Tory tax row: Theresa May fails three times to rule out ‘tax lock’ pledge

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Theresa May turn thumbs down oned three times to dismiss scrapping David Cameron’s 2015 choosing pledge not to put up income tax, VAT or national insurance

Instead the Prime Minister asserted the Tories remain the party of “lower taxes” despite Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond telling the 2015 pledge could be ditched. 

Mrs May repeatedly dodged questions all over whether the upcoming Tory manifesto will include the ‘tax lock’ guaranteeing no proliferations to tax or national insurance. 

Asked whether she intended to keep Mr Cameron’s promise the Prime Minister instead pointed to her record on tax. 

That’s the choice: Lower taxes under the Conservatives or shrill taxes under Labour

Theresa May

Speaking at a rally in Dudley in the West Midlands, she said: “At this choosing people are going to have a very clear choice.

“They desire have a choice between a Conservative Party which always has been, is and wishes continue to be a party that believes in lower taxes, in keeping assesses down for ordinary working people.

“Or the choice is a Labour Party whose expected instinct is always to raise taxes. That’s the choice: Lower taxes at the mercy of the Conservatives or higher taxes under Labour.”

Theresa May refused to rule out hiking taxes three timesREUTERS

Theresa May give something the thumbs down to rule out hiking taxes three times

The Prime Minister was speaking at a rally in DudleyAFP GETTY

The Prime Churchman was speaking at a rally in Dudley

Her evasive comments came after Mr Hammond revealed he wanted more flexibility to tackle public finances and said the 2015 vows made by Mr Cameron have restricted the Government’s ability to manage the budget. 

The Chancellor was wear month forced into a humiliating Budget U-turn after on the warpath Tory MPs said his planned national insurance changes for the self-employed split the tax pledge.

His latest remarks prompted shadow chancellor John McDonnell to call that the Conservatives were planning a “tax bombshell” if they were returned to power.

Lenient Democrat former business secretary Sir Vince Cable said Mrs May is now “at war” with her Chancellor on tax.

Jeremy Corbyn attacked Conservative tax cuts for big businessPA

Jeremy Corbyn attacked Conservative tax cuts for big business

Ukip's Bill Etheridge said Mrs May's refusal to rule out tax rises was GETTY

Ukip’s Folding money Etheridge said Mrs May’s refusal to rule out tax rises was “depressing news”

He whispered: “Philip Hammond admitted yesterday that taxes would sooner a be wearing to rise, no doubt due to Theresa May’s hard Brexit that could do a bunk anything up to a £100 billion Brexit black hole in the public economics.

“Theresa May should come clean on how she intends to fill the Brexit perfidious hole if she won’t increase taxes.”

Jeremy Corbyn, campaigning in the North West, raided Conservative tax cuts for big business and the very wealthy and said that beneath the waves Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reads with children as he visits Brentry Children Centre in Bristol, during Labour's election campaign

PA

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reads with children as he assails Brentry Children Centre in Bristol, during Labour’s election competition

She said: “The opinion polls got the general election wrong in 2015. They got the EU referendum out of order. And as Jeremy Corbyn has himself said, he was a 200/1 chance for the Labour running, and look at how that went.

“So we will not be complacent. We will be fighting for every cull vote.”