Boris Johnson ‘kicking himself’ over by-election says Walden
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Lord Barwell of Croydon, who was an MP before becoming Theresa May’s chief of staff after the disastrous 2017 general election, said the Prime Minister’s problems will only intensify in the months to come. He warned the factors which led to the loss of the North Shropshire by-election will be nothing in comparison to the mounting cost of living crisis.
Conservative support in the ultra-safe North Shropshire seat collapsed as the Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Morgan sailed to victory by 5,925 votes.
It is the fist time in almost 200 years that the area has not been represented by a Tory.
Accusations of sleaze, lockdown breaking Christmas parties in No10, and U-turns on promises have all been sighted as reasons for the shock result.
Mr Johnson has faced a barrage of negative headlines over the past week about whether he knew thee were illegal gatherings taking place in Downing Street last year.
In the run-up to the ballot he saw his personal polls collapse, and Tories drop behind the Labour Party nationally in voting intention.
However, Lord Barwell urged the Tories not to waste time focusing on the elements that led to yesterday’s loss and instead to focus on the mounting other issues which would hurt them at the next general election.
He said: “If you’re thinking about what’s happened this week that will impact the next election, I would focus on highest inflation and interest rate rise.
“With tax rises to come, cost of living is going to add to the Government’s problems over the next 12 months.”
On Wednesday UK inflation hit 5.1 percent, its highest level in over a decade.
A rise in petrol costs and gas prices were largely blamed for the increase, which will push prices up for households across Britain.
In a bid to curb the spiralling rise, on Thursday the Bank of England raised interest rates from a record low of 0.1 percent to 0.25.
The decision will lead to a rise in mortgage repayments and cost of credit card debt.
The double-whammy comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also hiked up taxes, including the introduction of a new 1.25 percent health and social care levy paid via national insurance.
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Analysts have warned the tax burden is now at its highest point in 70 years.
Backbench MPs have also been quick to warn the Government the cost of living crisis will come back to haunt them.
“Will the Chancellor now admit his high tax economic slowdown is wrong?” asked formed Cabinet minister John Redwood after last night’s result.
“The way to cut the inflation is to produce more of our own energy, not to put mortgage rates up.
“If the Chancellor wants to help the country he should cancel his increases in National Insurance.
“Take VAT off domestic heating fuel.”
The next general election must be held by 2024.
Prior to last night’s drumming, many had expected the Prime Minister to call an early vote and go to the polls in 2023.
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