‘Cynical’ Tories prioritising 2024 re-election tax cut over help for families now, says Keir Starmer

Tories accused of ‘partying through cost of living crisis’

Keir Starmer says ‘cynical’ Tories are putting ‘re-election’ over helping British people pay bills

Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak have an “utterly cynical” plan to delay tax cuts until closer to the 2024 general election campaign, the Labour leader has claimed.

Sir Keir Starmer said they had imposed the highest tax burden for 70 years, despite hard-pressed families struggling to pay their bills during the current cost of living crisis.

“While they are counting every penny, the prime minister is hitting them with higher taxes,” Starmer said at PMQs. “But in 2024 – when there just so happens to be a general election – they will introduce a small tax cut.”

Sir Keir added: “It’s putting the Tory re-election campaign over and above helping people pay their bills. How did he find a chancellor as utterly cynical as he is?”

Mr Johnson said the chancellor had made “tough decisions” with his Spring Statement – and claimed recent changes amounted to the “biggest tax cut for 25 years”.

The PM also said the government was “getting on with reducing the tax burden wherever we can”, and claimed that he and the chancellor were “tax-cutting Conservatives”.

The Labour leader responded by pointing to an income “stealth tax”, the national insurance hike and tuition fee rise. “Cut the nonsense and treat the British people with a bit of respect.”

Sir Keir again called for a windfall tax on the oil and gas companies’ record profits, accusing Mr Johnson of “shielding” the fossil fuel giants from helping families with rising energy bills.

“They’re the party of excess – oil and gas profits – we’re the party of working people,” said the Labour leader.

Mr Johnson said Britain’s oil and gas companies are now investing large sums in helping ensure “that we have long-term energy supplies”.

Sir Keir also challenged the PM over the 20 fines issued by Metropolitan Police detectives investigating the Partygate scandal – asking him to explained his previous claims that “all guidance had been followed”.

“The ministerial code says ministers who knowingly mislead the House should resign. Why is he still here?” the Labour leader asked.

Sir Keir added: “There are only two possible explanations – either he’s trashing the ministerial code or he’s claiming he was repeatedly lied to by his own advisers.”

“He really does think it’s one rule for him and another for everyone else – that he can pass off criminality in his office and ask others to follow the law.”

Mr Johnson responded: “We do expect some consistency from this human weathervane. It was only a week or so ago that I shouldn’t resign. What is his position? The investigators must get on with their job, and they should let them.”

Mr Johnson and his ministers were accused of “partying through the cost of living emergency” by SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford.

The senior SNP figure that while “millions of families will have been desperately trying to figure out how they can possibly afford the £700 energy price hike ... Tory MPs were gathering across the street for a champagne bash in the Park Plaza”.

Tory ministers and backbenchers were booed and heckled by bereaved families of Covid victims as they attended a dinner held by the prime minister at the Park Plaza on Tuesday night.

Boris Johnson told truth about Partygate ‘to best of his ability’, says deputy PM

Earlier on Wednesday, Dominic Raab denied that Mr Johnson deliberately misled parliament over government gatherings – saying he had been telling the truth “to the best of his ability”.

The deputy prime minister also conceded that government ministers will “inevitably” have to reveal any fines they receive over breaches of Covid laws.

No 10 has only promised to confirm if Mr Johnson or his cabinet secretary Simon Case are given a fixed penalty notice after Scotland Yard said it was issuing the first 20 fines over Partygate.

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