Speaking on last week’s MoggCast, the Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg laid down a stark warning to his fellow Cabinet Ministers on tax pledges. Responding to a question of whether breaking the manifesto commitment to spending 0.7% of GNI on foreign aid due to extraordinary circumstances allowed other manifesto commitments to be abandoned, Mogg explained the same logic does not apply to taxation.
“”Read my lips, no new taxes” George Bush Senior said this again, and again, and again. And then when it came to the Gulf War and the economic downturn, he broke his promise and he lost the ensuing election.”
Mogg stressed “public consent” exists in the case of cutting foreign aid (which it does in spades), implying that makes the move more legitimate than the election-losing consequences that might follow hiking taxes. He went on to stress that not raising tax thresholds would breach the manifesto by just as much as directly raising tax rates. “It’s a mistake to think you can follow the letter of a manifesto promise and not the spirit of it…”