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CONTINUING AN EXTRAORDINARY 48 hours in UK politics, Boris Johnson announced his resignation as Prime Minister.

Johnson had resisted the inevitable after scores of ministers quit government but has now made a speech in Downing Street saying he will leave when a successor is chosen.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Morning! Rónán Duffy here for another day of comings and mainly goings in the world of UK politics. 

News channels were running rolling tickers yesterday of the number of people leaving Boris Johnson’s government. We’ve now topped 50 and there may be more. 

I’ll hopefully be able to keep up and will provide some rolling analysis too. 

The biggest news this morning is that Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has resigned from his post. 

Lewis was a member of Johnson’s cabinet and flew back from Belfast yesterday to join the exodus of ministers. Journalists in Northern Ireland were up late last night waiting for confirmation of his departure but that finally came first thing this morning. 

More have followed this morning courts’ minister James Cartlidge and technology minister Chris Philp. 

Brandon Lewis told Johnson in a resignation letter that he had “given you, and those around you, the benefit of the doubt”.

“I have gone out and defended this Government both publicly and privately,” the Northern Ireland Secretary said in his resignation letter.

We are, however, now past the point of no return. I cannot sacrifice my personal integrity to defend things as they stand now. It is clear that our Party, parliamentary colleagues, volunteers and the whole country, deserve better.

PastedImage-35090 Source: Sky News/Youtube

Those rolling tickers have become somewhat of an character themselves in this ongoing drama over the past 24 hours.

For anyone keeping track, Sky News have it at 53 MPs.

Just to be clear for everyone out there as the UK government do things a bit differently to Ireland. 

Roughly speaking, a Secretary is a member of the UK government who sits at Cabinet and is also known as a Cabinet Minister. 

What we in Ireland call ‘junior ministers’ are simply called ministers in the UK government and there are dozens of them. So most of those departing are non-Cabinet ministers. 

Cabinet ministers Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak began the exodus on Tuesday evening with Brandon Lewis the latest Cabinet minister to go. 

If he does indeed want to stay on, Johnson will of course have to fill all those positions in government. 

That means he’ll have to call around other Conservative MPs to find current backbenchers who may be willing to take on a ministerial post in his government. 

It’s far from a guarantee though that he’ll be able to find those numbers. 

Politico’s London Playbook newsletter reports this morning that Johnson was planning to be in his Downing Street study by 8a, to try to cobble together a reshuffle

“There are now too many vacant positions to mention,” Politico reports, “but the big ones are leveling up secretary, party chairman, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Welsh secretary — and, possibly, attorney general, after Suella Braverman announced live on ITV’s Peston that Johnson should go and she would stand for the leadership.” 

BREAKING

Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi, who was only appointed to the senior position yesterday, has publicly called on Johnson to go. 

Just to confirm, Zahawi has not resigned himself but is publicly calling on Johnson to go. 

He confirms that he was among the group of ministers who went to 10 Downing Street and ask Johnson to step down:

Yesterday, I made clear to the Prime Minister alongside my colleagues in No 10 that there was only one direction where this was going, and that he should leave with dignity. Out of respect, and in the hopes that he would listen to an old friend of 30 years, I kept this counsel private.

“I am heartbroken that he hasn’t listened and that he is now undermining the incredible achievements of this government at this late hour.” 

Woah, this is all moving so quickly!

Only 48 hours ago Zahawi was Education Secretary but left that post to become Chancellor of the Exchequer. 

He was replaced at Education by Michelle Donelan who HAS NOW QUIT AS EDUCATION SECRETARY. 

Donelan was in the position for about 36 hours. 

In her letter to Johnson, she wrote: 

Whilst I remain very worried about the prospect of no ministers in the department as we approach results day – the impact on students is real – as you know, yesterday I pleaded with you to do the right thing and resign for the sake of our country and our party; both are more important than any one person.

Multiple UK outlets are reporting that Boris Johnson will resign as Conservative leader today. 

The BBC’s Chris Mason reports that he will resign as party leader but will continue as Prime Minister until the autumn.

A leadership race will take place in the coming weeks, Mason reported. 

It’s Daragh Brophy taking over on the liveblog, by the way – wonder if there’ll be anything else to report on this story today… 

Oh, this just in: PA is reporting a Number 10 spokesman as saying: “The Prime Minister will make a statement to the country today.”

George Freeman, who announced he was resigning as science minister this morning, said Boris Johnson must apologise to the Queen and advise her to call for a caretaker prime minister.

He tweeted: “Boris Johnson needs to hand in the seals of office, apologise to Her Majesty and advise her to call for a caretaker prime minister.

“To take over today so that ministers can get back to work and we can choose a new Conservative leader to try and repair the damage and rebuild trust.”

UK Labour leader Keir Starmer has welcomed Johnson’s imminent resignation, hailing it as good news for the country.

He said it should have happened a long time ago. 

“He was always unfit for office. He has been responsible for lies, scandal and fraud on an industrial scale,” Starmer said. 

“And all those who have been complicit should be utterly ashamed.

“The Tory party have inflicted chaos upon the country during the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades. And they cannot now pretend they are the ones to sort it out.

“They have been in power for 12 years. The damage they have done is profound.

“Twelve years of economic stagnation. Twelve years of declining public services. Twelve years of empty promises.

“Enough is enough. We don’t need to change the Tory at the top – we need a proper change of government.

We need a fresh start for Britain.

fabian-society-conference Source: Empics Entertainment

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, has issued a statement on Twitter saying he will not be leaving his role. 

“A number of us have an obligation to keep this country safe, no matter who is PM,” he wrote.

“The Party has a mechanism to change leaders and that is the mechanism which I advise colleagues to use.

“In the meantime, the public would not forgive us if we left these Offices of State empty.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that there will be “a widespread sense of relief” that Johnson is now set to resign.

In a series of tweets, Sturgeon says that Johnson remaining on as Prime Minister as a caretaker until the autumn would be “far from ideal”.

“There will be a widespread sense of relief that the chaos of the last few days (indeed months) will come to an end, though notion of Boris Johnson staying on as PM until autumn seems far from ideal, and surely not sustainable?

“Boris Johnson was always manifestly unfit to be PM and the Tories should never have elected him leader or sustained him in office for as long as they have,” Sturgeon said.

Buckingham Palace has declined to comment on whether the Queen Elizabeth II has had any communication with Johnson this morning. 

The queen is at Windsor Castle and held her weekly audience by telephone with Johnson on yesterday evening.

Today’s newspaper front pages are already out of date now that Johnson is going, but The Economist has just released this front cover: 

Thoughts are already turning to what happens next and the timetable for Johnson’s successor.

Even if Johnson agrees to stand down it won’t happen immediately as the Conservatives will have to choose a new leader who would command the support of the House of Commons. 

The early plan is that the Tories will start the process of electing a new leader immediately but that might not be completed until September or October

What happens in the interim?

Johnson could stay on as an caretaker PM but there have been calls for someone else to take the role, with several calls for the Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab to do so.  

It’s Órla Ryan here, taking over from my colleague Rónán Duffy.

Boris Johnson is expected to give his much-anticipated speech at around midday. Stay with us for the latest news.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has said Johnson needs to leave office as soon as possible, not stay on as a caretaker prime minister.

There are reports that Johnson will attempt to stay on as a caretaker prime minister for another three months.

Johnson is expected to confirm this afternoon that he is standing down as Tory leader, and may suggest that a new leader won’t be in place until the Conservative Party conference in October.

However, many people within the Tory party want a new leader in place immediately. Watch this space.

No, you’re not hearing things: The Benny Hill music *is* playing outside Westminster.

Tory MP Nick Gibb, the former schools minister, is among those calling on Johnson to leave office immediately and not stay on until October. 

Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s former chief adviser, is also – expectedly – calling on his former boss to leave office immediately. 

Cummings was Johnson’s right-hand man for some time but since he stepped down in November 2020, has been calling on Johnson to go.

Meanwhile...

While all the drama is unfolding across the water, there have also been notable political developments closer to home.

Sinn Féin is considering tabling a motion of no confidence in the government, following its loss of a Dáil majority.

A Sinn Féin spokesperson told The Journal: “This is a government that has now lost its parliamentary majority, and is failing to tackle the cost-of-living and housing crises. They have run out of road. A motion of no-confidence is under consideration.”

The deadline to submit such a motion for next week is 11am tomorrow.

The government now has 79 Dáil votes, one short of a majority, after Donegal TD Joe McHugh resigned the Fine Gael whip. McHugh voted against the proposed mica redress legislation last night.

Read the full story here.

Back to London

Boris Johnson is continuing to appoint a new Cabinet.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse is the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the most senior minister in the Cabinet Office after the prime minister.

Greg Clark is due to take over from Michael Gove (who was sacked by Johnson yesterday) as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

James Cleverly, formerly a minister of state at the Foreign Office, has been made Education Secretary – the third person appointed to this role in as many days.

Former Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has been appointed as Welsh Secretary, replacing Simon Hart.

Johnson’s speech is now expected at 12.30pm, Sky News is reporting.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has said his party is ready for a general election, if one happens sooner rather than later.

Starmer also told Sky News he will table a vote of no confidence in parliament if Johnson does not stand aside quickly.

“He needs to go completely,” the Labour leader said.

“None of this nonsense about clinging on for a few months. He’s inflicted lies, fraud and chaos in the country.

“And, you know, we’re stuck with a government which isn’t functioning in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.”

Another new appointment to the Cabinet…

Shailesh Vara has been appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Vara has served as an MP for North West Cambridgeshire since 2005 and is a former Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party.

On that note, I’m going to hand you back to my colleague Rónán Duffy – who will be covering Johnson’s speech as it happens.

Rónán Duffy back here for the big speech from Johnson which we’re expecting in the next 10 minutes. 

PastedImage-8244

Broadcasters have set out their cabling ahead of Johnson’s speech and speakers have been put out so the throng of press can hear him.

The door remains closed. 

PastedImage-85131 Source: Youtube/Sky News

Johnson is out, he confirms that that process of choosing that new leader should “begin now and the timetable will be announced next week”. 

I want to say to the millions of people who voted for us in 2019, many of them voted Conservative for the first time. Thank you for that incredible mandate, the biggest Conservative majority since 1987. The biggest share of the vote since 1979. 

Johnson speaks directly to the people of Ukraine. 

“I know that we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes,” he says. 

Johnson has said he wants to stay as Prime Minister “until a new leader is in place”. 

“And to that new leader, I say whoever he or she may be I will give you as much support as I can.” 

“I know that there will be many people who are relieved and perhaps quite a few will also be disappointed. And I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But them’s the breaks.”

Johnson said he was “immensely proud of the achievements of this government” from “getting Brexit done” to “getting the UK through the pandemic” and “leading the west in standing up to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine”.

Johnson bringing some of his own style to the speech saying that “the Westminster herd instinct is powerful when the herd moves, it moves.”

And my friends in politics, no one is remotely indispensable. And our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader, equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times.

It was a relatively short speech at just under seven minutes and Johnson leaves to go back into Number 10. 

For how long will he be the resident there? That all depends on whether the Tories are happy for him to stay there during a handover and how long a replacement can be chosen. 

Some reaction from the Foreign Secretary.

Johnson may have signalled his intention to stay on as Prime Minister until a successor is selected but not everyone is pleased with that decision. 

Labour MP Barry Sheerman said there is a “national crisis and a national emergency”, adding there should be “some serious co-operation between the opposition and the government front-benches’ in order to serve the national purpose” over the coming weeks.

Tony Danker, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, said the “political vacuum” left by Johnson’s resignation as Tory leader needed to be filled.

“We now need the political vacuum to be filled at speed to protect people’s living standards, through action on business confidence, investment and growth.”

Reaction from Taoiseach Micheál Martin, acknowledging he an Johnson “didn’t always agree”: 

Prime Minister Johnson has led the British Government during an especially challenging period, including dealing with the impact of Covid-19 and the response to the war on Ukraine. From a personal perspective I am conscious that he has been through a difficult few weeks and I extend my best wishes to him and his family for the future, following the announcement of his resignation. 

Britain is Ireland’s closest neighbour and the relationships between our two countries are long, deep and enduring. Our two Governments working in close partnership is a key underpinning for peace and prosperity on these islands. While Prime Minister Johnson and I engaged actively together, we didn’t always agree, and the relationship between our Governments has been strained and challenged in recent times. 

Our joint responsibilities concerning stewardship of the Good Friday Agreement, as well as nurturing broader bilateral relations between us, require us to work together in a spirit of respect, trust and partnership. That is more important than ever today and I would once again urge a pulling back from unilateral action, whether that be on dealing with the legacy of the past, human rights, or the Northern Ireland Protocol. We have now an opportunity to return to the true spirit of partnership and mutual respect that is needed to underpin the gains of the Good Friday Agreement. 

I welcome the fact that the United Kingdom and the European Union are working together closely in response to Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine. We need to see that approach extended to addressing other challenges, including the practical issues around implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol that are of genuine concern to people and businesses in Northern Ireland. 

I remain committed to working with the British Government and Prime Minister in that spirit in the times ahead.

While Taoiseach Micheál Martin may have only hinted at the strained British-Irish relations, the would-be First Minister of Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill does not hold back. 

She says that Johnson is “a figure of absolute disrepute”. 

Speaking of Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill cannot yet become First Minister as the Stormont Executive is no longer up and running. 

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said that the Irish government “stands ready” to work with any new British prime minister and that Northern Ireland should be the priority. 

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson says that Johnson’s successor will “face very significant challenges both at home and abroad”.

“I recognise the efforts made by the outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his team to replace the Northern Ireland Protocol with arrangements which can command the support of unionists as well as nationalists,” he said.

It is no secret that we believed that Boris Johnson had a duty to get rid of the Irish Sea border having disastrously gone against our advice and signed a Withdrawal Agreement containing the protocol. After two years of failed negotiations, the efforts to remove the protocol must continue.

“Stable devolved government can only be built on a solid foundation. With zero unionist support in the Assembly, the NI Protocol has been undermining the foundations rather than underpinning them.”

One more person reacting to the news from Ireland, this time Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald saying that Johnson “will not be missed”.

“Boris Johnson’s interactions with Ireland have been wholly negative. Under his leadership, we’ve seen an attack on the Good Friday Agreement, threat after threat to break international law,” she said.

We now need leadership that is about fulfilling international commitments and in the case of Ireland, a government, whoever leads the government, understanding that they cannot and that they will not inflict damage on Ireland and we will not be the collateral damage in their Brexit scenario, or indeed held to ransom because of the political ambitions and shenanigans at Westminster or indeed in Number 10. 

Some Tories are seeking to play down the fact that Johnson is to stay on until a successor is chosen. 

Robert Buckland, the newly announced Welsh secretary, says there is simply no constitutional way for the UK to have an ‘interim’ Prime Minister.

“The system is that you’re either Prime Minister or you’re not,” Buckland told Sky News.

What has happened today is that the office of leader the Conservative Party has been vacated. And of course it is for that leader, the leader of the majority party, to become prime minister. It means that we always have to have a prime minister, this prime minister no longer has the political authority to do new things, that is why this is in effect a caretaker government.

Former Prime Minister John Major is not happy with the idea that Johnson will continue as a Prime Minister until a new one is selected. 

He’s suggesting the Tories’ 1922 Committee should do something about it.

Of course, the only way Johnson can be replaced as Prime Minister is if a different person is chosen and the queen invites them to appoint a government. 

Well, well, well….

While the chaos engulfs Downing Street, the Labour leader who would like to make Number 10 his home is pictured in the royal box at Wimbledon. 

Not a bad time for Keir Starmer to be looking smiling and carefree during semi-final day on the BBC. 

Leader of the Opposition Starmer, pictured her with his his wife Victoria, is the only person who can table a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister 

wimbledon-2022-day-eleven-all-england-lawn-tennis-and-croquet-club Source: PA Images

More on John Major’s intervention. 

In a letter to Tory 1922 Committee chairman Graham Brady, Major said:

“The proposal for the Prime Minister to remain in office – for up to three months – having lost the support of his Cabinet, his Government and his parliamentary party is unwise, and may be unsustainable.

In such a circumstance the Prime Minister maintains the power of patronage and, of even greater concern, the power to make decisions which will affect the lives of those within all four nations of the United Kingdom and further afield.

“Some will argue that his new Cabinet will restrain him. I merely note that his previous Cabinet did not – or could not – do so.”

Major has suggested that Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab could be an acting prime minister until a new leader was elected.

It is worth remember that there is certainly no love lost between Johnson and Major.

Johnson steered the UK out of the EU but Major was on the pro-EU wing of his party and in 2019 joined a legal action against Johnson’s controversial decision to prorogue parliament.

The Cabinet is arriving at Downing Street for a meeting at 3pm. 

As is the style over in Westminster, the arriving ministers get questions shouted at the from afar. 

Sky News’ Sam Coates asked James Duddridge whether the ministers are there for what is essentially a caretaker government. 

“This will be a transition,” Duddridge responds. 

One of those arriving is Deputy PM Dominic Raab. He gets more shouts than most as he has been suggested as interim prime minister should Johnson get forced out sooner than he wishes. 

Raab has also been tipped as a potential leadership contender but both he and Michael Gove have reportedly ruled themselves out. 

It’s far from business-as-usual but there’s a Cabinet meeting ongoing and Johnson has just finished a phonecall with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

According to a Downing Street spokesperson, Johnson ended the call with Zelenskyy by telling the Ukrainian president: ‘You’re a hero, everybody loves you.”

kyiv-ukraine-17th-june-2022-british-prime-minister-boris-johnson-left-meets-with-ukrainian-president-volodymyr-zelenskyy-right-the-prime-minister-met-president-volodymyr-zelensky-during-a-surp Johnson and Zelenskyy in Kyiv last month. Source: Alamy Stock Photo

The spokesperson said: 

The Prime Minister highlighted the UK’s unwavering cross-party support for President Zelenskyy’s people, and said the UK would continue to supply vital defensive aid for as long as needed. 

The Prime Minister added that he would continue to work at pace with partners to try and end the grain blockade in the coming weeks.

He thanked President Zelenskyy for everything he’s doing to stick up for freedom, for his friendship and for the kindness of the Ukrainian people.

President Zelenskyy thanked the Prime Minister for his decisive action on Ukraine, and said the Ukrainian people were grateful for the UK’s efforts.

The Prime Minister finished the call by praising President Zelenskyy, saying: ‘You’re a hero, everybody loves you’.

Portrait Shailesh Vara. Source: UK Government

Some details about Shailesh Vara who has been appointed as the UK’s Northern Ireland Secretary following the resignation of Brandon Lewis.

Vara previously served under Theresa May as a junior minister in the Northern Ireland Office in 2018.

He resigned after ten months in response to the UK government’s proposed Brexit withdrawal agreement, which he said did not honour the outcome of the referendum.

He was announced this morning amid chaos at Downing Street as the number of resignations stacked up in protest at Boris Johnson’s government.

With Johnson’s resignation, there will now be moves within the Conservative Party to nominate candidates for the leadership, with the likes of Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak likely to vie for the top job.

My colleague Tadgh McNally has taken a look at the runners and riders and indeed how the process will play itself out

A Tory leadership contest takes place in two separate stages. The first will see MPs vote for the nominated candidates, whittling them down to two names that are put out to the wider membership. 

That’s me Rónán Duffy finished on liveblog duty but one of my colleagues will be taking it up straight away as we continue our coverage of Boris Johnson’s elongated departure. 

Good afternoon all, Niall O’Connor here, I am taking over the Liveblog. Plenty more to come in this most dramatic of political days and I’ll keep you updated for the next few hours. 

Sky News are reporting that Tory heavyweight Michael Gove will not stand in the Conservative Leadership contest. 

Similarly former Health Minister Matt Hancock and deputy leader Dominic Raab also saying that they will not stand.  

michael-govesecretary-of-state-for-justiceleaves-number-10-downing-street-he-is-campaigning-to-leave-the-eu Source: Alamy Stock Photo

Speaking at Government Buildings a short time ago Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he understands Boris Johnson has been through “a fairly difficult number of months”.

“I wish him and his family the very best for the future,” Martin said.

“From our perspective, Britain is our closest neighbour.

“It’s extremely important that we have a very strong, deep-rooted relationship economically, socially, culturally and of course, in terms of the respective government’s role as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement.

“It’s fair to say that over the last while that relationship has come under strain, and there have been significant challenges, and I believe opportunities may now arise to reset that relationship.

“Particularly, to avoid unilateralism and to pull back from the unilateralism that has been evident in respect of legacy in respect of the human rights as enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights and unilateralism in terms of the protocol itself, in terms of the legislation.”

Taoiseach arrival 004 Taoiseach Micheal Martin addressing media in the Courtyard at Government Buildings this afternoon. Source: Sam Boal

Conservative politicians stayed tight-lipped as they left the Cabinet meeting hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson just hours after he officially announced he was quitting the Tory leadership.

Education Secretary James Cleverly ignored media questions about if he would run for leader as he left Downing Street.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi held his head down and deliberately ignored calls from the waiting press as he determinedly walked out of Number 10.

Smiling Northern Ireland Secretary Shailesh Vara told reporters: “Good afternoon. I have got work to do and I am going to do it.”

Levelling Up Secretary Greg Clark and Welsh Secretary Sir Robert Buckland left Downing Street side-by-side. Each was clutching a red ministerial book and neither gave comment on the dramatic events of the past few days.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Environment Secretary George Eustice and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries were straight-faced and silent as they left.

There was a similar reaction from Baroness Evans, the leader of the House of Lords, as she left.

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill said she has told the new Northern Ireland Secretary that his duty is to “respect the Assembly election outcome”.

New Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Shailesh Vara has been having discussions with party leaders after he replaced Brandon Lewis, who resigned earlier on Thursday.

Sinn Fein emerged as the largest party in the recent Stormont election but the power-sharing institutions are currently not operating as part of the DUP’s protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol.

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said that efforts to remove the Northern Ireland Protocol must continue in the next British government.

In a statement Donaldson said that he recognised the work done by Johnson to remove the Northern Ireland Protocol. 

“It is no secret that we believed that Boris Johnson had a duty to get rid of the Irish Sea border having disastrously gone against our advice and signed a Withdrawal Agreement containing the Protocol. After two years of failed negotiations, the efforts to remove the Protocol must continue.

“Stable devolved government can only be built on a solid foundation. With zero unionist support in the Assembly, the NI Protocol has been undermining the foundations rather than underpinning them.

“The leadership of the Conservative and Unionist Party is a matter for the MPs and members of that Party. They should however recognise that no unionist MLAs or MPs support the Protocol. Fully functioning devolved government in Stormont and the Protocol cannot coexist,” he said. 

london-uk-25th-may-2021-lord-nigel-dodds-and-sir-jeffery-donaldson-dup-mp-jeffrey-donaldson-outside-the-cabinet-office-after-a-meeting-with-lord-frost-on-the-northern-ireland-protocol-pictured Source: Alamy Stock Photo

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has called for a British general election to remove Boris Johnson as he clings on in a caretaker role.

“If there’s one thing that we have learned over the last week, it is that virtually no Tory MP can be trusted to do the right thing. Only when it was in their own personal political self-interest did Johnson’s own cabinet members, and now leadership hopefuls, deign to take action to remove him from government. And even now, faced with a tidal wave of evidence that he is unfit to hold office, there are many who continue to seek his patronage.

“Johnson should have left government immediately. If he will not leave office then his death grip on power should be broken by a confidence motion in the House of Commons. The SDLP will support others to make that happen and we are now calling for a general election to clear the whole Conservative Party out of power. Returning more Labour, SDLP, SNP and other progressive MPs will create a coalition that can put an end to twelve years of Tory rule.

“This government cannot be trusted to do what is right for people and communities in Northern Ireland. So it is right that the people should be given the opportunity to have their say and put them out of power.”

ff 019 Colum Eastwood Source: sam boal

That’s all from the liveblog for today – follow along on The Journal through out the evening as we continue to cover the developments. 

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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