Tag Archives: Boris

The news in tweets: Thursday, July 13, 2023

Martin Lewis: he’s really not happy with Oliver Dowden.

This one’s for all of you who want some real news alongside your daily revelations about “BBC presenter” – or who simply didn’t care about that ‘dead cat’ story.

Martin Lewis corrects the record after Oliver Dowden falsely claimed he supported the Tories

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis does not take kindly to suggestions that he supports any political party over the others.

So it was only to be expected that, after Oliver Dowden claimed he supported the government on a point in the government’s Mortgage Charter, he would be… miffed.

Here’s what he had to say:

For those of you who can’t (or can’t be bothered to) click on “Show more”, he continued: ‘…benches.”

‘I am party independent. I’ve had constructive conversations with both the Chancellor and the Shadow Chancellor about mortgage support.

‘I do not appreciate being used in party-political spats. It is correct that I support those specific measures in the mortgage charter, mainly as they were my suggestions (so in a way ‘they’re’ supporting what ‘I’ said) and both major parties proposed similar – but that should not be taken as a read-across to favouring any party, even just within the mortgage agenda.’

This Writer wondered, after PMQs, how many falsehoods Dowden would be caught out on in deputy Prime Minister’s Questions this week. I named two at the time.

This is another. How many more were there?

Join the demonstration to save ticket offices

This is happening today (Thursday, July 12, 2023). Information courtesy of the Peace and Justice Project founded by Jeremy Corbyn:

The government’s plans to close 1,000 ticket offices in England – this latest attack on railway workers – puts thousands of jobs at risk and, if these proposed changes go ahead, there will be serious implications on millions of elderly, disabled and vulnerable commuters who rely on the personal touch of a ticket office to arrange and support their travel.

We must resist these closures.

Tomorrow, the RMT is hosting a national day of action, leafleting and speaking to commuters outside train stations up and down the country. And in London there will be a demo outside Kings Cross with speakers including Jeremy Corbyn. Together, we must demand that ticket offices remain open – click here to find your nearest action.

The opposition to these ticket office closures has been immense, with commuters writing in to local papers, posting on social media and making it known that they oppose these closures. The government have also opened a consultation on these closures which closes in just two weeks. If you haven’t already, please fill in the consultation – click here, select your local train station and make your views known.

Write to your MP

You can also write to your MP and ask them to raise this issue in Parliament and support the campaign to save our ticket offices. You can use this letter-writing tool, created by our comrades at the RMT, which only takes a few minutes to fill out. As the consultation period is brief, it is absolutely vital that we ensure this issue is at the very top of the parliamentary agenda in the weeks to come.  Click on the link and demand your MP stands up for railway workers and the millions of commuters who rely on them to support their journeys.

Sign the petition to make sure the Tories stick to the law – and don’t send any refugees to Rwanda

Are we seriously being asked to believe nobody in Boris Johnson’s office or the government knows how to switch on a phone?

Look at this, which I believe is from the Covid Inquiry. Simon Case is the Cabinet Secretary and head of the civil service:

“I thought it was handed over” is legal-speak to avoid actually saying anything.

In fact, we all know the phone wasn’t handed over. Apparently Boris Johnson has a ‘team’, alongside people from – oh dear – the Cabinet Office, trying to switch on ‘Phone 1’, but none of them know how to do it.

They say they fear security breaches, because the phone’s number was public knowledge for 15 years before Johnson twigged that this might be a bad idea and switched it off in April 2021 (if you believe in that sort of thing).

In fact, if anyone interested in breaching the UK’s security wanted to hack that phone, they would have done it long before Johnson got near the “off” switch. Also, any compromising information in it should have been changed long ago. There really is no reason not to simply switch it back on.

Alternatively, since WhatsApp messages aren’t actually stored on the phone anyway, why don’t they all just access the cloud storage that actually does hold that information, as people (including This Writer) have been telling them to do for many months?

While the government was defending itself for painting over mural at one child refugee centre, it was painting over other murals at other centres

This is cruelty for its own sake:

Lords defeat Tory government again over Illegal Migration Bill


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The news in tweets: Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Who thought we could see this again? It perfectly sums up Boris Johnson’s behaviour towards the Covid Inquiry over his mobile phone and the WhatsApp messages therein.

Boris Johnson refuses to hand over mobile phone containing Covid WhatsApps by inquiry deadline

This is more complicated than it seems. If you were to take Carol Vorderman’s tweet at face value…

… you might think she was saying he hasn’t handed over any of the WhatsApp messages he received and sent at that time. This is not true.

The story is about “Phone 1” – the telephone he used up until April 2021, but (allegedly) switched off amid claims that it could have been hacked by a foreign power.

Johnson himself reckons he is trying to comply with the Covid Inquiry’s demand for the information but is working with government security officials on a way to turn on the old phone without creating a security emergency.

But here’s the thing: the security breach happened long ago – he switched the phone off (he says) because it emerged that his phone number had been public knowledge for 15 years. Apparently this means it could have been hacked.

In that case, it seems to sane people, he should have left it on and handed it to the security people two years ago, so they could work out what possibly compromising information could have been lifted from it by hostile foreign governments (or even teenage hackers living down the road).

He didn’t do that, so…

Yes. When will that happen?

Oh, and it should be possible to retrieve the WhatsApp messages by other means anyway. Why haven’t these “experts” tried that already?

Government response to ‘Kindertransport’ lord on removal of mural at child refugee centre is shockingly insensitive

Lord Alf Dubs, who was himself once a refugee from a foreign country (Germany before World War II – he was a Jewish child who arrived on the Kindertransport) asked the government why it cruelly ordered that a welcoming mural at a child refugee centre in Kent should be over-painted. Here’s the response:

Jessica Simor is right: it is incredibly insensitive of this Tory lord to tell a fellow peer – who was welcomed into the UK as a child – that national policy is now to make the country as unwelcoming as possible.

It seems the government has regressed – de-civilised – during the last 13 years of Tory misrule.

The big Tory wage lie

Read:

Why would the Tories say wages are rising at record rates?

Could it be to justify their demand that they need to be held down in order to slow inflation?

If so, it’s a false argument – as Richard Burgon makes clear:

Here’s some proof about the corporate profits:

Sainsbury’s wouldn’t be paying its chief executive so much if he wasn’t raking in the Long Green.

So it’s definitely the big profits that are pushing up inflation. And what is the Tory government doing about it?

Look:

And here’s a pertinent comment on that choice:

He’s joined in his crackdown on your livelihood by fellow millionaire Andrew Bailey, head honcho at the Bank of England:

Is this the reason Ed Balls tried to dominate the discussion of George Osborne’s wedding on Monday?


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What did we learn from the big vote on Boris?

Theresa May: she used the Partygate Inquiry debate to lay into not just Boris Johnson, but current prime minister Rishi Sunak as well.

The big takeout from yesterday’s (Monday, June 18, 2023) vote on the Partygate report is that Rishi Sunak is a weaker leader than anyone thought he was.

As prime minister, it was his duty to support the report because it represents a duty of Parliament, duly done.

But he didn’t even bother to turn up, let alone vote in support of the Privileges Committee’s damning indictment of Boris Johnson’s Partygate lies – most probably because he didn’t want to anger Johnson’s remaining supporters.

Former prime minister Theresa May is widely believed to have criticised Sunak’s spinelessness in her speech:

The implication is that Sunak’s own claim to be restoring the integrity of the government were just a lot of hot air if he could not even bring himself to support a report giving just one example of how that integrity had been lost.

And how many supporters did Johnson have?

Some might say only seven – the Tory MPs who actually voted against the report’s findings. They were Desmond Swayne, Joy Morrisey, Karl McCartney, Adam Holloway, Heather Wheeler, Nick Fletcher and Bill Cash.

Already some net-based wags have been having fun at their – and Johnson’s – expense:

Some might say Johnson’s support base actually totalled 232 – as 225 Tories either abstained or stayed away altogether, like Sunak. But it is just as easy to say they were all cowards like Sunak.

We do know that 118 Tories voted to support the report and its one remaining recommendation – that Johnson be denied a “former member’s pass” to parts of the Parliamentary estate, essentially banishing him from the Palace of Westminster.

In all, 354 MPs voted to support the report – 54 per cent of the total number of MPs.

Wild claims that the Partygate Inquiry was somehow rigged, or carried out improperly, must now be laid to rest because Parliament has spoken and its voice is sovereign.

Johnson did lie, repeatedly and knowingly, and that’s all there is to it.

Now it seems likely the focus will alter, most likely moving on to examine Johnson’s resignation honours list and whether it has any validity, considering the prime minister who wrote it now stands disgraced and several of the people named in it are also facing allegations about their own behaviour.

Johnson himself may also linger in public life for some time to come – not least because his testimony to the Covid-19 Inquiry has yet to become public – and is already controversial.


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Tories to vote on Boris Johnson Partygate report as outrage rises over Partygate video

Johnson’s attitude: satirists created this image in 2021 – and now we find that it was more or less accurate. The video of a lockdown-busting party demonstrates the first two elements, and the responses of Tories to criticism of it demonstrates the third. The people are incandescent with fury at this high-handed ‘one rule for you, another for us’ attitude, and are baying for Boris Johnson’s blood.

Another pal of Boris Johnson has been identified in the lockdown-busting party video that became public knowledge over the weekend:

She joins other identified Tories including Shaun Bailey (made a peer in Johnson’s honours) and Ben Mallet (given an OBE in Johnson’s honours). Bailey has tried to dismiss the matter out-of-hand – indicating that this entitled Tory twit doesn’t understand that he has absolutely no control over the news agenda and if the public is outraged, he’ll have to put up with it:

Elsewhere, questions have arisen over another video clip, in which Jacob Rees-Mogg (knighted in Johnson’s honours list) said a Christmas party that broke Covid-19 lockdown rules would not be investigated by police. Why was he so sure?

Rees-Mogg has apparently claimed “officials” told him to say the rules had been followed at all times.

It’s not looking good, is it?

There are other problems with Johnson’s honours list…

Add it all up and you get comments like this from Private Eye‘s Ian Hislop:

Calls for Johnson’s honours list to be rejected in toto have proliferated, but spineless prime minister Rishi Sunak has run away from the responsibility for dealing with this controversy dumped on his doorstep by his forerunner.

Sunak has also run like a rabbit from the responsibility of making his position clear on how his Tory MPs should vote on the recommendation of the Partygate Inquiry.

While all this is going on, it seems other matters may be going unnoticed.

For example:

Yes indeed.

What happened to all that PPE that Michelle Mone got the Tory government to buy, only to find it couldn’t be used?


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Labour MP ‘vindicated’ for calling Boris Johnson a liar. Shame her party didn’t support her then or now

Dawn Butler: vindicated.

After the Commons Privileges Committee published its report on Partygate, saying Boris Johnson is a liar, I sent this tweet to Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central:

She didn’t answer – at least, not directly. She didn’t have to.

The following day, an article by Ms Butler appeared in Metro – exhaustively detailing her feelings about having been thrown off the Parliamentary estate in 2021 and her thoughts about the situation now.

She reckons the system is broken because there is no way to highlight wrongdoing by people in the highest offices in the UK without being penalised for it – and she wants change.

But she admits she isn’t likely to get it, because a corrupt House of Commons wants to keep its corrupt system. Or at least, that’s how it seems to This Writer.

Ms Butler stated:

I feel vindicated.

But I am also more adamant than ever that the system must change.

When I first labelled Boris Johnson a liar, I was ridiculed by Tory MPs, criticised by sections of the press and received a barrage of hateful messages online.

Perhaps worst of all, I felt unsupported by many in my own party.

What kept me going in those dark days was the masses of positive messages I received from the public, outweighing the abuse. So many people wanted to thank me, saying how refreshing it was to see someone call out the lies.

And now that a committee of MPs has made a ruling on Boris Johnson’s cavalier approach to the truth, I’m more glad than ever that I made that stand.

But she said changing the system is uphill work:

We need the system to be strengthened and mechanisms put in place to ensure that Prime Ministers like Johnson are tackled early on, to minimise damage to our democracy. We cannot go through this again.

Because it could happen again. His casual approach to the truth, after all, paid off for him until now. He held the highest office in the land and has been making millions since.

And we must ensure that when they have broken the rules, they cannot run away from accountability.

The most frustrating element for me is the fact that the Prime Minister is the ultimate arbiter of the ministerial code. When Johnson was PM, he was the judge and jury over whether he or any of his ministers had broken said code – as evidenced when he overruled his own ethics adviser to decide that then Home Secretary Priti Patel could stay in a job.

In 2021, I tabled an Early Day Motion 383 stating that trust in the code had been eroded, and that breaches should be investigated by the House as a whole rather than the Prime Minister. To date, I’ve received an impressive 105 signatures.

So just 106 out of 650 MPs believe the current corrupt system – that allowed Boris Johnson to lie repeatedly to the nation and ensure that his cronies kept the top governmental jobs, no matter how badly they misbehaved – should change.

It seems to This Writer that the problem isn’t just Boris Johnson but also most of the other MPs infesting the House of Commons – including those members of Ms Butler’s own party who did not support her when she was victimised for telling the truth and do not support her call for reform now.

Source: I was demonised for calling Boris Johnson a liar – I feel vindicated | UK News | Metro News


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Partygate video is just more evidence that Boris Johnson’s honours list should be binned

Shaun Bailey: at the time of his (failed) London Mayoral campaign he was labelled the Conservative candidate for Islamophobia, sexism and misogyny. Why should he be permitted to join the House of Lords after that, and after we found out a lockdown-busting party was held for him while we were all following his government’s rules?

I’m only writing about this to get it out of the way.

The appropriate time for this video to have become public knowledge was December 15, 2020 – the day after it was shot.

Now it is just a distraction from current misuses of power by the Conservatives in government – and their Opposition counterparts. You’ll have to read other articles on This Site for details of those, though.

Here’s the video to which I refer, which has been obtained and released by the Mirror:

Then-London Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, for whom the party was thrown, has been ennobled in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list and will now sit in the House of Lords, having failed to be elected into any position of power democratically. This is cronyism – he simply has not done anything to deserve it.

And Ben Mallet, Bailey’s campaign manager who appears in the clip wearing white braces with red patterning, was given an OBE as a reward for his failure. He’s now running a campaign for Moz Hossain, who wants to be the Conservative candidate in next year’s London Mayoral election.

Earlier on December 14, 2020, then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock had given a speech at a Covid-19-related press conference, saying social distancing was the way to stop the disease from spreading:

You can read the speech and see a full video of it here, on the government’s website.

Levelling-Up Secretary Michael Gove, reacting to the video clip on Sky‘s Sophie Ridge show, has apologised for it (although This Writer isn’t clear whether he’s sorry that the event happened or that the clip has become public knowledge), saying “the fact that this party went ahead is indefensible”.

He said, “I want to apologise to everyone who, looking at that, will think these people are flouting the rules designed to protect us all.” Notice the phrasing; he apologised to those of us who “will think” these people were flouting the rules. So he made no admission that any such flouting actually happened, even though it is right there in vivid colour.

But he doesn’t seem to think the Metropolitan Police should reopen investigations into such events.

And he certainly won’t support calls for Bailey and Mallet to be stripped of their honours, despite the facts: not only did they do nothing to earn such awards but they disgraced themselves by rubbing our faces in the fact that they could ignore the rules by which were were being forced to live – and get away with it.

“The decision to confer honours on people was one that was made by Boris Johnson as an outgoing prime minister. Outgoing prime ministers have that right,” said Gove.

Do they? Do they have the right to confer honours on lawbreakers? To put one of them into Parliament where he will be able to corrupt the law-making process? This party was a criminal act at the time, remember.

And these are just two of the questionable names on Boris Johnson’s honours list. It seems clear that the whole thing should be withdrawn and investigations launched into whether it is appropriate for any of the people he named to receive anything at all.

Saying outgoing prime ministers have the right to honour anybody they want is not an acceptable justification.

Now that I have made that clear, please return to Vox Political later in the day, when I’ll be publishing articles about events happening now, that this story may be an attempt to obscure.


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Boris Johnson’s Daily Mail column is breach of Ministerial Code

Boris Johnson: if I was feeling uncharitable, I might suggest he’s checking the Daily Mail’s website to see what he has written.

Can he do anything right?

Here’s the Artist Taxi Driver to brighten your day with the latest silliness from Boris Johnson:

A quick trip to the Guardian website (others are available; this was simply the first mentioned in the clip above) confirms the facts:

Boris Johnson committed a “clear breach” of rules on former ministers taking up new jobs by telling an appointments body he was becoming a Daily Mail columnist only half an hour before the public announcement, the watchdog has said.

The former prime minister was unveiled as a new writer for the newspaper, a platform he is expected to use to be a thorn in the side of Rishi Sunak.

However, Johnson has become embroiled in a fresh breach of the ministerial code after it emerged that he had waited until almost the last moment before the public announcement to inform the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba).

A spokesperson said: “The ministerial code states that ministers must ensure that no new appointments are announced, or taken up, before the committee has been able to provide its advice. An application received 30 minutes before an appointment is announced is a clear breach.

“We have written to Mr Johnson for an explanation and will publish correspondence in due course, in line with our policy of transparency.”

There seems to be a mistake in there, as Johnson isn’t a minister any more and hasn’t been one for around nine months now, but I think we’re safe to conclude that the restriction applies to former ministers as well.

Did Johnson intend to break the rules? I doubt it. He’s just not particularly bothered about them.

It’s what being a moneyed, privileged rich kid who was born with his head up his own proverbial rectum will do for a person.


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Russell Howard’s farewell to Boris Johnson (Something for the weekend)

Boris Johnson: was this his expression after seeing Russell Howard’s summary of his time in office?

He may be frothing at the mouth with fury at the recommendations of the Commons Privileges Committee but we can still have a laugh at Boris Johnson’s expense.

Russell Howard has offered up a compilation of the best Boris Johnson moment from his TV show, which is just the thing to brighten up a hot and humid weekend.

Sadly, when trying to link it, I’ve discovered – well, read it for yourself. If you’re old enough (ha ha ha!) then please click on the link. It’s well worth it!


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Something for the weekend: Jonathan Pie on Boris Johnson’s resignation [STRONG LANGUAGE]

Those of you who are familiar with Jonathan Pie will not have expected him to let this one pass without comment.

Here he is in full flow – mixing excellent points that seem to have passed beyond the understanding of senior Tory MPs with the kind of vitriol that might burn your ears off. So be careful:

One point: while Harriet Harman certainly could not have removed Boris Johnson from Parliament by herself, and there was no recommendation for him to be removed at all, it is not true that his constituents were the only people who could force him out; MPs could have done it is a motion to change his punishment to expulsion were supported by the House of Commons.

Any argument about that is entirely academic though, because – as the estimable Mr Pie has observed – Boris Johnson quit of his own accord.


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Where is Boris Johnson’s apology to families who lost loved ones while he partied?

Boris Johnson: he’d rather sulk in public than do the one decent thing left to him.

Have we all forgotten the scandal underlying the Partygate scandal?

The reason the Downing Street parties were such a bad thing, and the reason it is so shameful that Boris Johnson lied to us all, is that thousands of people were dying while these parties were taking place.

The families of the deceased – including the then-Queen – were forced to observe social distancing rules laid down by Boris Johnson – rules which he and others were merrily breaking with after-the-event justifications that “imperfect” social distancing was perfectly acceptable rather than cancelling a gathering or holding it online (Partygate Report page 6).

The Commons’ Privileges Committee has rightly stated in its report that such justifications are unacceptable. There is no way to make it look reasonable or acceptable that these parties happened in the way they did, and that Johnson then lied about them, when families across the UK were suffering because of the rules the yobs in Downing Street were vomiting on.

Johnson has, of course, refused to accept the report and its conclusions. Instead, he has run away from Parliament, trailing a string of recriminations behind him. This is because he, too, is a yob.

If he had even a shred of decency, he would have made a full, frank and abject apology to everybody who lost loved ones and were prevented from mourning them properly by the rules he decided didn’t apply to him.

You see, he is presenting an appearance of being affronted by what has happened – but it happened because of what he chose to do. The bereaved families are actually aggrieved because of restrictions that he forced on them. That’s the difference.

As one of the bereaved has said, now is the time for contrition.

Instead, Boris Johnson has shown that he is so full of his own windy self-importance that he has not even spared a single thought for the consequences of his behaviour – its meaning for the millions of people who were struggling to cope with this, and all the other stupid, self-serving decisions Johnson made when he should have been governing in the national interest.

When the Tories slithered back into Downing Street in the first place, back in 2010, they did so with a lie that “we’re all in it together”. Remember?

If any of them has proved that the Tories aren’t “together” with the rest of us in any way at all, it is Boris Johnson. We must remember that.

And where’s his apology?


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