Inside Politics: Significant Tory rebellion as social care plan voted through Commons

Former PM Theresa May among a host of senior Tories who fail to back changes to cap on costs, writes Matt Mathers

Tuesday 23 November 2021 08:39

Boris Johnson narrowly saw off a Tory rebellion last night to get his amended health and social care plans through the Commons. The PM’s hefty 80-seat majority was slashed to just 26 as MPs voted 272-246 in favour. But just as it was in the vote to rip up sleaze rules earlier this month, it was perhaps what didn’t happen that tells much of the story. On top of the 19 rebels who defied whips to join the Labour Party in voting against the government – former senior ministers Esther McVey and Mark Harper among them – there were around 70 Conservatives who either abstained or had no ballot recorded. Theresa May, Robert Buckland, Sir Ian Duncan Smith, David Davis, Jeremy Hunt, and Tom Tugendhat were some of the Tory heavyweights who felt they couldn’t justify backing changes to the £86,000 cap on social care costs. It remains to be seen whether the bill will get through parliament in its current form. Immediately more concerning for the PM may be the reaction from some within his own party to the speech he gave to business leaders yesterday. The general consensus is that he made a pig’s ear of an address to the CBI annual conference in the Port of Tyne and the story makes the front of most news outlets this morning, including the Financial Times, which brands the speech the “northern ramble”.

Inside the bubble

Cabinet meets this morning, hoping the prime minister can find his place in his notes. Questions to Sajid Javid, the health and social care secretary, start in the Commons at 12.30, followed by the remaining stages of yesterday’s health and care bill. Nadine Dorries will appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee for the first time as secretary of state for the department. Zac Goldsmith, the environment minister, will give evidence on tree-planting and climate change to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

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