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💩 Nigel Farage Insists He Will Not Stop Until Brexit Is Delivered
« Reply #135 on: May 30, 2019, 12:49:49 AM »
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💩 Meets 🤡: The Trans-Atlantic Clown Show Begins!
« Reply #136 on: June 03, 2019, 06:11:54 AM »

Trump State Visit to U.K. Faces Turbulence Amid Brexit Chaos

President Trump will arrive in London on Monday for a state visit.CreditCreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

By Mark Landler and Maggie Haberman

    June 2, 2019

LONDON — President Trump prides himself on being the great disrupter, but when he arrives in London on Monday for a state visit, it’s not clear how much more he can shake up a country that is already convulsed, divided and utterly exhausted by the long debate over its departure from the European Union.

Still, Mr. Trump’s penchant for uncensored opinions and unsolicited advice is likely to capture as many headlines, if history is any guide, as the visit’s stately rituals: a banquet with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and afternoon tea with the Prince of Wales at his official residence, Clarence House.

Mr. Trump got an early start, telling The Sunday Times in an interview published before his arrival that Britain’s next leader should “walk away” from Brexit negotiations with Brussels to extract a better deal, and should make Nigel Farage, the fiery populist who was one of the leaders of the Brexit movement, the country’s chief negotiator.


The president proposed Boris Johnson, the pro-Brexit former foreign secretary and onetime mayor of London, as a good candidate to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May, who will step down as leader of her party on Friday. Her meeting with Mr. Trump on Tuesday will be one of the last acts of her star-crossed residency at 10 Downing Street.
Members of the British royal family, including Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, in 2017.CreditAlastair Grant/Associated Press
Members of the British royal family, including Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, in 2017.CreditAlastair Grant/Associated Press

Mrs. May worked for months to arrange this visit, the first stop of a five-day tour for Mr. Trump that will also commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion with solemn ceremonies in Britain and France and will most likely squeeze in a round of golf at his club in Doonbeg, Ireland.

British and American officials said the White House had been deferential to 10 Downing Street in planning the trip, letting the British government set the program and avoiding demands, such as a presidential address to Parliament, which the hosts would have found difficult to grant.

“The ‘special relationship’ is in worse shape than either side will admit,” said Thomas Wright, an expert on Europe at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, a think tank. “The combination of Brexit, Farage and Huawei makes it particularly fraught,” he added, referring also to the Trump administration’s targeting of the Chinese telecommunications company. “This could be the tipping point where the problems become more public.”

Mr. Trump remains unpopular in Britain, not least with the newest member of the royal family, the Duchess of Sussex, formerly known as Meghan Markle. She told a television interviewer in 2016 that if Mr. Trump were elected president, she would consider staying in Canada, where her television series was filmed.


Asked about her comments in an Oval Office interview published on Friday by The Sun tabloid, Mr. Trump said: “What can I say? I didn’t know that she was nasty.” But he also said she would make “a very good” American princess.
Mr. Trump with Prime Minister Theresa May in Buckinghamshire, England, in 2018. Mrs. May worked for months to arrange the visit.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
Mr. Trump with Prime Minister Theresa May in Buckinghamshire, England, in 2018. Mrs. May worked for months to arrange the visit.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

The duchess, who is married to Prince Harry and who is recovering after the birth of their first child, is not expected to meet the president. But the rest of the royal family will be on hand — including Harry’s brother, Prince William, and his wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. All four of Mr. Trump’s adult children are expected to accompany the president and the first lady, Melania Trump.

Despite Mrs. May’s lame-duck status, administration officials said that she and Mr. Trump would have a full list of issues to discuss, including Brexit, a trade deal with the United States and the threats posed by China and Iran.

The problem is that several of those issues are potentially divisive. Britain opposed Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, while the United States has been pressuring Britain not to allow Huawei into its domestic market.

While Mr. Trump has promised to negotiate a trade deal with Britain if it makes a clean break from the European Union, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has warned that such a deal would be a nonstarter in Congress if Brexit undermines the Northern Ireland peace agreement.

Before his last visit to Britain, in July 2018, Mr. Trump warned that Mrs. May’s proposed Brexit deal would kill off any hopes of a trade deal with the United States, startling American and British officials and creating another political headache for the prime minister as her cabinet was fracturing over the withdrawal plans.
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The Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage after his win in the European Union elections last week. In his interview with The Sunday Times, Mr. Trump called Mr. Farage “a very smart person.”CreditFacundo Arrizabalaga/EPA, via Shutterstock
The Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage after his win in the European Union elections last week. In his interview with The Sunday Times, Mr. Trump called Mr. Farage “a very smart person.”CreditFacundo Arrizabalaga/EPA, via Shutterstock

Supporters of Brexit have held up a trade deal as one of the prizes of a complete break with Europe. It would be controversial, however: Some experts say it would force Britain to lower its food and agricultural standards to let in American products, and hand over too much influence to American companies in Britain’s health system.

The White House did not reveal a detailed policy agenda for the visit, and some officials have questioned the utility of having Mr. Trump meet Mrs. May three days before she relinquishes power. That has put more focus on whether he would meet Mr. Farage or Mr. Johnson, something that is not on the formal schedule but that could happen during Mr. Trump’s ample downtime.

In his interview with The Sunday Times, Mr. Trump was unstinting in his praise for Mr. Farage. “He is a very smart person,” the president said. “They won’t bring him in. Think how well they would do if they did.”

For Mr. Trump, the triumph of Mr. Farage’s Brexit Party in recent elections for the European Parliament could be seen as an endorsement of the Briton’s brand of populism. But the political picture across Europe is murkier, with new parties on the left and right advancing, while the mainstream parties, including the Conservative and Labour parties in Britain, shrank.

For all the potential static in London, Mr. Trump’s meetings here might be the most congenial of his trip. On his layover in Ireland, the president will meet with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who has spoken out passionately against Brexit. And while in Normandy for the D-Day commemoration, Mr. Trump will meet with President Emmanuel Macron of France, with whom his once warm relationship has chilled.

“They still have a functioning relationship, even if the romance is gone,” Mr. Wright of the Brookings Institution said of the American and French leaders. “If there is anything substantive on the agenda, it will be Macron trying to dissuade Trump from moving from China to Europe with tariffs.”

Mark Landler reported from London and Maggie Haberman from New York. Benjamin Mueller contributed reporting from London.
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💩 Theresa May officially steps down as Tory leader
« Reply #137 on: June 07, 2019, 12:43:02 AM »
Ding, Dong the Wicked Witch is Dead!  :icon_sunny:

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Theresa May officially steps down as Tory leader

Theresa May will officially step down as the leader of the Conservative Party on Friday, but will remain as prime minister until her successor is chosen.

Mrs May announced her resignation two weeks ago, saying it was a matter of deep regret that she had been unable to deliver Brexit.

Eleven Conservative MPs are vying to replace her as party leader and ultimately, prime minister.

Nominations open from 10:00 BST on Monday and close at 17:00 BST that day.

Mrs May remains acting leader while the contest takes place.
Theresa May at the top

    Nearly 3 years
    as prime minister, following David Cameron

    6 yearsbefore that, as home secretary

    Failed to win 2017 general election outright, but stayed PM

    Remainvoter in the 2016 EU referendum

    Brexit dominated her time at 10 Downing Street


The UK was originally meant to leave the European Union on 29 March. That was then pushed back to 12 April and eventually 31 October after Mrs May failed to get MPs to approve her deal.

She announced her resignation, saying she had done everything she could to try to persuade MPs to support the withdrawal deal which she had negotiated with the European Union but it was now time for a new prime minister to try to deliver Brexit.

    The quirks of the Tory leadership process
    Tory leadership: Who will replace Theresa May?
    Brexit: Where do Conservative leadership candidates stand?

Leadership candidates need eight MPs to back them. MPs will then vote for their preferred candidates in a series of secret ballots held on 13, 18, 19 and 20 June.

Charles Walker of the Conservative backbench 1922 committee, which sets the rules, said on Thursday: "We are aiming to have two people by Thursday 20 June."

The final two will be put to a vote of members of the wider Conservative Party, with a winner expected to be announced in the week of 22 July.

While the contest does not officially start until Mrs May steps down, candidates have already been jostling for position.

How the next prime minister gets a Brexit deal through Parliament and whether they would countenance a no-deal exit has been the dominant question of the campaign so far.

Dominic Raab's suggestion at a hustings on Wednesday that he would be prepared to shut down Parliament - the process known as prorogation - to ensure the UK leaves the EU on 31 October has been criticised by his rivals. And Commons Speaker John Bercow said on Thursday it was "simply not going to happen".

Conservative leadership contender Michael Gove has said the UK must not be bound by a "fixed" date if it needs slightly more time to get a deal.

Others, such as Mr Raab and Boris Johnson, insist the UK must leave on 31 October, whether it has approved a deal with Brussels or not.

Former trade minister Lord Digby Jones has called on Mrs May's successor to provide more "stability" for UK businesses over Brexit.

He told the BBC's Wake Up to Money programme that they should ensure the UK leaves the EU on 31 October "preferably with a deal - but without a deal rather than not coming out".
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💩 Tory leadership: Final 10 contenders named in race to No 10
« Reply #138 on: June 11, 2019, 12:00:02 AM »

Tory leadership: Final 10 contenders named in race to No 10

The names of candidates to officially enter the Conservative leadership race are announced by Dame Cheryl Gillan

The final candidates for the Tory leadership race have been confirmed, with 10 running to become the next PM.

Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab, Matt Hancock and Michael Gove - who launched their campaigns ahead of the nomination deadline - are all on the final list.

Conservative MPs will now take part in a series of votes to whittle the candidates down to the final two.

The two MPs will then face the wider Tory membership to decide on the next leader of their party, and the country.
Media captionWho decides who will be the next prime minister?

Vice chairman of the party's backbench 1922 committee Dame Cheryl Gillan announced the list.

The candidates are:

    Environment Secretary Michael Gove
    Health Secretary Matt Hancock
    Former Chief Whip Mark Harper
    Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
    Home Secretary Sajid Javid
    Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
    Former Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom
    Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey
    Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab
    International Development Secretary Rory Stewart

To be allowed to run, the MPs needed to have a proposer, a seconder and the support of six other members.

Sam Gyimah, the only contender backing another referendum on Brexit, withdrew from the race shortly after nominations closed, saying there was not enough time to build support.
Media captionLidington on Hancock: He's got no Brexit baggage

Mrs May officially stepped down as the leader of the Conservative Party last week, but will remain as prime minister until her successor is chosen.

    Latest: Race to be Tory leader - and next PM
    The UK's next prime minister: What you need to know
    BBC to host Tory leader TV debates

A raft of candidates with different appeal

Analysis by Ben Wright, BBC political correspondent
Image copyright Getty Images

What are Tory MPs looking for in their next leader?

Someone who can win a general election and protect their seats, certainly. Someone who has a plausible plan for Brexit. Someone to breathe life into a glum and dejected party.

If parliamentary sparkle was the main qualification Michael Gove would probably romp this race - but after destroying the candidacy of Boris Johnson last time and recent revelations about his use of cocaine, his reputation has been harmed.

Mr Johnson is divisive among colleagues and his personal life has long been messy, but he remains one of the most recognisable and charismatic politicians in the country.

Jeremy Hunt has a focused, managerial manner, Dominic Raab has the intensity of a karate-chopping former lawyer and Sajid Javid has climbed to the top of the Tory party.

Esther McVey built a career in television that led to politics, Andrea Leadsom is making a second tilt at No 10, and Rory Stewart's social media campaign has brought him attention and plaudits from outside Conservative circles.

But in this contest, it's the judgement of Conservative MPs and party members that matters.

    Do Tory leadership tax plans add up?
    Where do the candidates stand on Brexit?

Environment Secretary Mr Gove, who has faced calls to drop out of the race after he admitted using cocaine several times more than 20 years ago, repeated at his campaign launch that he regrets "his past mistakes".

His speech focused on the policies he would introduce as leader, including the creation of a "national cyber crime task force" and more protection for the armed forces from legal challenges.
Media captionA Michael Gove-led government would take "back control of our money, our borders, and our laws".

He said he wants to "ensure that our NHS is fully-funded, properly funded" and that funding is protected under law.

In a swipe at Boris Johnson's earlier tax policy pledge to cut income tax bills for people earning more than £50,000 a year, he said: "One thing I will never do as PM is use our tax and benefits system to give the already wealthy another tax cut."

He also said the party leader needs to be someone who has been "tested in the heat of battle" and not one who has been "hiding in their bunker".

Mr Johnson has so far not conducted any broadcast interviews about his campaign.
Media captionLeadership candidate Jeremy Hunt: "We need tough negotiation, not empty rhetoric."

On Brexit, Mr Gove said it was "not enough to believe in Brexit you've also got to be able to deliver it", insisting he has "a proper plan".

Earlier, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told his launch the Conservatives and the country "need a fresh start", announcing one of his key pledges - to increase the national living wage to more than £10 an hour.

He has also won a high-profile backer, with the de facto deputy prime minister, David Lidington, pledging his support.

Mr Lidington told the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg that his colleague had "no baggage" from the 2016 Brexit referendum and had a clear vision for the future of the country.

Ex-Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said he was "a committed Brexiteer" who could be trusted to secure the UK's departure. He also unveiled plans to redirect £500m a year from the aid budget to create an international wildlife fund.
Media captionDominic Raab: “I am the candidate who can be trusted to deliver on Brexit."

Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt, meanwhile, said a "very smart" approach was needed to break the Brexit impasse, saying an "experienced, serious leader" was needed, not "empty rhetoric".

He also attempted to end criticism of his stance on abortion by insisting he would not try to change the law if chosen as PM.

It was announced earlier that two cabinet ministers - Brexiteer Penny Mordaunt and Remainer Amber Rudd - back Mr Hunt.

Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey outlined her campaign at a think tank event, saying "we have nothing to fear" from a no-deal Brexit, and pledging to give a pay rise to public sector workers.
Media captionMatt Hancock rejects the idea that Brexit must be delivered by a "Brexiteer".

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart faced callers' questions during a live phone-in on BBC Radio 4's World at One.

He called for compromise over Brexit, and said he would give Parliament "a final chance" to vote through the existing deal that Mrs May negotiated with the EU.

But he ruled out supporting a further referendum, arguing "it wouldn't resolve anything".
Media captionEsther McVey says "non-engagement" with the cabinet made Theresa May's deal worse


    Home Secretary Sajid Javid picked up further support, with ministers Caroline Nokes and Victoria Atkins choosing to back him after Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson announced her support on Saturday
    Mark Harper and Andrea Leadsom also plan campaign launches.
    Earlier, Mrs Leadsom said she would find a way to bring about a "managed exit" from the EU, even without a deal

Whereas candidates in the past would have only needed two MPs supporting them, senior Tories decided to change the rules earlier this month in an effort to speed up the contest.

All 313 Conservative MPs will vote for their preferred candidate in a series of ballots held on 13, 18, 19 and 20 June to whittle down the contenders one by one until only two are left.

Due to another rule change, candidates will need to win the votes of at least 16 other MPs in the first ballot and 32 colleagues in the second to proceed.

The final two will be put to the 160,000 or so members of the wider Conservative Party in a vote from 22 June, with the winner expected to be announced about four weeks later.

On Tuesday 18 June BBC One will be hosting a live election debate between the Conservative MPs who are still in the race.

If you would like to ask the candidates a question live on air, use the form below. It should be open to all of them, not a specific politician.
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💩 New-look Boris Johnson emerges as Tory frontrunner
« Reply #139 on: June 13, 2019, 12:05:06 AM »
Same Bad Hair though.


Updated 1346 GMT (2146 HKT) June 12, 2019
New-look Boris Johnson emerges as Tory frontrunner

New-look Boris Johnson emerges as Tory frontrunner 02:51

"Luke McGee is a senior producer for CNN based in London. "

London (CNN)Long before Theresa May resigned as UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson had been favorite to replace her.
In fact, the former journalist and occasional game-show host has eyed the top job for years. The trouble is, despite an expensive education at the UK's top private school and a solid political grounding as Mayor of London and UK foreign secretary, Johnson has an almost unrivaled ability to shoot himself in the foot.
It's why the people currently advising Johnson have largely kept him out of the public eye since he walked out of May's Cabinet over her Brexit strategy a year ago.

But anyone who wants to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland can't avoid the media forever. So on Wednesday, in a packed conference room in London, Johnson emerged into the spotlight and officially launched his campaign to succeed May as leader of the governing Conservative Party.
Michael Gove, British PM hopeful: &#39;I deeply regret&#39; taking cocaine
Michael Gove, British PM hopeful: 'I deeply regret' taking cocaine
In his prepared remarks, Johnson worked hard to cement his position as frontrunner and made what appeared to be a firm commitment to take Britain out of the European Union on the latest deadline of October 31 -- with or without a deal.
"After three years and two missed deadlines, we must leave the EU on October 31. And we must do better than the current Withdrawal Agreement, which has been rejected three times," Johnson said.
Such solid support for a no-deal exit was designed for the ears of the people who will choose Britain's next Prime Minister -- the 150,000 or so members of the Conservative Party, who are largely, old, white, and, well, conservative.
But part of his tactic is to appeal to all sections of the party -- in particular some of the more moderate Members of Parliament whose support he needs in the initial stages of the contest. So Johnson clarified that he was "not aiming for a no-deal outcome," merely that is was "responsible to prepare for it."
And in a sign of what a Johnson negotiating strategy might look like, he said that taking no-deal off the table would rob the UK of an essential "negotiating tool" in getting concessions from Brussels.
Despite this lack of clarity on the most important question in British politics, the speech did nothing to quash the idea that this leadership contest is Johnson's to lose.
But in the question and answer session that followed, Johnson reminded the media exactly how he might still wreck his own chances.
By staying out of the public eye, Johnson left the field open for other candidates to score spectacular own goals. One of his main rivals, Michael Gove, has spent much of the past week plagued by accusations of hypocrisy, after revealing that he had taken cocaine while working as a journalist.
Johnson has also in the past admitted using the same drug, but by avoiding public scrutiny for so long, has not been pressed on the issue. When asked about on Wednesday, Johnson sheepishly sidestepped the question: "I think the canonical account of this event when I was 19 has appeared many times and I think what most people in this country really want us to focus on is what we can do for them."
trump praises theresa may brexit negotiations vpx_00003508

Trump: May's probably a better negotiator than me 00:56
This evasiveness stretched to a question on precisely how he planned to renegotiate the Brexit deal that May struck with the EU. Nor did he give any solid answers on how he would prepare the public for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit outcome.
And when pushed on controversial remarks he has made in the past, such as saying women who wear Islamic face veils look like "letter boxes," Johnson brushed off the question with a comment about people being afraid to speak their mind on sensitive issues.
Yet despite this perceived slipperiness, Johnson remains streets ahead of his rivals. His message to the largely pro-Brexit Conservative base is a powerful one. All other serious rivals have given even flakier answers on what they would do as the October 31 deadline looms. Johnson, at least for now, is the only candidate with a chance of winning who is prepared to say that the UK will be out of the EU by November, one way or another.
Johnson's supporters claim that his low profile strategy has been a sensible campaign move. They note that the frontrunner in these leadership contests seldom triumphs if they come racing out the blocks. But if keeping Johnson quiet is a campaign masterstroke, it comes with the grudging admission that this is a man who has a long history of gaffes.
This is what gives hope to the other leadership hopefuls. As Rory Stewart, one of Johnson's longer-shot rivals, tweeted: "I am trying to restrain myself from tweeting that I'm beginning to think there are only 2 candidates who can beat Boris -- me, and Boris himself."
A TV presenter summed up live on air what a lot of people think about British politics
A TV presenter summed up live on air what a lot of people think about British politics
But if Johnson's detractors are to take him down, they will need to do better than merely to accuse him of being untrustworthy and evasive. The Conservative Pparty is losing support to Nigel Farage's nascent Brexit Party, which openly advocates no-deal, and the pro-Remain Liberal Democrats. If repeated in a general election, this split would clear the path for the left-leaning Labour party to take the keys to 10 Downing Street and kick the Conservatives into the political wilderness.
Right now, all the opinion polls suggest that Johnson is the only person who can prevent electoral disaster for the Conservatives.

What does all this mean? Most significantly, a no-deal Brexit appears more likely by the day. It's not just the Conservative base and their Brexit hero, Boris Johnson, who are gearing up for a no-deal showdown. In Brussels, EU officials are increasingly relaxed about their own preparation for the UK crashing out of Europe.
It's not what they want, it's not what the majority of the UK wants and, apparently, it's not what Johnson wants. But with a new Prime Minister committed to leaving the EU at the end of October and an EU with little hope left of saving a Brexit deal, a no-deal creeps ever closer.
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💩 Boris Johnson tops first ballot in Tory leadership contest
« Reply #140 on: June 14, 2019, 03:18:16 AM »
Looks like BoJo has this in the bag.  This will be entertaining.  :icon_mrgreen:


Boris Johnson tops first ballot in Tory leadership contest

    5 hours ago

Cheryl Gillan announces the result with seven of the 10 candidates making it to round two

Boris Johnson has secured the highest number of votes in the first MPs' ballot to select the Conservative Party leader and next prime minister.

Three contenders - Mark Harper, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey - were knocked out in the secret ballot held in the House of Commons.

Mr Johnson received 114 votes, while Jeremy Hunt was second with 43 and Michael Gove was third with 37.

Seven candidates progress to the next round of voting next week.

The two who prove most popular after the last MPs' ballot will go to Conservative Party members in a final vote later this month.

The winner of the contest to succeed Theresa May is expected to be announced in the week of 22 July.

    Latest: First vote looms for Tory leadership candidates
    The UK's next prime minister: What you need to know
    Johnson out-fundraises Tory rivals

Mr Johnson, a former Foreign Secretary who served for eight years as Mayor of London, said he was "delighted" to win but warned that his campaign still had "a long way to go".

Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt also said he was "delighted" to have come second, adding: "This serious moment calls for a serious leader."

And Environment Secretary Mr Gove said it was "all to play for" and he was "very much looking forward" to candidates' TV debates on Channel 4 on Sunday and on BBC One next Tuesday.

All 313 Conservative MPs voted in the first ballot, including Mrs May, who refused to say whom she had backed.

The fourth-placed candidate, former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, said he was "proud and honoured" and he had a "good base to build on".

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who came fifth, said: "I look forward to continuing to share my positive vision and my plan for uniting the country."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, placed sixth, thanked his supporters, saying it was "terrific to have more votes from colleagues than I could have hoped for".
Media captionRory Stewart: "I don't look anything like the previous PM", and he negotiates "in a completely different way"

And International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, the seventh-placed candidate, told the BBC's Politics Live he was "completely over the moon" to have got through the first vote.

He said he had had only six declared votes ahead of the poll, but "more than three times that" had voted for him in the secret ballot.

So is the Boris Johnson bandwagon unstoppable? It's worth remembering that the leading candidate at the same stage in the Conservative leadership contest in 2005 was David Davis... who went on to lose. And in 2001 it was Michael Portillo, who then failed to make the final two.

So opponents of Mr Johnson could still gang up and do him in.

But as one canny Conservative observer put it: "Backing Boris is the ambitious thing to do."

By being so far in front, MPs who want to climb the ministerial ladder may try to board the bandwagon now. But his relatively rare media appearances mean that, presumably, the former foreign secretary recognises he can be his own worst enemy.

His long-standing ally Conor Burns tells me he takes nothing for granted. Mr Johnson carries his lead like an impressive yet fragile precious vase - his opponents will be hoping if they can't trip him up he will fall over his own feet.

But on Brexit especially his detractors cannot unite around a single alternative vision - and that may be his best hope of avoiding disaster.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said Mr Stewart was now the main challenger to Mr Johnson, saying: "He's really in with a chance and the momentum is with Rory."

But Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who is supporting Mr Hunt's campaign, said the foreign secretary is "attractive to many sides of the party because he's a serious individual".

And Schools Minister Nick Gibb told BBC Radio 4's World at One that Mr Gove was now "best placed as a Brexiteer to challenge the front runner" Mr Johnson in the final.
The UK's next prime minister
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images

    Read more about where the candidates stand on Brexit
    Quick profiles: Who's in the running for the top job?
    The people who will choose the UK's next prime minister

Further ballots are scheduled to take place on 18, 19 and 20 June to whittle down the contenders until only two are left.

The final pair will then be put to a vote of members of the wider Conservative Party from 22 June, with the winner expected to be announced about four weeks later.

After being knocked out of the contest, Mr Harper, a former Government Chief Whip, said he continued "to believe we need a credible plan that delivers Brexit" in order to "restore trust".

Mrs Leadsom's campaign team said they were "disappointed" but "wish all the other candidates well".

And Ms McVey, who gained nine votes, coming last in the first round of MPs' ballots, said she was "extremely grateful" to those who had supported her.
TV debates 'important'

Televised candidates' debates are scheduled to take place, but not all the remaining seven have confirmed they are taking part.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, who is backing Mr Hunt, urged them to appear, saying the Conservative Party "needs to remember that we're not just choosing a leader, we're choosing a prime minister and the public need to see them".

And former Brexit Secretary David Davis, who is backing Mr Raab, said it was "very important" for the public to hear from the contenders.

Mr Johnson has previously been criticised by some of his rivals for not taking part in media interviews during the campaign.

The leadership race has so far been dominated by Brexit and arguments over whether a deal can be renegotiated with the EU by 31 October, and whether talking up a no-deal Brexit is a plausible promise.
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💩 BoJo has the MoJo!
« Reply #141 on: June 15, 2019, 01:14:24 AM »

Boris Johnson, the great pretender finally on the cusp of power
But the former UK foreign secretary still faces questions about his fitness for high office

George Parker yesterday

Boris Johnson has one foot in 10 Downing Street. One week into the race to succeed Theresa May as Britain’s prime minister, the most charismatic, shambolic and divisive politician of his generation is sweeping the field, his route to power now clearly defined.

“We have a long way to go,” Mr Johnson said after securing a decisive victory in the first round of voting for the Conservative party leadership, winning the backing of 114 Tory MPs — more than the next three challengers combined. But he is now propelled by a momentum that threatens to crush his rivals.

Even George Osborne, the former chancellor and longtime political foe of Mr Johnson, can see the writing on the wall. Mr Osborne, editor of the London Evening Standard, splashed his front page this week with the headline: “Bojo: I’ve got mojo to unite Britain.”

That is a contentious claim. While Mr Johnson may possess political stardust, he seems an unlikely healer of a fractured country. The former London mayor led the 2016 referendum campaign to take Britain out of the EU and — if he becomes prime minister — will take on the task of delivering the Leave vote that split the nation.

Polls show he is both the most popular and least liked prospective Tory premier. Rivals question his “seriousness” at a momentous time for the country. Donald Tusk, European Council president, says “a special place in hell” awaits Mr Johnson and his fellow Brexiters.

“I think he’s probably going to win,” says Dominic Grieve, the pro-European former Conservative attorney-general. “That will have potentially dire consequences for the party and the country.” Rory Stewart, a rival for the leadership, said this week: “Is this the person you want writing the instructions to the nuclear submarines?”

Supporters of 54-year-old Mr Johnson privately admit that the only person who can halt his bid for power is the candidate himself. The Eton and Oxford-educated journalist is his own worst enemy, as his abortive bid for the Tory leadership in 2016 demonstrated.

Mr Johnson’s campaign team have tried to save him from himself. “Bozzie Bear”, as his new partner Carrie Symonds calls him, has been shackled and muzzled, held back from broadcast interviews and television debates so far because of fears the frontrunner has little to gain and much to lose from such exposure. (On Friday, Mr Johnson agreed to take part in a BBC debate next week, though he will not participate in Channel 4’s hustings on Sunday.)

Mr Johnson split last year from his wife Marina, his new relationship adding yet more tabloid colour to a career which has seen him sacked twice for lying: once as a journalist on The Times for making up a quote, and once as a Tory spokesman after misleading his party leader about an extramarital affair.

The 2019 version of Mr Johnson is very different to the 2016 version. Ms Symonds, a 31-year-old former Tory staffer, has put him on a diet, imposed order on his distinctive blond hair and kept a tight grip on his circle of advisers. “She knows who the sane people are,” says one close colleague.

At this week’s campaign launch Ms Symonds sat at the back of the hall as Mr Johnson went through his safety-first script, which focused on his two terms as London mayor (2008-16) while skirting over his unimpressive stint as foreign secretary. He resigned from the cabinet last year in protest at Mrs May’s “crazy” Brexit plan, before eventually backing it in a House of Commons vote.

“As foreign secretary he scored high on energy and profile, but less well on diplomatic skills, detailed concentration on the brief or lasting policy achievements,” says Simon Fraser, a former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office. Alan Duncan, a minister who served under Mr Johnson, says of his former boss: “Clearing up after him was quite a full-time activity.”

It is hard to discern how Mr Johnson intends to break the current Brexit impasse, although he insists that EU leaders will cut him a better deal in the autumn simply to get the issue resolved. If necessary he will take Britain out of the EU without a deal “as a last resort”.

The Mr Johnson vying to be prime minister is also very different from the unkempt Tory candidate who stood for London mayor in 2008, the eccentric who captured a Labour city by showing that a Conservative could be socially liberal and enthusiastic about a modern, cosmopolitan Britain.

As Mr Osborne noted in an editorial this week, the Mr Johnson who called for an immigration amnesty as London mayor then led an EU referendum campaign “that fuelled hostility to foreigners and stoked anger about modernity and social change”. Which Boris would become prime minister?

Mr Johnson’s answer throughout has been: “Which Boris do you want me to be?” In private meetings with Tory MPs, he is both a hard Brexiter comfortable with a no-deal exit and a compassionate Conservative eager to engineer the softest possible departure from the EU.

Like his friend Donald Trump, Mr Johnson is capable of holding contradictory positions simultaneously. Keith Simpson, a veteran Tory MP, says: “The thing about Boris is that he will always let you down.”

But many Conservatives will back Mr Johnson simply because he looks like a winner. For a traumatised party, he appears to be the only candidate capable of changing the political weather. Nobody can be sure which Boris they will get. But they do know they will be in for an interesting ride.

The writer is the FT’s political editor
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💩 Tory leadership contest: Rory Stewart knocked out
« Reply #142 on: June 19, 2019, 01:28:59 PM »
Looks like a pretty even split between BoJo and "Anyone BUT BoJo" going into the final rounds.


Tory leadership contest: Rory Stewart knocked out

Four men are left in the race to be next prime minister after Rory Stewart was knocked out.

The international development secretary was eliminated after coming last with 27 votes, 10 fewer than last time.

He said his warnings about a no-deal Brexit "probably proved to be truths people weren't quite ready to hear".

Boris Johnson topped the vote again with 143 votes, 17 more than last time. Jeremy Hunt came second with 54, Michael Gove got 51 and Sajid Javid 38.

A fourth round of voting will take place on Thursday.

    As it happened: Leadership contest latest
    Compare the candidates
    Can the contenders sum up their Brexit plans in 50 words?

Mr Stewart started as a rank outsider in the race but gained support on the back of an unusual campaign strategy.

Touring the country for pop-up meetings, which were promoted and recorded on social media, he drew large crowds and won the backing of several senior cabinet ministers.

He had accused other candidates, including Mr Johnson, of lacking realism over Brexit and making undeliverable promises.

After his elimination, he tweeted that he had been "inspired" by the support he received which had rekindled his faith and belief in politics.
Image Copyright @RoryStewartUK @RoryStewartUK

Mr Stewart's vote tally fell from Tuesday - following a live BBC TV debate in which he summed up his own performance as "lacklustre".

There have also been suggestions of tactical voting - "dark arts" as he called them - with candidates lending votes to others in order to help eliminate certain rivals.

One MP supporting Mr Stewart claimed he had been "let down" by "thieving, mendacious, lying" colleagues who had switched.

Following his exit, Mr Stewart - MP for Penrith and The Border - told the BBC he was "disappointed" and believed his party "didn't seem ready to hear his message" about Brexit and the need to seek out the centre ground.

He said his arguments during the campaign that an alternative Brexit deal was not on offer from the EU, and a no deal would be catastrophic, were "probably truths people were not quite ready to hear, but I still think they are truths".
Media captionStewart: Tories 'not ready' for no-deal warnings

He defended his attacks on Mr Johnson, saying the gravity of the situation meant it was right to warn that the frontrunner risked "letting down" his supporters over Brexit.

"These are the times to ask these questions, but I agree they are uncomfortable questions," he said.

"People felt they were exposing divisions in the party they were not comfortable with.

"My conclusion is that you don't unify a family or a party by pretending to agree when you disagree. You unify through honesty and trust."

    Fact-checking the candidates' claims
    What is a no-deal Brexit?

Mr Stewart, who has ruled out serving under Mr Johnson because of their differences over Brexit, added "I appear to have written my cabinet resignation letter."

He said he had not decided who to now support.

Home Secretary Mr Javid, who leapfrogged Mr Stewart in Wednesday's poll after gaining five votes on his second round tally, thanked Mr Stewart for his contribution to the campaign.
Image Copyright @sajidjavid @sajidjavid

Mr Javid said he was pleased to make it through into the next round, adding that he could provide "constructive competition" to frontrunner Boris Johnson if he made it into the final two.

"People are crying out for change, if we don't offer change ourselves, they'll vote for change in the form of Corbyn - and I can be that agent of change", he said.

Reacting to his third consecutive second place, Mr Hunt said the "stakes were too high to allow someone to sail through untested".
Image Copyright @Jeremy_Hunt @Jeremy_Hunt

Liam Fox, who is backing Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt, said the surviving candidates were the four most experienced men in the field and this is what people expected all along.

Tory MP Johnny Mercer, who is backing Mr Johnson, insisted there was "no complacency" despite his large lead, telling BBC News "there is still work to do".

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said Mr Gove had "closed the gap" on Mr Hunt in second place and was gaining momentum.

He said the environment secretary had the experience, the vision and the plan to deliver Brexit that could unite the country.
Image Copyright @michaelgove @michaelgove

Unless another candidate drops out, there will be a fifth ballot on Thursday evening to determine the final two candidates who will go forward into a run-off of the party's 160,000 or so members.

The winner will be announced in the week of 22 July.
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💩 BoJo's got it in the Bag!
« Reply #143 on: June 21, 2019, 01:41:50 AM »
Hilarity will ensue.  ;D


Tory leadership: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are final two

Cheryl Gillan announces Michael Gove is voted out of the Conservative leadership race,

Jeremy Hunt has promised Boris Johnson "the fight of his life" as the two compete to become the next Conservative leader and PM.

Mr Johnson said he was "honoured" to get the backing of 160 MPs in the final ballot of the party's MPs - more than half of the total.

Mr Hunt got 77 votes - two more votes than the next candidate Michael Gove.

Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt now face a vote involving up to 160,000 Tory members, with a result due by late July.

All 313 Conservative MPs took part in the final ballot in the House of Commons, with one paper spoilt.

Mr Johnson's victory in the latest round of the contest had been widely expected, but Environment Secretary Mr Gove and Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt had been engaged for several days in a fight for second place.

In the penultimate MPs' ballot, earlier on Thursday, Mr Gove overtook his rival, only to see his lead reversed in the final vote.

There's no doubt that Mr Johnson is, at this stage (and there's a long way to go), widely expected to end up in Number 10.

But this result is an enormous relief to his camp, for the simple reason that they think Mr Hunt is easier to beat.

Forget any differences in style between the two challengers and their comparative talents - Jeremy Hunt voted Remain in the EU referendum.

And for many Tory members it is a priority for the next leader to have been committed to that cause, rather than a recent convert, however zealous.

Read Laura's blog in full

Before the final vote, a source close to Mr Hunt warned against reigniting the "personal psychodrama" between Mr Gove and Mr Johnson - who spearheaded the Vote Leave campaign together in 2016, but fell out after Mr Gove abandoned Mr Johnson's previous leadership bid to launch his own.

Following the result of the final ballot, read out by Caroline Spelman, co-chair of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbench MPs, Mr Johnson said he was "deeply honoured" by his level of support.
Image Copyright @BorisJohnson @BorisJohnson

Meanwhile, Mr Hunt, acknowledged Mr Johnson as frontrunner to become party leader and prime minister, tweeting that he was the "underdog" but in politics "surprises happen".
Skip Twitter post by @Jeremy_Hunt

End of Twitter post by @Jeremy_Hunt

He went on to praise Mr Gove as one of the "brightest stars in the Conservative team", adding: "We are going to give Boris the fight of his life."

Mr Gove congratulated his rivals and said he was "naturally disappointed but so proud of the campaign we ran".
Image Copyright @michaelgove @michaelgove

His campaign manager, Mel Stride, said he believed that Mr Gove's admission that he had taken cocaine during the 1990s had damaged his bid, adding: "It stalled us and meant momentum was lost at that time."

Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt will now take part in hustings in front of Conservative Party members around the country, before the votes are counted, with the final result to be announced during the week of 22 July.

They will also take part in a head-to-head debate on ITV on 9 July, following previous leadership debates hosted by Channel 4 and the BBC.

Labour's national campaigns co-ordinator Andrew Gwynne said: "What a choice: the man who broke the NHS or the man who wants to sell it to Donald Trump.

"A handful of unrepresentative Conservative members should not be choosing our next prime minister. People should decide through a general election."

The ballot of MPs earlier on Thursday saw Home Secretary Sajid Javid eliminated from the contest.
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💩 BoJo's or NoJo?
« Reply #144 on: June 22, 2019, 02:27:14 AM »

Boris Johnson's extraordinary leap to power could soon come crashing down
Thomas Colson

    Boris Johnson is the overwhelming favourite to become Britain's next prime minister.
    He has successfully persuaded both Leave and Remain-supporting Conservative MPs that he is their best bet.
    But some Conservative MPs fear this coalition of support will quickly collapse once he enters Downing Street.
    An early election could soon be on the cards later this year.
    Visit Business Insider's home page for more stories.

LONDON —The conventional wisdom among Conservative MPs since Boris Johnson resigned as foreign secretary, was that he had little chance of ever becoming Britain's next prime minister.

"Three-quarters of the Cabinet and at least half of the party would do anything to stop Boris becoming leader," one Conservative MP told Business Insider in January this year. "He's got no chance."

Yet in the final round of this week's selection process, Johnson won the support of over half the Conservative parliamentary party, ensuring his place in the final two alongside the current foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, and all but guaranteeing that he will ultimately win.

The speed and success of Johnson's campaign has been nothing short of extraordinary.

He picked up 160 votes from colleagues in Thursday's three-way leadership ballot, more than half the 313 available, with second-placed Jeremy Hunt receiving just 77. He now faces a month-long series of hustings after which he appears almost certain to be crowned prime minister.

    Read more: Boris Johnson published poem joking about the 'extermination' of the 'verminous' Scottish people

Yet even among those who now back his campaign, there are fears that the coalition of support which has lifted him almost to the door of 10 Downing Street, could very quickly crumble to the ground once he walks through it.
Conservative MPs hope Johnson can save them from Farage
Conservative MPs are reluctantly backing Johnson following the rise in charismatic populist politicians around the world Getty
The key to the shift in Johnson's fortunes came in the recent European elections where Nigel Farage's Brexit party surged into first place, leaving the Conservatives in a distant fifth place.

With polls now putting the party as low as fourth nationally, many Conservative MPs, who still hold deep reservations about Johnson, have decided to park those reservations in the hope that Johnson could yet save them from electoral oblivion

"It was in the bag for Boris from the night of the European election results," one former Conservative minister, who is a critic of Johnson told Business Insider.

"One of my friends, a Boris supporter, said: 'backing him is a risk but we're in such a hole, sometimes you have no choice apart from turning over the table and seeing what happens.'"

    Read more: Boris Johnson's long record of sexist, homophobic and racist comments

Another Brexit-supporting MP, who opposed Theresa May's deal once then backed it twice, echoed many colleagues when he said he was supporting Johnson because he believes he can win the Tories an election.

"My support for Boris is not primarily about Brexit," said the MP. "Brexit is important but keeping Corbyn out of Downing Street is much more important to me."

Echoing the lines trotted out by his campaign team and backers on the news, many MPs point to his two election wins as London Mayor, a city where a majority of voters traditionally back Labour.
But Boris's coalition of support could soon implode
The key to Johnson's success has been his remarkable success at persuading Conservative MPs on both sides of the Brexit divide to back him.

He has the support of diehard Brexiteers like Dominic Raab, Steve Baker, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, who have lent Johnson their support on the grounds that he is best placed to take the UK out of the EU with or without a deal on October 31.

But he is also supported by many dozens of Remain-supporting MPs who are desperate to avoid no-deal in October, such as the Conservative MPs Robert Buckland and Damian Green.

How Johnson, who led the campaign to leave the EU, has managed this is unclear. However, the simple answer appears to be that, in a series of one-on-one meetings, he has simply told both Brexiteers and Leavers very different things.

One Brexit-supporting MP who backed May's deal told Business Insider: "I had a one-to-one conversation with Boris. The view there was much more about changing the current deal — not just about the backstop, although that was the most significant part."

This suggests that Johnson's plan is really just to make some changes to Theresa May's withdrawal deal and push it through parliament, rather than rip it up altogether, as some of his Brexit-supporting backers expect.

    Read More: All of the times Boris Johnson has broken his promises

Other moderates have jumped on the Boris bandwagon because they believe that Theresa May's personal unpopularity was the reason why she failed to pass her Brexit deal and that the more charismatic Johnson will be much more successful at persuading MPs.

However, that belief clashes strongly with what Steve Baker, who lent his support to Johnson two weeks ago, appears to believe about Johnson's plan.

"Boris Johnson is crystal clear that under his leadership, we would leave the EU by October 31, with or without a deal," he said. "The Withdrawal Agreement is dead. A Clean Managed Brexit is the way forward."

That has led some to conclude that Johnson's coalition of support could quickly collapse just as Theresa May's did before him, with the main difference being that Johnson starts off from a much weaker position than his predecessor.

While Johnson's team were keen to point out that he won the support of more than half the parliamentary party, Theresa May had significantly more support from her parliamentary colleagues when she was elected as Conservative leader back in 2016.

She hoovered up the support of 60.5% of her colleagues in the second and last round of voting, while Johnson managed just 51%.

For this reason Johnson's time at the top of his party could be short-lived.

As one Conservative MP told Business Insider: "It's going to implode."

"A campaign that includes Robert Buckland and Steve Baker? Someone's going to be disappointed."
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💩 BoJo's got Domestic Problems
« Reply #145 on: June 23, 2019, 12:00:21 AM »
Pitching Dishes in the 10 Downing Street kitchen?  What an image! lol.

He'll give Trumpovetsky a run for his money on who is the bigger Clown.


Boris Johnson's Brush With Police Puts Leadership Bid in Turmoil
By Robert Hutton and Tim Ross
June 21, 2019, 11:54 PM AKDT

Boris Johnson
Photographer: Luke Dray/Getty Images

    Spat with partner prompts concerned neighbors to phone police
    Incident revealed as Johnson prepares to face Hunt in hustings


Follow @Brexit on Twitter, join our Facebook group and sign up to our Brexit Bulletin.

Boris Johnson’s bid to become the U.K.’s next prime minister was thrown into turmoil after an argument with his partner prompted police to visit his London residence.

Officers were called to the home Johnson shares with Carrie Symonds shortly after midnight on Friday, six hours after he was confirmed as the front-runner in the race to succeed Theresa May.

Police said they found no cause for action as both Johnson and Symonds were safe and well after a neighbor raised concerns for her safety. But the incident dominated Saturday’s U.K. newspapers and threatened to damage Johnson’s campaign at a critical time in the Conservative Party leadership contest.

The front-runner is set to face his first public questions over the episode in front of an audience of Tory party members on Saturday. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, his only remaining rival in the contest, will also appear at the event in Birmingham, England.

Hunt wrote to Johnson on Friday evening before the altercation became public effectively accusing him of hiding from questions and avoiding media scrutiny. This latest incident will make that more difficult for the former London mayor as reporters are now staked out on his doorstep.

“Scrutiny can be uncomfortable,” Hunt wrote in the letter released to the media. ”But if we can’t handle it with friends, we won’t deserve to lead against our opponents.”

The Tory leadership election is a pivotal moment for Britain, with the two candidates due to spend the next few weeks at more than 15 similar events, known as hustings, as they battle for the votes of 160,000 grassroots members of Tory party.

The winner will have the chance to re-shape the country’s politics, and could dramatically alter its exit from the EU, which is due to take place in four months. For the EU, the prospect of a Johnson victory would be their worst nightmare. Many European officials blame Johnson for Brexit -- he led the 2016 referendum Vote Leave campaign -- and regard him as a dishonest populist intent on wrecking the bloc.

Police were called early Friday morning to the London apartment that Boris Johnson, the favorite to succeed Theresa May as British prime minister, shares with his partner Carrie Symonds, after a neighbor reported an altercation.

“At 00:24hrs on Friday, June 21, police responded to a call from a local resident,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement. “The caller was concerned for the welfare of a female neighbor. Police attended and spoke to all occupants of the address, who were all safe and well. There were no offences or concerns apparent to the officers and there was no cause for police action.”

Johnson’s spokesman declined to comment. The Guardian reported that a neighbor had heard screaming, shouting and banging, and become worried.

Johnson left his second wife, Marina Wheeler, last year.
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💩 BoJo is Prime Clown
« Reply #146 on: July 24, 2019, 08:11:35 AM »
<a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>
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💩 Boris Johnson takes his revenge and sacks over half the cabinet
« Reply #147 on: July 25, 2019, 12:18:32 AM »

Boris Johnson takes his revenge and sacks over half the cabinet

New PM shows ruthless streak as he packs team with Brexiters and rightwingers

Heather Stewart and Rowena Mason

Wed 24 Jul 2019 17.33 EDT
Last modified on Wed 24 Jul 2019 19.55 EDT

The day Boris Johnson became prime minister – video highlights

Boris Johnson has signalled his ruthless determination to deliver Brexit and stoked speculation about an early general election by sacking more than half of Theresa May’s cabinet and packing his team with Vote Leave veterans and rightwing free marketers.

Despite the new prime minister’s repeated insistence that he is a one-nation Conservative, he handed the job of home secretary to Priti Patel, who advocated the return of capital punishment as recently as 2011, and the Treasury to Thatcher devotee Sajid Javid.

Dominic Raab, who made headlines during his own leadership campaign when he said he would not call himself a feminist, is the new foreign secretary, and will be Johnson’s stand-in at prime minister’s questions.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chair of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, which led calls for May to be deposed, is the new leader of the House of Commons.
This is a Vote Leave government now. There will be no one else to blame
Jonathan Freedland
Jonathan Freedland
Read more

Johnson’s rival for the leadership, Jeremy Hunt, and his supporters fell victim to a merciless purge. Hunt himself turned down a demotion from foreign secretary to defence secretary and instead chose to return to the backbenches.

Johnson had already sparked consternation among some colleagues by announcing that Dominic Cummings, the controversial director of the Vote Leave campaign, would be a senior adviser in his Downing Street team.

Cummings is a seasoned campaigner, and his arrival at Johnson’s side increased expectations among MPs that a general election will be triggered within months.

As Johnson prepared to enter No 10 for the first time after returning from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, where the Queen had confirmed his appointment, he promised to defy “the doubters, the doomsters and the gloomsters”.

He insisted he would strike a “new deal” with the EU27, without the “anti-democratic backstop” and complete Brexit before the Halloween deadline. “The buck stops here,” he said.

“We are going to fulfil the repeated promises of parliament to the people and come out of the EU on 31 October, no ifs or buts,” he said.

“I have every confidence that in 99 days’ time we will have cracked it. But you know what, we aren’t going to wait 99 days, because the British people have had enough of waiting. The time has come to act, to take decisions, to give strong leadership and to change this country for the better.”

Johnson also made a series of one nation-style policy pledges. He promised to recruit another 20,000 police officers, stop people having to wait three weeks to see their GP, begin 20 new hospital upgrades, and boost schools spending per pupil.

But the new prime minister then crossed to his office in the Commons, where he carried out a comprehensive cull of cabinet ministers who had backed Hunt, or criticised his approach or policies.
Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
Read more

Other victims of the clearout included Scottish secretary David Mundell, education secretary Damian Hinds and defence secretary Penny Mordaunt.

In assembling his new top team, Johnson turned to trusted Vote Leave colleagues, including Raab, Patel, Theresa Villiers, who is the new environment secretary, and Andrea Leadsom, who will be business secretary.

Former defence secretary Gavin Williamson will be education secretary, despite having been sacked by May less than three months ago on suspicion of leaking security secrets. Patel was also fired by May, for organising private meetings in Israel without informing officials.

As recently as 2011, Patel said, “I do think that when we have a criminal justice system that continuously fails in the country and where we have seen murderers and rapists … reoffend and do those crimes again and again, I think that’s appalling. On that basis alone I would support the reintroduction of capital punishment to serve as a deterrent.” By 2016 she had changed her mind, however.

Critics swiftly labelled Johnson’s new administration the most rightwing since the 1980s. SNP MP Pete Wishart said, “Boris Johnson’s nightmare Tory government is shaping up to be the worst since Thatcher – packed full of extreme Brexiteers and rabid rightwingers who want to drag us back to a bygone era.”

Former Tory MP Nick Boles, who quit the party over his colleagues’ failure to compromise on Brexit, tweeted: “The hard right has taken over the Conservative Party. Thatcherites, libertarians and No Deal Brexiters control it top to bottom.”

    Nick Boles MP (@NickBoles)

    The hard right has taken over the Conservative Party. Thatcherites, libertarians and No Deal Brexiters control it top to bottom. Liberal One Nation Conservatives have been ruthlessly culled. Only a few neutered captives are being kept on as window dressing. 1/
    July 24, 2019

Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general who has led the battle against a no-deal Brexit, was cutting about Johnson in an interview on Sky News, saying: “I don’t share his optimism about his opinion of himself.”

Asked how he would describe him, the Conservative MP said: “He’s a charlatan. That is the clear evidence of his career and the way he has operated politically.”

He added: “Those of us who have worked alongside him and had a chance of watching him can see for ourselves his modus operandi and his capacity both for deception and self-deception and those are the two ingredients of charlatanism.”

Ian Lavery, the Labour party chair, said: “Boris Johnson’s first act as PM has been to appoint a cabinet of hardline conservatives who will only represent the privileged few.”

Johnson will hold his first cabinet meeting at No 10 on Thursday morning, before making a statement to the Commons, where he is likely to receive a foretaste of the challenges that await him if he is to secure a majority for any new Brexit deal.

Several cabinet veterans, including Greg Clark, David Gauke and Philip Hammond, have made clear they intend to continue making the case against a no-deal Brexit from the backbenches – and using every parliamentary device they can to tie their new leader’s hands.

Asked about the prospect of an autumn poll, Rees-Mogg told ITV’s Robert Peston: “It is clearly not the policy of the government to bring about a general election.” But he added: “It’s impossible to rule out, looking at the parliamentary arithmetic.”

Earlier, Johnson was joined outside Downing Street by his partner, Carrie Symonds, who has stayed away from the limelight in recent weeks following the furore over their late-night row.

Members of his new staff also lined up to hear him, including Andrew Griffith, a Sky executive who lent him a £9.5m townhouse to plan his campaign and will become his business adviser, and Munira Mirza, one of his deputies as London mayor, who will become No 10 policy chief.

Matt Hancock, who threw his weight behind Johnson after abandoning his own tilt at the top job, and has been a key public face of his campaign, will remain as health secretary.
A cabinet purged: ‘I hope Boris has thought this through properly’
Read more

Hancock had said on Wednesday morning that, “uniting the party, and through that then uniting the country, is a really important part of what Boris is talking about”.

But Johnson’s picks for the top table pointed to a decision to assemble an ideologically coherent top team, rather than placating fretful remainers.

Allies said that as the new prime minister had indicated during his leadership campaign, every member of his hand-picked cabinet is fully committed to delivering Brexit, come what may, on 31 October.

Cummings’s old boss, Michael Gove, another Vote Leave veteran, will be chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster – the ceremonial title previously held by May’s cabinet fixer, David Lidington, who resigned on Wednesday rather than serve in a Johnson administration.

Gove has been handed the task of overseeing preparations for a no-deal Brexit, a job that previously fell to the Department for Exiting the EU. Brexiters have long claimed the government was not doing enough to get ready for the possibility of leaving.
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💩 Boris Johnson's new-look cabinet to meet for first time
« Reply #148 on: July 25, 2019, 12:36:49 AM »

Boris Johnson's new-look cabinet to meet for first time

Six of the new-look cabinet (clockwise from left): Boris Johnson; Sajid Javid; Priti Patel; Dominic Raab; Gavin Williamson; Ben Wallace

Boris Johnson's new cabinet will meet for the first time on Thursday morning, before the new prime minister addresses the House of Commons.

On Wednesday, Mr Johnson gave key roles to leading Brexiteers.

Dominic Raab and Priti Patel returned to government as foreign secretary and home secretary respectively.

And Sajid Javid became chancellor - as more than half of Theresa May's old cabinet, including leadership rival Jeremy Hunt, quit or were sacked.

Other key appointments included:

    Stephen Barclay: Brexit secretary (retains post)
    Michael Gove: Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and no-deal Brexit planning
    Ben Wallace: Defence secretary
    Liz Truss: International trade secretary
    Matt Hancock: Health secretary (retains post)
    Gavin Williamson: Education secretary
    Nicky Morgan: Culture secretary
    Andrea Leadsom: Business secretary
    Amber Rudd: Work and pensions secretary (retains post)
    Jacob Rees-Mogg: Leader of the Commons
    See the full cabinet here

Media captionJacob Rees-Mogg learns of new role from the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg

Following his appointment, Mr Rees-Mogg, who led the pro-Brexit Tory European Research Group (ERG), denied there had been a "Leave" takeover of the cabinet.

"Boris is bringing the country together, the party together, through his cabinet appointments," he said.

    Live updates as new cabinet prepares to meet
    How much would PM's shopping list cost?
    In Pictures: Boris Johnson becomes UK's new PM

Mr Johnson's new cabinet saw 17 of Mrs May's former senior ministers being axed or stepping down.

Former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he had been offered an alternative role but had turned it down, while leading Brexiteers Penny Mordaunt and Liam Fox were also replaced as defence secretary and international trade secretary respectively.

Both supported Mr Hunt in the Tory leadership contest.
The cabinet in numbers

    ministers entitled to attend - up from 29 under Theresa May

    48average age - down from 51

    26%female - down from 31%

    12Leave supporters (in 2016) - up from six

Source: PA
'A prime minister in a hurry'

These are the decisions of a prime minister in a hurry.

One who is aware that he's up against the clock.

One who has to pull off - within a few months - what his predecessor could not manage over years.

The team surrounding Boris Johnson has been put together with one goal in mind - to help him keep the promise he's made, to see the country leave the European Union in good time.

Number 10 believes it shows strength of purpose - a new administration determined and willing to take decisions after years of drift and disappointment.

Brexit believers have the top roles. But it is not a cabinet made up purely of the most burning Eurosceptics.

Read more from Laura

Mr Johnson used his first speech as prime minister to reiterate his determination to take the UK out of the EU by the 31 October "no ifs, no buts".

The UK was originally supposed to leave the EU on 29 March but the deadline was moved to 31 October, after MPs rejected Mrs May's withdrawal deal three times.

    Who are Boris Johnson's key advisers?

Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell said if Mr Johnson campaigned on the platform of a no-deal Brexit in any forthcoming general election, his own party would "almost certainly be Remain".

However, he told ITV that Labour would still look at any new deal Mr Johnson negotiated with the EU.

"But at the moment I can't see him stitching up a deal that's acceptable either to Labour or to quite a bit of his own side as well - so it looks as though we will then be in a straight situation between a no deal and Remain," he added.

Meanwhile, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to the new prime minister to say it is "essential" Scotland has an alternative option to his Brexit plan - and to indicate she would continue to press for a referendum on Scottish independence.
Media captionBoris Johnson's first speech as UK PM: "Never mind the backstop, the buck stops here"
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Kamikaze Boris Johnson Risks Becoming Britain’s Shortest-Serving PM
« Reply #149 on: July 25, 2019, 07:40:01 AM »
Kamikaze Boris Johnson Risks Becoming Britain’s Shortest-Serving PM
Johnson doubles down on an unlikely bid to take Britain out of the European Union in just 99 days. A dangerous early election could be the only way out of his aggressive gambit.

Nico Hines
London Editor
Updated 07.25.19 7:51AM ET / Published 07.25.19 3:48AM ET

Oli Scarff/Getty
LONDON—Boris Johnson’s first act as British prime minister was to launch himself on a spectacular collision course with reality.

Instead of pivoting towards conciliation as he stood on the steps of Downing Street, the new Conservative leader lashed out at the “doomsters” and “gloomsters” who have failed to extricate Britain safely from the European Union over three agonizing years of negotiation at home and abroad.

Even before the Queen formally invited him to become Britain’s next prime minister, a raft of anti-Johnson Conservative lawmakers had quit the government in protest. The new PM chose to respond with a purge of his opponents in the most savage cabinet reshuffle in decades and the appointment of one of the most controversial bomb-throwers in Westminster as his senior adviser.

Johnson, who led the Leave campaign during the Brexit referendum, claims he can solve the Brexit conundrum in just three months. It’s either a pledge of great bravery or colossal hubris. Either way it is very likely that it will lead to Johnson putting the keys to No. 10 on the line in an early general election.

Twice on Wednesday he repeated the campaign pledge made to Conservative Party members, who selected him to replace Theresa May, that he would have Brexit wrapped up by Halloween. He says he wants Britain to leave the European Union with a new deal, which means either convincing Europe to abandon the red lines it's stuck to since 2016 or forcing the House of Commons to change its mind and approve a version of May’s deal that was brutally rejected by lawmakers on three occasions.

The only other option is to take Britain out of the E.U. without a deal, which parliament also has voted against repeatedly. He could try and force a No-Deal Brexit through against the will of Parliament, but that would break with centuries of political precedent.

Johnson finds himself in an almost impossible position. It’s going to take more than optimism to secure Britain’s exit from the E.U., but he made it clear that he would take personal responsibility for doing just that. “The buck stops here,” he said, as crowds of protesters booed and shouted over his first speech as prime minister.

If Parliament won’t let him deliver what he has promised to deliver, he’s going to need a new Parliament—and that means an election.

The big strategic question facing Johnson on the first night in the apartment above his new offices at No. 10 is whether to face up to reality before he crashes headfirst into the obstinacy of EU leaders and parliamentary opponents, or wait until after the damage has been done.

If he spends the three months trying to negotiate a new deal with Europe and convince a skeptical parliament to accept it, he runs the risk of being forced into an election soon after October 31 when he has failed to deliver his trademark pledge. Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is waiting in the wings and ready to crush the Conservatives just as they did in this year’s European elections.

The alternative would be Johnson calling a snap election ahead of the deadline and asking the nation to back his vision by returning a more strongly pro-Brexit set of lawmakers to rubberstamp his approach.

Either of those scenarios could leave him at risk of usurping George Canning, who was Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister—in office from April 1827 for 119 days until his premature death at the age of 57.

Johnson’s best chance of avoiding that ignominy is to convince the current parliament to back whatever deal he can eke out of Brussels. Unfortunately for him, May has handed over a tiny working majority of just two lawmakers in the House of Commons, which means Johnson will be sweating over every vote.

The parliamentary arithmetic makes Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle all the more surprising. By losing at least half of the cabinet of lawmakers he inherited from May, Johnson has created a whole host of new enemies.

He fired Jeremy Hunt, his final opponent for the leadership, as well as Hunt’s backers Liam Fox and Penny Mordaunt, even though they were arch-Brexiteers. The Remain-leaning lawmakers have also been booted out of a cabinet that May had tried to balance between the rival factions.

Johnson has disregarded that notion and appears to be rebuilding the Vote Leave organization inside No. 10.

One outgoing minister told The Daily Beast: “It’s the Brexiteers’ wet dream of a Cabinet. The test is whether securing, as they have, every office of state they can now deliver Brexit. Backs to the wall, Dunkirk spirit, underdog rhetoric won’t be enough. The clock is ticking and all hinges upon success—the prime minister, the government, the party, the country.”

Perhaps the clearest sign that Johnson is planning a scorched earth policy rather than looking to build consensus is his choice of Dominic Cummings as senior adviser. Cummings was portrayed as the genius behind the Brexit referendum win—played by Benedict Cumberbatch in a recent HBO movie—but he is also known as one of the most abrasive characters in politics.

He became one of the few people in modern times to be found in contempt of parliament earlier this year for refusing to appear at a committee hearing, and former Prime Minister David Cameron once reportedly described him as a “career psychopath.”

Cummings has been scathing not just about his Brexit opponents but many of those on the same side. He attacked the group of hardline Brexiteers whom May struggled to control, saying they should be “treated like a metastasizing tumor and excised from the U.K. body politic.”

He described the pro-Brexit lawmaker tasked with negotiating the May deal as “thick as mince and lazy as a toad.”

Cummings is also renowned as an electoral strategist, raising the prospect that he has been appointed to help oversee an impending election, or perhaps even a second referendum, if that becomes the only option left on the table.

Johnson has sidelined the party’s big beasts and surrounded himself with a cadre of political outsiders like Cummings and his new Home Secretary (interior minister) Priti Patel, who was forced out of May’s cabinet when it emerged that she had been holding secret meetings with the Israeli government behind the prime minister’s back.

Johnson likes to ham up comparisons between himself and Winston Churchill, but after writing a biography of the leader who prevailed against Hitler in World War II he should know that Churchill’s over-ambitious and under-prepared early forays did not always end in success.

In World War I, Churchill drew up a bold plan to open a second front by attacking the Ottoman Empire, but he was not granted the number of troops he requested. In a fit of blind optimism over reality, Churchill ordered an amphibious attack on what is now Turkey to go ahead anyway. The result was the notorious bloodbath at the Battle of Gallipoli.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound


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