Tag Archives: boris johnson

Boris Johnson’s statement is full of poison

If I were Rishi Sunak, I wouldn’t feel too happy about Boris Johnson’s statement tonight. The disgraced former PM said that he had 102 MPs willing to nominate him, though only a few shy of 60 have been willing to own that publicly. However, he said that he was not going to submit his nomination because:

You can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament.

There’s an undercurrent of “and neither can you, Rishi.”

He is showing the likely soon to be PM that he is going to have some shenanigans to deal with in the parliamentary party.

And look how he puts in people’s minds that Rishi is a wee bit short of democratic legitimacy:

I have been attracted because I led our party into a massive election victory less than three years ago – and I believe I am therefore uniquely placed to avert a general election now.

A general election would be a further disastrous distraction just when the government must focus on the economic pressures faced by families across the country.

Whether his group of acolytes would actually force a general election remains to be seen, but he’s making sure that Rishi knows that he could if we wanted to.

Some will think that this was his cunning plan all along – to show off his own power.

This way he gets to lie on Caribbean beaches when he should be in Parliament, and make a fortune on the speaking circuit in the States, while being a thorn in the side of his successor. He might consider that a good position to be in.

For the rest of us, it signals more political chaos and distraction from what the people of this country need.

Our Deputy Leader, Daisy Cooper, has repeated our call for a General Election now, calling the Tory leadership contest a farce:

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The fallout

Lib Dems have been busy today dealing with the fallout from the resignation of Britain’s shortest ever Prime Minister. I’ll rephrase that – the British Prime Minister who served for the shortest time in office EVER (although the original version is probably also true, if of no political significance).

First, all departing Prime Ministers are entitled to an annual allowance for the rest of their lives of £115,000 to cover office costs. This was covered in a press release yesterday, where Christine Jardine is urging her not to take it. Today Ed Davey told LBC radio:

Most people have to work at least 35 years to get a full state pension. I think working 45 days shouldn’t give you a pension that is many many times what ordinary people out there get after a lifetime of work.

Second, traditionally Prime Ministers can hand out peerages and other honours in a resignation list. Boris Johnson has only just honoured 29 people in that way. Another tranche following so soon from Liz Truss would be completely inappropriate. Wendy Chamberlain, Lib Dem Chief Whip, has written to the Chair of Parliamentary and Political Service Committee:

As you know, it is traditional upon a Prime Minister’s departure from office for them to issue a ‘Resignation Honours’ list. This list signifies individuals who are to be rewarded with an honour from the King which, in turn, would be considered by your committee.

However, because of the unprecedented circumstances surrounding Liz Truss’s tenure and resignation, I am writing to urge you and the committee to reject any Resignation Honours list put forward by her.

Liz Truss will be the shortest serving Prime Minister in British political history. It is possible that by the time she formally resigns, she will not have held office for more than 50 days.

I do not believe that it would be appropriate for Liz Truss to be permitted to issue a resignation honours list, given the extremely short length of her tenure.

I urge you to make it clear that you and your fellow committee members would not sign off on any such honours, which would be the second list in a matter of months.

Third, there is a lot of concern that Boris Johnson is thinking of entering the leadership contest. This was, of course, the Prime Minister who was only persuaded to stand down after 50 ministers resigned. As also mentioned in press releases our MPs have now tabled a motion to stop anyone who has broken the law while in Government from ever becoming Prime Minister. It reads:

That this House believes that the upholding of standards by its Members is of vital importance to the functioning of UK democracy; believes that it is vital that the Prime Minister and Ministers uphold these standards; and therefore resolves that any honourable or right honourable member that is found to have broken the law whilst in Government should be barred from holding Prime Ministerial Office.

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Another day, another new Conservative Prime Minister to muck up our lives

Boris Johnson and Liz Truss are in for an absolute treat today. It’s more of a faff to get to Balmoral than a quick spin up the Mall to Buckingham Palace, but the journey from Aberdeen through Royal Deeside is absolutely gorgeous. The heather in the hills round about Aboyne is particularly stunning, even if it is, as forecast, tipping it down.

I am so glad that they are going north to see the Queen. The 96 year old monarch has earned the right to say that they should come to her.

I wonder what arrangements have been made for Boris and Carrie to get back from Balmoral. Normally the outgoing PM gets a taxi from Buckingham Palace. Will the estate manager drop them in Ballater so they can get the bus back to Aberdeen to catch the Easyjet back down south? Probably not, but it’s an amusing thought.

Much has been said about the new Prime Minister’s bulging in tray. Competing economic, energy, international and health crises require urgent action. I don’t think we are emphasising enough, though, the extent to which all these issues have been made worse by the foolish actions of the Conservative Party in Government since 2015.  From David Cameron’s ill-advised pledge to hold a referendum on our EU membership, to Theresa May’s and Boris Johnson’s choice to pursue the most extreme form of Brexit, they have helped create much tougher economic circumstances than in similar economies.

Sectors like social care are falling apart because of their anti-immigrant ethos. As care workers went back to the EU, our disabled and elderly friends and family found that the help that they relied on disappeared.

Boris Johnson’s boasterish farewell speech this morning didn’t mention this. He didn’t get Brexit done. He left a predictably impossible situation in Northern Ireland and the new PM intends to take the nuclear option of breaking international law rather than find a more pragmatic solution.  Deaths from Covid in the UK are the highest in Europe and the long term consequences of their pretence that the pandemic is over are being felt by too many people.

It takes some brass neck to deliver such a bullish speech when you have been forced from office in disgrace after the resignation of half of your government. Tim Farron summed it up this morning:

Jo Swinson said back in 2019 that the worst thing about Boris Johnson was that he just didn’t care. He simply couldn’t be bothered to understand how his Government’s actions affected people. Liz Truss, similarly, shows no sign of giving a damn and she doesn’t have anything like the charisma of her predecessor.

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Those Votes of No Confidence – latest

Earlier today we reported that the Government had refused to allow time for Labour’s Vote of No Confidence motion.

There has been a surprising development in the last hour, according to the BBC.  The PM has allowed a different motion of confidence specifically in the Government, not in him personally, which will be debated next week.

Lib Dems have been quick off the mark and announced that they will table an amendment to the motion, to allow MPs to vote on whether they have confidence in Boris Johnson staying on as Prime Minister.

Our Chief Whip, Wendy Chamberlain, said:

These are desperate tactics from the Conservatives who are looking to duck scrutiny for propping up Boris Johnson.

Conservative MPs risk a major public backlash if they refuse to listen to their constituents who want Johnson gone now. Voters across the Blue Wall will not forgive Conservative MPs who continue to stand by Boris Johnson after all the damage he’s done to our country.

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PM blocks Vote of No Confidence

Politics Home is one of the many media platforms covering Boris Johnson’s reaction to the Vote of No Confidence motion proposed by Labour, and supported by the Lib Dems.

It quotes Erskine May:

By established convention, the Government always accedes to the demand from the Leader of the Opposition to allot a day for the discussion of a motion tabled by the official Opposition which, in the Government’s view, would have the effect of testing the confidence of the House.

Instead, the Prime Minister has refused to allow the debate.

Although it was unlikely that the motion would have been passed, it was seen as a marker of the concern felt by many over Boris Johnson’s continued presence in No 10 over the summer.

It seems the refusal to allow the motion is based on a rather legalistic interpretation of the rules. The actual wording of the motion is this:

That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government while the Rt Hon Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip remains Prime Minister.

A Government spokesperson claims that it isn’t valid “because the Prime Minister has already resigned”. Well, we all know that, but clearly the motion is referring to the interim arrangements – the two whole months between his resignation and the installation of a new Prime Minister. This transition period can work smoothly in the hands of a person of integrity, and I include many former Prime Ministers in that, but is a dangerous period for democracy in the hands of someone shown to lack any moral compass. No wonder he has been compared with Trump – which is exactly what Ed Davey said in response:

This sounds more like Donald Trump than a serious British Government.

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Seeing ourselves as others see us

I’ve been a big fan of the Crooked Media organisation’s stable of podcasts for a few years now.

Crooked was set up in 2017 by former Obama staffers Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor in the wake of Trump’s victory to provide a progressive media outlet that encouraged activism to restore the Democrats’ fortunes. Its growing team and stable of podcasts informs and entertains about all aspects of US politics. Its Hysteria podcast, hosted by journalist Erin Ryan and former White House Head of Scheduling and Advance Alyssa Mastromonaco aired the day Justice Anthony Kennedy retired from the Supreme Court, paving the way for last month’s overturning of abortion rights and had to be re-recorded.

If you haven’t already, you might like to listen to their perspective on the events leading up to Boris Johnson’s long overdue resignation in the Boris Johnson Brexits edition of their Pod Save the World podcast presented by former national security spokesman Tommy Vietor and foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes. They have an interview with David Lammy who is their go-to Labour person. They could do with a go-to Lib Dem as well but Lammy pretty much covers all the bases on this one.

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Observations of an expat: Boris

The rules, the law, other people… they were of little or no concern to Boris Johnson. At least not until this week when his contempt for parliamentary convention, constitutional law and common decency resulted in his being dragged kicking and screaming to the exit door of 10 Downing Street.

Boris Johnson’s lack of moral fibre has wreaked havoc on Britain’s unwritten constitution; the social contract between rulers and ruled; Britain’s position in the world and the country’s finances. The Conservative Party has been mortally wounded by the decision to elect him Party leader and to stand by him for three scandal-riven years.

He won them votes with his unruly mop of hair, boyish charm and extraordinary skill with the spoken and written word. But winning votes is only part of the job. A Prime Minister needs to be able to govern. Boris Johnson’s incompetence, laziness and skewed moral compass made him unfit for the tenancy of Downing Street.

The success of the British parliamentary system relies heavily on the “Good Chap” theory of Government. Politicians are expected to act with honesty and integrity. If they are caught in a lie – especially a lie to parliament – they have to be relied upon to do the honourable thing and resign.

This is not the law. It is a parliamentary convention which has been observed for centuries. But Boris is not a good chap. He is a bad chap. He cares not one jot for parliamentary convention. Parliament – as far as Boris was concerned – was an obstacle to be overcome rather than a political tool to be used.

For the past 50 years successive British prime ministers have tried to shift their role from that of  “First Among Equals” in a cabinet of high-achieving individuals to a more presidential type of government. This meant circumventing parliament as much and as often as possible. Boris embraced this trend with vigour and disastrous consequences.

It started with British membership of the EU. His lies narrowly swung the British behind Brexit. But then when parliament balked at the terms he negotiated with Brussels he illegally attempted to prorogue the legislature. That was followed by effectively booting 21 rebel conservative MPs out parliament, thus ensuring that his post 2019-election majority would be comprised mostly of fawning acolytes.

The cabinet he appointed has – with a few exceptions – been chosen not on the basis of competence but on personal loyalty to Boris Johnson. It is generally regarded as one of the most – if not the most – mediocre cabinet in British history.

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Support grows for a no confidence vote in Parliament

Last month, around the time of the Tories’ own internal no confidence vote, Ed Davey called tabled a no confidence motion in Parliament. At that stage it had no hope of succeeding, but was clearly stating the Lib Dem position on Boris Johnson as PM.

Today Angela Rayner is publicly voicing support for the idea.  She says Labour will call for a no confidence vote if Boris Johnson is still in post on Monday. Ed Davey has said he will back it.

Of course, the motion will only succeed if it some disgruntled Tories vote for it – but there are quite a few of them at present.

All this is designed to put pressure on the Tories to do the decent thing and make sure Johnson exits No 10 at the earliest opportunity. Here is Ed speaking this morning on Sky News.

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The whole bus cheered but where do we go from here?

It’s a long and winding bus journey from Ludlow to Shrewsbury and like many of the passengers this morning I was beginning to doze. Then. “He’s gone!” a man at the front of the bus shouted. Everyone cheered. Brian, the bus driver turned on the radio. People startled into awakedness stared earnestly at their smart phones. The bus briefly buzzed with chatter.

The excitement faded as I caught a second bus to Shirehall with a sobering thought: how do we get out of this mess? I think that was the thought on the mind of the forty odd Conservatives who had assembled in Shirehall who were for the most part unusually subdued, though not of course humbled.

The debate over Boris Johnson’s survival as prime minister has dominated political thinking for many weeks. Sapping political energy that is desperately needed to tackle the cost of living crisis and the creaking NHS.

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Davey: He has shredded the public’s trust in politics

Ed Davey has been writing on the Guardian website. He lashes out at Boris Johnson but reserves his main criticism for the Tory MPs who have kept Johnson at the helm for far too long:

He broke the law. He lied. He has failed disastrously to tackle the cost of living emergency or the crisis in our NHS. He has shredded the public’s trust in the government and in politics.

But Johnson didn’t act alone. For three years, he has been backed to the hilt by more than 350 co-conspirators on the Conservative benches. They nodded along to every shameful lie. They gladly went on TV to defend the indefensible and excuse the inexcusable. They willingly trooped through the voting lobby in support of every disastrous policy.

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Boris Johnson to resign – reactions

Unbridled joy? Schadenfreude? Anger?

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One wheel on my wagon and I’m still rolling along…

The government spent Thursday stuck in quicksand. The prime minister was in sand up to his neck. But he still blundered and blustered on regardless through PMQs and a parliamentary committee most people had not heard of. More than forty members of the government have resigned, some from the top table, some the servers who usually bow and scrape. Michael Gove was sacked.

I write this article in the early hours of Thursday before heading off for a lengthy day battling in a Tory dominated council. Will Boris Johnson still be prime minister when I leave the council chamber? Will there be more resignations as dawn breaks?

Boris Johnson has always been in denial of reality. He has always lived in a fantasy world. His world is centred around himself. He is stuck in Slogan Land. Sound Bite Land. Anything but Resigning Land.

When watching Johnson perform at PMQs yesterday, a song from my youth randomly popped into my head. “Three wheels on my wagon, and I’m still rolling along…” The song was nonsense and hasn’t aged well. The same might be said of Johnson. For all the sense he made yesterday, he might have been chanting the New Christy Minstrels’ chorus: “I’m singing a higgity, haggity, hoggety, high. Pioneers, they never say die.”

That’s Johnson. Never say die. Never say resign.

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The Greased Piglet

Thought you might enjoy these whilst we wait for further developments.

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What Lib Dems are saying about the resignations

What a night. Boris Johnson apologised for appointing Chris Pincher demonstrating not for the first time his distance from the real world most of us live in. But then a man who doesn’t know when a party is a party is unlikely to have a grasp on when a grope is a grope. The resignations of the chancellor and health secretary, followed by a slew of junior resignations would have left most prime ministers considering their position. But it seems that all Johnson cares about is his own survival.

After Health Secretary Sajid Javid and ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak quit within ten minutes of each other, Conservative vice-chair Bim Afolami, trade envoy Andrew Murrison, parliamentary private secretaries Saqib Bhatti, Jonathan Gullis, Nicola Richards and Virginia Crosbie, and solicitor-general Alex Chalk followed.

Overnight Lib Dems have been reacting to the unfolding events. Here is a selection of comments.

 

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Johnson: Imperious, impervious and delusional

Our prime minister is beleaguered, only he doesn’t know it. He told the press pack in Rwanda that he intended to remain as prime minister until the mid-2030s. With members of his cabinet scheming against him and negative approval ratings in opinion polls, that looks unlikely.

Both Johnson and some Conservative MPs are in denial about the message sent by the government by the public in Thursday’s twin by-election defeats. At least two of Tory MPs have blamed the Tiverton and Honiton defeat on the “girls” (MPs to you and me) that shopped Neil Parish for his tractor porn antics in the chamber. Another said they didn’t see the defeat coming because “people were lying on the doorsteps”. How out of touch can the Tories be?

Other MPs recognised that the bond of trust has been broken between the prime minister, the Conservative party and the voters: “People think he’s a liar and a shady bugger.”

As Richard Foord said on Thursday: “It’s time for Boris Johnson to go. And go now.” The departure of the “shady bugger” is long overdue.

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Why does the PM need an Ethics Adviser?

Yes, indeed.

This reminds me of a question posed to my husband when he was Mayor. He was visiting a school and the Mayor’s attendant that day was also a children’s entertainer, and some of the children recognised him. One of them asked “Why does the Mayor need a magician?”.

But back to the Prime Minister. The role of an Ethics Adviser (technically the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests) was established in 2006. The adviser is appointed directly by the Prime Minister.

The Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests is appointed by the Prime Minister to advise him on matters relating to the Ministerial Code. The post holder is independent of government and expected to provide impartial advice to the Prime Minister. (Terms of reference)

The previous Ethics Adviser, Sir Alex Allen, was asked in 2020 to investigate bullying claims against Priti Patel and had found that she had broken the Ministerial Code, which would normally result in resignation . Boris Johnson backed Priti Patel and stated that he had full confidence in her, so Alex Allen resigned.

And now a second Ethics Adviser appointed by Boris Johnson has resigned. Lord Geidt informed the Prime Minister of his decision on Tuesday and last night his resignation letter was published (after some anger at its delay).

The trigger for his resignation was when Boris Johnson asked him to approve a plan to extend tariffs on steel imports, which would have broken World Trade Organization rules.

Here is the key extract from Lord Geidt’s letter:

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Paddington Bear for ethics adviser after Geidt goes?

Wendy Chamberlain was being ironic last night when she said the only person who would now take on the job of ethic adviser to Boris Johnson’s government would be Paddington.

Last night, Lord Geidt’s resignation was a bit of a mystery. It was known that he was unhappy in his role because of the antics of the prime minister, Boris Johnson, who is his boss. Geidt had an uncomfortable session on Tuesday when he told the public administration and constitutional affairs committee it was reasonable to suggest the prime minister may have breached the ministerial code when he was fined during the Partygate scandal.

Today, we have the full correspondence between Lord Geidt and Boris Johnson. In his resignation letter, Geidt said he was being asked to judge on Johnson’s intention to risk a “purposeful and deliberate breach of the ministerial code” and he was not prepared to do that.

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Benefits to Bricks and Boris Bluster

This government is stuck on the letter “B”. Build Back Better. Bus Back Better. And now Benefits to Bricks. And, of course, there is the perennial Boris Bluster. The speech Boris Johnson gave in Blackpool on Thursday seemed to be more about keeping Johnson in his home at No 10 than getting others into homes. Although billed as a “housing speech” it was more a rambling justification for Johnson’s position. Although the main topic was meant to be housing, we heard of olive oil and bananas, Suez and Ukraine, inflation, policing, health, cost of living, riots and much more on the way to mortgages and a right to buy for social housing tenants.

We were told we are living in good times: “People don’t face the misery of the 1980s or 1990s”. Johnson failed to mention that all but three years of those decades were under Conservative governments. And that there wasn’t then a food bank in every community. And when he said, “Everyone can see and feel the impact on household budgets”, I briefly fantasised that he too was flat broke and was facing the cruel choice between fuel, heating and food.

This government is out of touch with how hard times are for many people. And that shows in its current announcements, including Benefits to Bricks.

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LibLink: Ed Davey says Tory MPs are now responsible for Johnson’s behaviour

The Guardian has a round-up of views across the political spectrum (although, not surprisingly, no loyal Tory MPs have contributed) under the headline “Boris Johnson survived the no-confidence vote. Can he cling on to power?“.

Ed Davey writes:

Tory MPs are now responsible for his behaviour

After months of defending the indefensible, Conservative MPs had a golden opportunity to finally put an end to Johnson’s sorry premiership. Instead they doubled down, narrowly choosing to put the career of a lying lawbreaker over the good of the country.

The scenes prior to yesterday’s no-confidence vote made clear that the Tories are headed for a civil war while this desperately weak prime minister attempts to cling on to office. This will mean a summer of discontent for the rest of us. For Johnson, the cost of living crisis and spiralling NHS waiting times are merely collateral. His entire focus is self-preservation. His selfishness is hurting our economy and harming families up and down the country.

In spite of the spinelessness of most Conservative MPs last night, what is clear beyond all recognition is that the people of Britain have lost confidence in Johnson. They recognise that he is not fit for office. So why can’t Conservative MPs? Liberal Democrats are fighting this Conservative government in seats across the country. The people of Tiverton and Honiton will speak for Britain in giving their verdict on Johnson in two weeks’ time – the Conservative party will have no choice but to listen.

And here is Ed in a reflective mood, but with the same message.

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Lib Dems to table motion of no confidence in Johnson (updated)

Early this afternoon, Lib Dem MPs will table an Early Day Motion of no confidence in the prime minister Boris Johnson.

Earlier Davey tweeted:

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That Tory memo calling for “Conservative Corbyn” Johnson to go

Over the weekend, a memo circulated among Tory backbenchers setting out the case for Boris Johnson to go. It is striking how scared the Conservatives have become of the Lib Dems, with the memo writers predicting that we could take seats with Conservative majorities of up to 20,000 in the Blue Wall.

The memo writers also suggest that if Johnson survives by a slim majority, he will call an early general election to restore his personal mandate.

We should make the Conservatives paranoia a reality by ensuring we win in Tiverton and Honiton. Please help this weekend if you can. We must ensure that Richard Foord is elected on 25 June and drive home the message that the Tories are not fit to govern. There are both volunteer activities in the constituency and regular Maraphone sessions.

The full Tory memo is below.

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Wendy Chamberlain slams PM’s “appalling attempt to rig the rules”

You would think, wouldn’t you, that when the culture of your Government has been slammed in a report which outlined disgraceful behaviour, you would be absolutely mortified and would make sure that your actions showed that you were truly sorry. Especially when you had been saying so at length and you knew that nobody believed a word of your apology.

Well, you could think that of virtually any other PM than Boris Johnson. But the current incumbent’s capacity for brazen disregard for rules or accountability is second to none. We saw this when he tried to change the rules to save his mate Owen Paterson last Autumn.

Yesterday, Boris Johnson watered down both the Ministerial Code and the role of the so-called “Independent Adviser.” The Guardian reports:

The prime minister faced a barrage of criticism after he amended the rules on Friday to make clear that ministers will not always be expected to resign for breaching the code of conduct. Under new sanctions, they could apologise or temporarily lose their pay instead.

Johnson also blocked his independent ethics chief, Christopher Geidt, from gaining the power to launch his own investigations, and rewrote the foreword to the ministerial code, removing all references to honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability.

Our Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain is reported as saying that this was an:

appalling attempt by Boris Johnson to rig the rules to get himself off the hook.

It seems the Conservatives have learned nothing from the Owen Paterson scandal.

It has been clear for some time that the Government doesn’t care that accountability and justice are seen to be done where its own behaviour is concerned. With these moves they are effectively giving themselves the right to mark their own homework. The legitimacy of any Government depends on having some sort of check on its power.

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It’s my party and I’ll lie if I want to – Gray report

The evidence was overwhelming before today that Johnson had been to parties when they were barred by his own government’s rules. That’s bad.

With Sue Gray’s report now before parliament and the public, it is clear if it wasn’t before, that Johnson has repeatedly lied about parties and whether he attended any. That’s seriously bad.

Gray’s report has now been published. Thirty-seven pages. Nine photos. Vomiting, red wine on the walls, fighting, sitting on laps, karaoke, pizzas, prosecco, birthday drinks, sleeping in the office, overflowing bins, leaving drunk by the back door to avoid the press pack outside the front door, along with poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. Classic signs of parties but we have been repeatedly told that there were no parties, just meetings, and Johnson did not attend any parties.

Johnson is likely to survive this because Conservatives haven’t got the guts to remove him. Although perhaps the truth is that they have no one to replace him.

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Boris Johnson – you’re fired

Boris Johnson broke the law.

He partied while repeatedly telling us the importance of “staying home, protecting the NHS and saving lives”. I have no issues with the laws of the time, as they were necessary to protect the immuno-compromised. What I have an issue with, however, is how we were lied to by our Prime Minister.

He had the gall to stand in parliament and deliver an “unreserved apology”, encouraging us to let the government “get on with the job”. Correct me if I’m wrong, the person giving the apology doesn’t decide when to move on, but rather the recipient of the apology does. I’m sure I speak for the majority when I say, we are not ready to move on.

Our nation’s public office holders are expected to meet the 7 standards of the Nolan Principles:

  • Selflessness
  • Integrity
  • Objectivity
  • Honesty
  • Leadership
  • Openness
  • Accountability

I honestly cannot give an example of how Boris Johnson has met a single standard.

He is the first sitting Prime Minister to break the law. He has knowingly misled parliament regarding his attendance of the aforementioned Downing Street parties. He frequently uses the Russian Invasion of Ukraine to deflect taking responsibility for his unlawful actions. When the country needed strong leadership, he fled into hiding. He was happy for civil servants to take the fall for his unlawful actions. His ties to the Kremlin, whether it be through his friendship with Baron Lebedev of Siberia or his attendance at Lebedev’s party in Italy, make him a security threat.

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Davey on Partygate: “Our prime minister just doesn’t get it”

Ed Davey has been busy appearing almost everywhere in the media in the last two days. This morning alone, Davey has spoken to BBC R4, BBC 5 Live, BBC Breakfast and Sky News. In this article, Newshound covers the interviews on Radio 4’s Today programme and BBC Breakfast.

On Today, Davey said that he was right to criticise the police originally. They changed their policy on the investigation and have since done the job well. The country is in crisis with the cost of living emergency and Ukraine. The prime minister and chancellor were dishonest. The trust in them that is vital during a crisis has gone. They should resign. The government’s got an appalling record on the economy and now they’ve broken their own laws.

These themes were picked on BBC Breakfast, when Ed Davey also spoke with passion about families not being able to see their families for five minutes when they were dying, yet the prime minister could party for five minutes. Davey also spoke emotionally about the plight of Ukrainian refugees, saying a new leadership could be true to the compassion and generosity the British on refugees rather than imposing paperwork.

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Ukraine: Johnson is not Churchill, he is Basil Fawlty

Those that had the strength of will to listen to Boris Johnson’s speech to the Conservative Party spring conference yesterday were left gasping and outraged. One of the least statesmanlike prime ministers in British history had the gall to compare the decisions facing the people of Ukraine with those people in Britain made over Brexit:

“I know that it’s the instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, to choose freedom, every time. I can give you a couple of famous recent examples. When the British people voted for Brexit in such large, large numbers, I don’t believe it was because they were remotely hostile to foreigners. It’s because they wanted to be free to do things differently and for this country to be able to run itself.”

Lib Dem MPs and many others were quick to attack Johnson for his crassness and insensitivity.

 

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At what point would you have walked out?

There’s an event known as “Not the leader’s speech”, which seems to have gained semi official status in the party. While the leader gives their speech at the end of conference, a group of members meet up at a nearby pub. They follow the coverage of the speech on social media, and discuss at what point they would have walked out, if they had been there.

I’ve never attended “Not the leader’s speech”, but I do have a good deal of admiration for the irreverent approach of this group of members.

I don’t think I have ever actually “walked out of” a speech, in a Lib Dem context or otherwise. But there have been many occasions when I have sat through a speech, but could identify the moment at which perhaps I *should* have walked out. I did not actually attend Spring Conference this year, either in person or online, but I have watched the video of Ed Davey’s speech, and read through the text, several times. I certainly know the moment at which I would have felt like walking out.

Ed began by speaking very movingly of the suffering of the people of Ukraine, and of their heroism. Naturally, I have no criticism of this part of the speech, even though (and I hesitated about whether to write this), I did find myself thinking that I would have preferred to have heard these words spoken by someone who had not previously said publicly that he would be willing to personally “press the nuclear button”.

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Yet more chaos in Downing Street

Yet another week where the Prime Minister has floundered, and the country has struggled.

The week started with a Tory former chief whip urging Boris Johnson to withdraw an insinuation about the Labour leader Starmer refusing to prosecute the serial sex offender Jimmy Savile and which saw scenes where Starmer was accosted outside Parliament.

The UK Statistics Authority last week officially rebuked Boris Johnson and Priti Patel for misleadingly claiming that crime had fallen, following a letter of complaint by Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng then claimed this weekend that fraud isn’t something people experience in their day-to-day lives.

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats show there were 100,393 fraud offences referred to the police in London last year, 8,957 fraud offences in Surrey which is home to Kwasi Kwarteng’s constituency of Spelthorne, and 11,829 fraud offences in Essex which includes Priti Patel’s seat of Witham.

Boris Johnson refused to agree to correct the record, after being challenged to by Ed Davey at PMQs on Wednesday.

Sir John Major’s keynote speech at the Institute for Government on Thursday was damning, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

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Ed Davey challenges Boris Johnson on fraud

Ed Davey used his question to the Prime Minister today to tackle the Prime Minister on the Government’s attitude to fraud:

He demanded that  Boris Johnson correct the record after misleadingly claiming crime has fallen, and apologise to the four million victims of fraud he has written out of the picture.

Seventy-four-year-old Janet had twenty-five thousand pounds stolen by fraudsters.

The money was my mum and dad’s and I just felt I let them down,” she told the BBC.

For Janet and for the 4 million people who fell victim to fraudsters and online scammers last year, fraud is a crime.

Does the Prime Minister understand the hurt he and his Ministers cause fraud victims like Janet, when they write them out of the crime figures, and dismiss fraud as something people don’t experience in their day-to-day lives?

Will the Prime Minister correct the record and apologise?

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Have we ever had such an awful prime minister?

I first discovered ‘politics’ when I was about 16. I’d just entered the sixth form, having taken only four years to do my O-levels and had joined the Debating Society (yes, we had them in inner city grammar schools in Leicester back then). It was at the time of the 1959 ‘Life is better under the Conservatives, don’t let Labour ruin it’ General Election, that pitted ‘Supermac’ against the cerebral Hugh Gaitskell at a time when the two main parties were still mopping up around 90% of the votes and, or so it seemed, nearly 100% of the seats between them.

So, my ‘involvement’ goes back a long way and, being a bit of an historian back then, I have experienced at first hand and read about a motley collection of mostly men, who have climbed the greasy pole of Prime Ministership and slid down it again usually into the comforting embrace of a peerage. After their demise, with one or two notable exceptions, few ordinary people have a good or kind word to say about any of them, while many who worked for them still generally paint a favourable picture, even if a few warts cannot be avoided. Do we really think that most of our politicians are really out to screw us? Surely, that says as much about our take on life as it does about the quality or talent on display at any given time.

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