London politics latest: Boris Johnson says ‘nothing and no one’ will stop him carrying on in fiery PMQs clash with Keir Starmer

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·24-min read
London politics latest: Boris Johnson says ‘nothing and no one’ will stop him carrying on in fiery PMQs clash with Keir Starmer
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Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that “nothing and no one” will stop him carrying on as Prime Minister after facing down a no confidence vote on Monday night.

In a fiery clash with Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson insisted he was “getting on with the job” following a revolt among his own MPs.

But Sir Keir mocked Mr Johnson’s damaged standing among his own MPs, saying he was not sure whether he had heard “cheers or boos” from the Tory benches as he took to the despatch box.

Although Mr Johnson survived, by 211 votes to 148, critics warned that he had been severely wounded by the scale of the rebellion and could be gone before the end of the year.

After Mr Johnson insisted on Tuesday it remained a “fundamental Conservative instinct” to cut taxes, Chancellor Rishi Sunak used a speech to the Onward think tank to reaffirm his intention to reduce taxes for business in the autumn.

It followed a call from former Brexit minister Lord Frost for previously announced rises to national insurance and corporation tax to be reversed, warning they were “not Conservative” and were “undermining growth and prosperity”.

His view that the Government needs to move on to a tax cutting agenda in order to shore up Mr Johnson’s leadership is reportedly shared by some in the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph reported that allies of the Prime Minister were urging him to replace Mr Sunak with former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt - who was runner-up to Mr Johnson in the 2019 leadership election and is expected to stand again if there is another contest.

20:42 , Lily Waddell

Thank you for following our coverage today.

‘I haven’t met Priti Patel in all my time here’, says UK Border chief

18:31 , Barney Davis

The government’s borders inspector has spoken out about his “frustration” at not being able to meet home secretary Priti Patel once since his appointment more than 14 months ago.

David Neal – appointed the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration last March – told MPs that he was “disappointed” to have had five or six meetings cancelled.

“I’ve not met the home secretary yet,” he told the home affairs select committee. “I’ve asked to speak to her on a number occasions, and pre-arranged meetings have been cancelled on maybe five or six occasions now.”

Asked if the apparent snub was different from previous dealings with other departments, Mr Neal said: “It is – I’m disappointed I haven’t spoken to the home secretary, and frustrated, because I think I’ve got things to offer from the position I hold.”

Nuclear test veterans demand recognition at first meeting with Prime Minister

18:27 , Barney Davis

People affected by Britain’s atomic experiments have asked for formal recognition for nuclear test veterans in their first ever official meeting with a prime minister.

A group including a nuclear bomb test veteran, a widow and four descendants told Boris Johnson about their experiences of the tests and the debilitating health problems they suffered as a consequence.

Mr Johnson said the veterans should be recognised for their service and ministers will explore how to mark their dedication.

Alan Owen, founder of the Labrats International charity for atomic test survivors, told the PA news agency: “We met with him and he looked us in the eye and we told him why these men deserve recognition.

“We’re the only country in the world that has not given formal recognition.”

Planning reforms send ‘conflicting signals’, Conservative MPs warn Government

18:26 , Barney Davis

The Government is sending “conflicting signals” with its plans to reform house building, ministers have been warned.

Conservative former minister Dr Liam Fox said local councils needed “more realistic housing targets” set out in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, as previous targets could lead to overdevelopment.

Senior Tories joined Dr Fox in raising concerns about the planned new law, with former minister Theresa Villiers claiming the Government’s rhetoric on handing councils more power over planning decisions was not matched by its actions in the Bill.

The Bill is aimed at spreading opportunity across the UK, with reforms to the planning system in England aimed at making new developments more attractive, and to ensure developers fund new road links, schools, and surgeries.

Members of Unite to strike alongside RMT

15:38 , Daniel Keane

Members of Unite at Transport for London and London Underground will strike on June 21, the same day as a walkout by the RMT on the Tube and railways, the union announced.

Chancellor’s package ‘won’t result in higher inflation’, says economist

15:13 , Daniel Keane

A leading economist has told MPs at the Treasury Select Committee that he does not believe the Chancellor's recent cost-of-living support package for households will result in higher inflation.

Stephen Millard, deputy director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), said: "There is certainly tension with prices in theory but to be honest I'm not that worried about that - I do not think it will be inflationary.

"Why not? This is money to help the poorest people in society to buy stuff, food, to pay for their energy, precisely because they were not able to and would go other sources, such as borrowing or food banks.

"This is just enabling them to pay for something they would have bought anyway.

"In terms of creating excess demand, it's not a big deal."

Ministers could ‘name and shame’ petrol retailers

14:44 , Daniel Keane

Ministers could "name and shame" petrol retailers who fail to pass on the fuel duty cut to motorists, Downing Street indicated.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said there is continued concern in Government that the 5p cut announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his Spring Statement is still not being passed on at all filling stations.

The spokesman said the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has the power to launch an investigation and "transparency" could play a part in ensuring the cut is passed on.

"We know that there has been variation in that and we do want to see it passed on at all petrol stations. We are not confident that that is happening across the board," the spokesman said.

"The CMA have said that if they find evidence that the cut is not being passed on that would mean competition is not working and they could launch a formal investigation. Obviously we would whole-heartedly support them.

"We are continuing to look at all possible options. Transparency may have an important role to play.

"It is important the public understand what actions each of the fuel retailers are taking and so we are considering what further options we can take in this area."

Government will cut taxes when time is right, insists No 10

14:18 , Josh Salisbury

The Government is committed to cutting taxes but will only act when it is "responsible" to do so, the Prime Minister's press secretary has insisted.

Boris Johnson has renewed calls from his own MPs to cut tax after Monday's wounding confidence vote.

The press secretary said: "We have been clear we want to cut taxes but we are in a very difficult position following the global pandemic so as soon as it is responsible we will set out plans for doing that."

The press secretary dismissed reports that Mr Johnson could replace Rishi Sunak as Chancellor with former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in a post-vote reshuffle.

She also played down reports the Prime Minister could seek to root out ministers who failed to publicly back him in the run up to the vote and said she was "not aware" of the Prime Minister sanctioning comments by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries attacking Mr Hunt.

“There were various things that were said before the vote took place and now is the time for us to unite and focus entirely on our job, which is delivering for the British public," she said.

Tory MP: Boris needs to get ‘on front foot’ after confidence vote

13:51 , Josh Salisbury

Backbench Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake has called for Boris Johnson to “get on the front foot” and lower taxes.

While he said he would not "directly connect" calls for tax cuts with this week's confidence ballot, he told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme that “clearly the Prime Minister wants to get on the front foot and our party has always believed in lower taxes”.

He said: "And I think in contrast to the Opposition, we believe in lower taxes. It's not simply cuts in taxes on business, to be fair, it's taxes on investment, which is a slightly different thing.

“And that's hugely important in terms of getting the economy firing on all cylinders."

Mr Hollinrake, who is the MP for Thirsk and Malton and sits on the Commons Treasury Committee, said the planned reduction in income tax should be brought forward, probably to later this year or early next year.

Labour says strikes ‘shouldn’t go ahead'

13:32 , Daniel Keane

Labour said the proposed rail strikes should not go ahead and called for the Government to take a more active role in resolving the dispute.

A Labour spokesman said: "We have been clear in the position that the strikes shouldn't go ahead.

"There is still time for there to be a resolution and we would encourage the Government to play a more active role in working with Network Rail and the unions to ensure they don't go ahead."

The spokesman said unions "have got a role to play in representing their workforces but equally nobody wants to see industrial action that is going to be disruptive to the country and we would encourage all the parties involved to get together".

NHS staff ‘lions led by donkeys’, says Labour

13:16 , Daniel Keane

Under the Conservative Government, NHS staff are "lions" led by "donkeys", Labour has said.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting told the Commons he is pleased Sajid Javid has already committed to implementing the recommendations of the review, but given "this is a rare example of decisiveness" from the Health Secretary's part, he asked: "Can he tell us when he intends to publish his implementation plan?"

Mr Streeting went on: "All too often, senior leadership of the NHS is in a place where it still doesn't represent the diversity of the population it serves.

"So, instead of throwing red meat to his own backbenchers, for reasons I think will probably be obvious to everyone, I'd like to hear how in particular, he intends to ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion will be improved so we get the best leaders, incentivised into the most challenging roles and able to provide inclusive health care for the breadth of diversity of our great country."

Criticising the fact that despite Mr Javid's "best efforts, there are still 9,000 people waiting more than two years for treatment", Mr Streeting concluded his speech saying: "Isn't it the case, that he knows, I know, NHS staff know and the public know that with this Government NHS staff are lions led by donkeys, wanting and inadequate?"

Javid pledges ‘culture change’ in NHS

13:01 , Daniel Keane

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has pledged "culture change from the top of the system to the frontline" following a review into health and social care leadership.

Making a statement on the Health and Social Care leadership review, Mr Javid said: "We must do everything we can in our power to share and promote brilliant, innovate management and to act firmly where standards do fall short. This means culture change from the top of the system to the frontline."

He added: "It sets out a once-in-a-generation shake-up of management, leadership and training as well as how we can make sure that health and care is a welcoming environment for people from all backgrounds. It's free from bullying, harassment and discrimination."

"We cannot seize this opportunity and deliver the change that is so urgently needed without the best possible health and care leadership in place because great leaders create successful teams and successful teams get better results.

"So a focus on strong and consistent leadership at all levels not just on those who have the word leader in their job title, this will help us in our mission to transform health and care and to level up disparities and patient experiences."

PM urges Labour to condemn RMT strikes

12:35 , Daniel Keane

The PM is quizzed on delays at the Passport Office and what measures the Government intends to bring in to alleviate the wait.

He responds: “Actually 91 per cent are getting their passports within six weeks, and we are putting hundreds more staff in the Passport Office.

“When it comes to travel chaos - have we heard any condemnation from opposition on the RMT and their strikes?”

Watch: Boris Johnson asked why the country should trust him following no confidence vote

12:30 , Daniel Keane

Blackford: Time is up prime minister

12:25 , Daniel Keane

Mr Blackford says: “No amount of delusion and denial will save him from the truth. This story won’t go away until he goes away.

“Prime minister: It’s over, it’s done. He has no options left but Scotland does.

“Scotland has the choice of an independent future.”

He adds the “broken Westminster system” has put the PM in power and that Scotland must achieve independence.

Mr Johnson says the country is independent and warns of a “disastrous” Labour-SNP coalition.

Blackford: PM is a lame duck presiding over a divided party

12:23 , Daniel Keane

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford jokes that Tory MPs have been cheering him when he has attacked Mr Johnson in the Commons.

“I’ve been met with a wall of noise from the Tory benches when I’ve called on the PM to resign... it turns out all this time 40 per cent of them have been cheering me on.

“At least the numbers don’t lie - 97 per cent of Scottish MPs want him shown the door.

“We now have a lame duck presiding over a divided party.”

PM: I’m going to get on with the job

12:20 , Daniel Keane

The PM says that the mission of his Government is “to unite and level up” the country.

He says ministers will expand home ownership for millions of people and create a “high wave, high skilled jobs”.

“I’m going to get on with my job and I hope that he gets on with his,” says Mr Johnson.

Pretending 40 new hospitals will be built won’t work PM, says Starmer

12:16 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir accuses the PM of lying about his proposal to build 40 new hospitals.

He says: “Pretending no rules were broken didn’t work, pretending the economy is booming didnt work... and pretending to build 40 new hospitals wont work either prime minister.”

Pointing to his MPs, he says: “They want him to change, but he can’t.”

Mr Johnson says Sir Keir’s “line of attack is not working”.

“We have raised the standard in the NHS. We’re doing what the people of this country is common sense - using our resources to invest in doctors and nurses.”

He says the Government is on track to recruit 50,000 more nurses.

Starmer: Government has ‘failed to fix’ NHS buildings

12:13 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir accuses the Government of “failing to fix” old NHS buildings and putting patients at risk as a result.

The PM brands the claim “satirical”.

“Labour were the authors of the PFI scheme that bankruped so many hospitals,” he says. “What we are doing is building 48 new hosptals thanks to the biggest capital investment programme in the history of the NHS.”

Govt has ‘no long-term plan’, says Starmer

12:11 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir quotes Tory MP Jesse Norman’s letter claiming the Government has “a large majority but no long-term plan”.

He says the waiting tiems for cancer treatment are “wanting and inadequate”.

In response, the PM says the Government is hiring more radiographers and doctors to alleviate waiting times.

Starmer: Not sure if noises for PM were cheers or boos

12:08 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir Starmer says he doesn’t know whether the noises on the opposite benches are “boos or cheers” for the prime minister.

Referring to culture secretary Nadine Dorries’ attack on Jeremy Hunt, he says: “Does he agree with her statement that Conservative governments have left our health service wanting and inadequate?”

The PM responds: “When the pandemic hit it was an entirely novel virus. Nobody knew how to test for it.... but as it happened the UK government and our amazing NHS approved the first vaccine.

“We were the first to get it into people’s arms.”

PM ‘loathed within his own party'

12:05 , Daniel Keane

Dame Angela Eagle says the PM is “loathed within his own party”.

She says: “If 48 of his own backbechers don’t trust him... why should the country?

The PM responds: “In a long political career I have of course picked up political opponents all over.

“That is because this Government has done some big and remarkable things which they did not necessarily approve of.

“Nothing and no one is going ot stop us getting on with delivering for the British people.”

PMQs begins

12:02 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson has kicked off PMQs.

He thanks carers across the UK as part of carers week.

“We owe them all a debt of gratitude. Through our reforms on adult social care, this government is committed to supporting carers,” he says.

Pictured: Boris Johnson departs 10 Downing Street for PMQs

11:53 , Daniel Keane

 (PA)
(PA)

PMQs coming up shortly

11:44 , Daniel Keane

Prime Minister’s Questions will be coming up shortly.

Boris Johnson will face MPs for the first time since Monday’s confidence vote, with 40 per cent of his own parliamentarians expressing no confidence in his leadership.

You can live stream PMQs here and follow the latest updates.

Javid: ‘Netflix NHS’ vision does not mean we will pay a subscription

11:33 , Daniel Keane

Javid dismisses Labour tax probe as ‘smear campaign'

11:07 , Daniel Keane

Sajid Javid has dismissed allegations he potentially avoided paying hundreds of thousands of pounds in British tax before entering politics as "typical smear attacks" from Labour.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has called for an investigation into Mr Javid's historic tax arrangements, claiming there is a possibility he was "a beneficiary of a loan scheme designed to avoid paying UK tax".

But Mr Javid told Sky News: "This is typical Labour, you know, personal attacks on people. And this is what Labour does when they have got nothing to say about the real issues, the issues at hand.

"This is just typical smear attacks by Labour and it's nothing more."

Asked if had avoided paying hundreds of thousands of pounds in tax before he got into politics, he said: "No, of course not."

Northern Ireland Protocol plans ‘deeply damaging’, says taioseach

10:37 , Daniel Keane

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said Britain's plans to act unilaterally over the Northern Ireland Protocol would be "deeply damaging" and mark a "historic low point".

Addressing the European Parliament, Mr Martin said the UK Government's proposed legislation to override key parts of the Brexit deal would be "to the benefit of absolutely no-one".

The Irish leader also said during his visit to Strasbourg that he disagrees with the UK Government's handling of the protocol and accused it of failing to engage with the EU.

His comments come amid a stand-off between the UK and the EU over the protocol, an agreement designed to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland but which instead created fresh checks on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Mr Martin said: "I have said many times that there are solutions to practical problems under the protocol if there is a political will to find them.

"But that requires partnership. It requires the UK Government to engage with good faith, seriousness, and commitment.

"Unilateral action to set aside a solemn agreement would be deeply damaging.”

MPs ‘urge PM to install Hunt as Chancellor '

09:59 , Daniel Keane

According to The Daily Telegraph, allies of the Prime Minister are urging him to replace Mr Sunak with former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt - who was runner-up to Mr Johnson in the 2019 leadership election and is expected to stand again if there is another contest - infuriated some in the Cabinet when he announced he would be voting for "change" in the confidence vote.

However, the Telegraph said proponents of the idea argue that bringing back his rival into the Cabinet would help stabilise Mr Johnson's leadership, heal rifts within the party while binding Mr Hunt to the Prime Minister's agenda.

Under current party rules, Mr Johnson is safe now from another formal confidence vote, although the backbench 1922 Committee could potentially rewrite the regulations if there is renewed pressure for change.

Price of petrol skyrockets to record high

09:43 , Daniel Keane

The average price of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts reached a record 180.7p on Tuesday, according to data firm Experian Catalist.

It marks an increase of 2.2p compared with the previous day.

Diesel also reached a record of 186.6p, up 1.4p on Monday’s average price.

Urgent action pledged on NHS management ‘poor behaviours'

09:34 , Daniel Keane

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has pledged urgent action to overhaul management in the health and social care sector after a major review found evidence of “poor behaviours” including discrimination, bullying and blame cultures.

The review, headed by the senior former military officer General Sir Gordon Messenger, concluded there was an “institutional inadequacy” in the way leadership and management in the sector was trained, developed and valued.

Mr Javid said the findings – to be published in full later on Wednesday – were “stark” as he promised “the biggest shake-up of leadership in decades”.

The report comes as the NHS is under pressure to ensure that a £12 billion-a-year cash injection to deal with the backlog that has built up during the Covid pandemic is spent efficiently.

A Department of Health and Social Care press release ahead of the full publication said that while the review recognised the pressures on the sector and had identified many examples of inspirational leadership, overall it found “a lack of consistency and co-ordination”.

Watch: Javid says PM won ‘clear and decisive’ victory in confidence vote

09:21 , Daniel Keane

Netflix comments don’t mean we’ll pay a subscription’, says Javid

09:06 , Daniel Keane

Health secretary Sajid Javid has denied that his comment that the NHS is “a Blockbuster healthcare system in the age of Netflix” is a suggestion that the service will one day require a fee.

He said that his comments, made to a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, meant that the NHS needs to modernise.

Asked whether his Netflix reference meant people would need to start paying for a subscription, he told BBC News: "Not at all.

"I'm very proud of that we've got an NHS that is free at the point of use, paid out of our general taxation, there for all of us when we need it.

"But what I mean by that particular comment is it needs to modernise.

"We need to make sure that we keep modernising that we have a NHS that is looking out towards the 2048, not one that was designed for 1948.”

Pictured: Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers a speech to the Onward think tank in London

08:54 , Daniel Keane

 (PA)
(PA)

We must cut taxes, says health sec

08:38 , Daniel Keane

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said the Government must “do more on tax cuts”.

The Health Secretary said he would like to see reductions "where they're possible", and this is something Chancellor Rishi Sunak will look at.

Asked if the Government will be moving towards tax cuts this year, Mr Javid said: "I'd like to see us do more on tax cuts and I'm someone just like, I think, every member of the Government, all (of) my colleagues, we want to see taxes as low as possible.

"I'm pleased that there have been targeted tax cuts already. The recent Budget, I think I'm right in saying, (means) some 70% of people, those that are lower paid, will pay less National Insurance than before."

Javid: Changing 1922 rules would be ‘grossly unfair’

08:21 , Daniel Keane

Mr Javid said he believes "most people would think" changing Tory Party rules to allow another confidence vote in Boris Johnson to be held sooner would be "grossly unfair".

Asked about the prospect, he told Times Radio: "I think most people would think if you sort of changed the rules it would be grossly unfair, it would be the wrong thing to do. So I wouldn't support that.

"We have very clear, transparent rules and that's important, that they're clear and transparent.

"And if anyone wants to exercise the current rules, which they did, that's totally their right and I respect my colleagues for that, but the decision has been made.”

‘No need to change 1922 Committee Rules’, says Javid

08:07 , Daniel Keane

Sajid Javid said there is "no need to change any rules" on when a confidence vote can be held, as Monday's ballot on the Prime Minister delivered a "clear, decisive result".

His comments come amid reports that The 1922 Committee could change regulations that permit just one confidence vote in a sitting prime minister every year.

Asked whether rule changes should be allowed, Mr Javid told Sky News: “I'm not sure, to be perfectly honest with you.

"I'm not an expert on the rules around the committee."

He added that "of course they shouldn't change the rules".

"There's no need to change any rules because we've had the ballot, it's a clear, decisive result and now we just get on with the job," he said.

Javid: Rail firms and union must ‘talk like adults'

07:49 , Daniel Keane

Mr Javid urged rail bosses and unions to talk “like civilised adults” to avoid a summer of strikes causing misery for millions of commuters.

The Health Secretary told Sky News: “What I would urge the industry to do and the unions is to basically just get around the table and keep talking.

“Just talk like civilised adults and find a way through.

“Everyone can understand each other, these are challenging times but talk.”

He stressed that the Government had put in £16 billion to support the rail industry, equivalent to around £600 per household.

“These are huge amounts of money,” he added.

Good morning

07:37 , Daniel Keane

Good morning and welcome to our live politics blog, where we’ll be bringing you the latest from Westminster.

Boris Johnson will face the House of Commons today for the first time since Monday’s no confidence vote - with over 40 per cent of his MPs expressing no confidence in his leadership.

Health secretary Sajid Javid has been on this morning’s media round, and said that colleagues who did not back the PM have told him they are now “getting behind” Mr Johnson following the ballot.

Asked if Mr Johnson prioritises loyalty over experience, amid speculation of a Cabinet reshuffle, Mr Javid said: "First of all, this is just all speculation again. We've had a very important week, obviously with that important vote.

"It was a clear and decisive win for the Prime Minister, and speaking to colleagues after that vote yesterday, including some that I spoke to that publicly said they didn't support the Prime Minister in the vote, but they're democrats like all of us and they accept the result of the vote and they're getting behind the Prime Minister.”

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