Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.


Boris Johnson news – live: Senior Tory says PM unfit for office after Partygate fine

He called Mr Johnson’s apology ‘indefensible’

Sam Hancock,Emily Atkinson
Tuesday 19 April 2022 21:50 BST
PM no longer worthy.mp4

Mark Harper, senior Conservative MP for the Forest of Dean, has said he believes Boris Johnson is “no longer worthy of the great office that he holds”.

It followed the PM’s address to the House of Commons in his first statement to MPs since he was fined by the Metropolitan Police for attending a birthday party – thrown in his honour – at No 10 while strict Covid restrictions were in place.

Mr Harper said: “I strongly support the government’s actions in standing up to Putin’s aggression and helping Ukraine defend itself and our values and it’s exactly at times like this that our country needs a Prime Minister who exemplifies those values.

“I regret to say that we have a Prime Minister who broke the laws that he told the country they had to follow, hasn’t been straightforward about it and is now going to ask the decent men and women on these benches to defend what I think is indefensible.

“I’m very sorry to have to say this, but I no longer think he is worthy of the great office that he holds.”


We are pausing our live updates for this evening, but will be back tomorrow with all the latest developments from Westminster...

Eleanor Sly19 April 2022 21:50

Bereaved relatives call PM a ‘charlatan'

Bereaved relatives of people who died with coronavirus have called Boris Johnson “a liar and a charlatan debasing the office of Prime Minister” as he insisted that he did not know he was breaking his own coronavirus rules and offered a “wholehearted apology” to MPs, following his police fine.

The Prime Minister made his apology in the Commons on Tuesday, saying he was speaking in “all humility” by acknowledging the fine issued over the gathering in No 10 for his birthday in June 2020.

Fran Hall, whose husband Steve Mead died with Covid-19 three weeks after the couple married in 2020, said that Mr Johnson is “a man without shame, without morals and without honour”.

“The endless apologies that the Prime Minister gave to the house when he finally stood up half an hour late to make his statement mean nothing to me - nor do they mean anything to him,” Ms Hall, 61, from Buckinghamshire, told the PA news agency.

“He is a liar whose lies slip easily from his mouth. He will never resign. We depend completely on the backbench Tory MPs to finally decide that he is a liability rather than a leader.

“Until then, we have a liar and a charlatan debasing the office of Prime Minister.”

Eleanor Sly19 April 2022 21:30

Senior members of clergy ‘misconstrued’ Rwanda migrant policy, says PM

Sources close the prime minister said he has criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury and other senior members of the clergy for having “misconstrued” the policy of sending some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The PM reportedly told MPs at the private meeting of the 1922 committee this evening that it was a “good policy” despite some “criticism on the BBC and from senior members of the clergy” who he said “had been less vociferous in their condemnation on Easter Sunday of Putin than they were on our policy of illegal immigrants”.

Emily Atkinson19 April 2022 20:59

Boris Johnson fails to win over Partygate critics with apology to Commons

Boris Johnson’s apology to the House of Commons for breaching Covid lockdown rules has failed to appease Conservative critics who are calling for his head, with one former Tory chief whip publicly branding him “unworthy” of the office of prime minister.

Prominent backbencher Mark Harper submitted a letter of no confidence in the prime minister, accusing him of asking Tory MPs to “defend the indefensible” as crucial local elections approach.

And one former minister, who has not yet written a confidence letter, told The Independent after the PM’s apology that “it will never be glad confident morning again” for Mr Johnson.

“It may be unfair but it’s time to say ‘thank you and goodbye’,” said the ex-minister.

Andrew Woodcock and Adam Forrest report:

Boris Johnson fails to win over Partygate critics with apology to Commons

‘Not worthy of great office he holds’: Senior Conservative backbencher calls for PM to go

Emily Atkinson19 April 2022 20:47

What we know so far about the ongoing 1922 committee meeting:

Journalists present at tonight’s private meeting of Conservative politicians say that Boris Johnson’s arrival was met with sustained table-banging and the odd whoop.

In a bid to rally those present, the prime minister told MPs that the government had got the big decisions right on Covid, all the while heaping praise on Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel.

According to a number of reports, he also said they must now focus on Ukraine and delivering the levelling up agenda - which was reportledly met with racuous cheers and more table-banging.

Thirty minutes in, several reporters also claim Mr Johnson repeatedly asked the 1922 committee if they would rather have him in charge than Labour.

Mr Johnson reissued his apology again for the Partygate fine, an ITV journalist reports, before turning quickly back to current challenges, including the cost of living and Ukraine.

Emily Atkinson19 April 2022 20:34

Excl: English Channel crossings: The proposed solutions Priti Patel was offered before striking Rwanda deal

The British government refused a series of proposals to reduce the smuggling of asylum seekers over the years leading up to the Rwanda deal, The Independent can reveal.

On Monday, Priti Patel accused critics of failing to “offer their own solutions” following an outcry over plans to send migrants arriving on small boats to the central African countries for their claims to be considered.

A joint letter with the Rwandan foreign minister said they aimed to “disrupt the business model of organised crime gangs and deter migrants from putting their lives at risk”.

“Illegal migration is a global issue and we are jointly leading in setting a viable plan to deal with one of the most complex challenges facing the world today,” it added.

“We are taking bold and innovative steps and it’s surprising that those institutions that criticise the plans, fail to offer their own solutions.”

Our home affairs editor Lizzie Dearden has the story:

Channel crossings: The proposed solutions Priti Patel was offered before Rwanda deal

Priti Patel accused critics of failing to ‘offer solutions’ but ministers have rebuffed numerous official recommendations since 2019

Emily Atkinson19 April 2022 20:20

Johnson tells 1922 committee he got ‘big calls right’, reports say

Emily Atkinson19 April 2022 20:06

Full text of Boris Johnson’s apology to MPs and Keir Starmer’s response

Full text of Boris Johnson’s apology to MPs and Keir Starmer’s response

Sir Keir Starmer describes PM’s apology as ‘insulting’ and ‘nonsense’

Emily Atkinson19 April 2022 19:50

Tory MP asks constituents which Conservative they think should replace Boris Johnson

Conservative MP Sir Robert Goodwill reportedly asked some constituents which leading Tory figure would make the best “alternative” PM.

In an email shared by Times Radio, the MP for Scarborough and Whitby outlined the merits of several cabinet members – including Rishi Sunak, Dominic Raab and Sajid Javid.

But Sir Robert insisted that he was not suggesting there should be a leadership contest, claiming the letter sent to around 100 constituents was only bid to “smoke out” Labour supporters writing to him.

Adam Forrest19 April 2022 19:40

Tory MP says all colleagues ‘face choice’ over supporting PM

Mark Harper said every Tory MP “will be faced with a choice” whether to support Boris Johnson or not if he faces more fines over lockdown parties.

Earlier Mr Harper published a letter of no confidence in the prime minister that he sent to Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 committee.

Liam James19 April 2022 19:30

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in