Will National Insurance rise to pay for social care? Kwarteng: "I don’t think we’ll put up National Insurance in that specific [inaudible]…"

But then adds: "I’m not ruling anything in or out, I never do in these interviews."
Could National Insurance rise, breaking manifesto pledge not to? Kwarteng: "That’s what it says on the manifesto. I don’t see how we could increase National Insurance but, you know, things have been very flexible over the last 18 months, we’ve lived through an unprecedented time"
Kwasi Kwarteng: “The Northern Ireland protocol isn’t written in stone, it’s not something that was going to last for evermore, everybody realised at the time… it’s been six months.”

Nope, not written on tablets of stone - just into international law!

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More from @danbloom1

22 Jul
"We're going to come up with a list of exempt workers very soon," Kwasi Kwarteng tells Sky, less than 48 hours after No10 told us there would not be one unified "list" of critical workers.
Kwasi Kwarteng: "I don’t recognise the bare shelves you describe. Clearly in some places that is happening… I don’t think it’s universal across the country."
BREAKING List of industries exempt from Covid 'ping' isolation to be published today
Read 5 tweets
21 Jul
Helen Whately just gave what we thought would be the NHS pay statement and announced nothing on NHS pay
Something odd going on here. Labour's Rosena Allin-Khan says she got the statement at the very very last moment in "contempt" for the house.

"less than an hour ago there were competing briefings on what the deal was going to be but it turned out to be nothing"
Rosena Allin-Khan: “By refusing to offer a pay rise the government risks workers leaving the health service, creating more vacancies, shortfalls during shifts and increased workload for staff who remain”
Read 12 tweets
7 Jul
Boris Johnson defending the £20-a-week Universal Credit cut at the Liaison Committee just now: “The answer is to get people into work”.

Sigh… louder for those at the back… 37% OF PEOPLE ON UNIVERSAL CREDIT ARE ALREADY IN A JOB
PM says "If you asked my to make a choice between more welfare or better higher-paid jobs, I’ll go for better higher-paid jobs." I mean... does it have to be a choice... ?
Boris Johnson all but confirms there is no way back for the Universal Credit cut.

Asked if he'll review it, he says: "Of course we keep everything under constant review but I’ve given you a pretty clear steer of what my instincts are."
Read 4 tweets
7 Jul
SNP's Ian Blackford on voter ID crackdown: "This is a British PM seeking to make it harder to vote, because it’s easier to get re-elected if the government can choose the voters, rather than letting the voters choosing the government.”
Shouts of protest from Tory benches as Blackford continues: "Will the PM withdraw these vote rigging proposals immediately, or he will continue down the path of being a tinpot dictator."
Interesting choice of words by PM which doesn't contest the fact that in-person voter fraud allegations are practically non-existent:

“I do think it reasonable to protect the public in our elections from the *idea* of voter fraud. Nobody wants to see it...
Read 6 tweets
7 Jul
Kwasi Kwarteng on Sky has tried to play down claims millions of people will be told to self-isolate before August 16.

"I don't think you can necessarily conclude there'll be millions", he said.

But that's not what the simple maths based on the government's own figures says...
Attached table shows the ratio of positive cases recorded by Test and Trace vs the number of NHS Covid-19 app contact tracing alerts. (Excludes Test and Trace telling people to isolate).

Sajid Javid says we could reach 350,000 cases a week by July 19 and 700,000 by August 16...
... If we're running at a ratio of almost 3:1 then never millions pinged overall this summer, you could have a million people pinged *per week* by July 19
Read 4 tweets
25 Jun
Did Hancock break guidance or Covid laws? Mini thread:

On May 6, indoor gatherings between people from different households or bubbles were against the law - unless they fell under an exemption such as being “reasonably necessary” for work.
A person would “commit an offence” if they broke this  without an exemption, and could be fined £200 on the spot.
Separately, official guidance at the time - which was not a legal restriction - also urged people to stay apart.
Read 7 tweets

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