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Rees-Mogg leads cabinet revolt against government's planned National Insurance hike

RIGHT-WING sections of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet have launched a revolt against the government’s planned hike in National Insurance as populist Jacob Rees-Mogg reportedly called for the proposals to be axed. 

Following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, several reports claimed that Mr Rees-Mogg, the current Leader of the House of Commons, has railed against the Prime Minister’s plans amid a rise in living costs. 

It was understood that Mr Rees-Mogg told Chancellor Rishi Sunak that the 1.25 per cent increase should be scrapped to stem the crisis engulfing the government as inflation and energy bills rise.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman suggested that the hike would not be scrapped, telling journalists: “There are no plans to do that, no.

“The Cabinet collectively agree with that approach and recognise the priority of the public in ensuring our NHS has the funding it needs to tackle the backlog, which has been exacerbated by Covid.”

A significant number of Tory MPs oppose the hike being imposed in April, as does Labour, and Lord Frost resigned from the Cabinet, citing high taxation as one of his major concerns.

Mr Rees-Mogg did not deny calling for the increase to be scrapped when appearing in the Commons for business questions.

Shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire had asked him: “Perhaps he turns out to be more socialist than he has hitherto let on.

“Given that, according to the Financial Times, he is now asking his own government to scrap the National Insurance tax rise — something we have been calling for since it was announced — I wonder, is he about to cross the floor? There is space.”

Mr Rees-Mogg sidestepped Labour’s questions, saying that the opposition could only call for cuts to taxes like VAT on fuel because Britain had left the “megalithic state” of the EU.

The Resolution Foundation said last month that families would face a £1,200 hit by April “from soaring energy bills and tax rises.”

Chief executive Torsten Bell said: “So large is this overnight cost-of-living catastrophe that it’s hard to see how the government avoids stepping in.”

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