In a further twist later in the day, Labour’s Ed Balls vowed that his party would not raise national insurance contributions (NICs) if they were to win. Miliband had failed to clarify his position on this earlier at PMQs.
During the final clash between Miliband and Cameron before the knife-edge election, the Labour leader demanded of the PM: “Here is a straight question: will he now rule out a rise in VAT?”
Cameron retorted: “He is right: straight questions deserve straight answers, and the answer is yes.”
Miliband tried to hit back by claiming “no one is going to believe [the Tories]”, but he was put on the back foot by the surprise answer.
In a television interview with Balls later, the shadow chancellor was asked if Labour had plans to raise national insurance contributions, as suggested by the Conservatives.
Balls replied: “The next Labour government will not raise national insurance. That will be in our manifesto.”
Tory sources yesterday highlighted previous Labour NIC rises.