Boris Johnson says no-confidence vote win ‘decisive’ despite mass Tory rebellion
In the wake of the confidence vote on his leadership, Boris Johnson was expected to attempt to turn the political tide with a raft of policy announcements aimed at easing the housing crisis.
Days after 41 per cent of his own MPs voted to oust him, the prime minister will reportedly set out plans on Thursday to extend the right to buy to housing association tenants, and to allow people to use housing benefits to secure and pay a mortgage.
Mr Johnson was branded a “lame duck” prime minister as he faced MPs in the Commons for the first time since the vote on Monday nightwith SNP leader Ian Blackford likening him to Monty Python’s Black Knight, who claimed fatal wounds were just flesh wounds, and saying: “It’s over, it’s done.”
But a defiant Mr Johnson claimed 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” – and joked that his political career had “barely begun.” .
Sir Keir Starmer to meet Irish leaders amid NI protocol row
Sir Keir Starmer is expected to meet Irish political leaders in Dublin on Thursday amid talks of post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland.
The Labor leader’s talks with President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Micheal Martin follow discussions with the British-Irish Chamber in Dublin.
His first visit to Ireland while at the helm of the opposition comes as the UK government proposes controversial legislation to override the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Sir Keir, who will visit Belfast as part of the trip, will also meet with Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney and finance minister Paschal Donohoe.
The leader of the Irish Labor Party Ivana Bacik will also hold a meeting with Sir Keir in the Irish capital.
On Friday, the Labor leader will be in Belfast to meet political leaders in Stormont, where he is expected to call for compromise and negotiation to end the political deadlock over the return of the powersharing executive.
Namita Singh9 June 2022 05:05
Exclusive: MPs and lords urge government to ban lead
A cross-party alliance of MPs and lords have set up a parliamentary group to lobby for a ban on lead shot used to kill wildlife for consumption, which they say also causes the death of 100,000 other birds each year.
The Lead Ammunition All Party Parliamentary Group is joining forces with the biggest wildlife organizations in the UK to oppose the toxic ammunition, which is commonly used to kill animals such as pheasants, partridges, rabbits, grouse, hares and even woodpigeons.
Its members argue people also suffer the effects of lead pollution from eating game meat as well as from coming into contact with wildlife, plants, soil and pets that have been contaminated.
Read the details in this exclusive by Jane Dalton:
Namita Singh9 June 2022 04:50
PM to focus on housing benefits amid economic and political storm
Boris Johnson will reportedly allow people to use their housing benefits to buy homes, as part of a set of policy announcements aimed at easing the housing crisis and ensuring his own habitation of Downing Street continues.
Seeking to regain the initiative after 41 per cent of Tory MPs voted to oust him, the prime minister is expected to use a speech in Lancashire on Thursday to announce plans to tear up rules stopping people from declaring the benefit as part of their income when applying for a mortgage and using it to make monthly payments.
With the cost of housing benefits having been expected to rise to £30bn last year, Mr Johnson will reportedly argue that this money would be better spent helping people onto the property ladder than on paying their rent – in a policy dubbed “benefits to bricks” by one minister, according to The Times.
My colleague Andy Gregory reports:
Namita Singh9 June 2022 04:26
Labor MP among those criticizing PM’s reported housing benefits plan
Shadow minister Jess Phillips is among those questioning how Boris Johnson’s reported Policy to allow people to use housing benefits to pay their mortgates will work in reality, given that individuals with more than £16,000 in savings and investments do not qualify for the benefit.
“It’s almost as if Boris Johnson doesn’t do much benefits casework,” the Labor MP equipped.
And Resolution Foundation chief executive Torsten Bell tweeted:
Andy Gregory9 June 2022 03:40
Failure to consult government barrister on Brexit protocol plan is ‘unprecedented’, former minister says
MPs have expressed fury amid new fears the government plans to breach international law with plans to tear up the Northern Ireland protocol, Kate Devlin and Andrew Woodcock report.
Leaked correspondence today showed a senior legal advisor warning it could not be argued “credibly” that there was no alternative to unilaterally overriding Mr Johnson’s Brexit agreement.
Reports also emerged that Sir James Eadie, the government’s independent barrister on national legal issues, had not planned to be consulted on whether the bill will break international law.
A former cabinet minister told The Independent that not asking Sir James’s opinion on such an important matter was “unprecedented”.
Andy Gregory9 June 2022 02:43
Allies warn Boris Johnson not to reward disloyalty by placating rebels
With rumours of a post-confidence vote reshuffle rife in Westminster, allies of Boris Johnson have warned him not to reward rebels who sought to end his premiership on Monday night.
One ministerial ally said: “Reach out to them? F**k off. What kind of message would that send?”
“There are only so many jobs in government. You cannot afford to reward disloyalty. For a start, it does not work. You don’t pull people over to your point of view that way. People don’t become more loyal when they join the government, but they can become less loyal when they leave it.
“And the message it sends would be terrible. That you reward those who are disloyal, who vote against you remaining prime minister? He should be rewarding loyalty instead, and there are a few people who do not appear to have been particularly loyal so far, which could create space.”
Another suggested there was no need to widen the cabinet because there was no alternative candidate to Mr Johnson, who could appeal to all sides of the party.
“Who is there who can appeal to hardline Brexiteers and those who backed remain better than Boris? I don’t see anyone stepping forward.”
Our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin and political editor Andrew Woodcock have the full story here:
Andy Gregory9 June 2022 01:45
PM to announce plans for people to use housing benefits to pay mortgages, reports suggest
Boris Johnson will reportedly seek to allow people to use their housing benefits to buy homes, as part of a set of policy announcements tomorrow aimed at easing the housing crisis.
The prime minister is expected to use a speech in Lancashire to announce plans to tear up rules stopping people from declaring the benefit as part of their income when applying for a mortgage and using it to make monthly payments.
One minister dubbed the policy “benefits to bricks” and claimed it would enable young people to pass mortgage lenders’ affordability checks, according to The Times.
Andy Gregory9 June 2022 00:44
Housing association homes sold under new scheme will be replaced, Michael Gove says
Shelter’s chief executive Dame Polly Neate has previously said Boris Johnson’s “hare-brained idea” to extend the right to buy to housing association tenants is “the opposite of what the country needs”, warning: “There could not be a worse time to sell off what remains of our last truly affordable social homes.”
Speaking to ITV News on Wednesday evening, housing minister Michael Gove appeared to suggest that Mr Johnson was committed to ensuring that new homes are built to replenish the stock of properties sold under the scheme.
“We both need to build more social housing and help people into ownership,” Mr Gove said. “When Conservative governments in the past were successful in extending home ownership, they were also building council and social homes as well – that’s what Winston Churchill did, that’s what Harold Macmillan did.
“We’ve got to get back to that and the prime minister is determined that we have a Churchill/Macmillan-style approach.”
The Times reports that Mr Gove is said to have secured an agreement that each home sold will be replaced by a new one.
Andy Gregory8 June 2022 23:50
Boris Johnson to confirm plans for ‘right to buy’ for housing association tenants
Boris Johnson is set to confirm plans to extend the right to buy to housing association tenants as he seeks to repair his fortunes after a Tory revolt against his leadership.
The prime minister will use a major speech in Lancashire tomorrow to announce new measures to potentially help millions onto the property ladder.
He will also commit to detail “reforms to help people cut costs in every area of household expenditure” over the coming weeks as he seeks to ease the impact of soaring prices.
Andy Gregory8 June 2022 23:06
Rishi Sunak ‘tells Tory MPs he will cut taxes when it is right to do so’
According to the Spectator‘s deputy political editor Katy Balls, Rishi Sunak has spoken to Tory MPs this evening at a 1922 Committee meeting, which saw the chancellor receive “a decent reception” with “supportive questions”.
Mr Sunak is reported to have echoed Boris Johnson’s insistence earlier today that he wanted to cut tax, but only once he believes it a “responsible” time to do so, with the chancellor quoted as saying he would “never, on an act of blind faith, do them at the expense of the fundamental soundness of our economy or public finances”, adding that “tax cuts are the reward for a government that is prepared to make difficult choices elsewhere… I promise you we are.”
Giving their take on the meeting, one MP present told the magazine that the bulk of the party accepts the days of the magic money tree are over, with spending discipline and lower taxes described as vital going forward.
Andy Gregory8 June 2022 22:06