Tag Archives: boris johnson

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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Forcing ministers (and the PM) to reveal any fines they are given for partygate

Alistair Carmichael has tabled a rather niche motion in Parliament – the Ministerial Disclosure Bill. This would force Boris Johnson to admit to any fixed penalty notices he receives for lockdown breaches.

The Independent covers the story: Bill tabled to force Boris Johnson to reveal Covid fines which could total more than £12,000.

On Tuesday No 10 agreed to tell the media if the Prime Minister was fined as a result of the Met Police investigation into Downing Street parties. But they did not extend that to other ministers, nor did they say they would state the amount of any fines, both of which are covered in Alistair’s motion.

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Johnson’s future – “Blue wall” Tory MPs targeted

On the i wesbsite, Richard Vaughan reports:

The Liberal Democrats are targeting Tory MPs representing the “Blue Wall” in the Southern shires demanding they submit a letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson or face being “sacked by the public”.

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Ed Davey: Boris Johnson is concentrating on saving his own skin, not rising living costs

In a strong appearance on The Sunday Morning Show, Ed Davey called on the Government to hold a cost of living summit in No 10, a work event, not a party, if you like.

He called for a windfall tax on energy companies and said that if the Conservatives had stuck with the policies he introduced when he was Energy Secretary, our bills would be £2.5 billion. You can watch the whole thing here:

He was challenged by Sophie Raworth on his tweet:

Ed replied that he had respect for rank and file police officers who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. For them to do their job, the public have to have confidence in them and the way the Met has handled this has undermined that.

He took us through the Met’s actions of the past few weeks, first saying they wouldn’t investigate the Downing Street Parties, then they said they might but wanted to let Sue Gray get on with her report, then they would investigate but Sue Gray’s report could be published in full and then they changed their minds for a fourth time and said that Sue Gray’s report had to wait for their investigation to be completed. “This is chaos, absolute chaos.” It might be cock up, he added, but it could also be something much worse.”

He said that he had called for an investigation by the Metropolitan Police several weeks ago. If they had done that then, they would have completed their  investigation and we wouldn’t have the paralysis in Government that we are seeing now.

He said that nobody wanted the Met to make such a hash of this and had a go at Boris.

“We have a Prime Minister who has broken the rules and lied about it to Parliament. No-one trusts this Prime Minister. It’s why I’ve called very strongly that he should resign.”

 

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The pros and cons for Liberal Democrats of Boris Johnson remaining in office

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Why Johnson should stay — Irina von Weise

Just as tactical voting is an unfortunate, but indispensable result of our voting system, trade-offs between the shorter and longer term are often necessary. Here is the choice: putting up with a blustering, lying buffoon as PM for two more years, or the prospect of another seven (or more) years of Conservative governments.

Let’s not forget: Johnson is not the problem, he merely epitomises it. The problem is a Conservative party hardly recognisable to its own traditional voter base, one that ousted its internationalist, rule-based MPs and replaced them with a cohort of spineless, corrupt loyalists.

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Government meltdown because PM cannot tell the truth – Ed Davey


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Et tu Cummins? Et tu Davies? Et tu Wragg?

He has been stabbed in the back. Stabbed in the front. Stabbed in the arras. Yet, like a Shakespearean character stretching out the last scene of a tragedy, Boris Johnson staggers on, keeping the audience enthralled with his gasping phases, bravado and sense of drama. It is a great drama but is it a way to run a country?

There is a fear, and perhaps it is a reality, that many of the government’s announcements are now all about propping up a prime minister in free fall. A clutch of backbench Tory MPs have joined opposition MPs in calling for Boris Johnson to resign. But as always Shakespeare has wisdom, as spoken by Chamberlain in Henry VIII:

“Press not a falling man too far! ’Tis virtue. His faults lie open to the laws; let them, not you, correct him. My heart weeps to see him so little of his great self.”

There will undoubtedly be more twists and turns in this drama in the next few days. But it is clear there is something rotten in the state of the Tory party.

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Wendy Chamberlain smashes it at PMQs with call for PM to resign

Wendy Chamberlain made a brilliant start to PMQs today:

And there has been loads of praise:

https://twitter.com/NairnMcD/status/1483772201866342404?s=20

 

Keir Starmer, buoyed by Tory defector Christian Wakeford sitting behind him, was both serious and funny as he repeatedly blasted the PM’s failures.

But it was David Davis, former Brexit Secretary, who struck what may be a politically fatal blow:

You could hear the gasps of surprise at his savage denouncement. I was reminded of the blow that Geoffrey Howe struck to Margaret Thatcher back in 1990. She didn’t last long after that.

Earlier, Wendy spoke to Nicky Campbell about the PM’s position:

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Ed Davey: Boris why would you even want to party when people were dying

Writing in the Express, Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said: “Boris Johnson is a man without shame, or scruples. That is, in many ways, how he managed to ascend the greasy pole.”

Explaining why he had written to Cressida Dick asking her to investigate Boris Johnson’s involvement in the continuing Partygate scandal, Davey asked how anyone of sound judgement can – let alone the prime minister – think it is somehow okay to get out the party hats and knock back the wine on the very day that the government ordered everyone to stay indoors and avoid all human contact that isn’t strictly necessary.

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Daisy Cooper: Boris Johnson must resign #bbcqt

In a confident performance on BBC Question Time on Thursday night, Daisy Cooper tackled the question of the day. Should Boris Johnson resign?

She was forthright. The prime minister has broken the law. He has lied to parliament and the public. He must resign and the police should investigate.

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Ed Davey: Boris Johnson must resign

Ed Davey has said that Boris Johnson must resign over the Downing Street parties. He said:

“Boris Johnson has broken the law and lied to Parliament and the country, and he must now go.
“Millions of people obeyed the lockdown rules, often at huge personal cost. They missed funerals, cancelled weddings and said goodbye to dying loved ones on video calls – some on the very day that Number Ten illegally hosted a garden party.
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Ed vs Boris – a load of old Balls

Today has been Helen Morgan’s day. First she was sworn in and then she questioned the Prime Minister about the state of North Shropshire’s ambulance services.

But we could not let this day go by without mentioning Ed’s question to the Prime Minister, which was not without amusing incident.

Poor Ed has been misidentified twice this week. On the New Year’s Day edition of The Weakest LInk (and isn’t Romesh Ranganathan an inspired choice for that?) Jenni Falconer was asked which Ed was the leader of the Liberal Democrats. “Milliband?” she  asked, without much confidence.

Today Speaker Lindsay Hoyle had one of those moments when he introduced Ed at PMQs:

I call Ed Balls—I mean Ed Davey.

Ed replied:

Happy new year, Mr Speaker! I am sure the Prime Minister will want to join me and my Liberal Democrat colleagues in welcoming my hon. Friend the new Member for North Shropshire (Helen Morgan).

People’s already high heating bills are about to jump by more than 50%, with average energy bills rising by nearly £700 a year. Gas price rises will push millions more families into fuel poverty, when we know many are already afraid even to open their heating bills. Does the Prime Minister accept that he could be doing much more than he is to prevent millions of people from going hungry and cold this year while he remains—for now at least—in the warmth and comfort of No. 10?

Boris Johnson of course took the mention of the word balls and ran with it. Pretty disgraceful when you consider that there are millions of vulnerable people wondering how they are going to heat their homes, disabled people wondering how they are going to pay the extra costs to keep their breathing machines going or charge their stairlifts or scooters, all of which use a whole load of electricity. He just doesn’t care.

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Boris: “One wheel on my wagon and I’m still rolling along”

Embed from Getty Images

Note: To balance out the motifs presented in the song mentioned here, you may like to visit the websites of The Native American Rights Fund and/or Native Americans in Philantrophy

Following up on Andy’s great post this morning, readers of a certain age will recall a song called “Three wheels on my wagon” by the New Christy Minstrels. You can listen to it via YouTube below. It’s a cracker.

The singer, in the persona of an American “pioneer”, describes “singing a happy song” as a wheel comes off his wagon, while he is chased by a band of arrow-firing “Cherokees” who are intent on killing the singer and his fellow wagon passengers.

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Boris Johnson is sinking into pig manure. Has he had his day?

Is Johnson about to book the removal vans and move out of Downing Street? His stint as prime minister over? Yes please. Bring the vans in and bring the tenure of this increasingly hapless “leader” to an end.

At first thought, keeping Boris Johnson is good for us Lib Dems. His incompetence helped deliver the stunning North Shropshire result and get us our 13th MP. But his incompetence is now damaging our country. After Partygate, Peppagate, backbench rebellions and today, the resignation of Lord Frost, he increased looks as though he is up to his neck in Peppa poo.

As Oscar Wilde didn’t say: “To lose one by-election Mr Johnson, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.” And there is that sense about Boris Johnson. Carelessness. The sense of not having a grip on the public mood and on the mood within his own party.

Is it time for him to walk the plank?

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Daisy Cooper: Boris Johnson needs to go

The constant drip feed of stories of Government Covid rule breaking continues, most recently with the picture of Boris Johnson taking part in a quiz as the Daily Mirror reports:

After this latest revelation, Lib Dem Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said that the Prime Minister was undermining the ongoing fight against Covid and needs to go.

She said:

This slew of rule-breaking revelations leaves Boris Johnson with nowhere left to hide.

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Recent Comments

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