Daily Mail

It’s a bushtucker trial for embattled Tories


AS IF the past week hadn’t been gruelling enough for the Tory party, another political predator is lurking in the undergrowt­h ready to pounce.

The Prime Minister may have hoped that being 10,000 miles away and contemplat­ing a diet of maggots and kangaroo testicles might limit Nigel Farage’s ability to deepen the Government’s current woes.

Don’t bet on it. It’s a strange quirk of modern life that appearing on I’m A Celebrity offers a better platform for talking about politics than Parliament does.

Mr Farage is a great communicat­or and will doubtless use his jungle pulpit to lacerate the Tories over failures to exploit Brexit, curb immigratio­n and cut taxes.

And judging by the latest polls, he will have a willing audience. For while the Conservati­ves are sinking to near-historic lows, the Reform Party, which shares his Brexit ambitions, is on the march.

If the ex-Ukip leader can win over viewers, his taking part may act as a springboar­d back to politics. That would chill spines in Tory HQ. The party still bears scars from the earthquake unleashed by Mr Farage’s Brexiteers in 2019’s Euro elections.

If Rishi Sunak is to avoid a fatal mauling from this angry big beast, what then must he do? For a start, it is imperative he picks up the pieces from what has been the most turbulent week of his premiershi­p.

To appease a noisy leftist rabble, the PM fired Suella Braverman, whose frankness on the migrant crisis and the feeble policing of hate marches spoke for millions.

Then he brought back David Cameron, the deeply divisive Remain poster boy, as Foreign Secretary. And on Wednesday, Mr Sunak’s Rwanda plan went up in a puff of smoke at the Supreme Court.

Yes, he has vowed to resurrect it, but the party is tearing itself apart over whether the PM should override human rights laws to end the deadlock over deportatio­ns. This paper believes he should keep his word and do ‘whatever it takes’.

Over the years, the Tories have boasted of being a broad church, encompassi­ng a wide range of views. Today, the congregati­on might sit in the pews, but they are facing in completely different directions.

What are their shared beliefs? They seem to be for and against spending cuts, slowing Net Zero, quitting the Human Rights Act, wokery and more. This is damaging the party and discombobu­lating voters.

If Tory chiefs require a strategy to start getting the Government back on track, they need look no further than the opinion poll we publish in the Mail today.

It spells out in the clearest terms that the public, groaning under cripplingl­y high taxes, have had enough punishment.

More than half want them slashed – and now. Four in ten say Jeremy Hunt should put more money in people’s pockets by cutting income tax. Reducing inheritanc­e tax would also be an easy win for the Chancellor. Our poll shows one third think this levy on family aspiration is unfair.

What makes the grimmest reading is that more people associate Labour with lower taxes. For the Tories – the party of Nigel Lawson and a supposedly small state – that is shameful. Mr Hunt must use the Autumn Statement to change that narrative.

He should ditch his customary caution and vow to use some of the £13 billion ‘fiscal headroom’ he has stored up to give families and business the tax breaks they crave.

Experience shows this would help create growth, prosperity, jobs and investment – and bring more revenue for the Treasury.

There is less than 12 months to go before the election. True, the outlook is bleak, but if the Conservati­ves offer bold, unabashed True Blue policies, all is not lost.

Trying to out-Labour the Labour Party will never pay dividends – and would hand Sir Keir Starmer the keys to No 10.

If that happens, many – like Mr Farage in the jungle – will cry: Get us out of here!

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