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It's desperately serious: Former Tory minister Jo Johnson says the party is heading towards…

It's desperately serious: Former Tory minister Jo Johnson says the party is heading towards…
It's desperately serious: Former Tory minister Jo Johnson says the party is heading towards…


June 11, 2024, 7:51 p.m.

Jo Johnson said the Tories' situation was

Jo Johnson said the Tories' situation was “desperately serious”.

Photo: Alamy

Lord Jo Johnson, a former Tory cabinet minister, said the Tories' plight was desperately grave following the launch of their manifesto.

Mr Johnson told LBC Tonight with Andrew Marr that he believed the Conservative Party was heading for a very heavy defeat in the general election.

Speaking to Andrew, Boris Johnson's younger brother said he did not think the launch of the Tory manifesto on Tuesday would change things dramatically.

He said: No, I don't think it's going to change things dramatically and let's be clear, this was the last chance to really make an impact with a giant set piece event. It doesn't happen very often in the calendar, there's a party conference, then maybe an autumn statement, then there's the spring budget, and that's all that's really left. This great event marking the launch of the manifesto. And the manifestos, once published, that’s it.

Asked how serious he thought the Tories' situation was, Mr Johnson replied: “Desperately serious.” And after 14 years, it's no surprise that the ruling party is starting to lose steam quite significantly. And that's what we're seeing.

I think we must not forget that the Conservatives have been in power for 14 years now. That's a terribly long time, even by the standards of British politics. And it is not surprising that the country is seeking, or appears to be seeking, radical change.

Learn more: Rachel Reeves won't say whether Labor would cut tax burden – as party attacks Tories' 'Corbyn-style' manifesto

Learn more: Tax cuts, stamp duty cuts and halving migration: Sunak rolls the dice at Tory manifesto launch

Rishi Sunak launched the Conservative manifesto on Tuesday.

Rishi Sunak launched the Conservative manifesto on Tuesday.


On whether he believes the Conservatives will reform at the election, Mr Johnson added: “I think it will be a very heavy defeat and, in many ways, not at all unexpected. Given that they are in power for 14 years, there have been some pretty turbulent times at the moment.

“So yes, I think the country is looking for change and Keir Starmer and his shadow MPs are doing a good job of appearing harmless to the people who are going to bring them in.”

It comes after Rishi Sunak announced the Conservative manifesto on Tuesday, promising more tax cuts, immigration reform and the effective abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers.

Mr Sunak announced a series of policies aimed at wooing voters, pledging to:

  • Cut another 2p from National Insurance
  • Effectively remove stamp duty for first-time buyers on houses under 425,000
  • Introduce an annual migration cap

The manifesto pledges to “cut workers' taxes by removing another 2p from workers' national insurance”, adding: “The next step in our long-term ambition (is) to end double taxation on work when financial conditions permit.

He adds that they want to cut taxes to support the self-employed by “completely removing the main National Insurance rate for the self-employed” by the end of the next parliament.

Labor will launch its program on Thursday.

Labor will launch its manifesto on Thursday.


Asked about the country's perception of the Labor Party and its upcoming manifesto, Mr Johnson said: No, I don't think the country is particularly scared. Labor wouldn't get more than 40 percent of the polls if anyone was really scared, and I think they did a good job of being bland and non-threatening.

And I think the success of the Labor manifesto next week would be about the same, without spooking the horses, and a bit of an anti-climax when Labor publishes its manifesto on Thursday. So I think they're doing a very effective job of moving quietly into the government.

Mr Sunak also pledged to halve national insurance by 2027 in his manifesto.

Mr Sunak said: “We are going to allow workers to keep more of the money you earn because you earned it and you have the right to choose what you spend it on.

“Now Keir Starmer has a very different view. He says he's a socialist and we all know what socialists do, don't we? They take more of your money because they think it belongs to them.

“Now we are cutting taxes for workers, parents and pensioners, and we are the party of Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson, a party, unlike Labour, which believes in sound money.”




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