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Johnson is told to ‘clear out No10’s top team of Yes Men’ after sleaze debacle

“Allies of Boris Johnson last night told him to sort out the ‘shambles’ in No 10 as backbenchers warned his authority has been ‘truly shattered’. Senior Conservatives urged the Prime Minister to conduct a major overhaul of his top team in the wake of his botched handling of the Owen Paterson sleaze row. Lord Moylan, an adviser to Mr Johnson during his time as London mayor, said the Prime Minister was being ‘let down badly’ by both his ministers and inner circle in Downing Street. ‘There’s no escaping the fact that the No 10 operation is a shambles, worst for decades,’ said the Tory peer. ‘It needs a thorough clear out, with new people who both share the PM’s ambitions for the UK and can think out consequences of what they do.’” – Daily Mail

  • Chief whip must quit in Paterson suspension row, say MPs – The Times
  • Newer Tory Members furious at No 10 order – The Guardian
  • Tory MPs at war – The Sun

More:

  • Voters say this government is mired in worst sleaze for decades – Daily Mail
  • Labour calls for probe into Kwarteng’s comments on standards watchdog – The Guardian
  • Two years, 43 U-turns – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Did the Treasury seek to punish dissident backbenchers by withholding cash from their seats?

Downing Street ‘declines to rule out potential peerage for Paterson’

“Downing Street has declined to rule out the possibility Owen Paterson could receive a peerage after his decision to step down as a Conservative MP amid a lobbying scandal. Boris Johnson’s spokesperson also did not deny reports that some Tory MPs had been warned they could lose future funding for their constituencies if they did not support a Commons vote to halt punishment for Paterson and rip up the anti-sleaze rules he broke. Paterson, a former Northern Ireland and environment secretary, announced on Thursday he would quit the Commons. It came hours after Johnson withdrew his support for moves to shield Paterson from punishment for lobbying on behalf of two companies who paid him more than £100,000 a year between them.” – The Guardian

  • Ex-MP gives up consultancy work in wake of resignation – Daily Telegraph

Labour to stand in Shropshire byelection sparked by resignation

“Labour has confirmed it will put up a candidate in the North Shropshire byelection – the seat about to be vacated by the disgraced former Conservative cabinet minister Owen Paterson. There had been suggestions that opposition parties could band together to support an “anti-sleaze” candidate, after Paterson stepped aside following a botched attempt by Boris Johnson to protect him from punishment for paid lobbying. A Labour spokesperson said a candidate from the party would definitely stand. “We’re not in the business of alliances: we’re in the business of putting forward a Labour candidate, with Labour values,” they said. It is understood no formal talks with other opposition parties had taken place about the idea of uniting behind an independent anti-corruption candidate.” – The Guardian

  • Move kills off talk of a united ‘anti-sleaze’ candidate – Daily Mail
  • Tory chiefs fear backlash in by-election – Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson’s lead collapses, with Tories now just one point ahead of Labour – The Sun

More:

  • Webbe urged to resign after custodial sentence for ‘callous and intimidatory’ behaviour – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Paterson fallout. If your plan depends on Labour’s co-operation, might it not be a good idea to be sure that you have it?

Prime Minister faces sleaze probe over luxury holiday at Marbella villa

“Boris Johnson has been reported to the House of Commons standards watchdog after refusing to declare the cost of his holiday at a villa in Marbella. The Prime Minister faced the prospect of new sleaze probes on Friday evening, pushed by Labour and the Liberal Democrats, as the opposition parties try to keep up the pressure after the resignation of Owen Paterson over a lobbying scandal. Mr Johnson has also been reported to Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary standards commissioner, over the redecoration of his flat in Downing Street, which has already been investigated by the electoral watchdog. Last month, Mr Johnson jetted off to the south of Spain with his pregnant wife, Carrie, and son Wilfred to stay at a luxury villa owned by Conservative peer Lord Goldsmith of Richmond.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He also faces new ‘wallpapergate’ probe – Daily Mail
  • Labour calls on ethics watchdog to look into flat refurbishment – The Guardian

Camilla Cavendish: Paterson saga reveals the flaw in the Johnson government

“The saga sums up much that is wrong with this government. Over-hasty decisions, a cavalier attitude to convention and a deep cynicism which assumes that, with a weak opposition, nothing matters much. Less than 24 hours after plotting to replace the standards committee with a new one which would have been dominated by the governing party, the leader of the Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, declared primly that it had been wrong to try to change the rules for one individual, and that he would start cross-party talks on reforming the system. As if nothing untoward had happened. Many of Johnson’s antics look like farce, which is why he gets away with them. But this one has a strong element of tragedy. Paterson is a grieving widower, whose wife killed herself during the standards investigation which should not, surely, have taken two years. Had he accepted the committee’s sanction and appealed to his constituents for sympathy, he would surely have got it.” – FT

  • Is Boris a loyal friend or moral vacuum? – Matthew Parris, The Times
  • Fiasco confirms the threat Johnson poses to British democracy – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian

UK asks Qatar to become gas ‘supplier of last resort’

“The UK and Qatar have held talks over a long-term gas arrangement that would make the Gulf state its “supplier of last resort”, according to people briefed on the discussions. Such a deal would help ensure a stable source of LNG from Qatar even when global supplies are tight. A worldwide gas supply shortage has caused a surge in prices in recent months, leaving energy intensive industries and suppliers in the UK struggling and many consumers facing a sharp rise in household bills. Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, has also rerouted four large tankers to the UK over the past two weeks. A person familiar with the talks said the shipments came after Boris Johnson, UK prime minister, asked Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Qatari emir, at a recent meeting for help.” – FT

Johnson poised to trigger Article 16 ‘but will hold fire during Cop26 summit’

“Article 16 will not be triggered by the Government during the Cop26 climate change summit, which ends next week, despite EU fears that action is imminent. The mechanism, which would see the UK attempt to unilaterally suspend parts of the Brexit agreement over Northern Ireland, could be used near the end of this month at the earliest, according to UK sources. Government insiders stress that a final decision has not yet been taken about taking the move, but with negotiations stalling this week, the chance of solving the impasse looks slim. Talks about how to make changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which imposes checks on goods travelling from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, continued throughout this week.” – Daily Telegraph

  • EU fires warning shot over Northern Ireland protocol – The Times
  • Prime Minister ‘poised to go nuclear’ as full Cabinet assembled for Article 16 trigger – Daily Express

More:

  • Most think it’s too soon to tell on Brexit – The Times
  • New row with France erupts over migrant crossings – The Sun

>Yesterday: