Boris Johnson says no-confidence vote win ‘decisive’ despite mass Tory rebellion
Boris Johnson was branded a “lame duck” prime minister as he faced MPs in the Commons for the first time since suffering a Damaging result in Monday night’s confidence vote on his leadership.
SNP leader Ian Blackford launched a blistering attack on Mr Johnson’s position at PMQs, likening the prime minister to Monty Python’s Black Knight, who claimed fatal wounds were just flesh wounds, and told him: “It’s over, it’s done.”
It transpired that 41 per cent of Tory backbenchers had agreed with his repeated calls for the prime minister to quit, the SNP MP claimed.
But Mr Johnson dismissed the rebels, saying he had “picked up political opponents all over” because his government had “done some very big and very remarkable things which they didn’t necessarily approve of”.
Promising new measures on home ownership and defending NHS waiting times from attacks by Sir Keir Starmer, the PM insisted he would fight to stay in power, and joked that his political career had “barely begun”.
Foreign Office has ‘lessons to learn’ over Afghanistan evacuation, senior official says
The Foreign Office has “lessons to learn” after the chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan last year, the head of the department has said.
Sir Philip Barton, the permanent under-secretary, again expressed his regret that he did not return from holiday as Kabul fell, after a scathing report by MPs called on him to consider his position.
Giving evidence to the House of Lords International Relations Committee, Sir Philip said: “If I had my time again I would have come back from my leave earlier. That is what I should have done.”
He said the crisis after the fall of the Afghan capital to the Taliban was “one of the most complex and challenging” the department had faced, adding: “We did manage to evacuate 15,000 people against an original planning assumption of six. That is more than any other country apart from the US. All of us wish we could have evacuated more people.”
Sir Philip added that once the immediate crisis phase was over he put in place a “proper exercise” to establish what lessons could be learned, which had led to a series of changes, saying: “We did embed those in the way in which we approached the invasion of Ukraine in February.”
Andy Gregory8 June 2022 16:30
‘No vacancy’ for chancellor’s role, insists No 10
Boris Johnson’s press secretary has dismissed reports suggesting he could replace Rishi Sunak as an opportunityllor with former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in a reshuffle held in the wake of Monday’s damaging no vote confidence.
“There is no vacancy for this role. We have an excellent chancellor and he and the prime minister are working closely together. There are no plans for a re-shuffle,” she said.
She played down reports the prime minister could seek to root out ministers who failed to publicly back him in the run up to the vote and said she was “not aware” of the prime minister sanctioning comments by culture secretary Nadine Dorries attacking Mr Hunt.
“There were various things that were said before the vote took place and now is the time for us to unite and focus entirely on our job, which is delivering for the British public,” she said.
Andy Gregory8 June 2022 16:06
Boris Johnson will cut taxes at a ‘responsible’ time, No 10 says
The government remains committed to cutting taxes but will only act when it is “responsible” to do so, Boris Johnson’s press secretary has said.
Mr Johnson has faced renewed calls from Tory MPs to bring down the level of taxation following Monday’s wounding confidence vote.
The press secretary said: “We have been clear we want to cut taxes but we are in a very difficult position following the global pandemic so soon as it is responsible we will set out plans for doing that.”
Andy Gregory8 June 2022 15:53
Labor MPs call for mass protests over cost of living crisis
Labor MP Richard Burgon has called for mass protests and strikes to force Boris Johnson’s government to take stronger action over the cost of living crisis.
Writing in the Morning Starthe former shadow cabinet member said that “over the next year, as the crisis bites even harder, the scale of protest will need to match the scale of crisis”.
Mr Burgon called for the Trades Union Congress protest on 18 June to be “a spark for further actions that make 2022 a year of protest against this Tory government”, adding: “That’s key to defeating the living standards emergency the Tories are choosing to force on our communities.”
His calls were backed by Diane Abbott, who said: “We need mass mobilisation to make the Tories do something about the cost of living crisis.”
Andy Gregory8 June 2022 15:40
Priti Patel has not met me once in 14 months, says ‘frustrated’ borders chief
The government’s borders inspector has expressed his “frustration” at not being able to meet Priti Patel once since his appointment more than a year ago, my colleague Adam Forrest reports.
David Neal – appointed the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration 14 months ago – told MPs he was “disappointed” to have had five or six meetings with the home secretary canceled.
“I’ve not met the home secretary yet,” he told the home affairs select committee. “I’ve asked to speak to her on a number occasions, and pre-arranged meeting have been cancelled on maybe five or six occasions now.”
Asked if the experience was different from experience with other departments, Mr Neal said: “It is – I’m disappointed I haven’t spoken to the home secretary, and frustrated, because I think I’ve got things to offer from the position I hold.”
Andy Gregory8 June 2022 15:15
Opinion: Captain Boris will go down with his ship of make-believe
The prime minister’s biggest problem is that he is now in so deep in a world of his own, he can’t even see that nobody believes him any more, writes Tom Peck. Mr Johnson will be in denial to his final breath:
Jane Dalton8 June 2022 15:05
YouGov ‘banned’ release of 2017 leader poll that was ‘too good for Labor’
Bosses at pollster YouGov suppressed publication of a survey during the 2017 election campaign because it was “too positive about Labor”, a former manger at the pollster has claimed. John Stone reports:
Jane Dalton8 June 2022 14:55
Johnson not suited to being PM, ex-girlfriend says
Boris Johnson is not suited to the top job because he gets bored with things quickly, a former girlfriend says.
Petronella Wyatt said he was in a “mess of his own making” after the rebellion from 41 per cent of his MPs.
“His qualities are very endearing but they’re not necessarily the qualities of a great prime minister,” she said. Thomas Kingsley reports:
Jane Dalton8 June 2022 14:40
Sir Keir has a year to turn things round, warns Mandelson
Labor former spin chief doctor Peter Mandelson has warned that Sir Keir Starmer has “got about a year” to turn things around for the party.
“Between now and the next year… we’ve got to see more powerful brushstrokes, put down on that canvas.” he told Times Radio.
Tony Blair’s former top adviser is set to make a speech in which he will warn the current Labor Party leader he needs to show more “ambition and hard thinking” if we want to do better than “sneaking over the finishing line”.
He will also suggest there is a “desperate need” for Sir Keir to ape some of Boris Johnson’s policies on research and innovation.
Mr Blair had urged Sir Keir to do more to “project his personality” in a bid to win a round more voters in the next general election, he revealed.
Jane Dalton8 June 2022 14:22
HS2 will help us cut tax, claims Johnson
Boris Johnson has insisted HS2 will put the government in a better position to cut taxes in the future after a Conservative former cabinet minister urged him to scrap the new high-speed rail line.
During Prime Minister’s Questions, Esther McVey, a vocal critic of HS2, said scrapping the project would save “tens of billions of pounds” from a budget that is “spiralling out of control”.
She asked the Prime Minister to scrap the “inflated white elephant”.
However, Mr Johnson passionately defended HS2, arguing it would deliver “long-term growth and prosperity for the whole of the country”.
HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson said the Government would explore alternatives for how HS2 trains would reach Scotland.
Jane Dalton8 June 2022 14:14