Published:

Downing Street 1) Civil war in cabinet as ‘Johnson told to sack Sunak’

“The cabinet descended into rancour over Boris Johnson’s future last night after both Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak rebuked the prime minister. One cabinet minister called for Johnson to dismiss Sunak, and two others accused the chancellor of being “on manoeuvres” after he criticised the prime minister for a personal attack on Sir Keir Starmer. Sajid Javid, the health secretary, followed Sunak by saying that the Labour leader “deserves the respect for taking on such a big public job and doing well”. One cabinet minister told The Times: “Sunak has to go. I don’t see how he [Johnson] can keep someone who is so openly on manoeuvres.”– The Times

  • Johnson woos Tory backbenchers with pledge of ‘direct line’ to Downing St – FT
  • PM’s pep talk fails to rally aides or MPs – The Times
  • ‘Johnson is on the way out. Too many Tories think he’s getting it wrong’ – The Times
  • No 10 braced for further resignations of Downing Street aides – FT
  • PM struggles to rally team – The Guardian
  • As he hobbles into the weekend – The Guardian
Comment

Downing Street 2) Ministers on the brink as eighth Tory says time is up

“An eighth Conservative MP confirmed that they had submitted a letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson’s leadership yesterday as senior Tories said that a number of ministers were now on “resignation watch”. Aaron Bell, who won Newcastle-under-Lyme from Labour in 2019, said he was “profoundly disappointed” that he could no longer support the prime minister. He said could not reconcile the private reassurances he had been given about lockdown-breaking parties at 10 Downing Street with the interim report by Sue Gray. He said the prime minister’s position was “untenable”. Last night Nick Gibb, Conservative MP for Bognor Regis & Littlehampton, called for Johnson to resign. Gibb said that his constituents were “furious about the double standards”. – The Times

  • PM now faces eight letters of no confidence – The Sun

Downing Street 3) PM must quit over ‘partygate’, says former minister

“A former minister has become the latest Conservative politician to call for Boris Johnson to resign over the “partygate” scandal. Writing for The Telegraph, Nick Gibb, the MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, said: “We need to face up to hard truths. To restore trust, we need to change the Prime Minister.” Mr Gibb, an ex-schools minister who served under three prime ministers, has also submitted a letter of no confidence to the chairman of the 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady. He wrote: “My constituents are furious about the double standards – imposing harsh and, to my mind, necessary restrictions as we and the world sought to defend ourselves against this new and deadly virus, while at the same time flagrantly disregarding those rules within the fortress of Downing Street.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson must go – Daily Telegraph
  • Police ‘looking into photo of Johnson holding beer’ at lockdown party – Daily Telegraph
  • Red wall seat delivers its verdict on Johnson’s indiscretions – FT

Downing Street 4) Matthew Parris: Johnson’s assassins must be ready to strike

“[Munira] Mirza has just faced her own crunch-point, and has not ducked. Her former boss’s chancellor, Rishi Sunak, now faces a crunch-point of his own. So does Liz Truss, the foreign secretary; and Jeremy Hunt, Johnson’s rival at the last Tory leadership election. And so may other possible candidates for the leadership. The question they face is not what needs to be done. They know the answer. In its heart the whole party knows the answer. The question is when to break cover. Events of the last few days make that question pressing. I’ll not conceal my opinion that Truss swims at the shallow end of the Westminster pool; but in Sunak and Hunt one can sense not just ambition but a kind of moral horror.” – The Times

Downing Street 5) Johnson ‘is Carrie’s puppet’

“Boris Johnson’s survival battle is set to be dealt another blow by the publication of a biography portraying him as little more than the puppet of his wife Carrie. The explosive book by Lord Ashcroft presents him as a weak Prime Minister who enrages his advisers by allowing his wife to influence policies and appointments. The Tory peer claims Mr Johnson, 57, is ‘completely mesmerised’ by his 33-year-old wife and cuts a ‘lonely’ figure surrounded by her close friends who are now among his most influential aides. The biography of Mrs Johnson advances the theory that faultlines in her relationship with the Prime Minister have had an impact on No 10, with one source describing it as ‘a Greek tragedy’. – Daily Mail

  • Carrie Johnson’s behaviour is preventing the Prime Minister leading Britain – Daily Mail
  • Puppet master of Downing Street – or easy target? – The Guardian

PM slaps down Bank of England’s call for wage ‘restraint’

“Boris Johnson has slapped down Andrew Bailey after the Bank of England Governor urged workers not to seek big pay rises in a bid to contain surging inflation. Mr Bailey said: “We are looking to see quite clear restraint in the bargaining process, because otherwise it will get out of control.” However, the stance put him at odds with Downing Street as Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “It’s not something that the Prime Minister is calling for. We obviously want a high-growth economy, and we want people’s wages to increase.” Mr Bailey’s call for wage caution came as rocketing energy bills are set to drive inflation above 7pc in April, heralding the biggest squeeze on households for more than 30 years.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Bank of England chief under fire – FT

Javid promises to stick with ban on junk food ads

“Sajid Javid has insisted the government is “absolutely committed” to banning junk food promotional deals after Boris Johnson told MPs he would look again at the measure. The health secretary promised the government’s anti-obesity plan would go ahead despite the prime minister’s promise to backbenchers of a review of the measures. Health groups are urging ministers to stick to their guns over a 9pm watershed and a ban on buy one, get one free deals on unhealthy food, warning that to ditch the plans would undermine levelling-up ambitions and the “war on cancer” promised by Javid yesterday.” – The Times

  • Health secretary pledges drop-in cancer scans on high street – The Times

Patel ‘wants to settle asylum claims in a fortnight’

“Home secretary Priti Patel wants to introduce powers to reject Channel migrants’ claims for asylum within a fortnight of them reaching Britain, The Times has learnt. The move would enable immigration officials to detain them and make them eligible for deportation. Boris Johnson has given the home secretary permission to develop powers that would allow some Channel migrants to be held in immigration removal centres. The intention is to detain all males who cross the Channel as part of a new set of deterrents to try to stem the record flow of arrivals.” – The Times

Wallace touted as possible Nato chief

“Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, has been touted as an option to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as the new Nato chief. Diplomatic sources said that member states had raised the possibility of Wallace, a former soldier, taking over when the position becomes available later this year. Lord Sedwill, the former cabinet secretary and national security adviser, had been expected to receive Boris Johnson’s backing for the job. However, two sources said that he would struggle to get it because he is not a former prime minister nor a senior minister. There was also speculation that David Cameron, the former prime minister, could get the position but he is deemed unlikely to have the support of the French.” – The Times

Juliet Samuel: Revealed: Tory links to the Chinese spy operating in Westminster

“Curiouser and curiouser. A couple of weeks ago, news broke of a Chinese agent operating in the UK called Christine Lee who, MI5 warned, was funnelling illegal donations into Westminster and working with the Chinese state. Many of Ms Lee’s activities had been publicly known about for years, but the revival of interest prompted me to take a closer look at her network. Labour MP Barry Gardiner had been the recipient of her largesse and until recently employed her son. But her connections were not just on the Left. Indeed the other prominent politician to pop up front and centre was Neil Carmichael, the ex-Tory MP, “People’s Vote” campaigner and formerly chairman of the Commons Education Committee. He works as a “consultant” to Ms Lee’s law firm and rents an office from her, but his main day job seems to be working as chief executive of something called the UK-China Culture & Education Cooperation Promotion Centre, or UCEC.” – Daily Telegraph

Burnham delays clean air zone in Manchester

“Manchester will have illegal levels of air pollution for up to four more years after the government allowed Andy Burnham, the Labour mayor, to delay the introduction of a clean air zone. George Eustice, the environment secretary, granted permission to Burnham and ten Greater Manchester authorities yesterday to delay the implementation of the zone, which had been due to be phased in from May 30. Daily charges of between £7.50 and £60, depending on the type of vehicle, would have applied to older lorries, vans, buses, coaches, motorhomes and taxis but not cars. Burnham called for more time last week to achieve compliance after protests, including from small business owners who said that they could not afford to upgrade their vehicles.” – The Times

>Today:

Osborne to raise £1bn for British museum

“The British Museum is to undergo a “radical” £1 billion renovation, with its chairman, George Osborne, looking to raise the funds over the next decade. Plans involve replacing the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems in the 170-year-old building and refurbishing its public galleries. One source told the Financial Times that “it is of a similar scale, complexity and age to the Palace of Westminster and it needs similarly radical attention”, a reference to the original estimated cost of £4 billion for the restoration of parliament before it went over budget. The former Tory chancellor was appointed chairman of the museum last year, and is expected to raise funds from government grants and private sources.” – The Times

News in Brief