The Cornish rebellion: Local MPs gear up for pasty fight

Cornish pasties have come to symbolise the view that the government is out of touch with the man on the street.
Cornish pasties have come to symbolise the view tha accusations the government is out of touch with the man on the street.t
Ian Dunt By

Cornish MPs could form alliances with their colleagues in other political parties to shoot down the chancellor's plans to impose VAT on Cornish pasties, it has emerged.

Speaking at a 'pasty tax summit', Newquay and St Austell's Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert said opponents could put enough pressure on ministers to make the government think twice.

"This is not going to sail through the Commons," he said.

"There will be a vote on whether this goes forward. The only issue is whether we give the government enough uncertainty over the result that they look at the alternatives.

"We are looking for a coalition that can win a Commons vote."

In the Cornwall area, all six MPs - Lib Dems Mr Gilbert, Dan Rogerson and Andrew George and Tories George Eustice, Sarah Newton and Sheryll Murray – are expected to fight the government proposals.

The MPs hope to team up with Labour MPs, particularly those in northern 'meat and potato pie' constituencies, to shoot down the plans, which were first announced in the Budget.

Since then, the pasty tax has caused considerable political damage to George Osborne, who sneered during a Treasury committee investigation when asked when he had last been in a Greggs.

That involuntary reaction prompted a bizarre political storm in which the prime minister was forced to prove his 'man of the people' credentials by unconvincingly citing when he last ate a pasty.

The tax is intended to bring bakery items up to the same level of taxation as that imposed on other hot food takeaway outlets, such as fish and chip shops.

Several figures in the pasty industry claim the change will hurt some of the poorest consumers in the country and lead to job losses, however.






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