London politics latest LIVE: Race for next prime minister begins after Boris Johnson resigns

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·23-min read
London politics latest LIVE: Race for next prime minister begins after Boris Johnson resigns
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The battle to become Britain’s next Prime Minister has begun after Boris Johnson’s dramatic resignation on Thursday.

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, defence secretary Ben Wallace and Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi are among the favourites for the Tory crown after Mr Johnson stepped down following a slew of ministerial resignations.

On Monday, elections will take place to the executive of the backbench 1922 Committee which will then set out the rules and timetable for the leadership contest.

Would-be contenders are currently assessing whether they have the support to mount leadership bids.

Seven new government appointments announced

15:27 , Daniel Keane

Downing Street has announced seven new Government appointments, listed below:

- Richard Fuller has been made Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

- Stuart Andrew has been appointed minister of state at the Ministry of Justice.

- Alan Mak is now Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.

- Sarah Dines has been made parliamentary under-secretary of state jointly at the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office.

- Rehman Chishti is now parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

- Lia Nici has been appointed parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

- Brendan Clarke-Smith has been made parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Education.

Tory backbencher John Baron considering leadership bid

15:16 , Daniel Keane

Backbencher John Baron has said he is considering standing for the Tory Party leadership.

The Basildon and Billericay MP told the BBC: "I am going to take soundings over the weekend so I'm keeping my powder dry.

"I will be talking to a few people over the weekend and we will see what happens. I am absolutely considering throwing my hat in the ring to be the next prime minister."

Former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch is also reportedly considering putting herself forward as a candidate.

‘No basis for SNP alliance’, says Starmer

15:08 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir Starmer has said "there is no basis for an alliance" with the SNP, while appearing less forceful in ruling out a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

The Labour leader said: "I will absolutely rule it out.

"Let me take the SNP first: There will be no deal going into a general election and no deal coming out of a general election...

"I want to be prime minister for the whole of the United Kingdom, I want the Labour government for the whole of the United Kingdom.

"There is no basis, no basis for an alliance with a party who wants to break up the United Kingdom.

"I want to grow the economy. There's no basis for an alliance with a party that thinks the answer to grow the economy is to put a border between England and Scotland.

"So it's not just a numbers game, it's an in principle position. There is no basis for an alliance under a Keir Starmer government between Labour and the SNP. Full stop.

New Met Police chief named

14:47 , Daniel Keane

Former counter-terrorism policing chief Sir Mark Rowley has been named as the next commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, the Home Office said.

Sir Mark will to return Scotland Yard four years after leaving policing following Dame Cressida Dick's resignation earlier this year.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "Sir Mark Rowley is a distinguished and exceptionally experienced police officer, having served the people of the West Midlands and Surrey before guiding the capital through some of its most challenging moments in the wake of the 2017 terror attacks, as the Met's then head of counter-terrorism.

"He now takes on one of the most important and demanding jobs in policing, leading the country's largest force at a time when public trust in the Metropolitan Police has been severely undermined by a number of significant failings.

"Rebuilding public trust and delivering on crime reduction must be his priority."

Starmer says Britain needs ‘fresh start'

14:38 , Daniel Keane

The Labour leader went on: "Yes, we've been stuck in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis with a Government that can't deliver, with a Prime Minister who is not fit to be Prime Minister...

"It's not just about the last few months either. We've had 12 years of stagnation, 12 years of low growth. So Britain deserves that fresh start that can only come with a change of government."

‘We’re ready for a general election’, says Starmer

14:25 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir says that Labour are “ready for a general election”.

“Let’s get on with it. If there’s a general election this Government will fall”.

Starmer: Those who break the law can’t make the law

14:23 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir says that “those who break the law can’t make the law”, in reference to Boris Johnson and the partygate scandal.

“But we have to set the bar far higher than that,” he adds.

“Our country is stuck in a dangerous rut. Everywhere you look, things are broken, and nothing gets fixed.”

Starmer: ‘I have to convince you to put your trust in me'

14:15 , Miriam Burrell

Sir Keir Starmer told the British public the feeling that politics has failed hasn’t emerged in recent months, but has been “bubbling away for years”.

In a statement made on Friday, he told the country: “I have to convice you to put your trust in me.

“I will make mistakes along the way, but what you will always get from me is someone who believes honesty and integrity matter....someone who will not betray the faith that you place in me.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (PA Wire)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (PA Wire)

Sir Keir Starmer makes statement

14:07 , Miriam Burrell

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is making a statement after being cleared of beergate.

Watch here:

Next PM must have ‘utmost integrity’, Tory MP says

13:57 , Miriam Burrell

Tory MP Alberto Costa told Sky News the next prime minister must have the “utmost integrity”.

Integrity must feature at the “very core” of candidates’ policies, he said, and they must pledge that the next Cabinet “won’t be made up of their pals” but the best person for the job.

“Policies on the cost of living, dealing with Putin, the Northern Ireland policy, if they’re not underpinned by integrity...they’re meaningless.”

Tory MP Alberto Costa (PA)
Tory MP Alberto Costa (PA)

Starmer: ‘There is no case to answer'

13:33 , Miriam Burrell

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Durham Police have agreed there is “no case to answer” in relation to a work event in April 2021.

He said: “ I’ve always said no rules were broken when I was in Durham. The police have completed their investigation and agreed: there is no case to answer.”

Beergate: Mary Foy ‘delighted’ Starmer cleared

13:24 , Miriam Burrell

City of Durham MP Mary Foy, in whose offices Sir Keir Starmer was pictured drinking a beer in April 2021, said she is “delighted” by Durham Police’s findings.

“It is unfortunate that the desire of some Conservative politicians to score political points has led to so much of Durham Police’s time being focused on a matter that was already investigated,” she said in a statement.

“After the pressure of the last few months, I am enormously appreciative for the understanding my staff and their families have shown in the face of significant intrusion from the right-wing media, including their children and parents being doorstepped.”

No decisions on public sector pay expected soon

13:10 , Daniel Keane

The spokesman also stressed that big decisions on public sector pay would still be made ahead of Parliament’s summer break on July 21 and that he was not aware of any delays to the progress of the Northern Ireland Bill which seeks to override elements of the Brexit protocol which est up new trade checks between Great Britain and the region.

But he said that the interim Government would not be making any interventions on the “fiscal side” – suggesting newly appointed Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi would not take any further steps to ease the cost of living crisis until a new Prime Minister is in place.

Downing St still making junior ministerial appointments

12:58 , Daniel Keane

Downing Street said at lunchtime on Friday it was in the process of making more junior ministerial appointments, David Bond writes.

Following an unprecedented slew of more than 50 resignations this week, No 10 appointed 12 junior ministers and five Cabinet ministers on Thursday. But it still needs to fill dozens of vacancies for more junior ministers, PPS’s (ministerial aides) and trade envoys.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that the number of new ministers – officially referred to as Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State - would “broadly” be the same as before the resignations.

In full: Durham Police statement on beergate

12:49 , Daniel Keane

A Durham Police statement said: "Following the emergence of significant new information, an investigation was launched by Durham Constabulary into a gathering at the Miners' Hall, in Redhills, Durham on April 30 2021. That investigation has now concluded.

"A substantial amount of documentary and witness evidence was obtained which identified the 17 participants and their activities during that gathering. Following the application of the evidential Full Code Test, it has been concluded that there is no case to answer for a contravention of the regulations, due to the application of an exception, namely reasonably necessary work.

"Accordingly, Durham Constabulary will not be issuing any fixed penalty notices in respect of the gathering and no further action will be taken.

"The investigation has been thorough, detailed and proportionate. The final evidence supplied by participants from the local constituency was returned to Durham Police on July 5 and analysed by investigators against all the evidence before the investigation was concluded on July 8 2022.

"In line with established national policing guidelines, we will not name or otherwise identify any of those present at the gathering, all of whom have been informed of the investigation outcome by their legal representatives."

Starmer and Rayner cleared over beergate

12:37 , Daniel Keane

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner have not been issued with fixed penalty notices for alleged lockdown regulation breaches while campaigning in April 2021, Durham Police has said.

Hunt ‘highly likely’ to announce leadership bid in coming days

12:21 , Daniel Keane

Jeremy Hunt is highly likely to announce his bid to become the next Conservative leader in the coming days, according to the PA news agency.

A source close to the senior Tory MP, who ran for the leadership in 2019, said that he was "virtually certain" to enter the contest to replace Boris Johnson.

"For months he has been pressed by colleagues on all wings of the party," the source said.

The source also claimed that Mr Hunt was receiving "mounting support" from within the party.

Former minister said it could be ‘difficult’ to fill Government gaps

11:48 , Daniel Keane

A former Tory minister has said it could be “difficult” for Boris Johnson to fill all of the gaps on the frontbenches after a slew of resignations.

He told Times Radio: “I’m most concerned about the fact that the government lost tens of ministers over the last 48 hours and we’ve got to fill those positions.

“So I would be quite sympathetic to those ministers being reappointed to their old roles. I think that would be very difficult to do under Boris Johnson.

“So I’m quite drawn to the idea of Dominic Raab as Deputy Prime Minister fulfilling that role until such time as the new prime minister is selected.”

Blair pays tribute to Abe

11:31 , Daniel Keane

Former prime minister Tony Blair called Shinzo Abe "a leader and statesman of extraordinary quality and character".

He said: "I knew him and worked with him and always had huge respect for his capability. I am shocked and saddened by his senseless murder.

“I send my deepest condolences to his wife Akie, with whom my wife Cherie also worked closely, and to all the people of Japan."

PM ‘must be treated with dignity'

11:16 , Daniel Keane

A senior Tory MP has claimed that Boris Johnson must be “treated with dignity”.

He told Sky News: “I think it is important that the Prime Minister is treated with dignity. I think if you had another person in between it just creates even more instability, even more changes in government.

“We have had three education secretaries in three days. I think that personally is awful for schools and colleges, teachers and support staff, up and down the country.”

He added: “We need some stability and I think a few weeks in which a new leader is elected is not unreasonable for the Prime Minister to stay in his post.”

Watch: Theresa May dances the night away after Boris Johnson is ousted

11:00 , Daniel Keane

Tory MP declares support for Truss

10:46 , Daniel Keane

A Tory MP has declared her support for potential leadership candidate Liz Truss.

The foreign secretary has not yet formally launched her leadership bid, but is widely expected to run.

Jackie Doyle-Price, the MP for Thurrock, told BBC Essex: “I’m looking for a candidate that is going to bring the party together. I am hoping that we have a contest which is civilised and respectful because we have all got to work together at the end of this.

“I think there are up to half a dozen people with the right qualities that I would like to see but personally I will be backing Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, to take the leadership.

“She certainly shares my politics. She is a good Thatcherite fiscal Conservative which I think is very necessary right now, we do need to live within our means.

“I think the leadership she has shown over Ukraine is exactly what we need right now.”

UK ‘stands with Japan’, says PM

10:36 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson said the UK stands with Japan after the death of former prime minister Shinzo Abe.

He tweeted: “ Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe. His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many.

“My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people.

“The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time.”

Johnson says killing of Abe ‘incredibly sad'

10:26 , Daniel Keane

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the killing of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was "incredibly sad", adding: "His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many."

Cleverly ‘fundamentally’ disagrees with Major’s call for PM to step down immediately

10:06 , Daniel Keane

Education Secretary James Cleverly "fundamentally" disagrees with former prime minister Sir John Major who says Boris Johnson should not stay on in Number 10 for up to three months until a new Conservative Party leader is elected.

On Sir John saying it would be "unwise" for Mr Johnson to stay on as a caretaker Prime Minister for so long, Mr Cleverly told the PA news agency: "So John Major, a grandee of the Party but he has never liked or supported the Prime Minister, of course, he is completely entitled to his view, I fundamentally disagree with him.

"The Prime Minister has said he is standing down, the timescale for that departure will be defined by the process that the 1922 Committee and the Conservative Party put in place.

"Everyone recognised that needs to be done professionally but quickly and I think that the Prime Minister has been able to form a Government to discharge our duty to the British people until that process is concluded."

On claims by some critics that Mr Johnson will attempt to some how cling on to power despite his resignation speech yesterday, Mr Cleverly added: "I have to say, the yoga-like contortions of some people's imaginations is a a wonder to behold, the Prime Minister has made it very, very clear that he recognises he needs to stand down, he will be in place only until a successor is chosen, it has been a pleasure working with him and I wish him all the best for the future."

PM is ‘lame duck’, says Davey

09:43 , Daniel Keane

Sir Ed Davey said that Boris Johnson is a “lame duck prime minister” and should be removed as leader immediately.

He told Sky News: “The issue is what is good for our country. The issue is what is good for the millions of people who are worried out there, the businesses who are struggling.

“You can’t have a lame duck prime minister because that is what he is. He has got no authority. He can’t take the big decisions.”

Probe launched into fuel prices

09:35 , Daniel Keane

The competition watchdog is to launch a more detailed investigation into fuel prices, which are at record levels.

The Competition and Markets Authority's initial review found there is a "growing gap" between the price of crude oil entering refineries and the wholesale price of petrol and diesel leaving them.

It said the 5p-per-litre fuel duty cut implemented by the Treasury in March "appears to have been implemented" by retailers.

The review also found that "the gap between wholesale prices and retail prices has not been a significant contributor to the overall rise in pump prices".

‘Ship has sailed’ on caretaker PM

09:22 , Daniel Keane

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the treasurer of the 1922 Committee, has said the “ship has sailed” on a caretaker prime minister replacing Boris Johnson.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “I think that ship has sailed. I think yesterday… they decided that Boris Johnson should remain and he has said very clearly that he won’t be making any major changes during that period and I think that is a good thing.

“Those ministers who are coming back in a caretaker role will have, of course having had resigned, so it will be a little awkward for them. I think in an ideal world, Dominic Raab as Deputy Prime Minister should have been the caretaker prime minister.

“But that ship, I think has sailed, and we must now live with the fact that Boris Johnson will be Prime Minister until a successor can be voted on.”

Watch: Ringo Starr gives his thoughts on Boris’ resignation

09:13 , Daniel Keane

New PM should let Boris and Carrie have Chequers party, says minister

09:06 , Daniel Keane

James Cleverly said a new prime minister should let Boris and Carrie Johnson have their wedding party at Chequers even if Mr Johnson is gone by then.

The new Education Secretary was asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme if Mr Johnson should still have the celebration at the prime minister's country house in July if it is in someone else's hands by then.

Mr Cleverly said: "I think that if that is done by that point in time, I suspect that it would be a rather generous action of the new prime minister to allow that to go ahead.

"Private functions like that do not impose a burden on the public purse...

"I think it's churlish to be negative about two people who want to celebrate their marriage and their love for each other."

Latest poll puts Tories 11 points behind

08:51 , Daniel Keane

A new poll gives Labour an eleven point lead against the Tories - highlighting the scale of the challenge for Boris Johnson’s party following his resignation.

The poll, conducted by YouGov for The Times, puts Labour at 40 points and the Tories on 29 points.

It is the highest Labour score since January, with the party hoping to capitalise on the chaos engulfing the Cabinet this past week.

Truss ‘devastated’ by Abe shooting

08:39 , Daniel Keane

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that she was "devastated" at the shooting of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.

She tweeted: "Devastated to hear about the attack on former Prime Minister Abe. We stand with our Japanese friends at this difficult time.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

Rayner: Labour could replace Starmer ‘very quickly’ if he is fined

08:26 , Daniel Keane

Angela Rayner has said that the Labour Party could replace her and Sir Keir Starmer "very quickly" if they are forced to resign.

The Labour deputy leader told BBC's Today programme: "Well, we could do it very quickly.

"I mean, our procedures would be that the NEC would delegate the timetable, but we've got a host of talent in our party that could step forward, because we are one team and we are a government in waiting.

"But as I say, both myself and Keir are very confident that we didn't break any rules.

"We were very clear of the contract with the British public when we voted for those restrictions that they were in place to keep people safe and we adhered to those and we've complied with Durham police and we'll continue to do (so).

"We're very confident that we'll continue to lead our party as we have done since we were both elected into victory so that we can govern for the British people and deal with a cost-of-living crisis and things that matter to them."

Watch: Speaking To The Crowds Outside Of Downing Street During Boris’s Resignation Speech

08:17 , Daniel Keane

Rayner: Labour will call no-confidence vote if PM doesn’t step down

08:10 , Daniel Keane

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has confirmed that her party will call a no confidence vote in Boris Johnson if he doesn’t step down immediately.

The Labour deputy leader told BBC's Today programme: "We will if the Conservatives don't get their act together and get rid of Boris Johnson, you know, he's got no confidence of his own party.

"He's a proven liar who's engulfed in sleaze and we can't have another couple of months of this, you know.

"So they do have to get rid of him, and if they don't, we will call a no confidence vote because it's pretty clear - he hasn't got the confidence of the house or the British public."

No timeline on Johnson’s replacement, says minister

08:01 , Daniel Keane

Education Secretary James Cleverly has said Boris Johnson has not put a "timeline" on how long he will stay in No 10 after quitting as leader of the Tory party.

He told Times Radio: "He said he will stay until the process is complete, he's not put a timeline on this.

"The timeline on this will be defined by the 1922 committee in terms of the parliamentary stage and by the Conservative party in terms of the party stage.

"Both organisations know how important it is to get this done professionally and quickly and I don't think the Prime Minister has put a particular date on anything."

Minister dismisses Chequers party story as ‘media speculation'

07:53 , Daniel Keane

A minister has dismissed reports that Boris Johnson is planning on staying in post so he can use Chequers for a wedding party as “media speculation”.

Education Secretary James Cleverly told Sky News: "I don't know the details about that. I've seen some media speculation and unsurprisingly, that was not part of the discussion I had with him."

Asked if he had received an invite, he said: "No.

"So the so the point is, he is very, very clear, that we are here to serve the British people, he is also very clear that we do that until the new prime minister is in place, and that's what he's doing personally."

Vote for next PM ‘likely to go to Tory membership'

07:42 , Daniel Keane

The vote for the next prime minister is likely to go to the Conservative Party membership, the treasurer of the 1922 committee has said.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown told BBC's Today programme: "In this case, I think there is a lot of competition.

"And I would be surprised if it didn't go to the membership in the country.

"I think, actually, under these circumstances with the division in the party, I think it is a good thing that it goes to the to the membership so they have an opportunity to have their say and a vote."

PM ‘is definitely resigning’, says new education sec

07:35 , Daniel Keane

Education Secretary James Cleverly insisted Boris Johnson "is resigning" as Prime Minister, despite not having used the word in his resignation speech.

He told Sky News: "There's no such thing as a caretaker prime minister. In our system, there is a prime minister.

"He is resigning from his role as Prime Minister and leader of the the party once a successor has been appointed."

Davey claims it is ‘ludicrous’ for Johnson to remain in office

07:27 , Daniel Keane

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has claimed it is “ludicrous” that Boris Johnson is being allowed to remain in office while his successor is chosen.

He told the BBC that he would speak to Labour about calling for a no confidence vote in Mr Johnson if his party do not remove him immediately.

Sir Ed said that Tory MPs who supported Mr Johnson “have a heavy burden to bear”.

PM ‘appalled’ by shooting of Shinzo Abe

07:17 , Daniel Keane

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "utterly appalled" at the shooting of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Japanese media reported the 67-year-old had gone into heart failure on Friday after the attack during a campaign speech.

The country's national broadcaster NHK TV said Mr Abe was bleeding and holding his chest when he collapsed and was rushed to a hospital.

Mr Johnson tweeted: "Utterly appalled and saddened to hear about the despicable attack on Shinzo Abe. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones."

Good morning

07:06 , Daniel Keane

Good morning and welcome to the Evening Standard’s live politics coverage.

Westminster and the country is reeling from Boris Johnson’s resignation on Thursday - here’s a quick recap of what happened:

- Boris Johnson announced he would step down, saying he was “leaving the best job in the world”.

- Mr Johnson will remain as Prime Minister until a successor is in place, expected to be by the time of the Conservative Party conference in October

- Senior Tories have urged Mr Johnson to quit immediately, fearing that him remaining in place could spark a “summer of chaos”

- Boris and Carrie Johnson are reportedly ploughing on with plans for a wedding party at Chequers as the Prime Minister shifts to a caretaker role in his final days in office

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