Boris Johnson ‘toxic’ even to his allies, says Malcom Rifkind
A photograph of Boris Johnson drinking a beer at a birthday event held for him in No 10 is among the 300 images handed to the Metropolitan Police, it has been reported.
The prime minister was pictured standing next to Rishi Suank and raising a can of Estrella towards the camera in a photo allegedly taken by the official Downing Street photographer during the first national coronavirus lockdown.
It came as long-serving former schools minister Nick Gibb became the 15th Tory MP to publicly announce he has submitted a letter of no confidence in the PM, piling further pressure on Mr Johnson as he seeks to stave off a backbench rebellion.
His intervention came hours after Red Wall MP Aaron Bell also called for Mr Johnson to go, declaring the prime minister’s position was “untenable” because of his handling of the Partygate scandal.
Meanwhile the PM has been trying to win over unruly backbenchers – as No 10 insiders warned the increasingly isolated prime minister is becoming “unpredictable and erratic”.
Liam Fox says he has not submitted no confidence letter
Former minister Liam Fox has said he has not submitted a letter of no confidence Boris Johnson.
Speaking to BBC Radio ‘s Today programme, the Conservative MP for North Somerset said: “It’s very clear in the system we have in the Conservative Party that not even the 15 per cent threshold has been reached where members of the parliamentary party are unhappy with the prime minister.
“We have a mechanism to deal with that. If I had been unhappy with the prime minister, I would have put a letter in to Sir Graham Brady, which I have not done today.”
Mr Fox said he is “waiting to see what comes out of” the full Sue Gray report into the Partygate saga in Downing Street and said the ongoing strife was “diminishing the focus” that should be paid to other political issues including inflation rises and Ukraine.
Andy Gregory5 February 2022 09:53
Sunak’s criticism of PM was ‘statement of the bleeding obvious’, former ally says
An author of Boris Johnson’s 2019 election manifesto has defended Rishi Sunak’s criticism of the PM’s jibe about Jimmy Savile as, not a “moment of snakish disloyalty”, but “a statement of the bleeding obvious”.
Robert Colvile, director of the Centre for Policy Studies think tank, added that he had placed an £130 bet on Rishi Sunak to be the next prime minister at odds of 100/, “as I remind pretty much everyone, pretty much constantly”.
Andy Gregory5 February 2022 09:44
Public ‘has every right to see’ photos taken by No 10 photographer, Angela Rayner says
Labour’s deputy leader has said that images taken by the official No 10 photographer – reported last night to include one of Boris Johnson drinking a can of Estrella beer at a birthday event held for him during lockdown – should be made public.
Andy Gregory5 February 2022 09:33
Tory MP calls for ‘urgent action’ from Boris Johnson over Brexit protocol
Steve Baker, former chair of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, has called on the prime minister to take “urgent action” to resolve tensions over the Northern Ireland protocol – which this week saw Stormont’s first minister Paul Givan resign.
And as the power-sharing agreement in Northern Ireland’s government collapsed with his resignation, the Belfast Telegraph and BBC journalist Andrea Catherwood were among many to point to the event’s absence on British front pages.
Andy Gregory5 February 2022 09:26
‘Erratic’ Boris Johnson offers MPs say on policy in bid to stave off coup
On our front page today, Andrew Woodcock and Anna Isaac report that Boris Johnson tried to win over backbenchers by ceding more power on Friday – as No 10 insiders told The Independent that the increasingly isolated prime minister was becoming “unpredictable and erratic”.
In the latest stage of his desperate bid to stave off a mutiny by Tory MPs, Mr Johnson announced the creation of backbench committees to advise on government policy and promised he would order cabinet ministers to take their views seriously.
While the revival of the committees, first established under David Cameron, was broadly welcomed by Tory MPs, who have complained of being shut out of the decision-making process by a No 10 machine drawn tightly around the PM, one said: “Colleagues certainly like the idea of being consulted more, but I’m not sure that these committees had any influence under Cameron and I doubt they will now. It’s not going to change many minds.”
Meanwhile, a No 10 insider told The Independent that the PM’s mood in regard to his predicament was swinging wildly, saying: “He’s been erratic. Boisterous and confident one moment and then bleak and full of recriminations the next,” said the source, speaking anonymously.
“It’s becoming a pattern. He was difficult to…