This week’s PMQs centered around Conservative Party tax policy and the recent issuing of fines to lockdown-breaching partygoers.
For the first time in weeks, demands for the Prime Minister to resign have returned to PMQs, following 20 fines being issued to attendees of Downing St parties which broke covid lockdown rules.
Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer opened by criticising the Conservatives for upholding a façade of tax cuts while actually increasing them, along with criticising them for raising taxes and then planning small tax cuts shortly before the 2024 elections.
“This year British people face the worst fall in living standards on record. While they’re counting every penny the Prime Minister is hitting them with higher taxes. But in 2024, when there just so happens to be a general election, they will introduce a small tax cut. That’s not taking difficult decisions; it’s putting the tory re-election campaign over and above helping people pay their bills.”
“We know who the Conservatives always ask to pay. Income stealth tax; a tax on working people. Tuition fee raise; a tax on working people. National insurance hike; a tax on working people. All the while oil and gas companies are making unexpected bumper profits. A windfall tax would raise billions and raise the burden on working people.”
Johnson insisted that the measures put forwards in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement last week were record-breaking and that the government was doing all it could for working people.
Starmer then went on to bring up Partygate:
“He told the house no rules were broken in Downing Street during lockdown. The police have now concluded there was widespread criminality. The ministerial code says that ministers that knowingly mislead the house should resign. Why is he still here?”
“There are only two possible explanations. Either he’s trashing the ministerial code, or he is claiming he was repeatedly lied to by his own advisors and didn’t know what was going on in his own office.”
“He really does think that it’s one rule for him and another for everyone else. … When is he going to stop taking the British public for fools?”
The Prime Minister did not respond to these accusations but deflected into his usual spiel of how Keir Starmer would have kept the country in an eternal state of lockdown.
Leader of the SNP in the House of Commons, Ian Blackford, strongly criticised the Spring Statement stating that it needed to go much, much further, while accusing the Conservatives of being too lazy in their attempts to control fuel prices.
“The prime minister is dangerously out of touch. Food banks are warning that people are having to choose their food, based upon whether they can afford the gas to boil it. Families are having to choose what rooms to heat or whether they can afford to turn on the heating at all. Some on the tory cabinet clearly believe that better weather means that they can happily sit on their hands and do nothing until next winter. They obviously don’t get, or don’t care, that in many parts of Scotland the weather will barely reach above freezing over the next week.”
“The Chancellor thinks his £200 loan which is forcing people into energy debt is somehow a solution, when it clearly isn’t. Will the Prime Minister finally put some cash into people’s pockets when they really need it? Right now!”