Boris Johnson news – latest: Ex-PM already planning ‘worst-case’ scenario by-election

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Question Time audience reveal if they thought Boris Johnson was telling MPs the truth

Boris Johnson is already preparing for a “worst case” scenario in which he has to fight a by-election he is expected to lose, allies have said.

MPs investigating whether the former prime minister intentionally misled parliament over his understanding of parties in Downing Street during the pandemic could recommend a suspension of more than 10 days, triggering a contest for his Uxbridge constituency.

“He is planning for the worst case, there’s no point in waiting until they’ve delivered their verdict,” an ally told The Times.

Tory pollster Lord Hayward told The Independent there was “no question” Mr Johnson would lose to Labour in a by-election.

Meanwhile, a senior Tory MP told The Independent the Partygate inquiry and a failed rebellion on Brexit were the “death throes of the Boris cult”, saying the “dying rump” of around 20 to 30 loyalists left would not be able to rebuild support for Mr Johnson in the parliamentary party.

Elsewhere, Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal for Northern Ireland was formally signed-off by James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, and the European Commission’s Maros Sefcovic at a meeting in London.


Boris Johnson to ‘step up’ campaigning as he ‘braces for worst-case scenario by-election’

Boris Johnson will step up campaigning in his constituency as concerns grow that he will face a by-election within months if he is found to have deliberately misled Parliament over Downing Street lockdown parties (Thomas Kingsley writes).

It comes after Tory polling guru Lord Hayward warned the former prime minister would lose his Uxbridge and Ruislip seat if he is punished severely by the cross-party committee and forced to fight for his seat.

According to The Times, Mr Johnson is planning for the “worst-case scenario”– that the committee imposes a 10-day suspension from the Commons, which could trigger a by-election.

Liam James24 March 2023 10:10

Liz Truss ‘trying to create a new peer for every 10 days in office’

Liz Truss has been accused of trying to reward failure following reports she plans to create a peer for every 10 days she spent in office.

The former prime minister is reported to have nominated at least four new members of the House of Lords, despite being in post for less than 50 tumultuous days.

The names on her resignation honours list include a Tory donor and a former long-time aide, according to the Sun.

Our politics and Whitehall editor Kate Devlin has the details:

Emily Atkinson25 March 2023 04:00

Two thirds do not believe Johnson’s partygate defence, polling suggests

More than two-thirds of people do not believe Boris Johnson’s defence of Downing Street partygate events, a snap poll has suggested.

The former prime minister has accepted that he attended five of the gatherings considered by the Privileges Committee but said he “honestly believed that these events were lawful work gatherings”.

Mr Johnson submitted written evidence in his defence this week before appearing in front of the committee on Wednesday for at times short-tempered testimony lasting more than three hours.

Maroosha Muzaffar25 March 2023 03:30

Met Police commissioner privately admits force is institutionally racist despite public denials, Labour claims

Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central and and Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour MP for Streatham, said that commissioner Rowley had agreed there was an issue with institutional racism in the force in previous meetings, but that he had backtracked due to “pressure” from the government.

Martha McHardy has more:

Emily Atkinson25 March 2023 03:00

Chris Blackhurst: We’ve set a trap for ourselves on Sunak and Starmer’s tax returns

For years, the Daily Mail and others have propounded the theory that the highest paid public employee in the country should be the prime minister, writes Chris Blackhurst.

They’ve gone further and used the salary – currently £164,951 – as the yardstick by which even private sector wages are measured. So we read that someone earns five times what the prime minister makes, which is another way of saying they’re greedy and paid too much.

Emily Atkinson25 March 2023 02:00

Editorial: The Bank of England will need steady hands to keep the country from recession

After the matinee panto performance of Boris Johnson as Pinocchio in the latest Westminster Palace of Varieties production, the Bank of England brings the nation back to reality with a bump – that is, another upwards bump to the mortgage and credit card bill.

Read our latest editorial here:

Emily Atkinson25 March 2023 01:00

Sturgeon jokes about lie-in on first day of life after government

Outgoing first minister Nicola Sturgeon has joked she may “have a lie-in” on Wednesday morning – her first without any government responsibilities in 16 years.

Speaking to LBC Radio on Friday as she completed her last official engagement as first minister, Ms Sturgeon said stepping away from government will be a “wrench”.

She opened a £33 million orthopaedics facility at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, Fife, on Friday, just days before the SNP leadership race ends and her successor is announced.

She said: “The adjustment after 16 years in government to not being in government is going to be really difficult.

“Wednesday morning is the first time in 16 years I will wake up with no government responsibilities.

“I don’t yet know what I’m going to do. Maybe have a lie-in.

“I’ve taken up hillwalking, I’ll maybe go for a walk up a hill somewhere.”

Ms Sturgeon also shared a story about breaking her arm as a child when her grandmother’s dog pulled her over, in a nod to the National Treatment Centre that was being opened.

She said: “I’ve only broken one bone in my life, it was my arm and I got pulled off my feet by my gran’s dog and ended up in accident and emergency in the then Kilmarnock Hospital on a Saturday night.

“But that’s, so far, touch wood, the only time I’ve broken a bone.”

Emily Atkinson25 March 2023 00:00

Labour will deliver where SNP failed on renewable jobs for Scotland, says Starmer

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is promising a renewable energy jobs boost under plans which put Scotland at the heart of efforts to transform the UK into a “clean energy superpower”.

Sir Keir said Labour’s green prosperity plan would more than double the number of low-carbon jobs in Scotland – with the party promising more than 50,000 new direct and indirect jobs will be created in the renewable energy sector in Scotland alone over a decade.

While former first minister Alex Salmond once famously pledged that Scotland would be the “Saudi Arabia of renewable marine energy”, Sir Keir said the SNP in power had “chased the headlines but not done the work”.

He insisted: “Labour will deliver lower bills, good jobs, and energy security for Scotland, as Britain leads the world in the fight against climate change.”

The Labour leader was speaking as he visited the giant Beatrice wind farm off the Caithness coast in the far north of Scotland.

Currently Scotland’s largest operational offshore wind farm, the development has 84 turbines and is capable of generating enough electricity to power about 450,000 homes.

Emily Atkinson24 March 2023 23:00

Bank of England boss warns firms that raising prices will trigger higher interest rates

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has warned businesses that raising prices to “beat inflation” will force further rises in interest rates.

He urged companies to think twice before putting up prices, a day after the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee hiked interest rates to a 14-year high of 4.25 per cent.

But industry leaders warned that firms could be forced to cut jobs or even go under if they followed his suggestion.

Tara Cobham and Alastair Jamieson report:

Emily Atkinson24 March 2023 21:00


“A shining beacon of hope”, were the words used by British prime minister Rishi Sunak to describe Israel last year, writes Shawan Jabarin.

But for the Palestinian people, who are living under Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid regime and prolonged illegal occupation, as well as being subjected to discriminatory policies and practices manifested in almost all elements of their lives, the word hope does not come to mind.

Emily Atkinson24 March 2023 20:00