Latest by-election: Boris Johnson insists ‘crazy’ to quit if he loses at Wakefield, Tiverton and Honiton

Boris Johnson fails to deny that he offered Carrie Symonds a senior position

Boris Johnson insisted it would be “crazy” for him to resign as prime minister if the Conservatives were dealt a double whammy in this week’s by-elections, in Wakefield, Tiverton and Honiton.

Speaking to reporters traveling with him in Rwanda, Mr Johnson sought to defy those who claim his electoral stock may have been badly damaged by the Partygate saga, arguing that “just a year ago” his party had defied historical precedent for winning Hartlepool by way of an election.

He said: “The ruling parties in general do not win by-elections, especially in the middle of the term.” “You know, I’m very optimistic, but you know, there you are. It’s just a fact.”

His comments came as the former Brexit minister, Lord Devest Frost, claimed we may never have evidence to show “one way or another” if leaving the EU was bad for the economy” as there was “a lot of other things going on”.

Lord Frost suggested that one of the tests for Brexit failure “would be if we were still discussing this in five or six years in the same way”.


Momentum to retain the list of Labor MPs who failed to support the rail strike

Labor’s left wing is upping the ante on party MPs to support this week’s rail strike, after Keir Starmer banned front members from the sit-in ranks.

Our Policy Reporter John Stone Reports:

Matt MathersJune 23, 2022 14:21


Johnson is too busy to visit refugee housing in Rwanda

Boris Johnson is too busy visiting some of the accommodation sites in Rwanda designated to host asylum seekers who have been deported from the UK, Downing Street has suggested.

Johnson is in the African country for the first time since becoming prime minister.

But a No 10 spokesperson noted it would not be a good use of the Prime Minister’s time to visit hotels, which British taxpayers are paying for.

Johnson stands while attending the Commonwealth Business Forum exhibition in Kigali, Rwanda, June 23, 2022


The spokesperson said: “You will know that the Prime Minister’s time is always limited, and to make time to do so, he will therefore have to leave the elements of the program as he works with a unique group of world leaders on critical issues.

“We believe that the best use of his time in this short time in Rwanda is to dedicate himself to some of the issues that will be raised at the summit and to work with other world leaders on some of those issues we’ve talked about not least Ukraine and global security.”

Matt MathersJun 23 2022 14:05


By-elections: When will the results of Wakefield, Tiverton and Hunton be announced?

As we’ve been saying, voters are heading to the polls in crucial by-elections in Wakefield, Tiverton and Honiton.

Boris Johnson is likely to come under pressure if the Conservative party loses both seats, while Keir Starmer will face tough questions if his party fails to achieve a victory in the “red wall” seat in Wakefield in Yorkshire.

my colleague Joe Somerlad Considers when to expect results from both:

Matt MathersJune 23, 2022 13:48


Johnson says he will point out the “obvious advantages” of the Rwanda scheme to Prince Charles

Boris Johnson said he would stress to Prince Charles the “clear advantages” of Rwanda’s asylum policy when they hold talks in Kigali, after they were said to have called the stalled plan “appalling”.

The prime minister blasted “transcendent” opponents of plans to forcibly repatriate migrants to the East African country, as he prepared to defend faltering politics on Friday when Charles hosted him for talks over cups of tea in the Rwandan capital, where they are located. Attending a Commonwealth Summit.

During an interview with broadcasters at a school in Kigali, Johnson said: “People have to be open about politics, critics have to be open about politics. A lot of people can see its obvious advantages. So yes, of course, if I see the Prince tomorrow I will make this point clear.

Andy GregoryJune 23, 2022 13:15


No. 10 is non-binding on Lord Frost’s Brexit allegations

Downing Street gave a non-committal response when asked if the true economic impact of Brexit would ever be known.

Asked if former Brexit Secretary Lord Frost was right in saying the consequences may never be clear, Speaker No. 10 referred to trade deals made with countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

He added, “Once again, we have recently seen global pressures on things like energy prices etc that have caused instability in financial markets and in other sectors as well, and have had an impact on economies around the world.”

“But as I say, we are committed to making sure that we recognize all the benefits of Brexit as the Prime Minister said, and as Jacob Rees-Mogg announced in the House yesterday.”

When pressed on whether the extent of any benefits may never be known, in economic terms, he said, “As I say, we will see the benefits as we continue to have access to more trade deals with countries around the world and likewise the ability to control things like tariffs. Import tariffs and other economic levers that we now have complete control over.”

Andy GregoryJune 23, 2022 13:14


Boris Johnson ‘erroneously claims the weather in London is hotter than Kigali’

As Lord Frost gave a skeptical assessment of the ability of forecasters and analysts to correctly assess the economic impact of Brexit, Boris Johnson appears to have opened his Rwanda speech with questionable expectations of a different kind.

Andy GregoryJune 23, 2022 13:01


MP “reassured” by declaring her innocence of sexual harassment of SNP employees

Scottish MP Patricia Gibson said she was “reassured” by a report (see post at 11:47 am) exonerating her of sexual harassment of a SNP employee in a parliament bar.

“I am grateful to the Independent Expert Panel for its work and thorough assessment of this case. I am satisfied that the Independent Expert Panel has acquitted me and found me not guilty and that the investigation into this case was materially flawed,” she said in a statement.

“I have always maintained my innocence. It has been a very difficult 16-month period during which my reputation was repeatedly misrepresented in the press and on social media, also endangering my personal safety through threats, abuse and harassment.

“I found this period very painful but I am happy to have my reputation back and now want to draw a line under this and look to the future.”

Andy GregoryJune 23, 2022 12:39


Johnson and Kagame praised Rwanda’s asylum policy as a “success”, claims No. 10

Boris Johnson and Rwandan President Paul Kagame together hailed the government’s faltering asylum policy as “successful”, according to Downing Street.

After their meeting in Kigali, a spokesperson for Number 10 said: “The leaders also praised the successful UK-Rwanda partnership on migration and economic development, which tackles dangerous smuggling gangs while offering people a chance to build a new life in a safe country.”

Couple shake hands during a bilateral meeting in Kigali

(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Andy GregoryJune 23, 2022 12:22


Prime Minister says it would be ‘crazy’ to resign due to defeats in by-election

Boris Johnson has suggested it would be “crazy” for him to resign if the Conservatives were dealt a double whammy by losing a major by-election this week.

The prime minister played down the chances of the Conservatives seeking to defend the Wakefield, Tiverton and Honiton seats in two scandal-plagued votes on Thursday.

“are you crazy?” He told reporters who were traveling with him to Kigali when the prospects of his departure were raised.

Mr Johnson added: “Come on, just a year ago we won the Hartlepool by-election, which everyone thought was…you know, we didn’t win Hartlepool, I don’t remember when the Conservatives won Hartlepool last – a long time ago. I don’t think he got launch.

“Ruling parties generally don’t win by-elections especially in the midterms. You know, I’m very optimistic, but you know, there you are. That’s the reality.”

Matt MathersJune 23, 2022 12:10


SNP MP acquitted of sexual harassment

Scottish MP Patricia Gibson has been acquitted of sexually harassing a SNP staff member at Parliament’s Bar.

Gibson, MP for North Ayrshire and Arran and a spokesperson for the SNP Party for Housing and Communities, has appealed a ruling by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner that her conduct in Parliament’s Strangers Bar union amounted to sexual misconduct.

An independent appellate panel found that the investigation into the allegations against Gibson was “materially flawed,” but did not find that the complaint was malicious or carried out in bad faith.

Matt MathersJun 23 2022 11:47

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