Boris facing National Insurance backbench rebellion in vote – but Starmer could save him

BORIS Johnson is due to face backbench rebellion in a vote over National Insurance, but Sir Keir Starmer could save him.

Boris Johnson announces 1.25% national insurance increase

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Today, in parliament Boris Johnson announced that there will be a large increase in National Insurance, with the rise set to impact around 25 million working Britons. When asked if he would oppose or support the National Insurance increase, Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, dodged the question.

His avoidance of providing an answer could mean that the leader of the opposition is open to backing the Prime Minister’s proposal, despite vocalising concerns over COVID-19 being to blame for the hike. 

The claim of Sir Keir’s potential to sway was made by ITV News’ political editor Robert Peston despite the leader’s insistence that he opposes.

His tweet reads: “@Keir_Starmer dodges question of whether he will oppose or support the national insurance increase. Hmmm.”

The Labour leader has vehemently said in the past that the party “will not support rise in national insurance to pay for social care”, a statement he declared in a recent letter to the Prime Minister ahead of today’s announcement in the Commons.

Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer

Boris facing National Insurance backbench rebellion in vote – but Starmer could save him (Image: Getty Images)

Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer

Sir Keir criticised the use of COVID-19 as a reason for earning so much extra for the NHS (Image: Getty Images)

However ITV journalist Mr Preston claims that the announcement from Conversative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg that Commons will be asked to vote on Johnson’s manifesto-breaching national insurance rise tomorrow “is a naked attempt to put @Keir_Starmer on the spot” in a tweet to his 1.1M followers. 

It comes amid fears of Mr Johnson suffering a large backbench rebellion as Tory MPs are likely to voice their opposition to the Government’s decision to introduce a tax hike to fund social care.

The decision is coming under scrutiny as this tax rise goes against the Conservative manifesto pledge not to raise National Insurance.

LATEST: National insurance tax hike – what you earn and what you’ll pay now

Sir Keir Starmer

Sir Keir was asked if he would oppose or support the National Insurance increase, but didn’t reply (Image: Getty Images)

If supported, National Insurance would increase by an extra 1.25% extra for employees and for employers.

The proposed increase would come into effect in April 2022, and would raise an extra £36billion over the next three years.

In reference to the increase going against the 2019 manifesto made by the Tory party, Mr Johnson told MPs “a global pandemic was in no-one’s manifesto”.


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Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson unveiled plans for the 1.25% hike today and will face backbench rebellion in vote (Image: Getty Images)

However, this comment was rebuffed by Sir Keir who said that using COVID-19 as a reason for having to raise so much extra funding for the NHS “is not going to wash”.

He further explained by saying “The pandemic has undoubtedly placed the NHS under huge strain, but that is only part of the story,”

“A decade of Conservative neglect weakened the NHS. Waiting lists had spiralled up two million before the pandemic, targets were missed on cancer, on A&E, on mental health before the pandemic.

Sir Keir Starmer

The Labour leader raised concerns over the hike (Image: Getty Images)

“The same is true on social care – £8billion cut despite growing demand before the pandemic, carers on poverty wages without secure contracts before the pandemic.”

In the Commons the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Tories can “never again claim to be the party of low tax” as the increase will hit working people the hardest, when he believes that the money should come from “those with the broadest shoulders”. 

William Murphy

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