UK

David Cameron Appears To Criticise Philip Hammond For 'Breaking Manifesto Pledge'

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10/03/2017 08:23 GMT | Updated 10/03/2017 12:45 GMT

Jess Phillips has poured cold water on frenzied analysis of footage appearing to show David Cameron criticising Chancellor Phillip Hammond over planned tax rises unveiled in this week’s Budget.

The Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley hit out at the former PM, writing on Twitter: “While Cameron[’s] lip read is amusing, I’d say being arrogant and blithe with our country’s future then running off is as stupid as it gets”. 

It came after Cameron was caught on video talking to current Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon during a ceremony on Thursday at a new memorial to service personnel killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

ITV’s Royal Editor, Chris Ship, tweeted a four-second clip, in full below, prompting a flurry of interest and amateur sleuthing to determine exactly what Cameron said.

Twitter quickly exploded into a hurried analysis of the clip.

Soon though, a likely contender for the quote emerged.

And by Friday lunchtime it was confirmed. Professional lip reader Tina Lannin told the BBC’s Daily Politics that Cameron said: “Breaking a manifesto promise, how stupid can you get?” 

Hammond’s planned increase in National Insurance (NI) contributions for the self employed has been controversial.

The 2015 Conservative Party manifesto, which Cameron campaigned on, specifically ruled out tax rises.

Tory campaign materials also goaded the Labour Party into ruling out a “stealth” rise on NI which it described as a “jobs tax”.

On Thursday evening, Prime Minister Theresa May said the increase in NI for the self employed was about fairness.

It would mean NI contributions would be brought in line with the majority of workers who are employed and pay tax through Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

“This is a change that leaves lower-paid self-employed workers better off, it’s accompanied by more rights and protections for self-employed workers,” she said.

She also claimed the earlier manifesto pledge had been specifically about so-called Class 1 NI contributions, those paid by employers and employees via PAYE.

However, no such distinction was made in the document:

Many Tories have been openly critical of the measure.

MP Stephen McPartland said the hike would “tax those families who have taken on the risk of setting up their own small business, many of which employ apprentices and are the backbone of our economy”. 

While former leader Iain Duncan Smith said the measure would hit “people who choose an enterprise process” and hoped it would be reviewed in the Autumn Budget.

The measure could now face defeat with a potential cross-party effort by MPs.