Rishi BLOCKS Boris plans as he readies to pounce – ‘Wasted on a dying administration!’

Michael Fabricant says Boris Johnson ‘is popular’

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The multi-billion pound plan to clear the backlog caused by the pandemic had been due to be announced today. However, the plan has been pushed back after the Chancellor refused to sign off on the spending commitments.

The Chancellor’s latest intervention comes after repeated clashes between him and Mr Johnson in recent weeks.

Mr Sunak has been accused of being on manoeuvres, ready to launch a leadership bid to take over as Prime Minister.

Last week, he appeared to distance himself from controversies surrounding his party leader, stating he would not have made Mr Johnson’s Jimmy Savile remark to Sir Keir Starmer.

Health officials were expecting to announce the National Recovery Plan to deal with record waiting lists of six million patients before the Treasury intervened with concerns over value for money.

One NHS leader at the weekend suggested Mr Sunak was blocking the plan as there was no longer certainty that Mr Johnson would remain in office in the long term.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS confederation, said on social media: “Increasingly getting the sense that Johnson now faces the same (but more intense and short term) challenges Tony Blair had in his third term, namely that Her Majesty’s Treasury is loathed to agree to any No10 plans involving money, as the Chancellor sees these as opportunistic and wasted on a dying administration.”

There are 15 Tory MPs who have gone public in demanding a no confidence vote in Mr Johnson.

Allies of the Prime Minister fear more are likely to have submitted letters but kept quiet about it.

If 15 percent of the Parliamentary party – 54 MPs – submit letters of no confidence, a vote on the leader’s future must be held.

Numbers have been creeping up in recent days, with many in Westminster now believing a vote is inevitable.

However, it remains unclear if a majority of the party’s 360 MPs would side with Conservative rebels to oust Mr Johnson.

A senior source dismissed claims of deliberate sabotage by Mr Sunak when speaking to The Telegraph.

They said: “I am sure the Treasury would wish to double check whether the NHS was sufficiently up to the mark.

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“So it’s less political, more the Treasury doing its job of holding the NHS to account.”

A Government spokesman said: “We of course want value for taxpayers money and any delay is a working through of final details.”

Last Thursday, Mr Sunak repeatedly refused to rule out a leadership run if Mr Johnson were to stand down.

A dismissed questions on the matter as a “hypothetical situation” but asked four times if he would be interested in taking over as leader, he said it was “very kind” of colleagues to put his name forward.

Later in the same day he appeared to criticise Mr Johnson for attacking Sir Keir with a smear claiming the Labour leader failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile when he led the Crown Prosecution Service.

He said he “wouldn’t have said it” and was pleased the Prime Minister had since clarified his remarks.

The Chancellor is also accused of distancing himself from the much-criticised 1.25 percentage points increase in National Insurance.

While Mr Sunak has publicly backed the tax hike on hard-working Britons, in private when speaking to Tory MPs it is claimed he refers to it as “the Prime Minister’s tax”.

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