Tory leader LIVE: Boris Johnson facing huge crisis just hours before being crowned leader

Posted on Jul 22 2019 - 8:19pm by admin

Mr Johnson is likely to be crowned next leader of the Conservative Party and is expected to enter No 10 on June 24, when Theresa May will officially step down as Prime Minister. But the former Foreign Secretary is already facing a wave of resignation, with some Remain-backing Cabinet ministers announcing they will leave their post rather than being sacked if Mr Johnson become the party leader. Among them there are Chancellor Philip Hammond and Justice Secretary David Gauke, who oppose a no deal exit solution to the Brexit deadlock. 

A handful of ministers are expected to follow in Mr Hammond and Mr Gaukes’ footsteps.

And six more Conservative MPs are said to be planning to defect to the Liberal Democrats if Mr Johnson becomes the party’s new leader – a move throwing the minority Government into chaos.

But Mr Johnson’s leadership is also facing external threats, with Ireland announcing the EU would not renegotiate Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement.

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister, also rejected the idea of a time-limited backstop. 

READ MORE: EU panic: Countries trying to woo Boris in desperate bid to avoid no deal Brexit

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The next leader of the Conservative Party will be announced tomorrow (Image: GETTY)

This comes after on Friday night the Guardian newspaper cited one EU senior officials saying Brussels was ready to offer a no deal Brexit extension to allow the UK to prepare for an exit without an agreement in place and provide more chance to strike a deal.

A ConservativeHome poll shows up to 73 percent of Tory members are backing Mr Johnson as a leader against Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The results of the contest will be announced at 11am tomorrow.

Theresa May will face Jeremy Corbyn in her last PMQs on Wednesday, before meeting the Queen to officially resign.

On the same day, at about 5pm, the winner of the Tory leadership contest will hold his first speech in Downing Street and begin appointing Cabinet ministers if necessary.

Refresh this page for live updates on the Tory leadership contest. 

1.45pm update: Boris Johnson urged to rebuild trust with the City 

Boris Johnson must rebuild trust with the City of London if he wins the Tory leadership contest, the City’s political leader said. 

Catherine McGuinness, who chairs the corporation’s policy and resources committee, said: “Boris will have bridges to build with business.

“I believe from our experience in the past that, actually, he is quite business-minded, but we need to see that in practice after what he said.” 

Ms McGuinness also urged Mr Johnson to be more pragmatic about the impact a no deal Brexit would have on the British economy. 

She said: “I’m very concerned that we’re moving from a joke to a nightmare. From April 1 to Halloween. I am very concerned that the possibility of no deal is increasing, it looks more likely than not at the moment.

“I think warm words are not enough. We really are at a critical moment for our economy, for our country.

“We absolutely will try to be as positive as possible about what we can build on.

“We need to build on those strengths for the future and we’re ready to do that with Boris but he needs to be practical and pragmatic.”

12.45pm update: Boris Johnson has no choice but a second referendum – Tony Blair

Tony Blair said Boris Johnson’s “do or die” position on Brexit has actually pushed him closer to a second referendum, which he considers the only solution to the deadlock. 

He wrote in The Times: “Even before he becomes Prime Minister this week, Boris Johnson has boxed himself into a no-deal Brexit.

“If he doesn’t back down from his stated negotiating position, he will fail. In this situation, he can try to force through no deal in defiance of Parliament, call an election or go back to the people with a referendum offering no-deal or remain.

“The obvious and right course is to go back to the people in a referendum. 

“Crashing out without public endorsement would be a gargantuan risk. No one knows with certainty the impact of no-deal for the simple reason that no developed nation has ever left overnight its preferential trading arrangements in this manner. It could be merely very difficult or it could be catastrophic. But the Faragist notion of ‘no deal, no problem’ is bonkers.

“If Parliament votes down no-deal, even in a non-binding resolution, I don’t believe Johnson will try pressing on regardless.

“That leaves a referendum or an election.

“A general election might be appealing. Confront people with a choice between Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister and a significant proportion of Remain voters might choose the former over the latter, despite hating Brexit.

“A full analysis of what has led the Labour Party to its present state will have to wait, but the temptation for the Tories is obvious.

“Brexit would be the reason for the election but of course it would be fought across the range of issues on which the Tories would fancy themselves against Labour.

“Such a ploy would be completely unjustifiable and would shake British politics to its roots with consequences neither Johnson nor the rest of us can predict. Resolve Brexit first.”

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown warned Boris Johnson he could become the ‘first Prime Minister of England’ (Image: GETTY)

12.05pm update: No deal Brexit will be ‘self-inflicted wound’ – Gordon Brown issues warning to Boris Johnson

The former Prime Minister issued a warning to Boris Johnson, saying his “do or die” attitude could push the British economy “off a cliff”.

And he said forcing a no deal exit would also further antagonise Scotland and trigger another Scottish Independence referendum, possibily making him the last Prime Minister of the UK and the first leader of England. 

In a speech to the Hope Not Hate campaign in London, Gordon Brown said: “The message to Boris Johnson is plain and urgent: Don’t push Britain off a cliff on October 31. 

“If no-deal goes ahead on Thursday October 31, 24 hours later – on what Brexiteers will call ‘freedom Friday’, but others ‘black Friday’ – there will almost certainly be hold-ups at Dover; by Saturday, pile-ups on our motorways; by Sunday, food prices will be going up – a 10 percent rise is the latest estimate – and by Monday, the pound – already sharply down on its pre-Brexit value – will be under pressure.

“By Tuesday, medical drugs from mainland Europe will be less accessible, and a week after Brexit, companies will be complaining that vital stocks and components are not reaching them, and that is likely to put their workers on short-time.”

Mr Brown also accused Brexiteers of being driven by “blind faith, dogma and emotion”, showing little consideration for the consequences of their desire to just leave the EU. 

He said: “When future historians look back, they will be shocked to discover how such an act of economic self-harm that runs wholly counter to the national interest could ever be portrayed by Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson as the height of patriotism, and criticism from any quarter be dismissed as a betrayal of Britain and all we stand for. 

“British history includes self-inflicted wounds – military disasters such as the Charge of the Light Brigade and the fiasco of Gallipoli – but no peacetime act of self-harm can rival a no-deal Brexit for which we are so woefully unprepared.

“Brexiteers may be trying to reinvent a ‘Britain alone’ Dunkirk spirit, the Britain of indomitable fortitude, but all too easily this hijacking of patriotism descends into an inward-looking, intolerant and adversarial brand of paranoid nationalism hell-bent on blaming all who disagree.”

11.57am update: European Commission to welcome ‘any new Prime Minister’

The European Commission is ready to establish working relations with “any new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom”, a spokeswoman said on Monday, hours before the next Conservative leader is to be announced. 

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt is the favourite candidate among investors, a survey showed (Image: GETTY)

11.15am update: Investors prefer Jeremy Hunt, survey shows

Investors prefer Jeremy Hunt over Boris Johnson, a survey has found. 

A survey by the Share Centre, which polled 1,454 of its customers between July 10 to 16, revealed 35 percent of the surveyed said Jeremy Hunt would be the best leader for personal investors.

In comparison, only 29 percent of the respondents named Boris Johnson.

This translated into a preference among those who expressed an opinion between Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson of 51 percent stating that Jeremy Hunt should be the next Prime Minister as compared to 49 percent favouring Boris Johnson.

Commenting on the findings, Richard Stone, Chief Executive of The Share Centre, said: “Whoever wins the Conservative Party leadership election and becomes the next Prime Minister will be taking on the role at a time of uncertainty and challenge for the British political system.

“If the general polling of Conservative members is to be believed, the likely winner is Boris Johnson.

“Personal investors favouring, albeit marginally, Jeremy Hunt indicates Mr Johnson will have a hard task in front of him to persuade them of his support.

“This is made all the harder by investors clearly being unimpressed with the Conservative Government since the last General Election.

“We would encourage the new Prime Minister, when appointed, to include within their administration’s first budget some key measures to underpin and encourage personal investment and wider share ownership.” 

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson could become the next Prime Minister on Wednesday (Image: EXPRESS)

10.30am update: Next Prime Minister urged to ‘be bold’ and abolish stamp duty

The next Prime Minister has been urged to abolish stamp duty on most houses by a centre-right think tank and a Tory MP.  

Think tank Onward called on Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt to set out proposals to take primary homes up to £500,000 out of stamp duty land tax. 

The research has been co-authored by Tory MP Chris Philp, who said: “It is essential that the next prime minister takes early action to back home-ownership and tear down the biggest barrier to hardworking people getting on the property ladder by radically cutting stamp duty.

“These stamp duty cuts are designed to kick-start the home ownership dream – just as Thatcher did in the 1980s.

“86 percent of the public want to own their own home, yet only 63 percent do. They will help first-time buyers, down-sizers, up-sizers and people needing to move for work.

“These reforms will get the whole housing market moving – and help make sure we are making the best use of housing stock by making it easier for older people in large houses to move, allowing growing families to move in.”  

Will Tanner, director of Onward, said: “Stamp duty is a bad tax.

“It creates friction in the housing market, preventing people from buying their first home, moving for work or downsizing to free up housing stock for families.

“The next Prime Minister should be bold.”

Brexit concerns and hopes

Brexit: Remainers and Brexiteers’ concerns and hopes (Image: EXPRESS)

9.55am update: Minister resigns not to serve under Boris Johnson

Sir Alan Duncan, the Foreign Office minister, has resigned today not to serve under Boris Johnson, according to the Times newspaper. 

Sir Duncan has been a vocal critic of Mr Johnson, accusing him of “contemptible negligence” for failing to back Sir Kim Darroch, the former UK ambassador to the US, following the leaks of official memos regarding Donald Trump.  

This resignation has been heavily criticised by Greg Hands, the former International Trade minister, who said resigning in protest of the election of Mr Johnson takes the UK one step closer to a Corbyn Government. 

He wrote on Twitter: “In my view, pre-emptive ministerial resignations (If reports are true) in case your own democratically-elected Party Leader is not to your liking are absurd.

“And I say that as a committed @Jeremy_Hunt supporter. Such moves make a Corbyn Government one step more likely.”

READ MORE: Alan Duncan quits: Europe Minister ‘can’t serve under Boris Johnson’

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson said the UK must rediscover its ‘sense of mission’ (Image: SWSN)

9.20am update: UK needs to rediscover its ‘sense of mission’ – Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has insisted Britain can leave the European Union with a deal at the end of October if the country has the “will” and the “drive” for Brexit. 

The UK must rediscover its “sense of mission” and regain confidence in itself and avoid over-complicating things to deliver a good Brexit, according to the former Foreign Secretary. 

Mr Johnson argued that, if it was possible to get to the Moon and back 50 years ago, the British Government can also find a solution to frictionless trade on the Irish border. 

He wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “If they could use hand-knitted computer code to make a frictionless re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere in 1969, we can solve the problem of frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border.

“There is no task so simple that Government cannot over-complicate if it doesn’t want to do it.

“And there are few tasks so complex that humanity cannot solve if we have a real sense of mission to pull them off.

“It is time this country recovered some of its can-do spirit. We can come out of the EU on October 31, and yes, we certainly have the technology to do so.

“What we need now is the will and the drive.”  

8.45am update: Boris’ constituency rivals looking to oust him

More woe for Boris Johnson as his rival parties in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat prepare an outlandish plot to get rid of him.

Momentum is holding an “Unseat Boris” event on Sunday with hundreds of activists knocking on doors to get support for Labour candidate Ali Milani, according to Buzzfeed.

If he did lose his seat in a general election it will be the first time such a scenario has happened. 

8.05am update: Defence minister fails to back Boris Johnson 

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood was asked whether Boris Johnson is the right man to de-escalate tensions with Iran if he becomes Prime Minister. 

But the minister dodged the question twice, arguing all MPs should back the leader.

He first said: “We have to back the winner, that is absolutely right.”

Pressed on whether he will back Mr Johnson and stay in post, Mr Ellwood said: “It is every MP’s duty to get behind this Prime Minister.”

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