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Top Tories Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Dominic Raab reveal tax cuts and pay rise sweeteners to woo over MPs in bids for No10

TORY leadership hopefuls are wooing MPs and the public into backing their campaigns today with tax cuts and pay rise sweeteners.

Candidates are in a race against time to get the eight MP backers they need and hand in their paperwork before 5pm if they want to be next prime minister.

Today several contenders have held official launch events in central London to set out their stalls on what they would do if they get the top job.

11 Tories have said they want the job so far.

Most have said they are willing to take Britain out of the EU with or without a deal come October 31 to finally get Brexit sorted.

And some have even left open the nuclear option of shutting down Parliament to make sure rebellious MPs can't stop them either.

But softer candidates have backed a THIRD delay to our EU exit if it meant we get a better deal, and said that No Deal won't be on the table for them as they think it will harm our economy.


But the debate on policy has been overshadowed by Michael Gove's shock revelation that he did cocaine several times when he was younger.

He issued a grovelling apology yesterday and said he was lucky not to go to jail.

But he's vowed to stay in the race and insisted he is "ready to become prime minister".

At his launch this afternoon he will say: "We need a leader who is ready to lead from day one."

Brexit: Said yesterday he's willing to delay Brexit by a few days or weeks if we can get a good deal.

Tax: Wants to scrap VAT and replace it with a sales tax.


Meanwhile, this morning frontrunner Boris Johnson has pledged to cut higher rates of income tax if he gets into No10.

The Tory leadership hopeful wants to use the money put aside for a No Deal Brexit to cut taxes for Brits earning between £50,000 and £80,000, which he says will boost the economy.

But fellow leadership rival Andrea Leadsom warned that with a hung Parliament "it would be impossible to get wholesale tax changes through".

Brexit: Boris is set to officially kick off his campaign later in the week, but has vowed to take Britain out of the EU with or without a deal. Said he will withhold the £39billion divorce bill until we get a better deal.

Tax: Also wants to cut stamp duty on homes, saying it's "absurdly high".


Dominic Raab promised to raise the NI threshold to pay for pay rises for lower paid Brits.

He vowed to "take the lowest paid out of payroll taxes altogether" by raising it to £12,500 – saving some £460 a year.

He also focused on climate change in his speech this morning with a package of proposals to develop clean energy and protect the environment.

"We've got to look to the future," he will say.

"We've got to leave the environment in a better state than we found it."

Brexit: Has said he's prepared to leave with No Deal, or even shut down Parliament to make it happen.

"I'm the Brexiteer you can rely on," he promised.

"We won't be taken seriously in Brussels unless we're willing to walk away on WTO terms."

Tax: Wants to cut a penny off income tax for everyone.

"My tax cuts are for the very poorest in work," he said in a swipe at his rival Boris.


Health Secretary Matt Hancock  commited to raising the living wage for poorer Brits.

He said this morning: "My mantra is 'move fast and make things happen."

Mr Hancock refused to call a general election before delivering Brexit, saying it would be a "democratic disaster".

The 40-year-old – who kicked off his official campaign at London’s Southbank centre in front of an audience including young entrepreneurs –  claimed he trusted all of his rivals.

And he said Mr Gove shouldn't be forced out of the race over his cocaine use.

He said the race so far had been a “great festival of ideas”.
Mr Hancock declared he was “excited about the future” because “I love people”.

He said it was a great time to be alive but admitted the pace of change is getting faster and that the next decade will see a fight for free speech and free enterprise.

Distinguishing himself from other MPs who have been caught up in the Brexit debate, Mr Hancock said he was “fed up” with the rancour and bitterness of the past few years.

Brexit: Says No Deal isn't an option for any PM as MPs will just stop it. Wants a time limit to the backstop, will set up a council to stop a hard border in Northern Ireland, and would give £1billion of funding to support it, using new technologies and trusted trade schemes.

Tax: Wants to slash business rates taxes for small retailers and hit Amazon and other big firms with a new levy.


Esther McVey released her campaign video today promising to stand up for Britain's workers and pump more money into police and schools.

Brexit: Promises to leave without a deal on October 31 and says Mrs May's agreement is dead.

Tax: Has said she wants to cut taxes but hasn't said which ones.


Mr Hunt said today: "This extremely serious moment calls for an experienced, serious leader. We need the art of tough negotiation, not the art of empty rhetoric."

But he warned that not delivering Brexit and being squeezed by the Lib Dems and the Brexit Party would "allow Labour through the middle" and for Jeremy Corbyn to come into No10.

Mr Hunt promised his "social mission" would be education – vowing to abolish illiteracy and ensure no one leaves school without a proper qualification to earn the average salary.

"Choose me and I will take us through this time of crisis, deliver Brexit, and get us back to walking tall in the world," he said.

And Mr Hunt got two huge boosts when Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt and Tory kingmaker Amber Rudd threw their weight behind him to be leader.

Ms Mordaunt, who some speculated could run for the leadership herself, said at Mr Hunt's speech today: "I trust him on Brexit because I've seen him in Cabinet in the last year… [and] I want the next PM to plug the financial hole in our security and defence budgets."

Ms Rudd said this morning: "These are serious times and we need a respected statesman who Brussels will listen to, not more bluster."

But she gave a huge hint he promised her he would not change the time limit on abortions down to 12 weeks as the price for her support.

"There will be no change to abortion law if and when he becomes prime minister," she told Radio 4 earlier.

"We need to make sure we always protect womens’ rights to choose."

Brexit: Says he would only back a No Deal Brexit "with a heavy heart" and if he had no other choice". Claimed Angela Merkel said she was willing to renegotiate the Brexit deal.

Tax: Wants to slash corporation tax down to some of the lowest levels in Europe to boost businesses.

Timetable of Tory leadership election which will pick new PM

June 7: Theresa May stands down as party leader but will continue as PM until her successor is elected

June 10: Nominations for the leadership open 10am-5pm; candidates must have the support of eight MPs

June 13: First ballot of MPs, open 10am-12pm; any candidate with fewer than 13 votes eliminated

June 18: Second ballot (if needed), open 3pm-5pm; any candidate with fewer than 33 votes eliminated

June 19: Third ballot (if needed), open 3pm-5pm; candidate with fewest votes eliminated

June 20: Fourth ballot (if needed), open 10am-12pm; candidate with fewest votes eliminated – any further ballots needed will also take place on this day

June 22: Second stage begins where votes shift from MPs to party activists who will choose between final two candidates

July 22: Result announced this week, in time for Commons recess to begin

MPs need eight backers to get nominated and hand in their forms.

The first round of voting will take place on Thursday.

In the next round MPs will need the support of 17 of their colleagues, and 33 in the one after.

Several candidates are already struggling to get the numbers needed.

Sajid Javid, Rory Stewart, Andrew Leadsom, Mark Harper and Sam Gyimah are also in the running.

James Cleverly and Kit Malthouse have already dropped out due to a lack of support.

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