Labour says it is ‘complete disgrace’ that Britons are at risk of power cuts this winter – UK politics live | Politics


Labour says it’s ‘complete disgrace’ that Britons at risk of power cuts this winter

Ed Miliband, the shadow secretary for climate change and net zero, says it is a “complete disgrace” that people are at risk of power cuts this winter. (See 5.14pm.) Responding to the Bloomberg story, he said in a statement:


Whilst the Tories squabble over tax cuts, Britain is now readying itself for catastrophic power cuts this winter. This is a complete disgrace to a British public already struggling at the hands of an absent government that has left our economy in tatters. What we are faced with is the result of 12 years of Tory government which has failed to prepare and refused to invest, leaving bills higher and our country less secure.

Instead of mending the roof while the sun was shining, they cut back on the things that would be protecting families and businesses now: scrapping all home insulation programmes, blocking the cheapest, home-grown energy like onshore wind and solar, and shutting down our remaining gas storage.

Labour would upgrade 19 million draughty homes to reduce energy demand and massively accelerate the renewable rollout with a green energy sprint, to strengthen our energy security and cut bills for good.


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Anti-Tory protesters outside the Hippodrome in Darlington, where the Tory leadership hustings start at 7pm.
Anti-Tory protesters outside the Hippodrome in Darlington, where leadership hustings start at 7pm.
Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA


Here is the TalkTV presenter Tom Newton Dunn explaining why tonight’s official Conservative party leadership hustings from Darlington (which he is hosting) could be seen as the most important one yet.

The hustings start at 7am. I will be covering them here, and we will have a live feed at the top of the blog.

Labour says it’s ‘complete disgrace’ that Britons at risk of power cuts this winter

Ed Miliband, the shadow secretary for climate change and net zero, says it is a “complete disgrace” that people are at risk of power cuts this winter. (See 5.14pm.) Responding to the Bloomberg story, he said in a statement:

Whilst the Tories squabble over tax cuts, Britain is now readying itself for catastrophic power cuts this winter. This is a complete disgrace to a British public already struggling at the hands of an absent government that has left our economy in tatters. What we are faced with is the result of 12 years of Tory government which has failed to prepare and refused to invest, leaving bills higher and our country less secure.

Instead of mending the roof while the sun was shining, they cut back on the things that would be protecting families and businesses now: scrapping all home insulation programmes, blocking the cheapest, home-grown energy like onshore wind and solar, and shutting down our remaining gas storage.


Labour would upgrade 19 million draughty homes to reduce energy demand and massively accelerate the renewable rollout with a green energy sprint, to strengthen our energy security and cut bills for good.

UK facing ‘planned power cuts’ amid shortages in winter, reports say

The government is making contingency plans for what might happen if Britain runs short of gas over the winter, Bloomberg’s Alex Wickham reports. Under what is being described as a “reasonable worst-case scenario” (which means something that could be reasonably described as the worst-case scenario, not a worst-case scenario that would be reasonable to experience), there could be “planned power cuts” for industrial and domestic users, Wickham says.

EXCLUSIVE: The UK govt is preparing for a winter energy crisis ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ that could see >>

— peak demand surpass capacity
— emergency measures for 4 days in January
— including organised blackouts for industry and even households


— Alex Wickham (@alexwickham) August 9, 2022

Readers who remember the 1970s will realise it is time to start stocking up on candles and torches.

MoD cancels plans to house up to 1,500 asylum seekers at former RAF base in North Yorkshire

Plans to house up to 1,500 asylum seekers at a disused North Yorkshire RAF base were “scrapped” after the Ministry of Defence withdrew its offer of the site, PA Media reports. PA says:

Ben Wallace, the defence secretary told reporters he had “obligations to do something else with that site” but that others have been made available to the Home Office if it wishes to press ahead with the proposed reception centre in another location.


The controversial plans for an accommodation and processing centre in the small village of Linton-on-Ouse were announced by the Home Office in April, with around 60 men expected to be housed there by the end of May.

But the move was delayed, with a letter to Hambleton district council in May saying “no final decision” about the site had been made by ministers.
The plans were met with significant opposition from residents of the village, near York, while the local authority said it would seek a judicial review of the proposals.

Earlier this week, Rishi Sunak said he would scrap the plan if he becomes prime minister.

The former chancellor, who represents the neighbouring North Yorkshire constituency of Richmond, told the Yorkshire Post the centre “clearly does not have local support” and he would look for an “alternative solution”.

Asked about Sunak’s comments during a visit to Huddersfield on Tuesday, Tory leadership rival Liz Truss told reporters: “My understanding from the Defence Secretary is that site is not going ahead. So it’s a moot point because it won’t be going forward.”


Wallace confirmed during the same visit he had “withdrawn the offer of that site to the Home Office”.

He told reporters: “[Sunak] didn’t oppose it when he was in government, so that’s a new surprise, but I think, because he’s not in Government, he won’t know what’s been going on and I’ve withdrawn the offer to the Home Office for that site.

“It’s been with them for a number of months, I have obligations to do something else with that site and there are other sites that have been made available to the Home Office if they wish to take it up.”

The former RAF base at Linton-on-Ouse.
The former RAF base at Linton-on-Ouse. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Sunak says he would prioritise pensioners and low-income families in energy bills support package

Rishi Sunak has given an interview to ITV’s Daniel Hewitt that reveals a little bit more about the sort of energy bills support package he would introduce in the autumn if he became prime minister. Here are the main points.

  • Sunak says he would announce a new energy support package worth “hundreds of pounds” to individuals. This was implicit in his overnight declaration that he would bring forward further measures modelled on the £15bn programme he announced in May (see 9.13am), but speaking to ITV he was more explicit. Asked if people would get help worth “hundreds of pounds”, rather than just worth £100 or £200, he replied: “Yes.” He would not give precise figures. But he said:


The increase in bills compared to what we thought before is as a few hundred pounds more. Now it’s hard to be precise, because we don’t know yet, but what people can see is that’s the kind of scale that I did before.

I want to make sure pensioners and the low-income households that I care most about do get the help that they need. And I want them to have peace of mind. That’s what I stood up and announced a few months ago. And I’m always going to want to make sure that those families have that peace of mind, particularly those on pensions and low incomes.

This is a key dividing line with Liz Truss. The Truss camp depict this as an ideological split (whether it is better for the state to tax people and then return the money to people, or whether it is better not to take it from them in the first place, her approach), but it is also a redistributional split (because cutting payroll taxes as a solution to the cost of living crisis helps the richest most – see 12.50am). Conservative party members are better off than members of the population as a whole (86% of them would be classified as in the social category ABC1, as opposed to 59% of the population as a whole, according to one assessment) and so if self-interest is a factor (which it normally is in elections), this is important. (Interestingly, though, at the 2019 general election, Conservative voters turned out to be disproportionately weighted towards the C2DE social group.)

My point is that there are pockets of poverty that exist everywhere. They’re not just in big urban cities. They are in small towns. They are in rural areas. There’s poverty everywhere that we need to tackle and make sure gets the investment it needs.

  • He said he had not spoken to Boris Johnson since he resigned from government. Asked if relations between them were still raw, he replied: “That’s a question for him rather than for me.”


No government can fully protect people from impact of rising energy bills, says Truss ally Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, has said that no government would be able to fully protect people from the impact of rising energy prices this winter.

Speaking to reporters as he accompanied Liz Truss on a leadership campaign visit to a defence company in Huddersfield, Wallace said it was “fraudulent” to suggest a total solution was available. Asked about the new forecast that the energy price cap could rise above £4,000 (see 10.54am), he replied:

There’s not a single person who is offering a solution to those significant rises, not the Labour party, not Rishi Sunak, not anyone else.

That scale is not entirely going to be solved by the government. I think that’s what people need to understand. That’s the honest truth. We are all feeling it in our pocket.


And the idea there is a magic wand coming out of Whitehall, no matter who is prime minister, including the Labour party, is fraudulent to say so.

Wallace also defended Truss’s approach to tackling the cost of living crisis, saying that tax cuts – her preferred solution – did amount to direct help for people struggling to pay their bills. He said:

I think it is direct support if you cut their taxes. I mean, people hold a burden every day. What takes money out of your pocket every day? It’s your tax and your cost of living. Whether you cut that tax or whether you alleviate the impact of the cost of living, it’s the same thing.

So, she’s choosing to do it that way. But she hasn’t ruled out any other alternatives. She’s said she’s going to look at that at the budget.

Liz Truss with the defence secretary, Ben Wallace, during a visit to the Reliance Precision engineering company in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, earlier today.
Liz Truss with the defence secretary, Ben Wallace, during a visit to the Reliance Precision engineering company in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, earlier today. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/PA


Senior Tory hits out at ‘sort of terrorist campaign’ being waged by critics of inquiry into whether Johnson lied to Commons

The senior Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin has in effect accused the Daily Mail and the culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, of being part of “a sort of terrorist campaign” to discredit the inquiry into whether Boris Johnson lied to MPs about Partygate.

Jenkin, who chairs the Commons liaison committee and who sits on the privileges committee, which is carrying out the investigation into Johnson, was speaking on Radio 4’s Word at One about the campaign – championed most prominently by the Mail newspapers – for the inquiry to be shelved.

Jenkin and all other members of the committee were accused of being in effect biased against Johnson in reports in the Mail on Sunday at the weekend, and again in the Daily Mail yesterday. Today the Mail is running a story just focused on Jenkin, suggesting that his past comments about Johnson mean he is unlikely to give the PM a fair hearing.

Dorries, a Johnson loyalist, has used Twitter to express her support for the Mail’s call for the privileges committee’s inquiry to be halted.


Collective hatred of Labour MPs towards ⁦@BorisJohnson⁩ for delivering Brexit and 80 seat maj for Gov taking traditional Labour seats, knows no bounds. This Machiavellian enquiry is the means to a by-election and Con MPs should have no part in it.

— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) August 8, 2022

At the end of an interview mainly about the Tory leadership contest, Jenkin was asked about the claims that the committee was rigged against Johnson. He said that House of Commons voted for the inquiry to take place and that the committee had set out how it intended to proceed (in this report), taking into account advice on fairness from a judge. He said:

If any member of parliament is not happy with the process that we set out in our July report, which reflects the advice of a high court judge, respect for article six of the European convention on human rights about making sure that we have a fair process and Boris Johnson is not subjected to an unfair prosecution of any kind – if anybody is unhappy with that, they should write to the committee with their arguments and we will be compelled to consider them …

Don’t just conduct a sort of terrorist campaign to try and discredit the committee because the privileges committee is how we self regulate our affairs. The House of Commons attaches great importance to the self regulation of our affairs. We don’t want to hand them over to the courts or to statute law. So if people have proper criticisms to make, make them to the committee and we will have to consider them.


Jenkin suggested that, if the Commons were to vote to end the inquiry, then that would imply that claims that MPs had been misled by Johnson were not important. He said:

If the House of Commons were to decide to rescind the original motion referring the matter to us, well, then, I think we would all have to answer questions as to why suddenly it’s not important any more when it was very important before.

Jenkin also insisted he had a “completely open mind” on the question of whether or not Johnson misled MPs.

Bernard Jenkin
Bernard Jenkin. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/AFP/Getty Images

Truss accuses Sunak of being ‘declinist’ as she rejects claim her economic plan would be ‘electoral suicide’ for Tories

Liz Truss, the frontrunner in the Tory leadership contest, has hit back at claims from the Rishi Sunak camp that her economic plans would amount to an “electoral suicide note” for the Tories because they would not protect people from soaring energy bills. (See 9.13am.) Speaking on a visit to Reliance Precision Ltd, a defence company in Huddersfield, she insisted that her approach would help people. Here are the main points she made.

  • Truss accused Sunak of being “declinist” and of spreading “portents of doom”. Asked about the “electoral suicide note” claim, she said:

My campaign is all about growing the British economy … What I care about is Britain being successful. I don’t agree with these portents of doom. I don’t agree with this declinist talk.

I believe our country’s best days are ahead of us. What I’m going to do, if selected as prime minister, is keep taxes low, get the economy growing, unleash the potential right across Britain. That’s what I’m about.

Truss claims that Sunak’s high-tax policies are taking the UK into recession and that, by cutting taxes to stimulate growth, she would be able to avert this.

  • Truss said she was committed to “making sure people are supported” through the cost of living crisis, but she would not give details of what payments she might make available to people. She said:

What I’m doing is making sure people are paying less taxes and also having a temporary moratorium on the green energy levy to save people money on their fuel bills.

I’m not going to write the budget in advance. We’ll see what the situation is like in the autumn. But I’m committed to making sure people are supported and I’m committed to growing the economy.


Even though Truss ruled out “handouts” in a Financial Times interview last week, her team have subsequently clarified her position and she is now not ruling out offering people some form of one off-payments in an emergency budget in the autumn.

  • But Truss also insisted her main focus was on bringing down the tax burden. She explained:

What I don’t believe in is taxing people to the highest level in 70 years, and then giving them their own money back.

We are Conservatives, we believe in low taxes. What I’m not going to do is announce the next budget in advance – of course we’ll need to deal with the circumstances as they arise – but my fundamental principle is that people should keep more of their own money.

Liz Truss speaking to the media on a visit to the Reliance Precision engineering company in Huddersfield.
Liz Truss speaking to the media on a visit to the Reliance Precision engineering company in Huddersfield. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a leading poverty charity, says, in the light of the latest forecast about how energy bills will rise (see 10.54am), the government needs to at least double the help already provided to help people through the cost of living crisis. This is from Peter Matejic, its chief analyst.


The latest projections of annual energy bills exceeding £4,200 from January is the latest in a series of terrifying warnings over the past week, from the Bank of England and others. Families on low incomes cannot afford these eye watering sums and as a nation we can’t afford to ignore an impending disaster.

Both candidates to be prime minister must now recognise the extraordinarily fast-changing situation and act to protect the hardest hit from the coming emergency.

Every day action is delayed is increasing anxiety for low-income families who do not know how they will get by this winter. The payments promised by the government earlier in the year offer some help but their scale has been overtaken by events, and they must now be at least doubled if they are to protect people from serious hardship on a massive scale.

The foundation has also published a briefing saying the plans announced by Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to help people with the cost of living won’t help those most in need.

Sunak has proposed a temporary cut in VAT on fuel bills, but the JRF says “this would help those who use more energy rather than those who need most help with their bills” and only save a typical consumer around £154 a year.


Truss wants to reverse the national insurance contributions (NICs) increase and remove green levies from energy bills. But for every £7 spent cancelling the NICs rise, £6 would go to people in the top half of income distribution, JRF says. And it says suspending green levies would only cut bills by around £150 a year – when costs will rise by more than £2,500 a year.

Unite ballots healthcare workers on industrial action over ‘miserable’ pay offer

Around 100,000 NHS workers in England and Wales are being balloted for industrial action in protest at a “miserable” pay offer, PA Media reports. PA says:

Unite said the 4% increase for staff in middle pay bands announced by the government last month is a “massive pay cut” because of soaring inflation.

The union will now consult with its 100,000 health members across the NHS in both England and Wales on whether they accept the “imposed deal” or want to challenge it through industrial action, which could mean strikes this winter.


Unite is recommending its members, including health visitors and speech therapists, vote yes to industrial action.

The union’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “This offer is nothing other than a massive national pay cut for NHS staff. After everything they have been through with the Covid pandemic and the service this workforce gives this country day in, day out, this is a kick in the teeth from the government and an insult to staff and patients alike.

“This ballot is a chance for our members to have their say, and, whatever they decide, they will have the full backing of their union, Unite.”

In England, the ballot closes on Sunday 11 September, and in Wales the ballot closes on Friday 15 September.

The Royal College of Nursing is also balloting its members for strikes over pay.


‘Fundamental difference of opinion’ means leadership candidates cannot agree joint energy bills plan, says Sunak ally

Tony Danker, director general of the CBI, has urged Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to agree a joint plan now for helping people with rising energy bills in the autumn, at a meeting convened by Boris Johnson. But, in an interview this morning, Mark Harper, the former Tory chief whip and a leading Sunak supporter, said he did not think this proposal was realistic because the two candidates disagreed too much. He told Sky News:

There’s a fundamental difference of opinion between the two leadership candidates. Rishi thinks we are going to need to give direct support to people because, if you’re going to help the poorest and most vulnerable, you can’t just cut their taxes because they don’t pay a lot of tax.

Liz Truss thinks that you can simply cut national insurance. But that gives a big boost to people on the biggest incomes, doesn’t help pensioners at all and gives very little help to people on the national living wage who are working full time.

Harper also said he expected civil servants to be working on both options so that, when the new PM takes over in early September, the government can implement a new policy quickly.


Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak must set out emergency water plans to tackle “immoral” wastage, the president of the National Farmers’ Union has said. My colleague Helena Horton has the story here.

Truss and Sunak ‘living in a parallel universe’ by ignoring fuel bill crisis, Lib Dem leader Ed Davey claims

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, wants the government to spend around £36bn halting any further rise in the energy price cap. My colleague Jessica Elgot has filed a story on this overnight.

The latest forecast from Cornwall Insight (see 10.54am) will make this proposal even more electorally compelling – as well as even more expensive.

In an interview on the Today programme this morning, Davey said a policy like this was needed to avoid a social catastrophe. He also accused the Tory leadership candidates of failing to address the crisis and “living in a parallel universe”. He told the programme:


We all know that energy prices are going to go up dramatically in October, but we’ve heard nothing from either candidate of the Conservatives for prime minister. They’ve got no plan, it’s almost as if they’re living in a parallel universe.

Liberal Democrats are now publishing our plan and what we’re saying is the Government should cancel the October energy price rise. If it does, it will avoid a social catastrophe. Millions of families and pensioners will go hungry and cold this winter unless bold measures like Liberal Democrats are proposing is put in place. They’ve got to act now.

Last night the Davey plan won a semi-endorsement from Momentum, the Labour group set up to promote Jeremy Corbyn’s policy agenda.

This doesn’t go nearly far enough.


But it goes further than Labour.

This is a crisis. Labour must offer a bold alternative to Tory ruin.

— Momentum 🌹 (@PeoplesMomentum) August 8, 2022

Ed Davey.
Ed Davey. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

UK energy bills forecast to hit £4,266 a year from January

The energy price cap is now forecast to reach £4,266 a year in the first three months of next year, according to the consultancy Cornwall Insight. My colleague Alex Lawson has the full story here.

These are from Bloomberg’s energy specialist Javier Blas.


Latest calculation for the electricity and gas UK retail price cap is scary. Very, very scary.

Consultant @CornwallInsight puts the cap in October at £3,582 a year (up from £1,971 per year current). From January, it jumps to £4,266 per year.

UK government sleeping at the wheel.

— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) August 9, 2022


The main reason for the further increase in the forecast is the re-pricing of the forward gas / electricity curve at higher levels. Utilities are hedging on behalf of their costumers, at much higher prices for 1Q-2Q 2023. Forward prices matter for the cap a lot.

— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) August 9, 2022

Sunak claims ‘efficiency savings’ could fund new energy bills support package in autumn

In his statement issued overnight about his plans for dealing with the cost of living crisis (see 9.13am), Rishi Sunak said he would fund a new energy bills support package through efficiency savings. He said:

It’s important for people to know how this extra support will be paid for. In order to keep any one-off borrowing to an absolute minimum I will first seek efficiency savings across Whitehall to provide direct support for families to help with the unprecedented situation we face.


This is not really plausible. The last energy support package Sunak announced as chancellor, which is the one he seems to want to replicate this time around, cost £15bn and it would be impossible to find “efficiency savings”, in the conventional meaning of the term, that would raise this sort of money. If “efficiency savings” are a euphemism for massive public spending cuts, then the proposal would be more credible. Alternatively, Sunak would have to raise taxes somewhere, or borrow.

According to Politico, the Liz Truss camp are describing this as “another big U-turn”. One Truss source said:

How is [Sunak] going to fund these new promises? Three weeks ago he was saying more borrowing was irresponsible and inflationary. Has he changed his mind? Intellectually it’s as watertight as a sieve.

Of course, Truss herself is not a great advert for consistency. Famously, she is now an evangelist for Brexit having voted remain in 2016. But the campaign has also seen her abandon other policies she was championing more recently. She has completely dropped her 2019 proposal to build 1m homes on the green belt, she is now backing calls for civil servants to return to the office, despite only last year saying she was “ a passionate supporter of results over presenteeism in every possible area”, and only last week she dropped a plan for regional pay for public sector workers only hours after it was press released by her team.


Paul Scully, the business minister, has been giving interviews this morning on behalf of the Liz Truss campaign. Referring to the Dominic Raab article in the Times (see 9.13am), Scully criticised the Rishi Sunak campaign for negative campaigning. He told Times Radio:

It’s a shame that we’re hearing that sort of language. That sort of blue-on-blue, as it’s always known, language doesn’t really help. People looking from the outside must be tearing their hair out because all we want to do is do the best for the country, for people.

Scully also defended Truss’s cost of living proposals (described by Raab as a potential “electoral suicide note” for the Tories). He said:

What Liz has said is the right thing to do, the Conservative thing to do, is don’t take the money from people in the first place, rather than just taking money to give it back to them …

Ofgem will be deciding the price cap in the next few weeks. And at that point, we can make a quick decision … We clearly need to support people as best we can.


Liz is far more bold, ambitious, she’s more optimistic for the economy. And the combination of targeted tax cuts, and targeted support can help both the short term and grow the economy for the medium-term solutions.

As Annabelle Dickson reports in her London Playbook briefing for Politico, in private the Truss camp response to the “electoral suicide” article is much stronger. “The suicide note here is Rishi’s high taxes and his failed economic policy that he’s peddled for the past two and a half years when he was chancellor,” they are saying.

Truss’s cost of living policies could be ‘electoral suicide note’ for Tories, says Raab

Good morning. At 7pm this evening Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will speak at the fifth official Conservative party hustings. Tom Newton Dunn from TalkTV is in the chair, and the event may give some insight into how both candidates appeal in “red wall” territory. The Tories won Darlington in 2019, but until then it had been a Labour seat since 1992. It is a key target seat for the opposition.

Truss and Sunak will also come under pressure to clarify exactly what they would do to help people cope with crippling energy bills later this year. A column in the Sun yesterday said Britain was “on the brink of a full-blown calamity of wartime proportions”. In a statement released overnight Sunak went further than he has gone before in saying that essentially he would replicate the support package he announced earlier this year as chancellor. He said:


People need proven methods that will deliver for them quickly. So I will use the framework I created to provide further support and give millions of people the peace of mind they desperately need ahead of the winter.

In fact, Sunak announced three energy support packages in the first half of this year, but the briefing note from his campaign only refers to the £15bn May package, implying that this will be the model. Economists praised these measures as “highly progressive”, saying they would help the poor the most.

Truss has been less clear about what she would do. Her team has said that an interview she gave to the Financial Times at the end of last week, in which she said that she wanted to “do things is in a Conservative way of lowering the tax burden, not giving out handouts”, did not mean that she was ruling out providing people with Sunak-style one-off payments. But she insists that her primary focus remains on helping people via tax cuts.

This morning the Guardian has splashed on a story by my colleague Rowena Mason about the criticism “Trussonomics” is getting from economists and others who say that her plans might cost £50bn a year, while failing to protect those most at risk from the cost of living crisis.

You can read Rowena’s story here.


And it turns out the Rishi Sunak camp largely agree with the experts quoted by Rowena. Dominic Raab, the justice secretary, deputy PM and a leading Sunak supporter, has written an article for the Times today and in it he claims that Truss’s policies would amount to an “electoral suicide note” for the Tories because voters would not forgive the party for not helping the most vulnerable. He says:

Deep down, we know that the aftereffects of a global pandemic, compounded by a war on our near shores, are having a palpable impact on people up and down the country. That is why, in addition to bearing ruthlessly down on inflation, it is wrong to rule out further direct support for families worried and unsure how they will make ends meet in the coming months. It is why it is right that we consider carefully how we step in and shield them from the full force of the global economic headwinds we now face. We must tackle these problems in a way that doesn’t drive up borrowing, and therefore inflation – and with our medium-term focus constantly fixed on that goal of reducing taxes and making taxpayers’ money go further. That is the economic tightrope we must walk, and there’s no avoiding it …

As Conservative party members decide which way to cast their vote over the coming weeks, I urge them to consider this point carefully. If we go to the country in September with an emergency budget that fails to measure up to the task, voters will not forgive us as they see their living standards eroded and the financial security they cherish disappear before their eyes. Such a failure will read unmistakenly to the public like an electoral suicide note and see our great party cast into the impotent oblivion of opposition.

I’ll be here all day, reporting on this debate as it unfolds, and I will be covering the hustings in Darlington tonight.

Otherwise the diary is relatively empty, although Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labour leader, is speaking at an event at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at 12pm, which may provide some news.


I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

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