13.2 C
London
Saturday, November 28, 2020

Don't underestimate deep discontent among Tories fast running out of faith in PM

National lockdown number two. It was a policy that two weeks ago, the prime minister not only rejected on the floor of the House of Commons but lambasted Sir Keir Starmer for supporting.

So to come to the House Commons on Monday to ask parliament to back a four-week lockdown was always going to be deeply uncomfortable for Boris Johnson and the U-turn has deeply angered many of his MPs.

They are angry not just on the substance of the U-turn – many deeply opposed to further restrictions – but the way in which the prime minister and his team handled the politics.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

‘I make no apology for trying to avoid lockdown’

Less than two weeks ago, Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) had asked MPs to share clips on social media showing the prime minister attacking Sir Keir, the Labour leader, for calling for a short national lockdown.

CCHQ pumped out a clip of the prime minister declaring that the idea of a “circuit breaker” lockdown was “wrong for this country”, while his own “commonsensical local and regional approach” was the right thing to do.

MPs who loyally championed that message could be forgiven for feeling rather aggrieved now.

At least the prime minister appeared in the Commons on Monday to have learnt something from this politically difficult U-turn, as he refused to rule anything in or out as he addressed MPs.

More from Boris Johnson

What he was clear about was the impending national restrictions would expire on 2 December and MPs would have a vote on what comes next.

What Mr Johnson wouldn’t promise was an end to those restrictions.

He “intends” to return to a tiered system – but it will depend on the “latest data and trends”.

And, as the pattern of the virus changes, the prime minister is moving the goalposts too – his game plan changing amid concerns around public compliance, a faltering Test and Trace system and worsening COVID-19 data.

While a few weeks ago Mr Johnson promised us the hope of a normal Christmas, on Monday he spoke only of beating the virus by the spring.

For a prime minister that trades in optimism, sticking to gritty realism is not his comfortable spot.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

‘PM’s shown catastrophic failure of leadership’

But for MPs like Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, it’s a better position to be in than the knots the party has tied itself in in recent weeks.

He told Sky News: “The prime minister is giving people hope that this circuit breaker lockdown is only going to last four weeks.

“But we also can’t guarantee that we’ll be in the right place in a month’s time, so again – like ruling out a national lockdown – I don’t think we can rule anything out and we’ll have to keep all options open.”

As for the Commons vote on Wednesday for MPs to authorise the new national restrictions, it will pass after Labour confirmed that it will back the lockdown.

That, in turn, has rather taken in the wind out of the Tory rebellions which once might have had teeth but will now be symbolic.

Sir Charles Walker, vice-chair of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, told Sky News he thinks in the end that the rebellion might not pass 20 people.

What you can and can't do during second lockdown

What you can and can’t do during second lockdown

But do not underestimate the deep discontent in the party that is fast running out of faith in their prime minister and his Number 10 operation.

Mr Johnson’s glimmer of hope on Monday was the prospect of millions of rapid tests to lift the country out of lockdowns, as he dangled the possibility of city-wide testing as part of efforts to catch cases and break chains of transmission.

Such a breakthrough would be a game-changer for the country and for Mr Johnson’s premiership too.

This post courtesy of sky

Latest news

Canada enacts new regulations before US drug import rule

New Trump administration rule allowing US pharmacists and wholesalers to import prescription drugs in bulk from Canada comes into effect Monday.New Canadian regulations prohibit...

Iran's top nuclear scientist stayed in shadows but his work was uncovered

WorldProtesters hold the pictures of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran's top nuclear scientist, during a demonstration against his killing in Tehran, Iran, Nov 28, 2020. (Photo:...

PM tells Tory MPs COVID tiers 'have a sunset of 3 February'

Boris Johnson has said the new coronavirus tiers "have a sunset of 3 February" as tries to fight off a backlash from Tory MPs. In...

COVID-19 deaths hit new daily record in Greece

WorldA medical worker wearing a protective face mask stands inside an ambulance during a protest outside a hospital, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)...

Related news

Canada enacts new regulations before US drug import rule

New Trump administration rule allowing US pharmacists and wholesalers to import prescription drugs in bulk from Canada comes into effect Monday.New Canadian regulations prohibit...

Iran's top nuclear scientist stayed in shadows but his work was uncovered

WorldProtesters hold the pictures of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran's top nuclear scientist, during a demonstration against his killing in Tehran, Iran, Nov 28, 2020. (Photo:...

PM tells Tory MPs COVID tiers 'have a sunset of 3 February'

Boris Johnson has said the new coronavirus tiers "have a sunset of 3 February" as tries to fight off a backlash from Tory MPs. In...

COVID-19 deaths hit new daily record in Greece

WorldA medical worker wearing a protective face mask stands inside an ambulance during a protest outside a hospital, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)...

This post courtesy of sky