Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

As it happenedended1536597228

UK politics - as it happened: Conservatives turn on Boris Johnson over Brexit 'suicide vest' jibe at Theresa May

Live updates from Westminster, as it happened

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Monday 10 September 2018 15:50 BST
Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, on Boris Johnson's suicide vest comment: 'Well, he has a difference of an opinion with the Prime Minister'

Boris Johnson has faced a backlash from Tory colleagues after his "disgusting" criticism of Theresa May's Brexit blueprint sparked an explosive public row.

Senior Conservatives denounced the former foreign secretary for comparing the prime minister's Chequers plan to having "wrapped a suicide vest" around Britain and handed the detonator to Brussels.

It also comes as a former Brexit minister warned Ms May that she has until the Conservatives’ annual conference later this month to drop her Chequers plan or face a “catastrophic split” in the party.

Elsewhere, Jeremy Corbyn faced an angry meeting of his parliamentary party, where the Labour leader was expected to endure recriminations over the party's antisemitism row.

See below for live updates


Welcome to The Independent's politics liveblog, where we will be bringing you all the latest updates from Westminster.

Lizzy Buchan10 September 2018 08:29

Internal divisions in the Conservative Party have exploded into a bitter public row over Boris Johnson's “disgusting” criticism of Theresa May.

Some senior Tories furiously denounced the former foreign secretary after he accused the prime minister of having ”wrapped a suicide vest” around Britain.

More here:

Lizzy Buchan10 September 2018 08:40

A former Brexit minister has warned Theresa May she has until the Conservatives’ annual conference later this month to drop her Chequers plan or face a “catastrophic split” in the party.

Steve Baker, one of the leading Tory Eurosceptics, said Ms May faced "a massive problem" because Conservative party members do not support her Brexit blueprint.

He said at least 80 Tory MPs could vote against the plan.

More here:

Lizzy Buchan10 September 2018 08:54

Justice Secretary David Gauke urged Tories to rally behind Theresa May's Chequers plan in the face of warnings of a "catastrophic split" in party ranks.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There is an overwhelming majority within the Conservative Party that we respect the referendum result, that we implement it in such a way as to respect the integrity of the United Kingdom and the Good Friday Agreement and ensure that we are in a strong position to grow the economy in the years ahead.

"There isn't an alternative credible plan out there. I think that it is absolutely right that the cabinet and the parliamentary party backs the prime minister. In challenging circumstances she is the right person to deliver the right deal for this country."

Lizzy Buchan10 September 2018 09:03

Tory former cabinet minister Nicky Morgan condemned Boris Johnson's comments on the Chequers plan.

She told the Today programme: "Language was clearly inappropriate - completely appalling. Alistair Burt (foreign office minister) has made clear that all of us in public life should think very carefully about the language we use.

"Boris has to make a decision and I think he’s sort of made it. He’s either a journalist or a he is a politician.

"He knew exactly what he was doing using that language… this is the second time now he has chosen deliberately, incendiary language which masks the ability to debate the issues."

She said the Chequers plan was "very welcome" and the "vast majority" of people in the Tory party and the country at large want an ongoing trading relationship with the EU.

Ms Morgan added: "This is a matter of national interest. We have Leave MPs in the Labour Party like we have Remain MPs in the Conservative Party. Surely the public want politicians to work together on this matter of national interest."

She rejected suggestions she would quit if Boris Johnson became leader, adding: "I have been in the Conservative Party for the best part of 30 years. I am not going anywhere."

Lizzy Buchan10 September 2018 09:17

Lizzy Buchan10 September 2018 09:32

Controversial proposals to cut the number of parliamentary seats by 50 are set to be published later today.

The Boundary Commission will set out which of the 650 UK constituencies should be scrapped, in an attempt to create areas with a similar number of voters.

The proposed number of seats for the next election are:

  • England: 501 (from 533)
  • Scotland: 53 (from 59)
  • Wales: 29 (from 40)
  • Northern Ireland: 17 (from 18)

Ministers must secure the support of parliament to push through the plans but many Tories, along with Labour, are opposed to the move.

Lizzy Buchan10 September 2018 09:50

Interesting tweet from former Treasury permanent secretary on Tory Brexit infighting.

Lizzy Buchan10 September 2018 10:02

Boris Johnson has put pressure on Theresa May on a different front, by calling on the government to follow Donald Trump's example and slash taxes.

Writing in the Telegraph, the ex-foreign secretary - who provoked an outcry by comparing the PM's Brexit strategy to a "suicide vest" - argued that income tax, stamp duty and capital gains tax should be cut.

Speculation is rife over Mr Johnson's leadership ambitions, and this latest intervention will likely be viewed as an attempt to appeal to Tory voters.

He said: "Instead of canvassing tax rises, we should say that tax henceforward will not go up. That's it. No new taxes and no increase in rates."

He added: "We do need to spend more on the NHS. We must find the extra £20 billion that the Chancellor has rightly promised.

"We do need to step up our investments in the police and schools and other vital public services.

"But I am afraid I am not convinced that the answer is immediately to turn to the hard-pressed taxpayer, when Britain is now by no means a low-tax economy compared with several other jurisdictions in Europe."

He also praised Donald Trump, saying: "The United States currently boasts economic growth rates far in excess of this country, at about 4.5 per cent, and with record low unemployment - and that growth is being driven not just by the US government's decision to cut taxes and regulation, but perhaps even more by psychology: by the sense that the government wants to cut taxes, wants to liberate and energise people.

"Do we send out that signal, here in this country? I am not so sure."

Lizzy Buchan10 September 2018 10:20

Lizzy Buchan10 September 2018 10:33

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