Politics latest: Boris Johnson’s garden party leaves Tory MPs wondering if tax cuts are coming sooner than expected; controversial NI protocol ‘here to stay’

In our 10.35 am post, deputy political editor Sam Coates revealed that at a Downing Street garden party last night Boris Johnson told Tory MPs he thought tax cuts were key to easing the cost of living crisis.

This has prompted speculation around whether income tax rates could be changed sooner than expected – despite denials from the Treasury.

There has been confusion around what the government is up to ever since the PM told the Commons yesterday that he and the chancellor would be saying more about the cost of living crisis “in the days to come.”

Michael Gove earlier ruled out an emergency budget. So what’s going on?

As things stand, the next point in the political calendar that fiscal changes could be announced is the autumn. And yet, as Sam puts it in his latest update, Boris Johnson is “charging around” the Number 10 garden talking about tax cuts.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Could it be he is trying to put pressure on the chancellor to go further more quickly?

When this was put to Boris Johnson’s official spokesman earlier, he said: “the prime minister has said publicly he wants to cut taxes further, I’m not getting into commentary about what that may or may not entail.”

Lobby briefing: PM tells ministers to ‘go faster’ on hunt for cost of living solutions
The prime minister’s spokesman has been facing questions from journalists at a regular Westminster briefing this morning.

This is what we’ve learned:

The government will say more in the days to come on the rising cost of living and Boris Johnson has urged ministers to “go faster and be as creative as possible in ensuring the government is doing everything on this important issue”
Talks on the Northern Ireland Protocol are in a serious situation, but it is still the UK’s preference for there to be a negotiated solution
The government remains “on track” to its target of building 300,000 new homes a year, despite Michael Gove admitting earlier that it was unlikely to be met this year (see post at 9.12 am).

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