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Tory MPs Turn On Suella Braverman After She Accused 45p Tax Rebels Of A "Coup"

Tory MPs Turn On Suella Braverman After She Accused 45p Tax Rebels Of A 'Coup'

Suella Braverman at Conservative party conference (Alamy)

4 min read

Backbench Conservative MPs have rejected accusations by the Home Secretary that rebels including Michael Gove had staged a coup against the government over initial plans to scrap the 45p tax rate.

MPs have said they were simply doing "what we believe to be right" in resisting the prime minister and chancellor’s plan to abolish the top rate of income tax, and that Suella Braverman is "wrong" to criticise their dissent. 

There is growing anger among rebel Tory MPs who are planning talks to discuss the future of PM Liz Truss and her government after the controversial mini-Budget which saw markets crash last week.

Ahead of her keynote speech at Conservative party conference on Tuesday, Braverman told the Chopper's Politics podcast she had supported the decision to bring down the higher rate of tax from 45p to 40p, and that she was “disappointed” by the subsequent U–turned on the policy.

Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng had faced considerable pressure to drop the policy after it had contributed to a drop in the value of the pound, and accusations from their own MPs that cutting taxes for the rich was politically toxic.

Today Braverman accused former cabinet minister Gove, who publicly disagreed with cutting the higher rate of tax, of “getting it wrong” and said he should be encouraging the new administration to succeed. 

"Ultimately I'm very disappointed that members of our own party staged a coup, effectively, against the prime minister," she said. 

“We’re on the same team. If you’ve got concerns, raise them in private. You don’t air your dirty laundry in public.”

Shortly after, MP Simon Hoare rejected the accusation. “Representing one’s constituents is not a coup,” he tweeted. 

MP Steve Double agreed, and argued that he was simply representing what he believed to be the best interests of voters.

“Doing what we believe to be right for our constituents is not 'a coup' or unprofessional," he tweeted. 

“It’s called doing our job as backbench MPs. If this is the approach the Cabinet takes we're in for a bumpy time.”

MP Guy Opperman tweeted that the Home Secretary was "110% wrong" on criticising rebel MPs.

Former No 10 Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell appeared to support MPs pushing back on Braverman's comments. 

"People who were backbench rebels have no credibility when they lecture others about loyalty when they become ministers," he said. 

But Simon Clarke, who serves in the cabinet alongside Braverman jumped to her defence. "Suella speaks a lot of good sense, as usual," he wrote, sharing a tweet explaining her "coup" comments. 

Speaking ahead of her first party conference speech as Home Secretary, Braverman also doubled down on many of the government's policy priorities, including an overhaul of the benefits system, which she referred to as using the "stick".

She also said it would be her "dream” to see a flight deporting migrants to Rwanda by Christmas, insisting the government will “stand by” their 2019 manifesto promise to bring net migration numbers down, including further limiting the number of student visas.

“We need to look more closely into the kind of workers we are bringing into this country," she continued.

“We have too many students coming into this country who are propping up sub-standard courses in inadequate institutions. Universities are being bankrolled by foreign institutions.

“You can get a student visa and you can bring family members. If you are coming here for an undergraduate degree, is it justified you are bringing family members? No.”

The number of study visas increased by 71% between 2021 and 2022, and work visas increased by 72% in the same period. 

Acting Director of Universities UK International, Jamie Arrowsmith, said:  "The recent comments by the Home Secretary are disappointing and risk undermining the government’s own target to grow education exports to £35 billion by 2030.

"We should continue to welcome international students to the UK, and value the contribution that they - and their families – make to our country."

Braverman also declared she is “proud” of the British Empire.

On policing, the Home Secretary said: “The police have been distracted by politically correct initiatives pandering to various lobby groups. 

“There has been a distortion of priorities in policing, a bit too much of the PC brigade.”

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