Can Chancellor Rishi Sunak hang on as the best dog for the top job as he faces a big test on the budget from the tax hike?

THERE is an old saying in politics: if you want a friend, get a dog.

Perhaps this is why Rishi Sunak bought a puppy, knowing that he might soon run out of companions.

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No chancellor stays popular for long and a campaign of whispers is underway against the treasury manCredit: PA

One of the most remarkable things about the Chancellor is the dizzying heights he has reached without making enemies.

Until recently, it was hard to find anyone in Westminster with a bad word about them.

He reached the top apparently without disturbing anyone, an extraordinary achievement for a politician.

As far as fellow parliamentarians are concerned, that was his unique selling point: he was a really nice guy.

Unlike the Machiavellian George Osborne, he never stabbed anyone in the back.

No chancellor remains popular for long and a campaign of whispers is underway against the Treasury man.

For now, it’s low-key, but the snakes are gathering in the grass and it won’t be long before they bite.

In just ten days, Sunak will present his budget to the nation.

The UK already has the highest peacetime tax burden, but behind the scenes of the Treasury it is planning more hikes.

He might as well spray rubber bullets at the Tory party. They will hate it.

Many deputies and activists are still in turmoil over his electoral manifesto against the increase in national insurance.

The last thing they want is more like this.

Understandably, Sunak will focus on the positives of his statement, trumpeting that the UK has the fastest growth forecast of any G7 nation this year and that public coffers haven’t been hit as hard by the crisis. pandemic that many feared.

Of course, he will take the credit, claiming that his flagship leave program, business loans and programs like Kick Start for Youth on Universal Credit have saved millions of livelihoods and helped the country bounce back. .

And it is true that he has something to be proud of.

Despite the worst economic contraction on record, not all shops are closed, the streets are not overrun with homelessness and hunger, and Britain is back on its feet.

The pig farmers are screaming and we need more truck drivers, but Greggs the baker hasn’t run out of sausage rolls and pies yet.

But here’s the big picture: To avoid a total economic collapse, Sunak didn’t just exhaust the national credit card, he melted it, borrowing more money than at any time since WWII. global.

For over a year, he was like a late night online shopper hooked up to Red Bull, adding everything to the basket and then pushing it on Klarna.

Now he has to tell us exactly how much his spending spree cost and how much of the bill we have to pay.

It’s not just the budget that Sunak is dying of, but also his upcoming spending review that shows how much money Cabinet colleagues will have for the next three years.

Some will be very disappointed with their regulations.

APPARENT HEIR

It all plays into Sunak’s secret worry: whether he’s still Boris Johnson’s heir apparent.

Over the past 18 months, the Chancellor has reveled in his status as a big favorite to succeed the Prime Minister.

But he faces growing competition from Foreign Minister Liz Truss, the new darling of the right.

And in his quest for the highest position, he begins to make strategic mistakes.

He fell in love with his cabinet colleague Kwasi Kwarteng over the bailout of an energy company.

Downing Street sided with the charismatic business secretary, who did not appreciate being accused of making things up.

For the first time in his political career, the Chancellor found himself with an egg in his face.

Kwarteng isn’t the only one upset.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace was furious when he tried to take credit for the extra money for the military, money Wallace had fought for.

Sunak allegedly erased the party logo from a press release announcing the extra money and replaced it with a big RS – his swirling signature.

Meanwhile, troublemakers are starting to rejoice in placing him next to tall MPs in photographs, privately joking that the 5-foot-7-inch little Chancellor looks like a figure from “The Borrowers.”

Given the magnitude of the national debt, this is a characterization that might stick.

So have a thought for the son of this fiercely hardworking and decent doctor as he comes to terms with his loss of Best Westminster Dog status.

He’s here for a few tough weeks.

At least he can count on his new red labrador Nova to stay loyal.

Rishi Sunak and her puppy Nova

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Rishi Sunak and her puppy Nova
Chancellor clashed with cabinet colleague Kwasi Kwarteng over bailout of energy company

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Chancellor clashed with cabinet colleague Kwasi Kwarteng over bailout of energy companyCredit: Reuters
Rishi faces growing competition from Foreign Minister Liz Truss - the new darling of the right

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Rishi faces growing competition from Foreign Minister Liz Truss – the new darling of the rightCredit: EPA
Ben Wallace was furious when the Chancellor tried to take credit for the extra money for the military - the money Wallace had fought for

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Ben Wallace was furious when the Chancellor tried to take credit for the extra money for the military – the money Wallace had fought forCredit: Alamy
Rishi Sunak says he wants “to cut taxes – but public finances must be restored on a sustainable basis” at conservative party conference

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