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Rishi Sunak says Tory manifesto tomorrow WILL include tax cuts – with hints of another 2p off NICs and stamp duty axe for first-time – as he begs Brits not to turn to Nigel Farage after D-Day blunder

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Rishi Sunak tonight promised the Tory manifesto will include tax cuts as he struggled to get his election campaign back on track after the D-Day debacle.

The PM declared he will ‘keep cutting people’s taxes’ if he stays in power, with rumours of bold moves on national insurance and stamp duty.

‘You’ll see that in our manifesto tomorrow,’ Mr Sunak told a special BBC Panorama programme.

Denying he was the political equivalent of a ‘quinoa salad’ to Nigel Farage’s ‘Sunday roast’, Mr Sunak begged voters to remember that the only two politicians who could end up in No10 on July 5 were him and Keir Starmer.

After being shown images of other world leaders and Lord Cameron at D-Day events in Normandy last week, Mr Sunak repeated his grovelling apology for failing to stay until the end. 

In tetchy exchanges with presenter Nick Robinson, the premier said he hoped people could ‘find it in their hearts’ to forgive him. 

It is expected the Tories will unveil a pledge to slash National Insurance by another 2p if they win the general election.

This will follow previous cuts to the employee rate of the tax by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in both his Spring Budget in March, and Autumn Statement last year.

The Conservative manifesto is also set to include a promise to permanently abolish Stamp Duty for first-time buyers on the first £425,000 of a property’s value.

In other key moments in the interview tonight: 

  • Mr Sunak was told Mr Farage was ‘coming for him’ as he pleaded with voters to realise that voting for any other party helped Labour;
  • The premier defended net immigration hitting record levels, arguing he had ‘inherited’ the situation and numbers were now coming down;
  • He denied that he had opted to trigger an early general election because he was not confident Rwanda flights would take off; 
  • Mr Sunak admitted it had ‘got harder’ to afford a home under the Tories. 

Rishi Sunak tonight promised the Tory manifesto will include tax cuts as he attempted to get his party’s general election campaign back on track

After being shown images of other world leaders and Lord Cameron at D-Day events in Normandy last week, Mr Sunak repeated his grovelling apology for failing to stay until the end

After being shown images of other world leaders and Lord Cameron at D-Day events in Normandy last week, Mr Sunak repeated his grovelling apology for failing to stay until the end 

Mr Sunak was told Nigel Farage was 'coming for him' as he pleaded with voters to realise that voting for any other party helped Labour

Mr Sunak was told Nigel Farage was ‘coming for him’ as he pleaded with voters to realise that voting for any other party helped Labour

Amid rising Tory alarm about the fallout from the D-Day row, Mr Sunak said: ‘Well, the last thing that I wanted to do was cause anyone any hurt or offence or upset, which is why I apologised unreservedly for the mistake that I made.

‘And I can only ask that I hope people can find it within their hearts to forgive me and also look at my actions as Prime Minister to increase investment in our armed forces, to support our armed forces, but also to ensure that veterans have a minister sitting around the Cabinet table with unprecedented support to make this the best country in the world to be a veteran as a demonstration of how deeply I care about this community and what they’ve done for our country.’

After Robinson jibed that Mr Sunak was the political equivalent of a ‘quinoa salad’ compared to Mr Farage’s ‘Sunday roast with all the trimmings’, the premier argued that ‘there’s only going to be one of two people who’s prime minister’. 

‘A vote for anyone who’s not a Conservative candidate is just making it more likely that Keir Starmer is that person,’ he said.

‘So if you ask someone, you say, you know, what makes a Conservative, if you are someone who wants lower taxes, if you want your pension protected, if you want migration reduced, if you want a sensible approach to net zero that prioritises our security and reducing people’s bills, that’s what I will offer you in this election.’

Mr Sunak begged voters to remember that the only two politicians who could end up in No10 on July 5 were him and Keir Starmer

Mr Sunak begged voters to remember that the only two politicians who could end up in No10 on July 5 were him and Keir Starmer

Mr Sunak said he did not want to talk about personalities when challenged further on Mr Farage

Mr Sunak said he did not want to talk about personalities when challenged further on Mr Farage

The PM also struck a renewed conciliatory tone over his D-Day departure, telling reporters he 'absolutely didn't mean to cause anyone any hurt or upset'

The PM also struck a renewed conciliatory tone over his D-Day departure, telling reporters he ‘absolutely didn’t mean to cause anyone any hurt or upset’

Mr Sunak said he did not want to talk about personalities when challenged further on Mr Farage, adding: ‘I’m willing to talk about everything here, but the simple issue here is a vote for anyone else, including Nigel Farage’s party – and I would make the same point about anyone’s party – is ultimately a vote that makes it more likely that Keir Starmer is in power.’

The premier was also pressed on his response to an alleged ‘dog whistle’ attack from Mr Farage suggesting that he did not understand ‘our culture’.

‘Is he playing with fire by bringing your heritage into this argument?’ the presenter asked. 

Mr Sunak replied: ‘Well Nigel Farage can answer what he exactly meant by those comments. 

‘I’m not going to get involved in that because I don’t think it’s good for our country or good for our politics. Now obviously I disagree with him and when it comes, specifically, to our Armed Forces, again people can judge me by my actions.’ 

Mr Sunak fended off criticism that the Tories had raised taxes to near record highs by insisting the country had been ‘hit by a once in a century pandemic and then an energy crisis’.

He said: ‘I’m not going to shy away from what happened, I did make those difficult decisions because that’s right for the financial security of our country. But now, taxes are being cut. The average tax rate faced by a typical person in work is the lowest it has been in over half a century.’

On immigration, Mr Sunak said the ‘numbers are too high’ but argued that ‘people can judge me as well on what I’ve done as Prime Minister’.

‘I’ve put in place the biggest, strictest reforms to bring down immigration that we’ve seen,’ he said.

‘What the forecasts now show is that the levels of net migration are due to halve over the next 12 months or so.

‘The number of visas that we issued at the beginning of this year is down already by a quarter, so that shows we’re now on the right track and if I’m re-elected, what we will introduce is a legal cap on migration that parliamentarians will vote on every year, so that not just will we halve the levels of net migration, we will continue to reduce them year on year.’

Mr Sunak argued he has a ‘clear plan’, adding in response to Nick Robinson noting that small boat crossings are increasing this year: ‘If we stick to our plan, we will continue to bring them down.

‘Why? Because if I’m re-elected as Prime Minister, we will get flights off to Rwanda and establish a deterrent.

Addressing the difficulty for young people wanting to get on the property ladder, Mr Sunak said: ‘It has got harder and I want to make sure that it’s easier.’

‘And what we will do is not just build homes in the right places and do that in a way that is sensitive to local communities, but make sure that we support young people in to great jobs so they can save for that deposit.

‘I’m going to go back to tax, because it is important…’

Robinson – who is conducting interviews with all party leaders ahead of 4 July – intervened to say most young people are not worried about the deposit or stamp duty or tax cuts, but cannot afford to leave their parents’ home.

Mr Sunak replied: ‘No, actually when I speak to people it is the deposit that is the biggest challenge because many people earn enough to cover a mortgage payment, but the struggle is saving up for a deposit.

‘That has always over the last few years been the number one challenge.’

The premier was also pressed on his response to an alleged 'dog whistle' attack from Mr Farage suggesting that he did not understand 'our culture'

The premier was also pressed on his response to an alleged ‘dog whistle’ attack from Mr Farage suggesting that he did not understand ‘our culture’

Denying he was the political equivalent of a 'quinoa salad' to Nigel Farage 's 'Sunday roast', Mr Sunak begged voters to remember that the only two politicians who could end up in No10 on July 5 were him and Keir Starmer

Denying he was the political equivalent of a ‘quinoa salad’ to Nigel Farage ‘s ‘Sunday roast’, Mr Sunak begged voters to remember that the only two politicians who could end up in No10 on July 5 were him and Keir Starmer

The PM had earlier dismissed suggestions he could have resigned amid the outrage over his early departure from last week’s D-Day commemorations.

Mr Sunak vowed to carry on ‘until the last day of this campaign’ as he sought to dampen rumours he might quit ahead of polling day on July 4.

During a campaign visit in Horsham, West Sussex, which has a Tory majority of 21,127, the PM told journalists he would not stop ‘fighting for the future of our country’.

Asked whether resigning had crossed his mind, Mr Sunak told broadcasters during a visit to the Dog and Bacon pub in Horsham: ‘No, of course not.

‘I’m energised about the vision that we’re putting forward for the country.

‘This campaign is not even halfway through yet, and I’m finding enormous amount of support for the policies that we’re putting on the table.’

On the rumours, he also told reporters on the campaign trail: ‘People are gonna say what they’re gonna say.’

‘There are lots of people who want to write me off, write this off, say this campaign or the election is a foregone conclusion.

‘They’ve been saying that, by the way, ever since I’ve got this job, right? Not since this election campaign.’

Mr Sunak added: ‘The reality is I’m not going to stop going, I’m not going to stop fighting for people’s votes, I’m not going to stop fighting for the future of our country.’

Mr Sunak begged Brits not to turn to Nigel Farage, insisting the only two politicians who could end up in No10 on July 5 were him and Keir Starmer (pictured today)

Mr Sunak begged Brits not to turn to Nigel Farage, insisting the only two politicians who could end up in No10 on July 5 were him and Keir Starmer (pictured today)

The PM also struck a renewed conciliatory tone over his D-Day departure, telling reporters he ‘absolutely didn’t mean to cause anyone any hurt or upset’.

‘I just hope people can find it in their hearts to forgive me,’ he added.

‘And look at my actions that I have taken as PM, both to support our Armed Forces with an increase in defence spending.

‘But also have a minister focused on veterans’ affairs around the Cabinet table, making sure this is the best country in the world to be a veteran.’

Responding to the PM’s BBC interview tonight, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: ‘Rishi Sunak’s confession that having a home of your own has got harder under the Tories is a damning indictment of 14 years of housing failure.

‘Home ownership is a pipedream for young people in Britain today.

‘Never once in 14 years have the Tories met their 300,000 a year housing target, and their recent decision to appease the Tory MPs on their backbenches and abolish mandatory housing targets has seen housebuilding take a nosedive.

‘Labour will get Britain building with 1.5 million new homes and the biggest boost to social and affordable housing in a generation.’

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