Niall Paterson stood in for Sophy Ridge this morning, interviewing the Conservative party chairman James Cleverly. Paterson asked Cleverly whether billions of pounds worth of spending pledges outlined by new PM Boris Johnson meant that the government was considering an early general election. Cleverly insisted that the government would not be pursuing this course of action, despite a vanishingly small majority in the House of Commons:
NP: Tell me there isn’t going to me a general election this year.
JC: …We are not going to initiate a general election. We have elections all the time… What we’ve got is a new Prime Minister who, during the leadership campaign, made a number of explicit commitments… What we are ensuring is that the things that people have told us… mattered to them, we are delivering on.
New NHS cash will come ‘from economic growth’
Paterson moved on to the freshly announced £1.8 billion for the National Health Service, and how the government was intending to fund this latest injection of cash. Cleverly said that the government was investing now in order to increase tax receipts for the future:
Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly claims that “economic growth“ is what will help fund an extra £1.8bn for the NHS.#Ridge
— Sophy Ridge on Sunday & The Take (@RidgeOnSunday) August 4, 2019
JC: The money is coming from economic growth. This is why it’s so important that we keep the economy growing… That’s what gives us the tax receipts that enables us to spend money on… those domestic policy commitments that Boris has made.
NP: So this is future growth…?
JC: That’s why Boris is talking about ‘pump-priming’ the economy… to make sure we’ve got the growth the fund the public services that we want.
‘We are going to deliver Brexit – fact’
The conversation turned to the Conservatives’ performance in Thursday’s by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire, which saw the party lose the seat to the Liberal Democrats, albeit in a close contest.