David Davis also called for tax cuts to stimulate the economy and prevent the UK sinking into ‘stagflation’.
Mr Johnson is under increasing pressure from his own backbenchers to bring forward promised tax cuts to save his premiership but the chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned these cannot happen immediately.
Simon Clarke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, today appeared to hint that next year’s controversial rise in corporation tax from 19 to 25 per cent could be reversed as ministers try to stimulate growth.
But Mr Davis told the BBC’s Today programme the issue was urgent, saying: “We won’t get growth if we continue like this”.
He backed the government’s plans to build more hospitals but said the “simple truth” was that the priority for many was “paying the bills and if the government is stopping you doing that that is a real problem for the government”.
Working class voters in council houses had complained to him that Mr Johnson’s administration was “not behaving like a Tory government”, he added.
He said: “Even today there is an interview in the papers of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury who is beginning to say maybe we will do something, he didn’t quite say it but he intimated we might do something about corporation tax which we should cut back to where it was originally rather than put it up next year.
“I think they will be open to doing other things. They realise they have got a real problem coming. Stagflation murdered governments in the 1970s because we didn’t have enough growth.”
The former Brexit secretary famously called on Mr Johnson to “in the name of God, go” over the partygate scandal earlier this year.
But he said he accepted the outcome of this month’s confidence vote, in which Tory rebels failed to oust their leader from Downing Street.
He also said he did not back calls to change the rules so the prime minister would face another vote within a year.
The prime minister had to be able to tackle the deep problems facing the economy without “looking over his shoulder”, he said. Environment secretary George Eustice insisted that Mr Johnson had the support of the cabinet, after one cabinet minister Oliver Dowden resigned last week with a swipe at partygate. He told Sky News: “We have the support of the prime minister. The prime minister has our support.”
On scrapping the planned rise in corporation tax Mr Clarke said in an interview with the Times: “It is obviously the case that we want to see British business equipped to compete. And in general terms, obviously, the lower the burdens we can place on them, the better their chances will be.”