Tory MP regrets 'slavish' pre U-turn article backing NICs rise

Posted On: 
15th March 2017

Sir Desmond Swayne faces up to the difficulties of print deadlines. 

Conservative MP Desmond Swayne in the House of Commons
Parliament TV

Philip Hammond’s U-turn on hiking National Insurance contributions for the self-employed was quite popular on the Conservative benches when they responded to the Chancellor this afternoon.

After all, it was they who were putting the pressure on Hammond and Theresa May to rethink the Budget policy.

But it does create a slight problem for the loyal Tory MPs who went out to bat for the Government in the face of rather compelling evidence that the tax rise came up against their manifesto pledge not to, erm, raise taxes.

One such MP was Sir Desmond Swayne, who used a point of order after the Chancellor’s statement to explain his predicament.

“As a slavish supporter of the Government, I am in some difficulty because my article robustly supporting the Chancellor’s early policy in the Forest Journal is already with the printer,” he said.  

“Having been persuaded of the correctness of the course that he’s now following, I merely needed an opportunity to recant.”

Speaker Bercow said – probably fairly – that this was not really a matter for the chair.

“I hope the Honourable Member is satisfied that by the wanton abuse of the point of order procedure he has found his own salvation.”