Mon, 27 May 2024

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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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The Rundown Podcast: Senior Tory Puts Boris Johnson On Notice

2 min read

Conservative MP Stephen Hammond and the Institute for Government's Dr Alice Lilly join PoliticsHome's Adam Payne and Noa Hoffman to discuss the government's dramatic privileges committee U-turn and the latest threat to Boris Johnson's leadership.

On Thursday, MPs backed a motion which will allow an inquiry by the Commons privileges committee after the government made a "humiliating" climbdown over an attempt to block the plans.

Dr Alice Lilly, a senior researcher at the insitute for government, explained to The Rundown what an investigation by the privileges committee could mean for Johnson, and why its scope is essential to a functioning democracy. 

Government whips had tried to force Tory MPs to vote to block an inquiry for the committee, something Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond, told The Rundown he was unwilling to do. 

"I texted that whip this morning saying ‘having had a look, this isn’t what I thought it was, can you confirm what it actually is’. I am assuming I am not unique in that regard and that others have done the same," Hammond said.

But Hammond believes a forthcoming by-election in Wakefield, following the expulsion and subsequent resignation of Tory MP Imran Ahmed Khan will pose the most significant test to Johnson's leadership in the coming months. 

“A lot of people think the time when life is going to get more difficult is after the May elections," he explained. 

“There are quite a lot of colleagues who are quite worried about what might happen after the Wakefield by-election.

"It is a Red Wall seat with a three and a half thousand majority – which is six times bigger than my majority and quite a lot bigger than other Tory majorities in Red Wall seats – and that will be a first sign of popularity in areas.

“But if we start to see that support [in Wakefield] drifting away – and I accept it’s a by-election and analysis showing the Tories lost by-elections between 2010-2015, 2015-2017 and 2017-2019 and were still the largest parties afterwards – it’d be quite a concern for colleagues if we didn’t win it and win it well."

Listen to the full interview with Dr Alice Lilly and Stephen Hammond on The Rundown now. 



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