New chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has vowed to review a planned increase in Corporation Tax for the UK’s largest companies as Boris Johnson tries to cling onto power.
Zahawi told the BBC today that “nothing was off the table”, including a potential scrapping of a planned increase in Corporation Tax for the UK’s largest firms from 19 to 25 per cent.
It comes after Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid sensationally resigned last night as chancellor and health secretary respectively, sparking a wave of resignations in Johnson’s government.
The 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers will meet today and are expected to change the rules to allow a no-confidence vote in Johnson’s leadership as early as this week, Bloomberg reports.
Fifteen ministers or parliamentary private secretaries – backbench MPs who act as assistants to ministers – have quit since 6pm last night, leaving the Prime Minister in a dire position.
This includes City minister, and Sunak ally, John Glen who quit this morning, after four years in the role.
He said “recent events concerning the handling of the appointment of the former deputy chief whip, and the poor judgement you have shown, have made it impossible for me to square continued service with my conscience”.
Zahawi said today that he would “look at everything” when pressed about tax policy amid suggestions that his decisions as chancellor will be motivated by keeping Johnson in Number 10 rather than what is best for the economy.
“The most important thing is to rebuild the economy post-pandemic and to get growth going again, and tax cuts,” he said.
“We’re delivering the first tax cut in a decade today. I’m determined to do more.”
The resignations follow Johnson’s handling of the Chris Pincher sexual misconduct scandal, which saw Number 10 admit yesterday that the PM knew of specific allegations against the MP but still appointed him to several ministerial positions.
The admission came after Number 10 said multiple times that this was not the case.
The Pincher affair was the latest in a long string of scandals and comes just weeks after the Sue Gray report into partygate led to a no-confidence vote in the PM, which he narrowly won.
Sunak said in his resignation letter that the “public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously”.
“I recognise this might be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning,” he said.
Staunch Johnson supporters on the backbenches have also begun to desert him, including 2019 intake MPs like Lee Anderson and Tom Hunt.
Conservative MP Laura Trott, a rising star in the party, quit as a parliamentary private secretary today and said: “Trust in politics is, and must always be, of the upmost importance, but sadly in recent months this has been lost.”
In her resignation letter, justice minister Victoria Atkins today said: “I can no longer pirouette around our fractured values.”