Boris Johnson refuses to say if he will resign if found to have broken law
A former Conservative prime minister says Tory MPs may have to put the needs of the country first, by voting with the opposition to get rid of Boris Johnson should police discover he lied to parliament about Downing Streetlockdown parties.
speaking to The Independent after a keynote speech on democracy, John Major said he hoped “Conservative MPs would always put country before party, in all circumstances”. Pressed on if that included potentially rebelling against the government in a Commons vote of confidence, Sir John repeated: “In all circumstances.”
In a blistering address at the Institute for Government, in which he attacked the government for providing “brazen excuses” in the face of Partygate allegations, Sir John said plainly: “At No 10, the prime minister and officials broke lockdown laws. Brazen excuses were dreamed up…Parliament has a duty to correct this.”
If Mr Johnson wins a likely no-confidence vote among his MPs, the only route to removing him will be a confidence vote on the Commons floor – which can only succeed if several dozen Tory MPs rebel.
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Partygate probe could last months if PM ‘lawyered-up’, says expert
Our politics reporter adam forrest have this:
Adam Wagner QC, an expert on Covid laws, has raised the possibility that we could still be “months” away from knowing if Boris Johnson will be fined for rule breaches.
“My experience of legal settings, especially once you’ve got lawyers involved, and I’m sure the prime minister and a number of officials will be lawyered-up, things can get complicated and messy,” he told Sky News.
“So as much as the police might want to get this resolved quickly and get some fixed penalty notices out, that may not actually be realistic – so we could be looking at weeks or months left.”
Wagner said earlier today that Johnson could face more than £10,000 in fines if police rule that multiple events in Downing Street breached lockdown restrictions.
Sam Hancock10 February 2022 14:32
Major: Tory MPs may have to vote with Opposition to remove PM
Tory MPs may have to “put country before party” by voting with the opposition to bring down Boris Johnson if he has lied to parliament, John Major says.
speaking to The Independent after a blistering speech, in which he attacked the PM and his officials for giving “brazen excuses” in the face of Partygate, the former Tory PM declined to pre-judge the police inquiry into the No 10 parties, arguing it is better to “ wait and see” if Mr Johnson has “given an accurate version of what happened”.
But, asked if Tory MPs should “put country before party”, if Mr Johnson is shown to have lied to parliament, he replied: “I hope Conservative MPs would always put country before party, in all circumstances.”
pressed, by The Independentif that included potentially rebelling against the government in a Commons vote of confidence, Sir John repeated: “In all circumstances.”
Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick have more:
Sam Hancock10 February 2022 14:05
Watch: Tory peer attacks ‘fanciful’ claim people don’t care about Partygate
Tory peer attacks ‘fanciful’ government claim people don’t care about No 10 parties
Sam Hancock10 February 2022 13:49
Welsh Prime Minister tests positive for Covid
Welsh FM Mark Drakeford has tested positive for Covid, a spokesperson has confirmed.
A statement issued on Thursday said: “The first minister of Wales has tested positive for coronavirus after taking a PCR test.
“He is self-isolating and working remotely.”
The country’s economy minister Vaughan Gething will host the three-weekly coronavirus regulations review due to take place at midday on Friday in Mr Drakeford’s place.
Sam Hancock10 February 2022 13:48
No legal advice for PM over Met’s party probe – No 10
Back to Partygate. Boris Johnson will not receive personal legal advice from government lawyers in relation to the Metropolitan Police probe, No 10 has said.
The PM’s official spokesperson also confirmed that Mr Johnson had not yet been contacted as part of the force’s Operation Hillman investigation into a dozen events held during Covid restrictions. Earlier, Dame Cressida Dick, the force’s commissioner, confirmed questionnaires would be sent to 50 people thought to have taken part in lockdown-busting events.
However, they added: “We would look to confirm contact of this sort as relates to the prime minister given the significant public interest.”
Our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn has the full report:
Sam Hancock10 February 2022 13:32
PM arrives in Warsaw for Russia-Ukraine talks
In the last hour, Boris Johnson arrived in Warsaw and was taken by motorcade to the chancellery of the Polish prime minister.
The PM is due to receive an official welcome from his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki.
The pair are then due to hold talks about tensions with Russia before giving statements to the press in Poland’s capital.
After that, they will travel to a military base to meet Nato armed forces, including UK troops.
Sam Hancock10 February 2022 13:24
Scrutiny of policies made by computer ditched
“Human review” of decisions made by computer algorithms will be quietly axed under a bonfire of EU laws, MPs have been warned – risking a repeat of the 2020 “A-levels fiasco”. Report by Rob Merrick:
Jane Dalton10 February 2022 13:16
Sir John ‘to blame for Brexit’
Of course, not everyone appreciates John Major’s words, and some blame him for Brexit:
Jane Dalton10 February 2022 13:01
More embarrassing cases will emerge, admits Met chief
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has admitted there “probably will be” more “embarrassing or disgusting” incidents involving officers.
The remarks came after the Independent Office for Police Conduct discovered sexist and racist comments made between officers at Charing Cross.
Dame Cressida told BBC Radio London: “I’m not complacent – there could be and probably will be, over the coming months, some more examples which will be embarrassing or disgusting, because we will be rooting them out, but we want to look after our people as best we possibly can.”
Jane Dalton10 February 2022 12:45
John Major bemoans that ‘no one will stand up to Johnson’
Sir John Major said previous prime ministers would not have been allowed by their senior ministers and officials to behave in the way Boris Johnson does.
Sir John, who was prime minister from 1990 to 1997, said the apparent unwillingness to confront Mr Johnson was a “weakness” in No 10.
“If Mrs Thatcher in her time had been seen to behave in the way the present Prime Minister has, I can tell you what would have happened,” he said.
“The cabinet secretary would have been around straight away to tell her she couldn’t do it, and so would Mr (William) Whitelaw, Lord Carrington, Sir Geoffrey Howe and many other senior and weighty members of the cabinet.
“If I had done it, I would have had Douglas Hurd, Ken Clarke, Michael Heseltine, never mind others in No 10, telling me, ‘You just cannot do that’.
“Nobody in Cabinet, nor indeed the Cabinet Secretary, seems to be saying that to the present Prime Minister – and that is a weakness in No 10.”
Jane Dalton10 February 2022 12:31
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.