The government’s stunning decision to U-turn on its plan to slash taxes for the country’s highest earners has been described as “just politics” by business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Rees-Mogg said at a Tory conference fringe event today that “it is a political reality that sometimes things you want to do don’t receive the approbation of the nation” and that the frenzied reaction to the announcement was “sound and fury that signifies nothing”.
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng today said he was no longer abolishing the top 45p rate of Income Tax – just a week-and-a-half after announcing it – as it had “become a distraction from our overriding mission to tackle the challenges facing our country”.
“We get it, and we have listened,” Kwarteng and Liz Truss said.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister said she was “absolutely committed” to the policy, despite new polling showing Labour now leads the Tories by as much as 33 points.
The pound has surged against the US dollar since the decision and a section of Tory MPs who were fighting against the policy are rejoicing this morning.
Rees-Mogg said at a Telegraph event that “there’s no point sticking with it stubbornly if there simply isn’t the desire and the appetite to do them”.
“This is just politics. We all know how politics works,” he said.
“Tax decisions are often reversed, governments come up with an idea that when the reality hits it turns out the nation doesn’t want.
“If politicians don’t respond they’re accused of being stubborn, that they’re not listening and being ideological. If they do listen, they’re accused of doing a hand break turn. Neither of these true.”
The government is to row back on the policy following vocal opposition from former cabinet ministers Michael Gove and Grant Shapps.
Shapps called the tax cut “politically tin-eared cut” and “not even a huge revenue raiser and hardly a priority on the prime ministerial to-do list”.
Other Tory MPs were also planning on voting against the measure, with Truss potentially facing a humiliating parliamentary defeat.
Gove today said he would vote for the remainder of the mini-Budget.