Our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE, is beginning to feel a little sorry for the hapless MP for Croydon South
It’s beginning to look very much like Chris Philp’s time in high office in the government could be about to end before he’s even got his feet under his desk at the Treasury.
It was Clive Anderson who once said, to Jeffrey Archer, “Is there no beginning to your talents?” And Archer, a proven perjurer, was a much more skilled politician than Philp.
In the past few weeks, the Conservative MP for Croydon South has been called a liar nearly 20 times on live television by a union leader, managed to tweet a celebratory message about the strength of the pound, moments before sterling plunged to never-before-seen depths, and now he’s being made to carry the can for his Tory bosses having to make a humiliating policy U-turn over the proposed cut to the 45p rate of income tax.
“It was all Philp’s idea,” was the message being briefed to lobby journalists last night by aides to Prime Minister “Thick Lizzy” Truss, just hours after she had appeared on television herself backing the income tax cut.
And it is only Day 2 of the Conservative Party Conference.
Last week it was, “I’m not going to comment on every tweet I’ve ever sent,” from Philp in front of the broadcast microphones when he was asked about his idiotic comments about sterling (which he has now deleted from the Twattersphere… though not before Inside Croydon and at least a hundred and one other outlets had screengrabbed it for posterity).
Today, facing a grilling from Sky News’s determined Kay Burley (“Was it your idea to scrap the 45p top rate of tax?”), Philp squirmed, “I wouldn’t describe it as my idea, no.”
The cut to the 45p rate of tax, announced in the Chancellor’s disastrous, unaudited Mini-Budget 10 days ago, will have only have helped the very rich become very much richer. People like millionaire property investment tycoon Chris Philp.
But as the Conservatives gathered in Birmingham over the weekend for their annual conference, it was clear that there was a revolt over the policy and a turbulent reaction from markets.
“I can’t support the 45p tax removal when nurses are struggling to pay their bills,” MP Maria Caulfield tweeted as “a working class Tory”, and one who had suddenly discovered a conscience.
“If the Tory Party don’t want this working class MP, fair enough,” Caulfield threatened.
By this morning, Philp’s 45p tax cut idea was binned. “We get it, and we have listened,” Chancellor Kamikaze Kwarteng said.
The Chancellor said the decision to cut tax for people on incomes of £150,000 or more “has become a distraction from our overriding mission to tackle the challenges facing our country”.
He continued: “As a result, I’m announcing we are not proceeding with the abolition of the 45p tax rate.”
Philp’s sometime parliamentary colleague, “Lord” Gavin Barwell, a regular critic of Tory government policy over the last few years, welcomed the U-turn. “But the concerns about the Growth Plan do not solely relate to the abolition of the 45p rate,” said Barwell, who had described himself as “politically homeless” following the Kwarteng Mini-Budget.
Barwell repeated his previous criticisms of the Chancellor’s measures. “It is still a large package of unfunded tax cuts that will increase borrowing and force the Bank [of England] to sharply increase interest rates.”
And according to ITV political editor Robert Peston, “Why did Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss drop the abolition of the 45p top tax rate? Because super-wealthy donors to the Tory Party told them, ‘We don’t need the money, we don’t want the money and you are bringing us into disrepute’.
“This,” Peston said, “is the highest political farce.”
Taxi for Chief Secretary to the Treasury Philp!
Read more: ‘Rabbit hutch’ flats and the Chief Secretary: Philp’s conflicts
Read more: Philp retains Pluto business interests after Treasury promotion
Read more: After a 38-hour pause for thought, Philp quits government
Read more: Croydon South’s Tory MP called a ‘liar’ 16 times on national TV
Read more: MP Philp’s latest business venture folds due to lack of funds
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