After a potential rebellion from Tory backbenchers fizzled out, the prime minister’s plans revealed just 24 hours ago, comfortably passed by 319 to 248 votes - a majority of 71.
A handful of Conservatives raised concerns over the tax hike during the debate — some even labelling the plans “un-Conservative” — but rather than voting against the government, abstained on the motion.
Unveiling the proposals on Tuesday, Mr Johnson told MPs a new “health and social care levy” would be created from April 2022 — effectively a national insurance (NI) hike of 1.25 percentage points.
Attempting to shore up support for the proposals at the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs on Wednesday evening, Mr Johnson insisted the party remained one of “low taxation”, despite the huge tax increase.
Speaking at prime minister’s questions earlier, Sir Keir Starmer made clear Labour MPs would be ordered to vote against the motion, as he described the measure as imposing “unfair taxes on working people”.
“This is a government that underfunded the NHS for a decade, before the pandemic, then wasted billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on dodgy contracts, vanity projects and giveaways to mates,” he blasted.
Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s former chief aide at No 10, also posted on social media that young people “already screwed over by a decade of hapless Tory government” would now have to “work harder to subside older, richer people”.
In a separate vote, Labour’s amendment calling for chancellor Rishi Sunak to publish an impact assessment of the national insurance increase was rejected by 335 votes to 243 – a majority of 92.
Labour had asked for Mr Sunak to detail before April 2022 how the tax hike would affect jobs and businesses, and also the distributional impact of the measures on different income groups and regions.
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