit to Amersham and Chiltern RFC (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

But Labour have pointed out that in 2022 Lord Spencer said he was “supportive” of the “in-your-face” mini budget pushed by Ms Truss and her then chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng which led to the economy crashing.

At the time Spencer also said it was “very encouraging” to hear Ms Truss argue against windfall taxes on the energy industry. In February 2024 a firm in which Spencer is the biggest shareholder was awarded two North Sea oil and gas licences by the government.

Lord Spencer was enobled in 2020 by Boris Johnson after Lord Cameron’s initial attempt to do so was held up while he had to answer questions over the libor scandal.

Overall he has donated £8million to the Tories.

Mr Ashworth said: “Not content with being pushed around by Liz Truss all the time, Rishi Sunak is now taking big bucks from one of Truss’ delusional fan boys.

Labour accuse Liz Truss of crashing the economy
Labour accuse Liz Truss of crashing the economy (Getty)

“Having crashed the economy with their disastrous mini-budget, the Tories continue to indulge those who delighted in playing fast and loose with your money, and families across Britain continue to pay the price.

“It’s party first, country second every single time with the Conservatives. It’s time for change with Labour; to end the chaos, turn the page and rebuild Britain.”

He also linked it to the plans to abolish National Insurance contributions in a future government which Labour claim will lead to money being taken from the state pension and NHS.

Jeremy Hunt has already described this as a “disgraceful accusation” and saying Labour are “lying” about the impact of the plans.

The chancellor insisted that it would only happen when economic growth meant scrapping National Insurance contributions was affordable.

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