'It's the story of Britain': Grant Shapps hails 'aspirational' Sunak family after PM reveals he didn't have Sky as a child

12 June 2024, 08:40 | Updated: 12 June 2024, 08:41

Grant Shapps has praised Rishi Sunak's 'aspirational' family
Grant Shapps has praised Rishi Sunak's 'aspirational' family. Picture: LBC/ITV

By Kit Heren

Grant Shapps has praised Rishi Sunak's "aspirational" family after the Prime Minister revealed that he didn't have Sky TV growing up.

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Defence Secretary Mr Shapps told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that Mr Sunak's family making sacrifices to put his private education first was "the story of Britain".

Asked about the Prime Minister's remarks, Mr Shapps said: "My parents - not unlike his parents - worked very hard, I personally went to state school but they worked very hard and they had their own business, and his parents did the same."

Mr Sunak made the comments in a TV interview for which he left the D-Day commemorations in France to return to the UK. He has since apologised.

Mr Shapps added: "Look he was being pressed and gave a single example in that interview but actually, he comes over here, a family of immigrants with very little, the family work hard, they're very aspirational, they forgo things - whatever it is - in order to be able to do the best they can for their child.

"That's the story of Britain and it's a very Conservative story as well."

Read more: Rishi Sunak says he went without ‘lots of things’ as a child including Sky TV

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Defence Secretary Grant Shapps fumbles the figure when asked about stamp duty abolition

Mr Sunak was asked in his interview to give an example of something that he grew up without, and said: “There’ll be all sorts of things that I would’ve wanted as a kid that I couldn’t have.

"Famously, Sky TV, so that was something that we never had growing up actually."

Mr Sunak, who was educated at the private boarding school Winchester College in Hampshire, said: “What is more important is my values and how I was raised.

"And I was raised in a household where hard work was really important … service to your community was important. And my parents worked very hard for what they had and they wanted their kids to have a better life.”

It comes after Mr Sunak launched the Conservative manifesto yesterday with a plan to cut taxes and reduce immigration.

Some economists, such as Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank expressing "a degree of scepticism" over the plans.

But Mr Shapps said that his party's plans to cut taxes by £17 billion are "perfectly sensible and rational".

He said that the tax cuts would be paid for by "clamping down on tax evasion and problems with fraud in tax."

Mr Shapps said:"The other part is through reducing the welfare bill... if I just tell you the numbers, I think it is very believable, in as much as the welfare budget has ballooned post-Covid by about £34 billion. We're proposing just getting £12 billion of that.

Nick Ferrari questions Defence Secretary Grant Shapps on the Tories' handling of illegal migration

"This is perfectly sensible and rational, and by comparison - which is the comparison people will be making - Labour have made a series of 27 different spending commitments".

The Conservatives also plan to get rid of stamp duty for first time buyers on properties bought for under £425,000.

Mr Shapps appeared to have got the figure confused, suggesting stamp duty wouldn't apply for properties worth £450,000 or under.

Pressed on the correct figure, he said: "If you've got a number in front of you, you're probably right because I was saying it off the top of my head. If it's written down as 425, it's 425, off the top of my head I remembered it as 450."

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak. Picture: Alamy

In his manifesto announcement on Tuesday, Mr Sunak gave a last roll of the dice, announcing a flurry of policies designed to woo voters, pledging to:

  • Cut another 2p off national insurance
  • Effectively abolish stamp duty for first-time buyers on homes under £425,000
  • Introduce an annual migration cap

Mr Sunak said: "We will enable working people to keep more money that you earn because you have earned it and have the right to choose what you spend it on.

"Now, Keir Starmer takes a very different view. He says he's a socialist and we all know what socialists do, don't we? They take more of your money because they think it belongs to them.

"Now, we are cutting taxes for workers, for parents and pensioners, and we are the party of Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson, a party, unlike Labour, that believes in sound money."