As Boris Johnson is booed by royalists gathered outside St Paul’s Cathedral for the latest part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, a former colleague lays out the weaknesses of the Prime Minister’s position as a result of Partygate, and the damage he is inflicting on the Tory Party
Lord Barwell, the former Conservative MP for Croydon Central, has this week doubled down in his commentary on the many shortcomings of lying, philandering and bungling Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.
After losing his parliamentary seat at the 2017 General Election, Gavin Barwell became chief of staff to Theresa May when she was in No10, and he was a key part of the Downing Street negotiating team which tried to construct some kind of deal out of the mess caused by Brexit.
A procession of current Tory MPs, including Carshalton and Wallington’s Elliot Colburn but not either junior ministers Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam) nor Chris Philp (Croydon South), have been handing in letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister, following the findings of the long-awaited Gray Report into the lockdown law-breaking in No10.
Barwell has become a regular critic of his former colleague, Johnson, and this week via Twitter, he offered up this:
“A thread on the strengths and weaknesses of the Prime Minister’s position from someone who knows what it’s like to sit there in No10 conscious that at some point the threshold for a vote of no confidence is likely to be reached.
“Let’s start with the good news for the PM. First, it’s not easy to evict him.
“Nearly half the [Conservative] parliamentary party are on the payroll and whilst a few may vote against him in a secret ballot, many will feel a loyalty towards him
“Plus MPs are reluctant to publicly say they have no confidence in their leader because if they don’t succeed in evicting him, they are then in a difficult situation at the next election
“Second, the PM is a proven winner. Whoever you blame for the deep hole the Conservative Party had got itself into in the spring of 2019, he got the party out of it. Some MPs will feel he won them their seats
“Third, there is no obvious successor. If Rishi Sunak hadn’t got into difficulties a few weeks ago, the PM would probably already have been evicted, but MPs are reluctant to move against him when they have no idea who they would get next
“And finally, Conservative MPs don’t see Keir Starmer as a big threat. Yes Boris Johnson is unpopular right now, but maybe, they say to themselves, he could still beat Starmer
“Now for the bad news. First, the number of MPs publicly declaring the PM should go is creeping up *without any organised effort to get more letters in*
“Second, his critics are from all wings of the party, all parts of the country and a number of different intakes, indicating widespread concerns.
“Third, those concerns are not just about Partygate and its impact on his popularity, but also about the lack of any coherent direction. Some MPs are uncomfortable with right-wing populism eg sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, others think the government too left-wing on tax.
“Fourth, the PM’s inability to make the Partygate story go away is a big problem.
“There are some MPs who think his behaviour indefensible, but there are others who will defend it but not if it drags on forever. The Privileges Committee investigation will keep it in the news.
“But far and away the biggest problem is the damage to the PM’s standing with the public.
“The latest YouGov polls show nearly 60per cent of voters think he should resign, including 27per cent of Conservative voters, and the party is on course to lose virtually every battleground seat.
“His supporters argue that given time he can regain his standing, but there is zero evidence of this so far. He has done well on Ukraine, but it has made no difference to the numbers saying he should go.
“The Tiverton by-election may prove pivotal if we get to 23 June without a confidence vote. If MPs in safe seats conclude that not only might he not win the next election but he could cost them their seats, then the game will be up.
“Right now, it feels like we are heading for a confidence vote at some point which he might narrowly win.
“If the PM seeks to carry on in those circumstances (as I suspect he would) that would be the worst outcome for the Conservative Party.”
Read more: ‘The Prime Minister admits he lied’ says Tory Lord Barwell
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The problem for those Tory MPs who opted for Johnson to be Tory leader must now be how their constituents view their judgment in their ignoring Johnson’s past record in his private and professional lives when they voted for him.
It’s interesting how many politicians of all parties accuse Boris of lying. Maybe it’s because there seem to be so many lies. Perhaps someone could suggest a politician that doesn’t tell “porkies”or be economic with the truth. Particular scorn is reserved for those MP’s who lie to or deliberately mislead Parliament. That confirms what they think of their electorate ie it’s more acceptable to lie to US than themselves. On her 70th Jubilee I wonder what the Queen really thinks about her government and how standards have changed.
Johnson is a just out for himself – he doesn’t care a great about anything else – it’s about No.1. Add to that a psychological need to lie and bluster and you have a recipe for the worst PM in modern times. I have no time for Boris Johnson. I want him gone.
I have limited time for Barwell too, I’m afraid.
I believe it was William Hague who said the Tory Party is “an absolute monarchy tempered by regicide”. So I wouldn’t put money on Johnson lasting much longer.
The way Thatcher was overthrown shows that rebels don’t necessarily need a majority on the first no confidence vote. They just need enough to mortally wound the incumbent and make it untenable for them to go on.
This may be unpopular but why should Boris resign for Partygate?
Uni Students £10k fine – Nottinghamshire Police said the fine should “send out a warning” to others who break coronavirus law.
Dandelion tea – Officers told the pair that their tea was “classed as having a picnic” and that driving elsewhere to go on a walk was “not in the spirit” of the government’s coronavirus lockdown directives. Thin £200 fine is or was being reviewed.
Croydon a Developer, his builder and his builders Adult son entered a property and rooms occupied by tenants during first Lock-down. What did the Met do? Nothing to date. Supposedly development issue and no further action despite complaints.
Boris in the end got fined £50 and may have breached the lock-down more than once. As did said Developer.
So sending out a warning – tea classed as a picnic – not in the spirit – Beauty spot remember that one? Scottish MP traveled with Covid to Parliament? two sets of Developers and builders in Croydon interacting and sharing equipment one team has a Covid case and isolates the other carries on no action as one has a sense of moral duty the other wants to get tenants back in and money (stated by developer)
So the same Laws that have been applied differently in interpretation by the upholders of said Laws. Remember Ms Dick and 50 officers visiting Croyon in March? Remember her messages then.
We are here to keep you in Croydon safe – Quite! Builders entering and trespassing onto others property including those clinically extremely vulnerable and shielding, Surveyors calling them unreasonable for not allowing them entry during lock-downs – ah that is allowed but not entry to visit your relative in care?
This PM has known history and you get what it states on the tin. He was elected by the UK Voters who knew he appeared to have a vicarious relationship with candor and anything, sorry nothing but the truth. Perhaps his mind is split between wanting to say it as it is and the reality of the impact of saying it as it is – thence the appearance of a Bumbling Buffoon. Applecross Bay is an excellent retreat to recharge the battery – personally love Tioram Mooring, Camusterrach myself even the interesting drive across Bealach Na Ba to shorten the journey a wee bit. Can I suggest a return trip after the 1922 committee decides?
Perhaps – Yes Boris should go but for the right reasons. He is responsible for his party and its actions and behaviors and should have set the example including with his advisor and Beauty spots but did not until too late – that was perhaps poor leadership?
Still back in Croydon and on that basis perhaps so should Ms Kerswell, Ms Cheesebrough, Mr Isles and Ms Townsend.
One would think that if you sign a document on your own auspices accepting a discharge of condition without rudimentary checks and then oh dear that pesky perfectly legal development turns out to be not so Perfect, Legal and oops quite a shit development that cut corners and failed Building Regulations – well that is purely of your own making and accountability – But dealing with the matters as a retrospective planning ? Really Ms Townsend is that Policy and Process or even Proper? Is this the responsibility of Ms Cheesebrough ? Perhaps her guidance or as instructed? Perhaps therefore Mr Isles or if he was instructed then then Ms Kerswell or the Tri-umvirate or Gove et all
Ah and so the ultimate responsibility for the shit show is poor old Boris again.
That guy just cannot cop a break!