Tory backbenchers fume over Johnson’s tax hike

Advertisement

This has led to speculation that he would scrap it to appease Tory backbenchers like Bridgen who have been calling for him to go following the parties scandal…reports Asian Lite News

The Tory backbench backlash against Boris Johnson’s tax hike has begun after he pressed ahead with controversial plans to increase National Insurance.

Senior backbencher Robert Halfon led the way on Sunday, pleading with the prime minister to “think again”.

And Andrew Bridgen, one of Johnson’s most vocal critics amid the Downing Street parties scandal, said: “I want someone who makes better decisions.”

Throughout the week, Johnson had thrown doubt over April’s NI hike after he repeatedly refused to commit to it.

This had led to speculation that he would scrap it to appease Tory backbenchers like Bridgen who have been calling for him to go following the parties scandal.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. (Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street)

But Johnson, along with chancellor Rishi Sunak, doubled down on the policy on Saturday night, confirming in a Sunday Times article that the tax hike would go-ahead to boost health funding – in spite of the cost-of-living crisis.

Bridgen, who submitted a no-confidence letter in Johnson two weeks ago, told LBC the increase will impact areas where “a lot of people work but they don’t actually earn a lot of money”.

He added: “I tell you what ‘levelling up’ isn’t, that’s when we find out that Boris Johnson and the people around him at Number 10 have been able to do what they wanted during lockdowns, while the rest of us were doing what we were told.”

Halfon, the chair of the House of Commons education committee, told BBC Breakfast: “All I can do as an MP, a backbench MP, is just to urge the government to think again.

“I hope that the government makes cost of living the number one priority.”

However, Halfon said he would not be submitting a no confidence letter in Johnson, telling Sky News he owes the PM “some residual loyalty” after winning the 2019 election, delivering Brexit and overseeing the COVID vaccine programme.

In spite of the anger of MPs like Bridgen, Johnson’s decision to go ahead with the NI hike suggests he is confident he will be able to stave off a leadership challenge for the time being.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss, one of the contenders to take Johnson’s job should he be ousted, has made a point of backing the PM through his leadership crisis and did so again on Sunday, telling Sky News of the NI hike: “We’ve had to take difficult decisions because of the extraordinary circumstances we face.

“We are committed to cutting taxes. We are committed to driving up growth, we are committed to using our new regulatory freedoms.”

ALSO READ-Tory MP to meet police over ‘blackmail’ claim