‘Put 12 taxes on us!’ Sunak ally forced to defend ex-Chancellor’s record in fierce clash

Tory leadership: Bowie defends Sunak's record as Chancellor

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Frontrunner Rishi Sunak has come under fire for tax rises during his time in Whitehall. The former Chancellor increased the National Insurance, the income tax, and the corporation tax. In total, Mr Sunak, one of the leading contenders in the Conservative leadership race, has reportedly hiked taxes at least 15 times. Despite his tax-raising track record, Tory MP Andrew Bowie tried to defend Mr Sunak’s bid for Prime Minister.

Mr Bowie defended: “He’s the Chancellor who’s given people £330 back by raising the national insurance threshold.

“He’s got £330 back to bans B and D council taxpayers.”

Talk TV’s Mike Graham retorted: “That’s a drop in the ocean. That’s a drop in the ocean!”

Mr Bowie continued: “£400 on energy bills. And that’s what he’s done as Chancellor and he’ll continue to do as Prime Minister.”

Mr Graham interjected: “Hang on, Andrew. Hang on. That’s all very well for you to say. But that’s not a policy that lots of people in this country want.

“You know, I’m one of the people that got £150 rebate, right? I went through the process to get it. You just see how easy it was. It wasn’t very easy.

‘”And if I really needed the money, it’s literally one month and a half of what I pay in council tax in any events. So, it’s not really going to help people who are in dire straits.

“You can’t give money to people. You have to somehow release the cost of living and make it cheaper for people surely. So, tax them less. Tax them less. Don’t just hand my money so that they can go and buy some food,” Mr Graham blasted. 

Mr Bowie hit back: “But Mike, that majority of people on band B and D will have been very much helped.”

Mr Graham fired back: “No, they won’t. No, no, no!”

Mr Bowie continued: “Maybe not you, maybe not me.”

Mr Graham interjected: “No, no. You misunderstand. Andrew, you misunderstand. What I’m saying is if you really needed the money, it’s worth one month and a half of what you’re paying over the course of the year. That’s of no use to anyone!”

Mr Bowie persisted: “Look, Rishi Sunak is a tax-cutting conservative.”

Mr Graham rejected the claim, shouting: “No, he’s not!”

Mr Bowie retorted: “Yes, he is.”

Mr Graham said: “He’s put 12 different taxes on us since he got in.”

Mr Bowie continued: “He wants to cut taxes but we can’t do that with an economy being in the place that it is right now.”

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Mr Graham cut him off, saying: “Don’t call him… hang on! Don’t call him a tax-cutting Chancellor. He hasn’t cut any tax!”

Mr Bowie hit back: “Well, he has by raising the national insurance threshold. He actually demonstrated by his actions that he has cut taxes.

“And we’re going to cut more taxes. But we can’t do that now with inflation out of control, with the economy in the place that it is right now. So, that’s why we’ve got to get him in Number 10, so he can take the action necessary to get us into a good place where we can cut taxes in the years ahead.

“And that’s a much more sensible plan that I’ve heard than any of the other candidates.”

Tax cuts, a major weakness for Rishi Sunak, will likely be one of the core issues addressed by Conservative contenders in Friday’s debate.

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