Danny Alexander: 40p top rate of tax 'over my dead body'

Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has ratcheted up the coalition spat over the top rate of tax by insisting it will be cut to 40p "over my dead body".

Boris Johnson repeats call for tax rate to be cut to 40p

London mayor Boris Johnson has repeated his call for the tax rate to be cut to 40p - and declined to rule out the possibility of it happening before the general election.

Earlier, the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury - Danny Alexander - said the rate would be cut "over my dead body".

London Mayor Boris Johnson. Credit: Press Association

"The last thing I want to see is a pointless sacrifice from the Liberal Democrats, let alone the dead body of Danny Alexander," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Sooner or later there will have to be a new Conservative manifesto and I can't believe we are going to go into an election on a campaign to keep our tax rates higher."

Asked if that meant he accepted it could not happen until after 2015, he said: "Who can say what will happen to Danny Alexander? Stranger things have happened at sea."I don't think that it is reasonable always to keep UK tax rates higher than those of competitor countries.

"UK income tax is now higher than the average in the EU. That never used to be the case. I don't see why it should be the case for the long term and I see no reason why we shouldn't bring it down."

Lib Dems 'will not allow' cut to top rate of tax

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the Liberal Democrats would not allow a cut to the top rate of tax in this Parliament.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, he was asked about David Cameron's refusal to rule out cutting the top rate and replied: "You'll have to ask them (the Tories) why they answer those questions in those ways.

"If you ask me would I cut the top rate below 45p the answer is 'no'. In this Parliament we will not allow that to happen."

Mr Alexander also had some praise for Labour's Ed Balls - amid questions over whether the Lib Dems could work with the party in a future coalition.

"I play cricket with Ed Balls. I have opened the bowling at Lords while he kept wicket behind the stumps and I have to say he didn't let anything past him. So I would endorse him as a wicket keeper," he said.

Read: Labour's 50p tax rate vow is a risky long term strategy

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Senior Lib Dem: Tax cut for wealthy 'over my dead body'

Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said any cuts to the top rate of tax before the next general election will be "over my dead body".

Danny Alexander (right) with Chancellor George Osborne. Credit: Alastair Grant/PA Wire

Mr Alexander made the comment as he dismissed calls from some Tories who want to see the rate reduced from 45p to 40p before the 2015 poll.

David Cameron fuelled speculation by repeatedly refusing to rule out further trimming the rate for those earning over £150,000 a year. It fell from 50p last year.

But in an interview with the Daily Mirror, Mr Alexander said: "I think it is right at 45%. I wouldn't go to cutting below 45%.

"I would say that would happen over my dead body.

Read: Labour's 50p tax rate vow is a risky long term strategy