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Boris Johnson has got his tax rise - but his party is restless | John Rentoul

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It was cynically effective management of parliament. By bouncing through the vote last week on the principle of a tax rise, Boris Johnson and Mark Spencer, his chief whip, made it harder for Conservative MPs uneasy about the health and social care levy to pay for the NHS backlog and the social care plan to decide that, having thought about it, they didn't like it.

So several Tory MPs stood in the Commons to say that, having thought about the tax rise, they didn't like it, but they were going to vote for it anyway. Eventually they did, with the third reading of the Health and Social Care Levy Bill passing with a government majority of 56. Thus the prime minister and his inner cabinet steered the nation around a turning point in political history, even if it didn't feel like it.

By springing the tax rise on the wider cabinet last week, Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid swept aside the feeble attempts of the doubters to ask awkward questions. Then the prime minister took his tax rise across the road to parliament and put it to a vote before Tory MPs had understood the significance of what they were being asked to do.

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