Iain Duncan Smith has defended Boris Johnson’s controversial plans to raise the 40 per cent tax threshold from £50k to £80k.
He told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that the current system is a “disincentive” to middle class workers seeking to earn more.
“Those who are genuinely not incredibly wealthy - people like nurses, teachers, middle managers in businesses who work very hard but find themselves sucked into the upper tax band,” he said.
“It’s a big leap and the disincentive therefore to work harder to do extra hours is very much there because tax is taken at a higher rate if you do.”
The tax plan has faced criticism from Mr Johnson’s fellow leadership contenders, with Rory Stewart calling it "reckless".
Mr Stewart declared: "We must restore - for Britain and for the Conservative Party - our reputation for economic and fiscal prudence. We simply cannot make spending and tax cut promises that we can't keep."
And Dominic Raab said the proposal would continue the “caricature” that Conservatives were “the party of privilege”.
But Mr Smith said he’s backing Mr Johnson in the leadership contest because the party doesn’t “have time to develop a candidate”.
“This is not like a leadership election where you have three or four years for someone no one’s heard of, or hardly heard of to come through and develop their character,” he said.
“This is a different competition. The person we select, I think needs to be pretty well known by the public because they’re going to have to hit the ground straight away running.”
He added: “The only question that stands out now is will the candidate ensure that we leave at the latest by the 31st of October with an agreement, or onto WTO terms.”