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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


BORIS CLINGS ON

by New Worker correspondent

BORIS JOHNSON is desperately clinging on whilst Tory rebels ramp-up the pressure to get rid of him following a vote of no confidence that Johnson only narrowly won by 211 to 148 on Monday. Sir Keir Starmer predictably says Johnson has lost the trust of country and is “utterly unfit” for office. But significantly the Labour leader has now raised the spectre of a return to Europe, saying a new Labour government would negotiate a better deal with the European Union.

The number of Tory MPs who voted against Johnson in the secret ballot called by the powerful 1922 Committee was far greater than expected. His future is clearly in doubt as the grandees lobby the other dissidents to close ranks around Jeremy Hunt, a leading Remainer, who is the still the bookies’ favourite to take Johnson’s job.

buy off

Some Tories are urging their leader to sack the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to buy off Hunt with the second-highest post in Government. But that would push Sunak into the rebels’ hands and, in any case, there’s no guarantee that Hunt would want to play second fiddle when the premiership that he has always wanted could now be in his grasp.

Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats have tabled a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister to give, as they say, “Parliament the chance to finally put an end to this nightmare”. Labour has not formally backed them although deputy leader Angela Rayner told the BBC that Labour would “consider all options” in the drive to dump Johnson.

Whereas a general election is triggered if the Commons passes a motion of no confidence in the Government, this particular Lib-Dem motion only focuses on the Prime Minister. Whether it even gets heard is debatable because it would need Government approval to grant time for such a Commons debate – and that is unlikely to be forthcoming.

A similar ploy by Labour against Mrs May in December 2018 was also denied time by her government in a move that was backed by the Speaker, John Bercow.

But two real votes later in the month, the by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton, could seal BoJo’s fate.

Wakefield is one of those ‘Red Wall’ seats the Tories took in 2019, in the general election in which they vowed to “get Brexit done”. But the new Tory MP, Imran Ahmad Khan, was forced to stand down in April after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008. He got 18 months and Labour looks set to retake the constituency with a 20 per cent lead over the Tories in the seat, according to the latest opinion poll.

Tiverton

In Tiverton, the Lib-Dems hope to oust the new Tory candidate in a by-election called after the former MP, Neil Parish, stood down after admitting that he had twice watched pornography on his mobile phone during sessions in the House of Commons.

Although this Devon seat has long been a Tory stronghold, the Lib-Dems hope that the current scandals that surround Johnson will lead to a massive swing in their favour when the time comes.

Whatever happens it’s a win–win for those who want to see us back in the Brussels strait-jacket. The Brexiteers should never have trusted Johnson or Starmer in the first place. Nor should they have let Nigel Farage head the campaign that he has now, to all intents and purposes, abandoned. Once Johnson’s gone all the parliamentary parties, including the nationalists, will have Remainer leaders.