Labour and the Lib Democrats both tabled amendments to the Queen’s Speech, which was criticised for lacking focus on the cost-of-living crisis, and included measures to implement emergency tax cuts. However, Tory MPs voted down the amendments on Wednesday, despite figures showing that inflation in the UK has risen to its highest rate in 40-years at 9 percent.
Speaking on Sky News, Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey accused the Government of “dithering and delaying” and “not doing enough” after admitting he is “really worried about people getting very anxious about the future.”
During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused Boris Johnson of doing the “hokey-cokey”, ruling out a one-off windfall tax and then backing it later on.
Sir Keir said: “Whilst he dithers, British households are slapped with an extra £53million on their energy bills every single day.
Discussing other money-saving measures, Mr Davey criticised the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, for “refusing” to help Brits.
He said: “Cutting VAT would put money straight back into people’s pockets, and the Chancellor could do it at the stroke of a pen.
“Rishi Sunak’s refusal to do so while cashing in billions in extra VAT receipts is a betrayal of pensioners and families feeling the pain of soaring prices.
“People won’t forgive this government for refusing to help in their time of need.
“People won’t forgive the Conservatives for refusing to help in their time of need.”
The Liberal Democrats’ amendment included a provision for an emergency VAT tax cut from 20 percent to 17.5 percent.
However, the party in office usually votes down amendments to the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the Government’s legislative agenda, as such a move has been previously treated as an implicit loss of confidence.
According to the Institute for Government, the last time the executive was defeated on a Queen’s Speech vote was when Stanley Baldwin’s minority Tory Government was in office back in 1924.
The Liberal Democrats’ recent political adverts, which targeted voters in the so-called Blue Wall, were created when Tory MPs rejected proposals to impose a cut to VAT.
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Liberal Democrat candidate for Winchester, Danny Chambers, tweeted one of the ads alerting residents that their Conservative MP, Steve Brine, voted against emergency tax cuts.
Mr Chambers tweeted: “Lib Dem MPs put forward a tax cut in Parliament tonight, but Boris Johnson’s Conservative party blocked it.
“Families and pensioners in Winchester need help now.”
The Lib Dems have also released other ads for their MPs, such as Layla Moran, who tweeted a picture of the ad that reads: “I just voted for a tax cut to put money in your pocket.”
A Liberal Democrat source told Express.co.uk: “Conservative MPs are looking over their shoulder at the Liberal Democrats.
“They know the Liberal Democrats have done something Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have failed to: Demanded a tax cut right now.
“The choice in former Conservative heartlands couldn’t be clearer after this week’s votes in Parliament.”
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Following the local elections earlier this month, the Lib Dems gained more than 200 new councillors across England, Wales, and Scotland in the largest net gain of any party.
The seats were won to the demise of many Tory candidates, including in their ‘true blue’ heartlands in the south of England.
Wokingham MP, Sir John Redwood, is one of the many prominent Eurosceptics who has been targeted in these new ads by the Liberal Democrats.
In response to the criticism, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Clarke, said: “Far from the dire forecasts about unemployment from 2020 being realised, instead we see unemployment has fallen back to just 3.7 percent, below pre-pandemic levels and the lowest since 1974.
“That 12 million jobs and incomes were protected during the pandemic, that unemployment is now lower than before the pandemic, that we were the fastest growing economy in the G7 last year, is all thanks to the careful economic stewardship of…the Chancellor and this Conservative Government.”