The challenge now for the Conservative Party – by Edward Leigh MP

portrait-edwardleigh7Thank God, Cameron and Osborne renounced Labour’s spending plans last week. We were like passengers who had to decide what’s more dangerous: stay on the runaway coach or leap off and risk a broken leg?

Well, now we know. The coach is careering full-tilt over the cliff, and if we had not jumped off and been given a few bruises by the establishment commentariat, we would now be heading for political oblivion. The scale of Government borrowing projected for next year, £118 billion, is staggering; more than we’ve ever let ourselves in for in history: around £4,682 for every household in the country.

What point would the Conservative Party have had if we had endorsed this? What purpose would we serve? For months, no, years, we on the Tory Right have begged our leadership to steer our own course. Ours is a party of fiscal rectitude or it is nothing. As for the cut in V.A.T., we can argue that’s the worst thing to do. We must oppose it. Who can argue against the fact that high marginal tax rates have destroyed the working-class culture of thrift and work?

If tax cuts are needed now, thresholds should have been raised to take people out of paying tax altogether and encourage them back into work, to spend their money as they have to.

How will it help the poor to give them a few pence more off consumer items they don’t need?

As for the promised tax rise for the “rich” – i.e. people who create wealth – this all adds up to a picture of a return to the Callaghan years.

I firmly believe the corner is turned and the Conservatives are on the way to victory. We now have to work out how we’re going to achieve the same outputs for a lot less spending. This is an enormous challenge for an incoming Conservative government. We need to work on it now.


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