BBC presenter Nick Robinson told the vaccine minister their interview should be cut short after he repeatedly refused to explain why the government is breaking its election promises on tax rises.
Nadhim Zahawi insisted the electorate should “wait for details” when asked why the Tories broke their 2019 promises to the people of the UK.
Robinson replied: “I’m not asking you about the detail. I don’t want to waste your time and I frankly don’t want you to waste the listeners’ time.
“People are entitled to an answer on a very simple question: Why do Conservatives now believe they have to put taxes up?”
He added: “Let me put a more specific question that your own backbenchers are asking: Why do you believe that a young worker in a care home in Middlesbrough should pay more in tax to subsidise a wealthy pensioner in Surbiton?”
‘Wrong and unwise for me to comment’
Zahawi argued it would be “wrong and unwise” for him to comment on the way money is sourced for social care reform.
But Robinson replied: “I think frankly what we should do is just cut this interview short because frankly it’s a waste of your time and a waste of ours if you can’t address it.”
The discussion comes after prime minister Boris Johnson promised in the last general election that the Tories would not raise income tax, National Insurance or VAT. Johnson also pledged to mantain a triple lock for pensions, to ensure they rise with inflation, average wages or 2.5 per cent – whichever is highest.
But today ministers set out plans to break both promises, with national insurance set to increase and the pensions triple lock due to be scrapped this year. National Insurance is set to rise by 1.25 per cent to fund social care – which Downing Street said means a worker earning £24,100 would pay £180 extra a year, while a higher rate taxpayer on £67,100 would pay £715 more.
‘Reasonable and fair approach’
Johnson argued the increase, believed to impact young and low earners the most, is “the reasonable and the fair approach”.
Admitting that the pledge had been scrapped, Johnson said: “No Conservative government ever wants to raise taxes and I will be honest with the House, yes, I accept that this breaks a manifesto commitment, which is not something I do lightly.
“But a global pandemic was in no-one’s manifesto and I think the people of this country understands that in their bones and they can see the enormous steps this Government and the Treasury have taken.
“After all the extraordinary actions that have been taken to protect lives and livelihoods over the last 18 months, this is the right, the reasonable and the fair approach.”