Further divisions have emerged at the top of the Conservative Party in the wake of the tax credit defeat inflicted on the government by peers last night.
A senior Conservative has warned that talk of splits in the cabinet over policy “are only the start.” Speaking to the BBC, the source was scathing of the chancellor’s refusal to listen before last night’s embarrassing defeat.
The senior Tory, who was one of those who sought to urge George Osborne to change direction on the tax credit cuts, said: “Since they won a majority, the leadership think they’re God’s gift to politics and think that anything they think or do must be correct by the very dint of them thinking or saying it.”
They will not be moved, despite pressure and warnings – tax credits are just the biggest example of folk seeing an issue coming down the road and them refusing to acknowledge it could do some damage. There will be many many Conservatives who warned and were ignored in their warning who will be secretly relieved that this isn’t going ahead, won’t damage poorer families and doesn’t wreck our hard-won narrative of getting folk into work, up the ladder and properly rewarded for their efforts.”
We have seen furious, tantruming Conservatives threatening the unprecedented and profoundly undemocratic retaliation of suspending the House of Lords or flooding it with Tories if peers decide to proceed with the step of using the so-called “fatal motion” to halt the Chancellor’s very unpopular plans to cut working tax credits. We have seen the announcement that the Tories intend to scrap the Human Rights Act by next summer. It was revealed that the minister’s code of conduct has been quietly edited to remove obligations to uphold international laws.