Boris Johnson, Parliament, Lord Macdonald discussed on Monocle 24: The Globalist


But I mean, it was shocking to see that he didn't apologize in the speech. It was all very grandiose, he didn't say sorry to the British people. He did, in fact, to the Ukrainian people. And there are many questions about whether his promise to leave could be his biggest lie yet. I mean, yes, the trouble is, yeah, the difference between obviously the camera and may scenarios and Boris Johnson scenarios that they went over big policy failures. So in Cameron's case, obviously he lost the referendum in May's case. She lost her ability to push through her Brexit deal. This resignation is very much about Boris Johnson's personal failures and we heard countless ministers saying, I don't trust you or integrity, I don't trust you, honestly, I don't trust your competence, but in the speech, as you say, there was no reflection of that at all. It was his greatest hits, it was vaccines it was Ukraine. He seemed to be attributing his downfall to sort of forces beyond his control, if you like saying there's a herd instinct and when the herd moves, then there's the brakes. And so that it wasn't about him in some sort of a strange way. But I think people will be very much on alert to make sure that he's not trying to push through any suddenly controversial decisions. I mean, he's already had to push back, announcements on economic policy that he was planning to do, because precisely, he kind of knows that the cabinet are there on sufferance for a few weeks. And if he tries to try as anything on, I think he might have the same kinds of problems again. I mean, do you think that he could be trying to do something damaging like call a general election and could he feasibly do that? And might the country respond in the way it did to Brexit and come to his defense? Well, one of the things that was quite interesting about the speech yesterday, he was he really trying to appeal over the heads of the party who'd said in huge numbers that they didn't like him anymore. The party in parliament at least more than 50 resignations of ministers and ministerial aides in the space of about 24 hours. So he was trying to say, well, look, we've got this, we had this huge mandate from the voters we won a huge election victory, so he was trying to say, you know, despite all of this, about his successes. I mean, the difficulty is that that's not how it works. And I think what one of the things we've seen in the last few days is actually the strength of the civil service. I mean, you remember that a lot of these resignations were triggered by the former head of the foreign office, lord MacDonald, Simon McDonald, saying, you know, the prime minister told an untruth about what he was told that he, you know, that he lied about being briefed about Chris pincher and that he had effectively told people that Boris Johnson had had known about this. And that's almost started the wheels turning. And I think, you know, what we do have in place, at least it's a strong civil service and government that will say in a no, this is how it works. You have to go to the queen and offer your resignation as prime minister once the Tory leadership is handed over, then you are gone. And I'm pretty sure that we can trust in that. And that if the Boris Johnson did go to the queen not to offer his resignation, but to try and say, I'll call an election. I think he would be fairly firmly told, you know, that's not happening. And does anyone have the power to force him out? I mean, could there be a vote of no confidence in parliament? There could be a vote of no confidence in parliament. I mean, the Labor Party is a Keir Starmer yesterday was saying that he wanted to see Boris Johnson go straight away. The question with that is whether the conservatives who were prepared to rebel against Boris Johnson to the extent that they didn't want him as prime minister anymore would actually vote to put themselves out of power in that way. I mean, that would be an interesting question for them. I think they're going to want reassurances that the prime minister is in good faith calling this leadership contest. So when Johnson gave evidence to the liaison committee earlier this week, he was questioned on several private meetings. He had with an influential Russian oligarch that was led by, without any officials at present, surely this on its own would have been a resigning matter. Will it be investigated? Well, I think this is one of the sort of there have been so many massive political stories over the last few days and obviously the resignation of a prime minister is always huge. I think that in a normal time, that would have been a massive thing that people were picking up on and to be fair, the opposition event keeper, shadow Home Secretary, certainly picking up on that wanting to know more about these meetings and whether they were as Boris Johnson claimed registered with officials or mentioned to officials, even though he's supposed to have these meetings without any officials present. You know, questions about how many of them these meetings there were. And what they contain. So yes, I think in normal times we would be hearing a lot more about it. And I think it probably won't go away either. Why on earth then is he as he previously wrote about Gordon Brown, clinging to the Downing Street radiators with his fingernails. I mean, could one reason be that as reported, he plans a big summer party to celebrate his wedding at the official country residence checkers. Yes, I mean, this is a report that having married Carrie last year that he now wants to hold a big celebration which he wasn't able to have even though he had various other parties under COVID restrictions he only had a small wedding celebration that was within the rules at the time and obviously if you're not prime minister, you can't go throwing a party at checkers. I think you get the sense that he just isn't really kind of ready to go yet, that he doesn't. The reality of this situation given that speech yesterday hasn't hasn't quite hit him. And that he doesn't want to want to lose the power. So let's look at the day to today running at the government now. I mean, those cabinet posts have they all been filled. Yes, I think most of they have been filled. So we have a new education secretary, James cleverly, we have a new Northern Ireland secretary, Charlotte Ferrara, we have, oh, I'm trying to remember the certainly filled the leveling up secretary or also appointed and kit Malta is also joined the cabinet. I think it's Greg Clark, who's the new housing and leveling up secretary of replacing Michael gove. So we've, you know, we've got a cabinet there now and we saw pictures yesterday of the cabinet reshuffled cabinet looking much more jolly than the previous cabinet was just a couple of days before when they were all rather stony faced. I mean, there was an announcement of 12 junior ministers yesterday. I don't think that quite fills up the vacancies that they have. And certainly the very junior levels ministerial aids that they haven't been replaced yet. The question is whether people will want to serve Boris Johnson, but there are some government departments that effectively have no ministers or had no ministers. So the leveling up and housing department had, I think, no ministers in the commons once Michael gove had gone. The education department had no ministers and they actually had to stop progress on bills going through the commons because no ministers were available to answer questions on them.

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