Boris Johnson used culture war jibes in the House of Commons as he was pressed by the leader of the opposition on whether he backs a windfall tax on oil and gas giants. 

During Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Johnson was told his government had failed to offer a coherent position on calls to impose levies on energy firms after Tory frontbenchers had given conflicting opinions on the policy.

But the PM ducked when Keir Starmer questioned his position, saying the leader of the opposition could not “define what a woman was”.  

Starmer said: “A one-off tax on huge oil and tax profits would raise billions of pounds, cutting energy bills across the country.

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"The Chancellor rightly says there are two camps on this. You are either for it or you’re against it.

“But which camp did the Chancellor put himself in?

"He says neither. Well, I’m in favour of it. The question for the Prime Minister is: is he for it? Is he against it? Or is he sitting on the fence like his Chancellor?”

Johnson refused to directly answer the question, instead saying: “I just remind the House the right honourable gentleman struggled to define what a woman was. He couldn’t make up his mind on that point.”

He said the Tories were “not in principle in favour of higher taxation”.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak told MPs the measure, which would see energy companies making record profits during the cost of living crisis, was not off the table and could be considered if firms did not sufficiently invest their profits back into the economy.

Mr Johnson added: “What we want to do is take a sensible approach governed by the impact on investment and jobs and that is the test of a strong economy and it is by having a strong economy that we will be able to look after people as we have done during Covid and and as we will do in the aftershocks of Covid.

“Nothing could be more transparent from this exchange than their lust to raise taxes.”