PMQs shock as David Cameron rules out VAT rise

Posted On: 
25th March 2015

The Prime Minister has pledged that there will be no VAT rise under the next Government if the Conservatives win the general election.

David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions, 25/03/15

David Cameron shocked Ed Miliband at Prime Minister’s Questions after the Labour leader challenged him to explicitly rule out increasing the tax.

Mr Cameron said: “Straight questions deserve straight answers, and the answer is yes.”

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The news also appeared to comes as a shock to Mr Cameron's own ministers. Appearing on the BBC's Daily Politics show moments after PMQs, Treasury minister Priti Patel admitted she had not been tipped off about about the policy shift.

She said: "No, I didn't know that. This is the first I have heard of this today. I am pleased."

Responding to the surprise announcement in the Commons, Mr Miliband said: "Nobody is going to believe it, because of his extreme spending plans, because his numbers don’t add up, and because he promised it last time and he broke his promise."

The Prime Minister then repeatedly challenged the Labour leader to rule out increasing National Insurance, accusing the party of planning a “jobs tax bombshell”.

Mr Miliband failed to answer the question, instead turning to the NHS. "Nobody believes his promises on the National Health Service because he’s broken them in this Parliament," he said.

Later in the session Labour MP Stephen Pound brought some cheer to the Labour benches.

He asked: “Last week, some of the rougher elements of the House chose to refer to the Prime Minister as chicken. I hope we’ve moved on. However, would the Prime Minister agree with me that it’s entirely fair now to refer to him as a lame duck?”

Mr Cameron shot back: “I’ll tell you what is a lame duck, and that’s trying to get into Downing Street on Alex Salmond’s coattails... Never mind talks of ducks, I’m looking at Alex Salmond’s poodle.”

The session was the last time that the two leaders would go head-to-head in the chamber in this parliament. In a final flourish, Mr Cameron referred to Richard III’s burial.

He said: "It is worth remembering this is the last time somebody did in one of their relatives to get the top job and the country ended in chaos."