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Sat, 30 May 2020

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The Breakfast Briefing: 2019 is back as Boris faces 1922, Labour splits erupt and Gove slams the EU

The Breakfast Briefing: 2019 is back as Boris faces 1922, Labour splits erupt and Gove slams the EU

Boris Johnson and fiancee Carrie Symonds on the steps of Number 10 during the ‘Claps For Carers’ on Thursday night.

3 min read

Your essential guide to what’s moving in Westminster this morning from the PoliticsHome team

He’s put it off for long enough, but Boris Johnson will today face the very people a Conservative Prime Minister fears the most: his own MPs.
 
A much-delayed virtual meeting of the 1922 Committee will kick off at 1pm, and, if the warnings trailed in The Telegraph this morning are anything to go by, it won’t be a breeze for the Tory leader.

There’s already disquiet among some of the party’s old guard about the lockdown, with 1922 Committee chairman himself Sir Graham Brady leading the charge against the restrictive measures.
 
The phased plan announced by the PM this week may have riled up the education unions, who think it’s too far, too fast - but in truth Johnson sided with Cabinet doves who wanted him to go even further in a back-to-work push.

Expect those on the right of the party to today demand much more from the PM on how exactly he hopes to stop business-owners across the country from going to the wall. A hike in taxes floated by this week’s leaked Treasury document is not, for the John Redwoods and David Davises of this world, likely to be the answer.
 
But Mr Johnson could also face pressure on a different front from the newer intake. That thumping Tory majority won in the distant past of, er, December, was won in part on a promise of a big spending, love-bombing-the-public-sector kind of government, and it’s unlikely that those fresh-faced MPs will be thrilled with talk of a public sector pay freeze. A hard sell in former Red Wall seats, that.
 
Also in need of a bit of party management it seems is Keir Starmer, who is under pressure from the left of Labour to go much further in the help offered to renters during the coronavirus crisis. Hitting back at her critics last night, new Shadow Housing Secretary Thangam Debbonaire said the left’s push for a blanket rent ban was “un-Labour” and “really regressive” - which has gone down exactly as you might expect.
 
And if that wasn’t division enough, there’s a joyous return to the PolHome lexicon for ‘Fresh Brexit row’, after Michael Gove blasted back with a punchy letter to the European Commission following its move to launch legal action over Britain’s “failure to comply” with free movement rules during the transition period.
 
A stormy meeting of the 1922 Committee? A deepening Labour split? A blazing bust-up with the EU? 2019 is back!


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