Dishy Rishi is suddenly losing steam among Tory MPs. 

One said to me, ‘I don’t know what he thinks’. 

“This spending is insane. We are just storing up huge trouble for the future.

A second MP said that you can see the plan of the other MP. He’ll wait six months until the Election before reducing taxes. 

“But it will be too transparent. It won’t give people enough time to feel the benefits.

Rishi Sunak’s Wednesday Budget revealed a Brownite tax-and spend package. This was also criticized by another prominent Conservative figure. Rishi Sunak himself.

He stated that ‘Yes, we have taken corrective action to finance the NHS and get under control our debt,’ to the Commons. 

“But, as we look toward the future. I want to tell the House and British people this simple fact: My goal is to lower taxes. 

“By the end this Parliament, I want taxes going down, and not up. 

“I want this society to reward energy, ingenuity, and inventiveness, as well as work.

It is a tradition for the Chancellor on Budget Day to wait until the end to pull a crowd-pleasing rabbit from his hat. 

Sunak behaved as if he was pulling out a live alligator. His address ended with five minutes of self-serving apologies for everything that had come before. 

To his Conservative colleagues, he was basically saying: “Nothing to do me, guys!” Boris made me do it!’

DAN HODGES: There was also another high-profile Conservative figure who appeared less than happy with the Brownite tax-and-spend package unveiled by Rishi Sunak (pictured) in Wednesday's Budget. Rishi Sunak himself.

DAN HODGES Rishi Sunak himself.

These colleagues are not impressed. According to one Minister, he said that he expected me to return to his constituency this weekend and sell the Budget on the doorsteps. 

“How can I do that when the Chancellor has basically just trashed it?”

Despite some increasingly frantic polishing by Sunak and his impressive – and extensive – PR and social-media team, the sheen has been coming off Brand Rishi for several months now.

Sunak’s aides launched an extraordinary attack on Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary. 

There were reports that the Chancellor was tired and worn out. He also fell behind Liz Truss, who was a Con Home survey participant about how Cabinet Ministers are rated.

Sunak’s allies admit that he feels tired lately, but blame his lethargy on the long hours he worked in preparation for the Budget. 

They dismissed the dispute with Kwarteng, describing it as “a few frustrations spilling over”. 

According to one friend, “Briefing about colleagues isn’t Rishi’s style.”

Rishi’s obsession for style is a major problem. 

Having lauded him during the pandemic – where his fiscal largesse was seen as necessary for keeping the economy afloat – MPs are becoming increasingly frustrated at the way he seems to prioritise promoting himself, rather than the Government.

DAN HODGES: Despite some increasingly frantic polishing by Sunak and his impressive ¿ and extensive ¿ PR and social-media team, the sheen has been coming off Brand Rishi for several months now

DAN HODGES: Despite some increasingly frantic polishing by Sunak and his impressive – and extensive – PR and social-media team, the sheen has been coming off Brand Rishi for several months now

Johnny Mercer, then Armed Forces Minister at the time, publicly criticized him after he removed Tory branding to make way for his signature. 

To avoid that criticism, his PR gurus made sure the Tory logo was prominently featured on the Budget briefings sent to backbenchers last Tuesday. They took it out again for the Budget messaging he distributed via his main social-media accounts.

There is also a growing suspicion that his attention on his PR results in him focusing too much on his own image, which can lead to him missing the bigger picture when it comes down to assessing the political landscape.

“Look at the fiasco about Marcus Rashford, and free school meals,” one Minister said to me. 

“That was totally avoidable. It only costs £100 million to fix, which was nothing compared to what we were spending in the middle of the pandemic. Rishi was responsible for the entire mess.

Sunak should be fair because he is aware that Rishimania was always meant to have a short shelf. 

He said to one Minister, “It’s easy for you to be popular when your spending money. Let’s wait and see what happens if I turn off the spending faucets. 

While not reaching the depths of the Blair/Brown psychodrama, it's an open secret Boris believes his Chancellor has been insufficiently subtle over his manoeuvring to succeed him

Boris believes that his Chancellor has not been sufficiently subtle in his maneuvers to succeed him, even though it doesn’t go to the Blair/Brown depths.

The taps are still open, unfortunately for the Chancellor. The criticism is already mounting.

He was mocked for praising the ‘world-famous Burnley market’ while sitting in Bury on Thursday. 

It was dismissed by Treasury officials as a slip of tongue. One Tory MP believes it was indicative of a deeper problem.

“I wouldn’t say that he’s out-of-touch. But Rishi, a Goldman Sachs investment banker, is worth a couple hundred million quid. 

Every now and again he’ll do something or say something to remind people of that.

Labour will take his place if he doesn’t. The attack line Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves deployed against him – ‘at least the bankers on short-haul flights sipping champagne will be cheering this Budget today’ – was crude but effective.

There was also relief – and bemusement – on the Opposition benches that Sunak had appeared to disown his own Budget while he was still delivering it.

According to one Shadow Minister, ‘I thought that we were in real trouble’. He didn’t really leave much political space for us. Then he came out with all the stuff at the end, where he stated that he didn’t really want any of it and would rather cut taxes. It was bizarre.

Partly, this was due to the strained relationships between the occupants at No 10 and No 11.

Boris believes that his Chancellor has not been sufficiently subtle over his maneuvers to succeed him, even though it may not reach the depths in the Blair/Brown psychodrama.

It is also not a good thing that Sunak is close to Dominic Cummings (the enraged ex-aide who has embarked upon a one man kamikaze mission in order to destroy Boris’ premiership).

Sunak’s biggest problem, however, isn’t his proximity or distance to maverick advisers or a wary Prime minister. His ambition is the biggest problem.

He actually delivered a decent Budget. While taxes and spending are unsustainable, they can be justified in the short-term after the pandemic.

However, his attempt to distance from what he had just announced and to use the speech to pitch Tory MPs his low-tax credentials was embarrassing. Although he would love to be Prime Minister, Rishi is currently Chancellor. 

He had to have it. Instead, he tried a clean sweep of the entire thing.

This doesn’t bode well in the future. Rishi Sunak was last week asked to do some heavy lifting in politics for the first time since his meteoric rise. He did not hesitate.

Boris tried to hide behind Boris when he was called upon to raise taxes to the highest levels since the 1960s. 

When asked to address the country’s very real problems after Covid, he tried distracting the nation by promising jam tomorrow. 

His priority should have been to sell his financial plan, but he was more concerned about selling himself to Conservative backbenchers.

The Tory MPs are finally giving up on Dishy Rishi. They have every right to.