Rees-Mogg confronts Sunak on National Insurance betrayal as energy crisis hammers Britons

Jacob Rees-Mogg shuts down Wishart in Commons response

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Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg, 52, challenged Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, 41, over the increase in national insurance contributions during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. The Government put forward the manifesto-breaking 1.25 percent increase in National Insurance contributions in a £36billion tax raid to cover the social care reforms set out by Boris Johnson, 57.

The change will come into effect in April.

The Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto said: “We promise not to raise the rates of income tax, National Insurance or VAT.

“This is a tax guarantee that will protect the incomes of hard-working families across the next Parliament.”

Despite concerns from Mr Rees-Mogg, the Telegraph reports Mr Sunak rejected the demands made by the North East Somerset MP.

However, the Chancellor is reported to have responded by suggesting scrapping the tax rise would require the Government to find billions of pounds needed to tackle backlogs in the NHS from somewhere else.

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Many other Tory MPs seem to be dissatisfied with the Prime Minister pushing the tax burden to its highest point since the 1950s.

The UK is also expected to face a cost of living crisis, with many families expected to be hit by a surge in energy prices.

Mr Johnson is set to unveil plans to deal with rising energy prices by February 7.

But Mr Sunak and Mr Rees-Mogg’s disagreement comes just weeks after the Cabinet were left split over new Covid restrictions in England.

Lord David Frost, 56, even resigned as Brexit Minister over a combination of coronavirus measures and taxation.

Conservative MPs outside of the Cabinet are putting pressure on Mr Johnson to hold firm and show how the UK can “live with this virus”.

Ex-Prime Minister Theresa May, 65, argued it was “not in the national interest to partially or wholly shut down sectors of our economy every time we see a new variant”.

Covid Recovery Group chairman and one-time candidate for Conservative Party leader Mark Harper, 51, added: “We cannot respond to every new variant in the way we have to this one.

“We have got to have a plan to live with this virus, like normal, forever.”

Mr Johnson revealed to the Commons the Cabinet has approved plans to continue with so-called Plan B COVID-19 restrictions until January 26.

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However, the Prime Minister also announced some easing to travel restrictions.

Travellers to the UK will now no longer need to take pre-departure tests, self-isolate on arrival or take a PCR test once back.

The move is expected to save holidaymakers hundreds of pounds.

The UK recorded 194,747 daily coronavirus cases on January 5.

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