Posts Tagged ‘Conservatives’

Johnson’s ‘mission accomplished’ mode on Covid-19 shows how rattled he is | Martin Kettle

Keen to show he has a grip, the prime minister is gambling with people’s health as he tries to get back to Brexit

News that Boris Johnson is to take “direct control” of the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis raises more questions than it answers. What exactly has the prime minister been doing until now? Were we not also told, when he returned to work in April after his brush with death in St Thomas’ hospital, that he was resuming control then as well? Taking back control seems to be rather harder than it sounds. Maybe he should have grasped that a bit sooner. 

Trying to get a grip goes with the job. Prime ministers dream of being able to make an announcement, issue an order and then pull a lever or press a button so that things will happen. It almost never works, which is why prime ministers react by doing what Johnson has just done. They shake up Downing Street. They bring in new people. They form new committees. Then they try again. Sometimes the problem is the prime minister. More often the problem is the state machine. In Johnson’s case it is both, which is a bad combination.

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EU has no legal duty to give UK trade privileges, document says

Paper concludes EU does not have to offer privileges given to others in previous deals

The EU has no legal duty to grant the UK privileges offered to other countries in trade deals, an internal European parliament paper has concluded ahead of a crucial round of Brexit talks this week.

The document, drawn up by officials for the parliament’s UK coordination group, is a short analysis of arguments made by the UK’s chief negotiator, David Frost, in a letter to his counterpart, Michel Barnier. Frost accused the EU of treating the UK as an “unworthy” negotiating partner by denying the UK “the kind of well-precedented arrangements commonplace in modern FTAs [free trade agreements]”.

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I am a committed Leaver. But I believe Dominic Cummings should resign

This is not political. The adviser’s behaviour created a moral issue, says a prominent Conservative MP

Let me first lay to rest some of the more ridiculous accusations that have been laid at the door of those of us who have called for Dominic Cummings to resign. These include: that this is a Remainer conspiracy to help reverse Brexit, that it is a leftwing campaign to destabilise the government, or that it is a coded attack on Boris Johnson.

Most of your readers will heartily disagree with my position on Brexit. I am a committed and determined Leaver. I have fought for us to leave the EU throughout my political career, and I am always alert to campaigns to derail this most important project to restore our national sovereignty. So, why, if this is a Remain coup, would I be supporting it?

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For years, the Tories have banked on impunity. Is their luck finally running out? | Andy Beckett

The party has clung to power by flouting political norms, but in the Cummings affair it faces an angry and contemptuous public

Will the Tories get away with it? In many ways, it’s been the central question in our politics since they squeaked back into government in 2010. Ever since they used the power vacuum after that year’s hung-parliament election to quickly cobble together a coalition with the Lib Dems, the Tories have been careering from one narrow scrape to the next.

Related: Tory anger at Dominic Cummings grows as 61 MPs defy Boris Johnson

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By backing Cummings, Johnson has laid bare his disdain for the British public | Martin Kettle

The prime minister’s self-centred endorsement of his overmighty adviser is an outrageous snub to the rest of us

The shadow of death still hangs over the country. The losses from the Covid-19 virus continue to mount. The end is not yet in sight. The way we live will be altered by the pandemic and its consequences for years to come. Amid the weight and seriousness of life-changing and life-ending events, how can the national conversation be dominated for three days by the bad behaviour of Dominic Cummings during the lockdown?

The answer is brutal but clear. It is because Cummings has so much power and has done so much to make this country what it is today, first because of Brexit, and now because of the mishandling of the pandemic. The furore over his rule-breaking cannot be dismissed as a bubble issue, especially after Boris Johnson backed him so comprehensively and divisively from the No 10 lectern today. Now, whether Cummings ultimately goes or stays, this is a choice that affects everyone and everything.

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How Dominic Cummings became indispensable to Boris Johnson

PM prizes aide’s ability to slice through complexities and has sought to defend him following lockdown breach

In Downing Street on Brexit night, 31 January this year, while Boris Johnson sounded a gong and quaffed Chateau Margaux, Dominic Cummings reportedly wept.

For Johnson, getting Brexit done was part and parcel of achieving his long-held ambition to be prime minister (the next best thing to “world king”, as the young Johnson once put it).

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