How to watch the Tory leadership contest like a pro
“An almost endless procession of scandals have chipped away at Johnson’s authority since he won that historic majority of 80 seats in the 2019 general election — from his disastrous handling of the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, to revelations about dodgy deals funding luxury renovations to his Downing Street flat. The rot really started to set in with a series of stories about boozy parties held in No. 10, including some attended by the prime minister himself, in breach of pandemic lockdown rules.
Last month Johnson narrowly survived a leadership challenge. Some 41 percent of Tories voted to remove him. He went on to lead his party to two more disastrous by-election defeats, triggering the party chairman to resign.
In recent days, Johnson’s mishandling of sexual assault allegations against the former Tory Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher proved too much for many of his colleagues. The PM’s story kept changing, and loyal ministers found themselves inadvertently misleading the public by repeating inaccurate Downing Street lines on the scandal.
On Tuesday night, just two minutes after Johnson apologized for his mistakes, Sajid Javid quit as health secretary. Nine minutes after that, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the second most powerful figure in government, resigned. Their double bombshell burst the dam and a deluge of other ministers quit in the hours that followed.”
“Johnson is aiming to stay on as a caretaker prime minister, while the Conservative Party holds an election for a replacement – a process likely to take up most of the next two months.
But there are growing signs that his internal party critics want him gone immediately.”
Rare win for Boris Johnson — but Brexit storm hasn’t passed
“In the very short term, however, it looks like plain sailing for Johnson. The deal, which will be subject to a ratification vote in the U.K. parliament on December 30, is highly likely to pass.
Some Conservative MPs, who have said they will study the deal in depth over the coming days, may quibble over details, but the overall shape of the agreement is — and has been for some time — one that represents a fundamental victory for Brexiteers. The U.K. will leave the EU’s single market and customs union. It will continue to manage its economy under rules similar to those in the EU, but if it wants to change those rules in the future, it has the freedom to (with consequences in the shape of tariffs).
Even on the totemic issue of fisheries, where the U.K. gave ground in the latter stages of the talks, none but the most purist Brexiteer could claim that the final settlement (a five-and-a-half-year transition period to a situation where the U.K. is free to decide who accesses its fishing waters) is not a major change from the status quo.”
“Johnson’s claim during his announcement that there will be “no non-tariff barriers” to trade is not correct. The deal removes tariffs and quotas. It doesn’t remove mountains of new paperwork for firms looking to trade with the EU, as the government’s own copious sets of instructions for businesses testifies.”