Published On: Tue, Jun 11th, 2019

Rory Stewart compares Boris to ‘elephant in circus tent’ as crowd bursts out laughing | UK | News

Speaking at the Underbelly Festival on London’s south bank, the Tory leadership hopeful opened his campaign saying he would be outlining “all the things he loves about the UK”. The International Development Secretary was then quick to take a swipe at leadership frontrunner as he compared the former foreign secretary to an “elephant”. He said: “I’m going to speak today almost entirely about what I love about this country.

“Almost entirely about the ways in which this country can be so much better than it currently is.

“I’m going to start with that great prancing elephant in the room in this big circus tent.

“I’m speaking not about the leading leadership contender here.”

Mr Stewart’s comment was met with laughter and applaud by the amused crowd of Tory members. 

It is not the first attack the Secretary of State has launched an attack on Boris Johnson. 

Earlier today, the Tory MP warned Conservative contenders not to offer “cheap electoral bribes” in their bid to become Prime Minister.

His words come after Boris Johnson pledged to increase the income tax threshold at which workers start paying the 40p rate from £50,000 to £80,000. This move is said to reportedly cost around £9.6 billion a year.

Ahead of launching his leadership campaign, Mr Stewart said the candidates need to keep their “reputation for economic and fiscal prudence”.

This is instead of making “spending and tax cut promises that we can’t keep”.

He said: “This number – of total spending promises by other candidates in this campaign – is eye-watering. 

“We have to think about the next fifteen years, not the next fifteen days, not what works to get elected in a leadership contest.”

Mr Stewart also criticised candidate Michael Gove’s pledge to get rid of VAT, as it would cost £20 billion a year.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt’s corporation tax cut would cost £11billion.

Dominic Raab’s plans to raise the National Insurance threshold to £12,500, scrap duty on homes under £500,000 and cut the basic rate of income tax would total more than £38billion.

Mr Stewart has pledged a “realistic, prudent and sensible” campaign that will include borrowing in order to build two million more homes.

He will also use the money to draw up a plan to fund social care with other political parties.

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