Politics Latest: 'Drop the fire', 'self-destruct', 'madness': Leaked WhatsApps show Tories turning on each other over Johnson accusations (2023)

Basic points
  • COVID inquiry issues legal notice to Cabinet Office over Boris Johnson's redacted WhatsApp messages
  • Sam Coates:Leaked Tory WhatsApps show MPs turning on each other over Boris Johnson's legal troubles
  • Downing Street is insisting the government hand over all relevant material to the inquiry
  • Johnson is also in hot water again over isolation claims - what you need to know
  • A Labor MP who bullied an aide and racially abused a journalist has been struck
  • Braverman takes a seat next to Sunak at PMQs after being told she can keep her job
  • Liz Bates: But their uneasy alliance might not last much longer
  • Watch: Tory MP asked to leave the Commons during PMQs
  • Live reporting by Ben Bloch and (previously)Faith Ridler


That's all for tonight

Thank you for tuning in to another very busy day of live updates from the heart of Westminster.

We'll be back in the morning, and until then, here are the highlights of the day:

  • Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has decided his Home Secretary Suella Braverman will not face an investigation following a speeding row.
  • The COVID inquiry has issued a legal notice to the Cabinet Office to hand over all of Boris Johnson's WhatsApp messages during the pandemic.
  • Leaked Tory WhatsApps showed MPs turning on each other over Boris Johnson's legal troubles.
  • It was announced that inflation eased to 8.7% - the lowest rate in more than a year.
  • Research was assigned to the Teesworks site.
  • A Tory MP was kicked out of the Commons during PMQs as the Prime Minister and Sir Keir Starmer clashed.
  • Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves presented "security" as Labour's economic philosophy for Britain's future.
  • A Labor MP who harassed an aide and racially abused a journalist has been given the whip back.

We're back tomorrow from 6am for another long day - join us.


Boris Johnson's allies apologize to deputy prime minister for 'misleading' statements

Sources close to Boris Johnson have accused the cabinet of issuing two "false" statements about the former prime minister's referral to police amid fresh allegations of breaching quarantine rules.

Allies of Mr. The Johnsons believe the two statements made by the department were factually inaccurate.

The first is a statement stating that the cabinet itself did not make any assessment of the alleged violations, nor did it directly accuse anyone of breaking the law.

But allies of the former prime minister say this contradicts a letter sent to the House of Commons Privileges Committee, which is currently investigating whether Mr Johnson misled parliament about the party door.

Another claim is that Minister Jeremy Quin authorized the material to be handed over to the Commons Committee.

As a result, sources close to Mr Johnson are demanding a public apology from Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden and Mr Quinn.


Tory MP hits back after leaked WhatsApp messages to Sky News

Earlier today, Sky News published internal Tory WhatsApp messages that were leaked to oursdeputy political editor Sam Coates;which shows MPs turning on each other over Boris Johnson's latest woes (seepost u 18.30).

Messages from this morning showed one Tory MP asking her colleagues if they were "determined to set our party on fire", while another joked: "Last Tory MP to leave the building please turn off the lights." ;

Andrea Jenkins, the Tory MP for Morley and Outwood, who was briefly a minister under Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, criticized her colleagues and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

In the leaked WhatsApp, he wrote: “I don't like people writing, I prefer saying things to people's faces.

“However, it is interesting that some of those who commented were happy to speak out publicly against Boris and Liz's administration. So, maybe less sacrilege and hypocrisy.

"It's clear that many in the party are unhappy. But those at the top are doing nothing about it to bring people together."

Sky News revealed the messages at 6.30pm. and Ms Jenkyns has now responded to the petition.

Tagging Sam Coates, he tweeted: “You may be salivating at the thought of anti-op MPs turning on each other but we'd all rather have a minority government than a socialist awakening destroying the beloved our country and way of life.

"We've been through worse, look at [Theresa May's] cliff years!"


Why was an inquiry ordered into the Teesworks project?

You have seen or heard the reports about the Teesworks project and the accusations of "corruption".

The first question put to Rishi Sunak at Prime Minister's Questions earlier today was about the project and it turned into something of a party fight.

With lots of news coming out, here's what you need to know.

What is the Teesworks project and what are the allegations of 'corruption'?

Teesworks is the site of the former Redcar Ironworks, which is being redeveloped into an industrial estate and free port with thousands of jobs at the stadium.

Tees Valley Tory mayor Ben Houchen hailed the project as a major success for the Conservative Party.

However, there have been allegations of "corruption", including by Labor MPs.

Concerns have been raised over claims that the private companies that now own most of the Teesworks project have profited at the expense of taxpayers.

What is the government doing about it?

Earlier today, Chief Secretary Michael Gove wrote to Mayor Houchen that he would "appoint a panel, in accordance with established practice, to carry out an independent, external review of the guarantee".

It was expected that Mr. They were going to refer a legal investigation to the National Audit Office (NAA), but this did not materialize.

Mr Houchen, shadow secretary Lisa Nandy, committee chair Clive Betts and Labor MP Andy McDonald called for an NAO inquiry.

Mr Houchen wanted one because he is adamant that there is no corruption. Labor MPs want him because they want to know more about what's going on.

However, the inquiry will be conducted by a watchdog committee of the soon-to-be-established Office of Local Government (Oflog) - which is yet to function.

Labor said the announcement was "not far short" of what was needed, while a Conservative MP welcomed the news.

You canread all the details about the saga here.


Boris Johnson's team deny fresh reports of unidentified gatherings - as calls grow to scrap honor roll

Fresh allegations emerged this afternoon of breaches of quarantine rules at Downing Street and Checkers.

The Guardian newspaper has been told that around a dozen previously unreported gatherings that took place during the COVID period have been referred to the police.

The paper cited government sources as saying that civil servants had reported to police 12 potentially illegal gatherings recorded two weeks ago.

However, Boris Johnson's team denied the reports this afternoon.

Sources close to the former prime minister say the figure is incorrect, while the weather police and cabinet said they had nothing to add to last night's statements.

The Cabinet Office reiterated its statement yesterday saying: "Ministers played no role in deciding whether information should be handed over to the police."

Amid these new allegations, Rishi Sunak is facing fresh calls to delay or cancel Mr Johnson's resignations, which are seen as rewarding many of his allies.

Deputy Labor leader Angela Rayner said: “With the disgraced former prime minister now facing fresh allegations and under multiple investigations, there should be no question of Rishi Sunak endorsing honors for his friends and cheerleaders.

"The Prime Minister should refuse to carry out Boris Johnson's orders and make it clear that he will refuse these demands.

"His top priority now should be tackling the cost of living crisis facing ordinary people, not handing out extra rewards for thirteen years of Tory failure."

And Liberal Democrat leader Wendy Chamberlain added: “The days of outgoing prime ministers appointing colleagues must be a thing of the past, especially when they leave under such a cloud of scandal as Johnson.

"At the very least, Sunak should step in and delay this filing while Johnson is under police investigation."


'The Blob has replaced Brussels in Tory demonology'

Asked by Sophie Ridge whether he would be more afraid of standing up to Boris Johnson or Rishi Sunak at the next general election, Labour's Pat McFadden said: "If you turn around for five minutes, the Tories have changed their leader."

Addressing fresh allegations of breaching quarantine rules at Downing Street, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury said "everything Boris Johnson touches is a huge mess" and it was "very difficult to follow" Boris Johnson's latest news.

He continued: "The other thing is that it's always someone else's fault, there's always a plot."

Speaking about the Tories and civil servants, he said: “They keep referring to this thing called the 'spot' and in my view the 'walk' has replaced Brussels in the Tory demonology.

"Before they blamed Brussels for everything. Now for the Tories, 'the stain ate my work' and it's always someone else's fault."

He added: "It's never going to happen, but it would be nice if Boris Johnson took responsibility for his actions just for once."

However, when asked by Sophy Ridge whether he would rather fight Johnson or Mr Sunak, he said: "There's a saying in football - 'you can only play against the team in front of you'. So I really don't care who. it's the Tories choose.

"We are confident that this time we will be in a much better position to carry them than we have been in years."


The Labor leader refuses to pledge not to raise taxes if elected

Although The Take with Sophy Ridge was released tonight following the terribly sad death of Tina Turner, Sophy spoke to Labor frontbencher Pat McFadden earlier and we wanted to pass on his comments to you.

Sophy initially disputed today's figures which showed inflation had fallen to 8.7%, but the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury said it was "more than expected" and that markets had expected it to be lower.

"This means that, although they have come down a bit, prices here are rising faster than any other major industrial economy," he said.

He laid the blame for soaring mortgage rates squarely on former prime minister Liz Truss, saying: “People are still paying the price for this mini-budget.

"It was a reckless act that put rocket boosters under mortgage rates and put pensions on life support."

Asked if the Bank of England should cut interest rates to help families, he said: "It's not a good idea for politicians to start saying the bank is right or wrong in its interest rate decisions."

He noted that Labor under Tony Blair had made the Bank of England independent, with the power to set interest rates on its own.

Sophie noted that Labor talks a lot about fiscal responsibility, but also about major reforms to public services, especially the NHS.

Asked if the reforms would require tax increases, Mr McFadden said: “If you look at the tax burden, it's already at its highest level in 70 years.

"We have to make decisions about that if we're ever in government, but I think we're very aware of the size of the tax burden..."

He said the last Labor government had made "a lot of reforms to public services" and said it was a mix of investment and reform.

But he declined to say anything substantive about taxes, saying policy would be announced "at election time."


'Real shit' - Tory MPs deny reports of by-election threats after police referred them to Boris Johnson

Earlier this afternoon, there were reports that three Tory MPs were threatening to launch a by-election to refer Boris Johnson to the police over fresh allegations of breaching quarantine rules.

Nadine Dorries, Nigel Adams and Sir Alok Sharma are rumored to have been given peerages in honor of Mr Johnson, which is expected to be launched any time now.

To take their seats in the Lords, they would have to resign from the House of Commons, which would trigger by-elections in their constituencies.

This afternoon the Telegraph reported claims from allies of Mr Johnson that they could quit the House of Commons earlier than expected, triggering this by-election and creating an unwelcome headache for Rishi Sunak.

But tonight, two out of three MPs dismissed the reports, calling them "cu****".

Former culture minister Nadine Dorries tweeted: "Hacks need to go and lie down. This was never mentioned or discussed. It's not happening. They're whores."

And Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, told the Guido Fawkes website: "It's complete rubbish. No one has spoken to me, no one has said anything. These people are just making things up."

Sir Alok Sharma has not commented yet.


Take was canceled after Tina Turner's death

Following the terribly sad death of music icon Tina Turner, The Take with Sophy Ridge will not be broadcast tonight as Sky News covers this big news.

The government has not named a minister for the program this afternoon, but Labour's shadow general secretary to the Treasury, Pat McFadden, spoke to Sophie earlier.

We'll be posting comments from that interview here soon to find out Labour's take on the week's politics.

Meanwhile, for full coverage of the music legend's death, follow Sky News' live coverage here:


With record immigration numbers expected tomorrow - the Prime Minister and Home Secretary will be nowhere to be found

The government is trying to distance itself from tomorrow's net migration figures.

There will be no minister at the press round on Thursday morning, the Home Secretary and the Immigration Secretary firmly out of sight.

Reason? Net migration is expected to be over 700,000 in 2022, the highest level on record and could more than double pre-Brexit levels.

As the Labor leader said at PMQs: "If people want to see what uncontrolled immigration looks like, all they have to do is wake up tomorrow morning and see the headlines."

There are many reasons behind the increase in immigration, including aid programs for those from Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Ukraine. but the problem with the prime minister and the home secretary is that they have decided to put immigration at the heart of the country's presentation.

Suella Braverman's views on immigration are well documented. In a speech last week, seen by some as a future leadership position, she attacked the "unexamined push towards multiculturalism" and said immigration levels were "unsustainable".

The 'Stop the Boats' promise, one of Rishi Sunak's top five priorities, has become a key slogan of this government.

Former Downing Street researcher James Johnson says voters tend to see illegal and legal immigration together and there is a "tension" between the public's and the Prime Minister's views on the issue.

He believes that, unlike illegal immigration, the Government is moving towards the position that "controlling legal immigration is more important than reducing immigration". Number 10 insists they are committed to reducing net migration.

The party has certainly been on a roll over the last decade, from David Cameron's pledge to see immigration into the tens of thousands, to Rishi Sunak last week abandoning his predecessor Boris Johnson's pledge to see net immigration fall below 250,000.

Another issue is cabinet policy: the chancellor has already suggested the government should be open to immigration in key sectors to help with labor shortages, a view not shared by the home secretary.

Behind the scenes it was suggested to me that the public reaction to the high immigration numbers would help Suella Braverman bolster her support for tougher measures on legal immigration in cabinet.

Ms Braverman this week tightened the rules on students bringing their families to the UK, but for some on the right that is not enough.

Craig Mackinlay, Conservative MP for South Thanet, says the government "hasn't dealt with immigration".

He narrowly beat Nigel Farage in the constituency in 2015 and believes the issue will dominate his constituency at the next election. fears voters will vote against the Conservatives because "Britain doesn't feel like it's working".

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jeremiah Abshire

Last Updated: 06/16/2023

Views: 6070

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jeremiah Abshire

Birthday: 1993-09-14

Address: Apt. 425 92748 Jannie Centers, Port Nikitaville, VT 82110

Phone: +8096210939894

Job: Lead Healthcare Manager

Hobby: Watching movies, Watching movies, Knapping, LARPing, Coffee roasting, Lacemaking, Gaming

Introduction: My name is Jeremiah Abshire, I am a outstanding, kind, clever, hilarious, curious, hilarious, outstanding person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.