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Boris Johnson has refused to give into Labour’s proposal for a windfall tax on energy firms, as the PM jumped on the culture war bandwagon to attack Sir Keir Starmer during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The Labour leader accused the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, of “sitting on the fence” on a one-off tax on oil and gas profits to “raise billions of pounds, cutting energy bills across the country”.

He said the chairmen of Tesco and John Lewis, as well as former BP boss Lord Brown, all support a tax. He asked the PM: “When is he finally going to get a grip and get on the right side of the argument?”

The Leader of Opposition’s comments came after reports emerged of a fresh split in the Cabinet as to whether to impose a tax on energy giants to ease pressure being felt by families during the cost-of-living crisis.

Yet, in an odd deflection, the Prime Minister avoided Starmer’s question and said: “I just remind the House the right honourable gentleman struggled to define what a woman was”, to the umbrage of the opposition frontbench.

Johnson insisted that “this government is not in principle in favour of higher taxation” and instead supports “jobs, investment and growth” in the wake of the pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

However, Johnson did promise to “look at all the measures we need to take to get people through to the other side” in light of inflation reaching a record-high nine per cent.