Sat. Feb 24th, 2024
alert-–-rishi-sunak-‘could-stage-reshuffle-next-week’-with-tory-right-pushing-for-chancellor-to-be-axed-as-labour-poll-lead-stretches-on-pm’s-first-anniversary-in-no10Alert – Rishi Sunak ‘could stage reshuffle next week’ with Tory right pushing for Chancellor to be axed as Labour poll lead stretches on PM’s first anniversary in No10

Rumours are swirling that Rishi Sunak could stage a Cabinet reshuffle as soon as next week as he marks his first year in No10 today.

The PM is being urged to shake up his top team in the wake of the disastrous double by-election defeat, and with polls showing a massive lead for Labour.

The latest Redfield & Wilton Strategies research put Keir Starmer’s party 18 points ahead, while Deltapoll found the gap was 20 points.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has been coming under heavy fire from the Tory right, as he bats away demands for immediate tax cuts.

Mr Hunt has been forced to deny speculation he is planning to quit Parliament before the next election, rather than face the humiliation of losing his Surrey seat to the Lib Dems in a ‘Portillo moment’. 

Mr Sunak’s close ally Claire Coutinho and Mel Stride have been mooted as potential replacements at No11. 

The latest Redfield & Wilton Strategies research put Keir Starmer ‘s party 18 points ahead, while Deltapoll found the gap was 20 points

Rumours are swirling that Rishi Sunak could stage a Cabinet reshuffle as soon as next week as he marks his first year in No10 today

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has been coming under heavy fire from the Tory right, as he bats away demands for immediate tax cuts

Others seen as at risk include Tory chair Greg Hands, Environment Secretary Therese Coffey, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack and Transport Secretary Mark Harper.

Some reports have suggested that even Home Secretary Suella Braverman could be moved – although that would provoke howls of fury from the right.

Parliament is due to be prorogued next week in preparation for the crucial King’s Speech. 

The timetable for the reshuffle seems to have stepped up after Mr Sunak suffered two shattering blows when Labour seized true-blue strongholds Mid Beds and Tamworth, overturning massive majorities.

Experts said the results put Sir Keir firmly on track for No10 next year. Although by-elections never translate directly, if replicated at a general election the 20-plus percentage point swings seen would see the Conservatives reduced to a rump of just 20 seats. 

The public is also seemingly in favour of an election sooner rather than later, according to More in Common research.

Just 12 per cent believe the ballot should happen at the last possible date in January 2025, with 32 per cent backing next May. 

Amid reports that dozens of MPs are considering putting in no-confidence letters to the powerful 1922 Committee, some Tories have warned Downing Street that only reductions in taxes – heading for a post-war high – can save the party from oblivion.

However, Mr Sunak, who was touring the Middle East as the by-election fallout erupted, has vowed to bring down inflation and get the UK’s post-Covid debt burden under control first.

Mr Hunt has rejected calls for significant cuts at the Autumn Statement next month, despite figures on Friday revealing that public sector borrowing was lower than expected in September – and is now £20billion below the OBR’s previous forecast.

However, there have been rumblings about a longer-term pledge on Inheritance Tax and the threshold for paying the 40 per cent higher rate of income tax being pushed up.

Mr Sunak’s personal ratings have been dire as he considers how to revive the Tory fortunes

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