Inside Westminster

Boris Johnson hates U-turns – but there is one he is very tempted to make

Johnson and his ravenous backbenchers should think again before enacting a volte face on national insurance, writes Andrew Grice

Friday 28 January 2022 23:07
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<p>The PM may be thinking of stopping the 1.25 per cent increase in national insurance contributions due in April </p>

The PM may be thinking of stopping the 1.25 per cent increase in national insurance contributions due in April

Boris Johnson normally hates headlines including the word “U-turn”; his aides spend many hours denying a decision is a volte-face even when it patently is. However, there is one U-turn the prime minister is very tempted to make and celebrate: halting the 1.25 per cent increase in national insurance contributions due in April.

Right-wing Tories are trying to exploit Johnson’s new mantra: to do “whatever it takes” to hang on to power. He is preparing to toss them a few more bones, such as diluting the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill and proposed restrictions on junk food advertising in shops.

But right-wingers want “operation red meat” to include a giant, juicy T-bone steak – the national insurance rise. They are making it the price of their support for Johnson when his enemies move against him --probably, whenever Sue Gray’s report on “partygate” is finally published.

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