Boris Johnson delivers thinly-veiled swipe at Liz Truss over finances

Boris Johnson: TalkTV tease interview with Nadine Dorries

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Boris Johnson tonight appeared to take a thinly-veiled swipe at Liz Truss over the state of the public finances. In an interview with Tory MP Nadine Dorries on Talk TV, the ex-PM insisted the Government’s financial position was “pretty robust” when he left No 10 in September.

Ms Truss briefly took over from Mr Johnson but was forced out of Downing Street after just 49 days when sweeping unfunded tax cuts in her disastrous mini-budget sent the economy into freefall.

Tax rises and spending cuts have since been unveiled by Ms Truss’s successor Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to plug a black hole in the nation’s finances.

But in his latest intervention tonight as speculation of a future comeback mounts, Mr Johnson urged the Government to slash taxes in the near future to turbocharge the economy.

He told former culture secretary and close ally Ms Dorries: “The fiscal position was pretty robust when I left office.

“We had scope to do all sorts of things and we were going to do them.

“And I have no doubt that when the time comes, the Government will make sure that they start to reduce the tax burden and get the economy growing again and that is what needs to happen.

“We need to be on the front foot out there talking about the benefits of Brexit, not being shy about it, not being bashful and getting some growth back into the economy.”

Mr Johnson’s comments come as Mr Sunak and Mr Hunt are under intense pressure from Tory backbenchers to reduce the tax burden, which is at a record high.

But it is understood there will be no tax cuts in the March Budget as the Prime Minister and Chancellor instead focus on tackling soaring inflation.

Elsewhere during the interview, Mr Johnson said reducing taxes is key to the Conservatives winning the next general election.

The ex-premier also warned that taxes would go up under a Sir Keir Starmer premiership.

He said: “Let me be very clear, the fact is that the Conservative Party can certainly win the next election. Yes, absolutely.

“We’ve got almost two years to go before there has to be an election. You don’t have to have an election until January 2025. So that’s almost two years.

“Hang on a mo. You talk about 1997. I remember… I fought the 1997 election, I was there and I remember what it was like.

“It was really, really tough. You would feel this movement of voters, actively who wanted Tony Blair and that is just not happening now. I don’t feel it.

“Old Sir Crasharooney Snoozefest, the human bollard – Keir Starmer, that is – he thinks that he’s going to get people to vote Labour just by standing there and doing nothing. It’s not going to happen.

“The economy will start to improve, inflation will come down, people will reward the Conservative party, they will reward the Government for being sensible, for cutting their taxes and for getting things done that they need done.

“Fixing the things that Rishi has said that he’s going to fix and never forget when it comes to it, it’s going to be a very clear choice.

“Do you want the Conservatives who are going to manage the economy, not put taxes up any further? In fact, cut taxes. Of course the taxation situation has been very, very difficult because of Covid.

“The huge expense that we had to go to, £480 billion we had to spend on looking after people during Covid, it was massively expensive. It had a big fiscal impact but Labour, everything they say makes it perfectly obvious that the taxes would be even higher.”

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