Boris Johnson hit back at Beth Rigby’s claims after she questioned the popularity of him and his party after increasing National Insurance to bolster social care. She asked: “Prime Minister, you said in the Commons today that you don’t break manifesto commitments lightly, you told that to your MPs. But it’s not the first time you’ve promised things to voters and broken them.
“I’m thinking about no checks in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
“You promised no cuts to the foreign aid budget, you promised to keep the pension triple-lock, you promised no tax rises.
“Breaking promises appears to be part and parcel in how you conduct business in your government.
“When you were making this decision, was there not part of you that worried about it and thought that at some point voters will lose faith in you and you will lose credibility not just for yourself but for the Conservative party as well?”
READ MORE: Andy Burnham demands FOUR taxes are raised to pay for social care
Mr Johnson responded: “Nobody likely wants to raise taxes as Rishi, Sajid and I have all said but the fact is that nobody in any manifesto that I read saw a pandemic coming in which the country had to spend many billions of pounds supporting people up and down the country – putting us in a fiscally difficult situation.
“What we did say in that manifesto, I have to make a choice about what I think is the higher priority and I think what the people of this country want after all we’ve been through is honesty and fairness and rationality about the situation.
“That means we don’t just leave the burden to mount up on future generations, that we do address the costs of the pandemic on the NHS but we also need to fix the underlying causes in the NHS.
“Social care which has been shirked by governments for decades which will help us fix the problems in the NHS and also enables us to fulfill an important manifesto commitment.”
Ms Rigby interjected: “You made the promise on the steps of Downing Street, how would you have paid for it?
“You’re using the pandemic as cover, aren’t you to break tax promises?”
Mr Johnson continued: “No, no-no. I think most reasonable people can see that as a result of the expenditure that has been necessary and the hit that the economy has taken; the fiscal situation is very different to anything that could reasonably be foreseen.”
More to follow…