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by Eleanor Langford
23 November 2021
'Serious questions' emerging over viability of Johnson's leadership say senior Tories

'Serious questions' emerging over viability of Johnson's leadership say senior Tories

MPs have voted through a controversial clause on social care costing in the English health and care bill with a majority of just 26, on a difficult day for Boris Johnson.

MPs voted 272 in favour to 246 against for the new clause which lays out costing details for the cap on how much people contribute to their social care.

MPs had threatened a “sizeable rebellion” ahead of Monday’s vote, with critics claiming the plans would hit poorer Northern pensioners the hardest.

The government announced in September that lifetime care costs would be capped at £86,000 from October 2023.

Boris Johnson has since faced criticism for the plans after detailed policy papers published last Wednesday revealed that any state contribution towards the cost of care will not count towards an individual’s £86,000 cap.

It was also set out that those with assets less than £20,000 would not have to pay anything for their social care, while those with assets up to £100,000 would be eligible for local government support. 

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson defended the policy earlier on Monday, insisting the approach was “necessary, fair and responsible”. 

“[The policy] is about striking the right balance in terms of personal and public contributions towards the cost of care,” they said.

“Our approach provides a limit to the cost of care for everyone in the adult social care system for the first time. It's a significant increase in state support.”

They also said that the government would “continue to listen to views put forward by people who are invested in this policy” but indicated there would be no change to the Bill ahead of the vote. 

Disquiet in the Conservative party over the clause is the latest set-back for Johnson after sleaze allegations and downgraded plans for northern rail reform in recent weeks.

Earlier on Monday Johnson did little to alleviate party scorn when he gave a chaotic speech to business leaders in which he did an impression of a car and meandered into an inexplicable reference to a popular children's cartoon. 

Shortly before the vote, senior Tory figures told the Financial Times that serious questions were emerging over the viability of Johnson's leadership. 

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