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Boris Johnson news: ‘No evidence’ of No 10 blackmail claims, says PM, as Rayner blasts ‘unfit’ leader

Conservatives face ‘death of 1,000 cuts’, David Davis warns

Rory Sullivan,Sam Hancock,Matt Mathers
Thursday 20 January 2022 22:26
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William Wragg alleges 'blackmail' against Tory MPs plotting against Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson insists he has “seen no evidence” to support claims made by a senior Conservative that rebel MPs have been “intimidated” into supporting their current leader.

William Wragg, in a public broadcast earlier, told his colleagues to go the police if they had been affected, even going as far as saying: “The reports of which I’m aware would seem to constitute blackmail.”

Meanwhile, Labour’s deputy leader has once again accused the government of “insulting the public’s intelligence”, after paymaster general Michael Ellis told her she must wait for the outcome of Sue Gray’s inquiry into partygate before drawing conclusions about events held at No 10 during lockdown.

Angela Rayner published a letter sent to her by Mr Ellies on Twitter and questioned why a “whole cabinet of people ... need a civil servant to tell them if they attended parties or not”. She added: “They are all a total joke, propping up [Mr] Johnson when he is so unfit to lead.”

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That’s all for The Independent’s live coverage of politics today.

Check back again tomorrow for more. Good night!

Liam James20 January 2022 22:25
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Welcome

Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live politics coverage.

Following a memorable PMQs yesterday, Boris Johnson’s position appears safe - for now at least. We will keep you updated on this and other developments from Westminster.

Rory Sullivan20 January 2022 07:34
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Senior Tory calls for Johnson to go

Former minister David Davis launched a withering attack on Boris Johnson yesterday, calling for him to step down as his party slides in the polls amid the ongoing partygate scandal.

Unless the PM is ousted soon, the Conservatives face “a death of 1,000 cuts”, the senior MP and former Johnson ally warned.

“I expect my leaders to shoulder the responsibility for the actions they take,” he said, referring to the lockdown-breaching Downing Street parties.

Tories could ‘die death of 1,000 cuts if Johnson stays on as PM’, David Davis says

Tories would be in for a ‘year of agony‘ if PM is not ousted soon, the former Brexit secretary said

Rory Sullivan20 January 2022 07:40
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PM safe for now at least

The prime minister’s position may be safe until the Whitehall mandarin Sue Gray releases her partygate report, influential Tory MPs have told The Independent.

Although some discontented Tories are understood to have submitted no confidence letters in the prime minister, the threshold of 54 needed to trigger a leadership vote has not been reached.

But anger against Mr Johnson runs deep, with many of his backbenchers ridiculing his excuse that he attended a lockdown party thinking it was a work event.

“It’s like going to a brothel and claiming you didn’t realise that the women there are selling themselves for sex,” one backbencher said.

Stay of execution for Boris Johnson despite defection and assault from former ally

‘In the name of God, go’: David Davis becomes most senior Tory to demand PM’s head

Rory Sullivan20 January 2022 07:53
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Tory defection helped prime minister, says Conservative MP

The defection of Bury South MP Christian Wakeford from the Conservatives to Labour is a blessing to the prime minister, a Tory MP has said.

Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole MP, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s kind of made people a bit more relaxed, it’s calmed nerves.

“I think people have recognised that actually this constant navel gazing and internal debating is only to the advantage of our political opponents.

“The prime minister is probably thanking Christian for what he did because it’s made a lot of people think again, think twice.”

Rory Sullivan20 January 2022 07:58
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Davis attack on PM ‘damaging’, admits Javid

Senior Tory MP David Davis’ condemnation of Boris Johnson yesterday is “damaging”, Sajid Javid has said.

“It is damaging, of course it is,” the health secretary told Sky News.

He added that the prime minister would have to resign if he was found to have breached the law.

“The Ministerial Code is very clear. If any minister from the prime minister down breaks the law, of course they shouldn’t continue to serve as a minister,” he said.

“What I have just said is a general rule that applies to everyone. There is no exception to that rule.”

Rory Sullivan20 January 2022 08:07
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Labour welcomes new MP

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has praised Christian Wakeford for defecting to Labour from the Conservatives.

The Bury South stepped across the aisle yesterday, shortly before the start of PMQs.

Ms Reeves told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m happy to have him as a Labour MP and I’m looking forward to getting to know him.

“I’m going to be meeting him in Bury in his constituency later today.”

She added: “He has looked at the Conservative Party and sees that they’re no longer fit to lead.”

Rory Sullivan20 January 2022 08:40
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Commons business for Thursday

Commons action kicks off at 9.30am with international trade questions. After that, Jacob Rees-Mogg gives his weekly statement to the house. Later, any urgent questions or other statements and the main business will be two back bench debates on China’s treatment of the Uyghur people and the second on lawfare in the court system.

Here are the written ministerial statements due to be made in the Commons on Thursday:

  • Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs: Nato Parliamentary Assembly
  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer: Public Service Pension Scheme Indexation and Revaluation 2022
  • Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: The Fourth Report on the Use of the Petition of Concern Mechanism in the Northern Ireland Assembly
  • Secretary of State for Scotland - Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2020 and Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 (Consequential Modifications) Order 2022
  • Secretary of State for Transport: Publication of 2020-21 Annual Accounts for the Dartford - Thurrock Crossing
Matt Mathers20 January 2022 09:01
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Javid: Downing Street parties ‘damage our democracy'

Reports of Downing Street parties have undermined trust in government and damaged democracy, Sajid Javid has said.

The health secretary made the comments during an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday morning.

“Of course things like this damage our democracy,” he told Mishal Husain when asked what impact the partygate scandal is having.

Matt Mathers20 January 2022 09:22
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More support needed for autistic children and adults, ex-justice secretary says

More support is needed for autistic children and adults, a former justice secretary has said.

Tory MP Robert Buckland said help is needed so autistic people can play a greater role in society.

"In 2022, we shouldn't be accepting the sort of conditions we thought we got rid of a generation ago," he added.

Matt Mathers20 January 2022 09:35

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