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Boris Johnson news - live: Tories shelve no-confidence vote until partygate report, as MP defects to Labour

Latest updates as prime minister faces MPs’ questions in Commons

Tory MP David Davis tells Boris Johnson to quit: ‘In the name of God, go’

Any no-confidence vote to topple Boris Johnson will be delayed until after Sue Gray’s report into the “partygate” scandal, The Independent has been told.

A dozen more letters have been submitted by Tory MPs demanding the vote – although some have reportedly withdrawn theirs.

Those wanting the prime minister to go were buoyed when Tory grandee David Davis called on Boris Johnson to quit in a packed House of Commons, saying he expected his leaders to “shoulder responsibility for the actions they take” and accusing Mr Johnson of doing “the opposite of that”.

Mr Davis, who himself once stood for the top job in the party, reminded the PM of a quote: “You have sat there too long for all the good you’ve done. In the name of God, go.”

The crushing statement came minutes after the prime minister was hit by the defection of a red wall MP to Labour following mounting anger over Downing Street parties and claims of sleaze.

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford told Mr Johnson “both you and the Conservative Party as a whole have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves”.

And more Tory MPs are considering also defecting, senior party sources have reportedly said.

Former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson suggested a no-confidence vote in MrJohnson was now a matter of “when” rather than “if”. A total of 54 no-confidence letters from Conservative MPs to the 1922 committee would be needed to trigger a leadership election.

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Johnson fights back - but is it only a stay of execution?

The prime minister is engaged in a desperate fightback to save his political life, but allies are confident he can see off attempts to oust him. Others point to previous Conservative leaders. Analysis by Andrew Woodcock, Rob Merrick and Adam Forrest:

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

Jane Dalton19 January 2022 20:56
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Tory grandee Davis warns party faces ‘dying death of a thousand cuts'

Tory heavyweight David Davis has warned the Conservative Party faces “dying a death of a thousand cuts” if they do not act swiftly to oust Boris Johnson over allegations of rule-breaking parties in Downing Street.

The former Brexit secretary, who once stood as party leader, told The Daily Telegraph the prime minister will appear to be shifting the blame if he fires staff after senior civil servant Sue Gray delivers her “partygate” inquiry findings.

Then there will be the “crises” of rising energy bills and the National Insurance hike being compounded by the “disorganisation” at No 10, which could trigger a vote of no confidence at Christmas, meaning a “year of agony”, he said:

Tories warned party faces ‘death of 1,000 cuts’ if Johnson not ousted

Former Brexit secretary David Davis told the Prime Minister to quit shortly after one of the party’s newest MPs defected to Labour.

Jane Dalton19 January 2022 20:38
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Tracey Emin demands No10 take her artwork down

Tracey Emin has requested that No10 remove one of her neon-light creations that she had given to the government.

The artist said she no longer wanted her work displayed on the walls of Boris Johnson’s residence where parties were alleged to have happened during lockdown.

Ms Emin said that the “current situation is shameful” – referring to the ‘Partygate’ scandal.

The neon artwork More Passion was installed in Downing Street in 2011 when David Cameron was PM.

Jane Dalton19 January 2022 20:00
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Labour airs its party political broadcast focused on cost of living

Sir Keir Starmer urges the public to “call time” on the Tory government in Labour’s party political broadcast aired this evening.

In the video, he accuses PM Boris Johnson – who featured in his party’s broadcast last week – of being “asleep at the wheel as families struggle with a cost of living crisis”.

Sir Keir and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves visit Walthamstow, where they speak to market traders and residents.

They ask a trader called Abdul if the market has been “busy” – to which he says: “Not really. Mostly, the wintertime, the prices go up but this time it is way worse.”

A resident says: “People are feeling the pinch ... The electric bill has just gone sky-high. Gas bill, petrol, the normal cost of living.”

Ms Reeves says in the video: “Our plan would be to take VAT off energy bills. Our plan would save households around £200 a year, with an extra £400 for the families and pensioners who need it most.

“This would be paid for by a one-off windfall tax on the north sea oil and gas producers who’ve made a fortune from rising prices”.

The broadcast was aired hours after MP Christian Wakeford defected from the Conservatives to Labour, while Mr Johnson tries to save himself from demands fired from all sides for him to resign over the Partygate allegations.

Lamiat Sabin19 January 2022 19:40
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MP Daniel Kawczynski’s suspension from Commons approved

A Tory MP’s one-day suspension from the Commons was approved by MPs today after he was found to have undermined an initial apology he gave for bullying staff.

Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, had issued a personal apology to the Commons before the suspension approval.

Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski

He said: “I acknowledge that in speaking to journalists and the radio I undermined the sincerity of the apology I gave to the House on June 14 2020.

“I’m sorry that my conduct will have had a further harmful effect on the complainants and that it may have diminished public confidence in the process.

“I will be sending a written apology to the parliamentary commissioner for standards, the chair of the Independent Expert Panel, and the original complainants.

“I am conscious that my conduct may have merited suspension from the service of the House for a longer period and appreciate the committee’s consideration of the difficulties I was experiencing in my personal life at the time and the mental health issues I explained to them.

“I accept that speaking out in the way I did to the media had a detrimental effect on the House’s conduct policy by undermining the integrity of the complaints process and I deeply regret my actions.

“I am committed to learning from the mistakes I have made and to work on my personal development, especially in my communication with others in every interaction that I have. I hope others will learn from my experience and I’d be happy to share what I have learnt with others.”

Lamiat Sabin19 January 2022 19:20
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Call for buildings to have more than one staircase for fire safety

Labour MP Apsana Begum asked the government about plans to introduce a threshold height at which two staircases are required in tall buildings to provide resident escape and firefighter entry.

It came after Blackpool North Tory MP Paul Maynard raised staircase safety, during the report stage of the Building Safety Bill, to warn that “the status quo is simply not working”.

Grenfell Tower, where a fire in 2017 killed 72 people, only had one staircase for the hundreds of people living in the 24-floor block.

Hammersmith Labour MP Andy Slaughter said it was “ridiculous” to say the stay-put policy negates the need for more than one staircase because “people post-Grenfell will not stay put” – adding: “And you understand exactly why they won’t do that.”

Communities minister Christopher Pincher, responding to Mr Maynard, said: “We are acutely aware of the risk of death and injury that can be caused by staircases.”

He said the building safety regulator will identify emerging issues including the safety of the performance of staircases and will make recommendations.

Ms Begum had also warned against private firms being given licence to sign off on fire safety matters on higher risk buildings.

The MP for Poplar and Limehouse said: “I share the alarm expressed by the Fire Brigades Union that the building safety regulator would be permitted to seek private sector involvement if the fire authority cannot assist ... Fire safety is a matter for firefighters, not profiteers.”

Lamiat Sabin19 January 2022 19:00
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‘You broke the law, it’s you that should be inside,’ spoof PM ‘told’

Boris Johnson is grilled by police over lockdown Downing Street gatherings in a spoof clip posted on social media.

Satirists in campaign group Led by Donkeys have superimposed the PM’s body and voice to spliced clips from the popular British police drama Line of Duty.

The video, which has garnered more than six million views on Twitter, shows Mr Johnson surrounded by stern detectives in a police interview room, where he is questioned about the lockdown-busting events.

The creators of the clip added in “evidence” – such as the email sent out by Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds telling Downing Street staff to “bring your own booze” to the party that the PM later insisted he had believed was a “work event”.

Other shots include deserted streets when the whole country – and most of the world – was in lockdown, as well as exhausted NHS medics, and the Queen sitting alone during Prince Philip’s funeral.

One detective says: “It wasn’t just a case of one rule for us and another for them – it was more like ‘no rules for us!’”

Snippets of Mr Johnson’s speech in the Commons is added, including one in which he says: “With hindsight, I should have sent everyone [at the party] back inside.”

He is then “told” by a police officer: “You broke the law, it’s you that should be inside.”

Lamiat Sabin19 January 2022 18:40
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More Tory MPs in talks about defecting to Labour – report

An unspecified number of Tory MPs are considering following Christian Wakeford’s footsteps by switching to Labour, senior party sources have reportedly said.

One member of Labour’s shadow cabinet said, according to the i newspaper: “We’re talking to people. There is a lot of unhappiness.”

It comes after it was reported that Mr Wakeford was in discussions with Labour for months before making the switch.

He had dismissed calls for a by-election to be held in his Bury South constituency, adding that voters would have to wait until the next general election.

Lamiat Sabin19 January 2022 18:20
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Sajid Javid acknowledge ‘pain and anger’ over ‘Partygate’

Health secretary Sajid Javid, at the Covid news conference this evening, was asked about the gatherings held at Downing Street during lockdown.

He was asked how Boris Johnson could remain as PM after having admitted that he attended a No10 drinks party for “25 minutes” that he insisted he had believed was a “work meeting”.

Mr Javid said Mr Johnson would comment after senior civil servant Sue Gray has made her conclusions after her investigation into the allegations.

He added: “What we have seen over the past few weeks is a lot of pain and anger.”

Lamiat Sabin19 January 2022 18:00
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Covid restrictions to come to an end, PM announces

Mandatory face masks will no longer be required across England from next Thursday while advice for people to work from home will be scrapped immediately, Boris Johnson has said.

But London mayor Sadiq Khan has said face masks will still need to be worn on Transport for London services.

The legal requirement for people with Covid to self-isolate will be allowed to lapse when the regulations expire on 24 March, but the date could be brought forward.

Mr Johnson is also axing the mandatory Covid passes for nightclubs and large events due to a decline in Covid infections as a result of the peak of the Omicron variant having passed.

Lamiat Sabin19 January 2022 17:40

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