Raab insists Johnson ‘on great form’ despite reports of ‘no confidence’ letters

Dominic Raab denies rumours of a leadership challenge against Boris Johnson

Dominic Raab claims the prime minister is “on great form” despite concerns following a speech he gave on Monday, in which Boris Johnson lost his place, went on a tangent about Peppa Pig and made car engine noises.

Referring to reports claiming backbench Tory MPs had submitted letters of no confidence in the PM as “Westminster tittle tattle”, the deputy prime minister told the BBC and LBC respectively that his boss was a “Tiggerish” leader and went where previous leaders could not by breaking from the script.

A dozen Tory MPs are said to have written to Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 committee, with one senior MP telling The Sun newspaper: “There is real anger. He has until Spring to get back on track or he will be in real trouble.”

However, under Conservative Party rules a leadership contest is only triggered if 15 per cent of sitting Tory MPs write a letter to Sir Graham demanding one – a figure which currently equates to 54 letters. A Tory source told The Telegraph: “It will not get anywhere near the [number of] letters you would need, but it does cause angst.”

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Covid families accuse PM of breaking pledge to let them choose head of inquiry

Families of Covid victims are claiming Boris Johnson broke a pledge to involve them in choosing the head of the planned public inquiry, after weeks of silence.

In September, the PM finally met with the families – after refusing to do for almost 400 days – and agreed to give them a “clear role” in both the inquiry’s terms of reference and in selecting its chair, writes our deputy political editor Rob Merrick.

But, the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group says it has heard nothing from Downing Street in the eight weeks since, prompting mounting anger among its members.

Sam Hancock24 November 2021 11:00


Lord Frost to appear before 1922 committee today

PoliticsHome’s Adam Payne is reporting that Lord Frost will address the 1922 committee for the first time today, as cross-party MPs continue to flag concerns about ongoing issues with the “unworkable” Northern Ireland Protocol.

“A bit of Brexit fighting talk to calm the troops, perhaps?” Payne quips.

One senior Tory MP is said to have told the website Mr Frost’s appearance is “unlikely” to calm the overall mood within the party, amid reports of a dozen Conservatives submitting letters of no confidence to the 1922 committee.

Another government source said the Brexit minister would update MPs on talks with Brussels but wouldn’t be making any kind of announcement – suggesting talks remain at a standstill.

Sam Hancock24 November 2021 10:55


UK faces fewer food items on shelves at Christmas, trade body warns

Let’s get a Christmas update now. Shane Brennan, chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation, a trade body representing the temperature-controlled logistics industry, told MPs today there will be fewer food items on the shelves this Christmas due to pressures in the supply chain.

Speaking before the Commons transport select committee, he said: “People have made decisions about what they think is achievable, and so we’ve got quite a significant scaling back in the amount of work we’re trying to do, particularly around Christmas.

“The food supply chain gears itself up to deliver at Christmas, and it’s quite a lot [to be] scaling back at the ambition of that.

“Whereas normally it’d be get as much out as possible, to sell as much as possible, to make as much revenue as possible for customers that time, we’re having to sort of scale that ambition back to try and deliver what we absolutely can.”

Giving evidence, Mr Brennan went on to clarify “it’s not about shortages, it’s about simplifying, so having less range obviously is one of the key decisions you can make in trying to make supply chains more efficient”.

He said the industry is “very good at piling high and selling cheap at Christmas time” but what is necessary now is to “strategically scale that back in order to meet the promise that there will be the stuff you expect to see on the shelves, but not necessarily all the extras”.

While Mr Brennan signalled he believes the move is doable, he acknowledged that “the knock-on effect of that is lost revenue, lost profitability”.

Empty Waitrose shelves are pictured in the weeks leading up to Christmas

(Victor Jack/Reuters)

Sam Hancock24 November 2021 10:36


Poll: What do you feel has been the Coservative Party’s biggest blunder?

Is the uproar around Boris Johnson’s Peppa Pig speech simply a “Westminster bubble” story? Tory MP Jeremy Hunt has said that he does not expect people to remember the prime minister’s faltering address.

“In politics you have speeches that go well, that don’t go well. I mean, you’re talking to someone who as the foreign secretary called his Chinese wife ‘Japanese’ and I managed to get through that,” the former Tory minister told reporters this week. “So I don’t think in the grander scheme of things people will remember that particular speech.”

But what do you think? How do you feel about the current government? Will the growing number of problems end up sticking or is this another issue that Boris Johnson can emerge from unscathed? If you think the government’s made mistakes, what are they?

Let us know in our poll below.

Sam Hancock24 November 2021 10:25


Government has emergency service workers’ backs, says Raab

Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, Raab said the so-called Harper’s Law showed the government had emergency workers’ “backs”.

He did, however, outline the law would not be retrospective, meaning the sentences given to Andrew Harper’s killers would not be extended. The Court of Appeal previously rejected a bid by the attorney general to increase their sentences.

“That is one of the things that made us look very carefully and focus on changing the law, but of course it only applies to crimes and sentences going forward, I think that’s the right thing to do,” the justice secretary said.

“That’s a change Lissie wanted, it’s a change I agree needs to take place … I think for the public it’s the kind of change they’d like to see.”

Sam Hancock24 November 2021 10:16


Mandatory life sentences for those who kill emerency workers while committing crime

Offenders who kill an emergency services worker while committing crime will be given mandatory life jail sentences, the justice secretary has announced.

The law change marks the end of a two-year campaign by Lissie Harper after her husband, police officer Andrew Harper, was killed in the line of duty while answering a late-night burglary call.

Mrs Harper, 30, previously said she was “outraged” over the sentences handed to the three teenagers responsible for her husband’s death.

The so-called Harper’s Law is expected to make it on to the statute books via an amendment to the existing police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, meaning it is likely to get Royal Assent and become law early next year.

“It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work. I know Andrew would be proud to see Harper’s Law reach this important milestone,” Mrs Harper said on Tuesday.

PC Harper, 28, died from his injuries when he was caught in a strap attached to the back of a car and dragged down a winding country road as the trio fled the scene of a quad bike theft in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, in 2019. Henry Long, 19, was sentenced to 16 years and 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers were handed 13 years in custody over the manslaughter of the Thames Valley Police traffic officer.

The sentences prompted Mrs Harper to lobby the Government to better protect emergency services workers on the front line.

Sam Hancock24 November 2021 10:15


‘Rule for working mums but not for masks’: Creasy questions Commons

Stella Creasy, the Labour MP caught up in a row with the House of Commons over bringing her child into the chamber, has questioned the legitimancy of parliament creating a rule aimed at making working mums’ lives harder when there is no rule on face masks amid the pandemic.

Ms Creasy told the BBC the new rule is “yet another barrier to getting mums into politics” which she said she thinks is “wrong”.

She also said it was strange the measure had come into force during an ongoing pandemic despite the Commons not yet having “a rule on wearing masks” which…

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