Wednesday evening UK news briefing: Boris Johnson told 'in the name of God, go!' by David Davis

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Your evening briefing from The Telegraph
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines

Inflation soars | Surging food bills helped drive inflation to its highest rate since the early 1990s, in a major blow for Boris Johnson as he battles to save his premiership. The annual rate of inflation climbed to 5.4pc from 5.1pc in November, according to the Office for National Statistics. Read what is behind the rise and how it is affecting salaries in real terms. This is the pay staff will need to demand to keep pace with the cost of living. Head down to Business for how to maximise your earnings.

The big story: Johnson told 'in the name of God, go!'

Boris Johnson today stood in the House of Commons and announced the impending end of self-isolation, mandatory face masks and work-from-home guidance.

On a normal day this would have seen him riding a wave of national relief.

But this is no normal day.

There was already angst ahead of what was expected to be a brutal session of Prime Minister's Questions after stories that as many as 11 of Mr Johnson's own Red Wall MPs submitted letters of no confidence this morning as part of what has been dubbed the "pork pie plot" to oust him.

Shortly before Mr Johnson was due in the Commons, one of those Red Wall Tory MPs defected to Labour in protest over the "partygate" scandal.

Christian Wakeford, who was elected as MP for Bury South in 2019, crossed the floor having only submitted a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister less than 24 hours earlier.

Although, Tom Harris reckons the defector united the Tories behind their leader, it was still a PMQs to forget for Mr Johnson.

The most brutal intervention came not from Sir Keir Starmer but from the former Brexit minister David Davis, who demanded Mr Johnson's resignation, as he told the PM: "In the name of God, go!"

That quote from Mr Davis repeated the words of Tory MP Leo Amery, whose intervention helped bring about the resignation of the ill-fated Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in May 1940.

Considering Mr Johnson is a man who idolises Winston Churchill, Gordon Rayner sets out why being compared with Chamberlain was perhaps the ultimate insult to the Prime Minister.

See how "partygate" has sent Mr Johnson's approval rating plummeting.

Johnson 'close to tears'

How significant are the "pork pie plotters", who earned their name as one of the MPs represents the constituency containing Melton Mowbray?

Earlier, Mr Johnson called rebel MPs from the 2019 Conservative intake to Downing Street for one-on-one meetings in an attempt to stave off a plot to destroy his premiership, the Telegraph has been told.

Several of the "pork pie plot" ringleaders were summoned to Downing Street for a meeting with Mr Johnson, who Tony Diver reveals was described as "broken" and "close to tears" as he asked MPs for their continued support.

Here are the MPs leading the rebellion and the full list of Tories calling for the Prime Minister to resign, as well as those still backing him.

How the challenge works

The big question is whether the plotters will reach the magic number of 54 letters that need to be submitted by disillusioned MPs to the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs to trigger a no confidence vote in Mr Johnson.

Here is how a leadership challenge works and what happens if Mr Johnson is ousted.

James Dowling says the Prime Minister has cost the Tories their reputation for competence but Patrick O'Flynn thinks the "pork-pie plotters" could inflict long-term damage on the Tory Party if they oust Mr Johnson now.

Iain Dale offers his picks for who could replace Mr Johnson and Sherelle Jacobs responds to readers on the Prime Minister's prospects in our latest Write to Reply column.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: Russian troops 'ready to invade'

Russia has "almost completed" its buildup of forces that could be used to initiate an invasion, according to Ukraine. About 127,000 troops have been deployed from its central and eastern regions to its western border "on a permanent basis", Ukrainian military intelligence reported, which "confirms the preparation for offensive operations". The country's defence ministry reportedly said Russia's actions are "trying to split and weaken the European Union and NATO" and are also "aimed at limiting the capabilities of the United States". Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv for crisis talks as the US cautioned that a Russian invasion could come at "any moment" - and head for the Ukrainian capital.

Wednesday interview

Sydney Sweeney: 'I forgot to tell my dad about the nudity...'

Sydney Sweeney stars as lonely romantic Cassie in the provocative HBO show Euphoria - HBO
Sydney Sweeney stars as lonely romantic Cassie in the provocative HBO show Euphoria - HBO

Sydney Sweeney, the star of The Handmaid's Tale and The White Lotus, talks to Eleanor Halls about HBO series Euphoria's dark themes, navigating nude scenes and restoring old cars

Read the full interview

Sport briefing: Stephens hits out at Raducanu's actions

Emma Raducanu still "has a lot to learn", said her defeated first-round opponent Sloane Stephens, who sounded aggrieved at how Raducanu had challenged her verbally at the start of their first-round match. On the very first point of their thrilling three-set battle, Raducanu had whistled a forehand winner up the line and then shouted "Come on!" Stephens seemed rattled by the territorial display as she suffered a first-set "bagel" in only 16 minutes, collecting just four points along the way. The 2017 US Open champion went on to be less than glowingly complimentary about Raducanu's performance. Elsewhere, our cricket writers reflect on why the English Test team is at its lowest ebb and what has to change.

Editor's choice

  1. Hard-to-spot | Chris Evert caught it early – but ovarian cancer remains the silent killer

  2. Dick Van Moon Knight | Why accents are Marvel's least convincing special effect

  3. Your outside jobs | How gardening helps to burn calories in winter

Business briefing: Savers to lose £400 due to inflation

As inflation reaches levels last seen in 1992, the average saver will lose nearly £400 this year as interest rates offered by banks fail to keep pace. No deals match the eroding power of the consumer prices index, which hit a 30-year high of 5.4pc last month. All cash savings pots will now reduce in real terms. Investors are also expecting multiple interest rate rises this year, and Matt Hancock sets out why this path is beset with danger. These factors also mean the outlook for bonds is – on the surface – extremely negative but here are three bond funds to buy as interest rates and inflation rise. A big factor in surging inflation is the way energy bills are rising and here is how to stop these costs going through the roof.

Tonight starts now

Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story | We cannot resist the macabre allure of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, the wealthy teenage lovers who killed a 14-year-old boy in 1924 for thrills, and who avoided the death penalty thanks to the humanitarian brilliance of lawyer Clarence Darrow (they received life sentences plus 99 years instead). Patrick Hamilton, Alfred Hitchcock and the novelist Meyer Levin are among those who, over the decades, have been drawn to their story, and Matthew Parker's queasily intimate revival of a 2005 off Broadway musical transferred to the Jermyn Street Theatre until February 5.

Three things for you

And finally... for this evening's downtime

Declutter your wardrobe | Many of us have decided that the time is right to finally clear out our wardrobes, getting rid of those bobbled jumpers, ill-fitting jeans and never-worn-it, fleeting trends to make way for a fresh start in which you promise to maintain order, look after your clothes properly and only buy things you really, really want or need. Here are the best tips on how to save space.

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