Rebel Tory MPs plotting to oust Boris Johnson claim to have been subjected to blackmail and intimidation by the PM’s allies.
Good. What did they expect?
If Boris does have to fall on his broadsword sooner rather than later, he’ll only have himself to blame.
But until then he is entitled to the full support of wet-behind-the-ears backbenchers who owe him their fledgling parliamentary careers.
David Davis could have looked forward to a lucrative sinecure in the Lords. But if Boris survives he can forget it. Frankly, I’m baffled as to why he decided to make his grandiloquent gesture calling on the PM to resign immediately
Surely they didn’t kid themselves that he’d go down without a fight.
Yet William Wragg, vice-chairman of the 1922 Committee, has the nerve to complain that threats have been made against MPs planning to send in letters of no confidence.
He said they had been told that unless they fell in line behind the Prime Minister, public investment in their constituencies would be cancelled and embarrassing stories about their private lives would be leaked to the Press. Quite right, too.
What do these snowflakes think the Whips Office is there for? Blackmail and intimidation are part of the whips’ stock in trade. Digging up dirt on their own MPs is what they do.
One dishonourable Tory member with a minuscule majority actually crossed the floor of the House this week and defected to Labour. Not so much a matter of conscience as a chicken run, to be instantly forgotten and filed under: Man you’ve never heard of tries to cling on to a job you didn’t know he had
With a Damoclean sword hanging over his political future, Boris would be justified in dragging every single one of these ingrates to the top of Big Ben and dangling them out of the window by their ankles — a bit like Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps.
Politics is a rough old trade. Willie Wragg, even at the tender age of 34, should have been around long enough to realise that. He was first elected in 2015.
So he ought to know better than to whine about backbenchers being bullied by ministers and party officials. If you can’t take a good kicking now and again, you shouldn’t have joined.
Wragg even goes so far as to urge members who have been intimidated to make a complaint to the police. Oh, for crying out loud. As the Mail said yesterday: Grow Up!
One dishonourable Tory member with a minuscule majority actually crossed the floor of the House this week and defected to Labour. Not so much a matter of conscience as a chicken run, to be instantly forgotten and filed under: Man you’ve never heard of tries to cling on to a job you didn’t know he had.
If he thought his new comrades would welcome him with open arms, he was sorely mistaken. Shortly after he’d been paraded in the Commons like a prize poodle at Crufts, local Labour officials in his northern constituency made it abundantly clear they wanted absolutely nothing to do with him.
Great career move, eh? Oh dear, how sad, never mind. And no, I can’t be bothered to name him. He’s a dead man walking, not even worth a footnote when the book on Boris’s inevitable downfall comes to be written.
Most of the other new-intake rebels will also return to well-deserved obscurity after the next election, so they’ve probably got nothing to lose.
Another five or six are said to be on the brink of defecting in an attempt to save their own skins. Let them. Missing you already.
David Davis, however, could have looked forward to a lucrative sinecure in the Lords.
One dishonourable Tory member actually crossed the floor of the House this week and defected to Labour. After he’d been paraded in the Commons like a prize poodle at Crufts, Labour officials in his northern constituency made it clear they wanted nothing to do with him
But if Boris survives he can forget it. Frankly, I’m baffled as to why he decided to make his grandiloquent gesture calling on the PM to resign immediately.
He even trotted out that theatrical old cliche ‘In the name of God, go’ — first deployed not by Leo Amery to Neville Chamberlain, but by Oliver Cromwell during the Rump Parliament in 1653.
By the time Davis got to his hind legs at the end of Prime Minister’s Questions it was already apparent that Boris wasn’t going anywhere, at least not this week.
Keir Starmer had huffed and puffed but was ineffectual, as usual. Either side of him sat Ange ‘Am I Bovvered’ Rayner and another Labour woman in a mask (could have been any of them), waving their little jazz hands at Boris like Sooty and Sweep.
Bye, bye, everybody. Bye, bye.
Davis’s intervention fell flatter than a cowpat. He had utterly failed to read the room and would have been better advised heading straight off for a long, liquid lunch.
I suppose it must have seemed like a good idea at the time.
Great pity, because over the years Davis has been on the side of the angels in most important matters. His resignation from Mother Theresa’s Cabinet over her Brexit surrender deal bounced Boris into following suit and paved the way for the Blond Bombshell to achieve his ambition of becoming PM.
Who knows the secret of the Black Magic box? Perhaps Dangerous Davis still fancies having one last crack at the leadership.
None of this is to excuse Boris’s blatant betrayals over lockdown, nor his ham-fisted efforts to wriggle out of trouble.
But most people have already made up their minds either way. He should be judged at the ballot box, not by a kangaroo court of panicked backbench MPs concerned about their own career prospects.
To be honest, I’m bored stiff with this unedifying saga. And I suspect most of you are, too, despite the desperation of sections of the media to keep it going until Boris is dead meat.
On Tuesday, with Russia on the brink of invading Ukraine, a British Islamist headbanger terrorising a synagogue in the U.S., and the world’s number-one tennis player being unceremoniously kicked out of Upsidedownland, the BBC was leading its news bulletins with a report that the Conservative association in Sutton Coldfield had passed a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister.
Hold the front page!
We now await the verdict of Sue ‘Fifty Shades Of’ Gray. Until then, if it takes a blast of blackmail and intimidation to ensure a period of silence, bring it on.
Priti Flamingo has denied claims by Labour’s Diane Abbott that Border Control is planning to set off sonic booms in the Channel to repel asylum seekers arriving by dinghy. I don’t know why. Sounds like a great idea to me.
Remember how guards at Guantanamo Bay used to play The Clash at full volume to keep inmates pinned down in their cells. Apparently, I Fought The Law (And The Law Won) was a particular favourite.
A well-aimed sonic boom would certainly send migrants scuttling back to Calais. Better still, they could simply play a selection of Diane Abbott’s speeches over a giant Tannoy.
Failing that, they could invite Black Sabbath to reunite and stage a live heavy metal concert on top of the White Cliffs of Dover. Paranoid turned up to 11 should do the trick.
Plans to ban new conservatories in the mad dash for Net Zero have been put forward by an environmental scientist specialising in renewable energy. Angela Terry, who managed the first wind farm in the South-East, says conservatories retain too much heat and contribute to global warming.
The Tories would be insane to adopt this policy. Only a politician with a death wish would come between Middle England voters and their conservatories.
It doesn’t help that Angela Terry was sitting in her own conservatory when she was interviewed on telly. You know what they say about people who live in glass houses…
Hope that’s clear as Mud
Thanks to all of you who wrote pointing out that the lead singer of Mud was Les Gray, not Les Reed. Of course, I knew that. What can I say? Another senior moment.
Les Reed was the brilliant songwriter who wrote smash hits such as Delilah and The Last Waltz with my mate Barry Mason. But Les Reed as the singer on Mud’s Tiger Feet?
That’s wrong, that’s wrong, that’s wrong, that’s wrong . . .
We lost one of Fleet Street’s finest this week. My dear friend Roy Collins has died, aged 73. He retired to Spain after a distinguished career, which included spells as Chief Sports Writer at both the Sunday People and the now defunct Today newspaper.
Roy also wrote with great style and authority for the Guardian and the Sunday Telegraph.
Essex boy, Arsenal fan, blood brother, Muswell Hillbilly, he was hugely popular with his colleagues, as tributes from journalists this week attest. He was a genuine polymath, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of everything from boxing and horse racing to tennis and football.
Uncle Roy was an accomplished mimic — his Basil Fawlty and Frank Spencer immaculate. He also ghost-wrote columns for John McEnroe, and Blessed, his brilliant autobiography of George Best, captured the legend’s voice to perfection.
Armed with a tumbler of Tanqueray and tonic, he was the life and soul of every party. He leaves wife Sheila and daughter Lucy.
Are we having wine, Roy?