Boris Johnson defies calls to leave No 10 immediately as Tories prepare for leadership battle – UK politics live | Politics

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Rayner says Labour will table no confidence motion if Johnson does not go quickly

Next up on this morning’s media rounds is Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner.

She tells the BBC that Labour will call a no-confidence vote in the prime minister if the Conservative party does not get rid of him immediately.

Asked if her party will seek to speed up his departure from No 10, she says:

We will if the Conservatives don’t get their act together and get rid of Boris Johnson.

He’s a proven liar who’s engulfed in sleaze and we can’t have another couple of months of this.

So they do have to get rid of him, and if they don’t, we will call a no confidence vote because it’s pretty clear – he hasn’t got the confidence of the house or the British public.

Key events:

Tory MPs accept Johnson likely to stay until successor elected as support for caretaker PM plan fades

Andrew Sparrow

Andrew Sparrow

Good morning. I’m Andrew Sparrow, taking over from Hamish Mackay.

When Boris Johnson announced his resignation yesterday, there were immediate calls for him to be forced out of No 10 within days, and for Dominic Raab to takeover as caretaker or interim prime minister pending the election of Johnson’s successor. Sir John Major was perhaps the most senior figure to argue for this, but others made the case too.

Twenty four hours later, it feels as if that argument is close to being settled – and not in Major’s favour. Johnson has made it clear that he intends to stay as PM until a new Tory leader is elected, and this morning James Cleverly, the new education secretary who has been speaking for the government on the morning interview round, made the same argument. He told Sky News:

There’s no such thing as a caretaker prime minister. In our system, there is a prime minister. [Johnson] is resigning from his role as prime minister and leader of the the party once a successor has been appointed.

Caroline Nokes, a Conservative MP who has been very critical of Johnson, was on the Today programme earlier and she was asked about the caretaker PM proposal. She said there were “legitmate questions” as to whether Johnson should be allowed to stay on, because of his character. But she implied that she would not fight hard for a caretaker arrangement (which would be unprecedented anyway – there is no provision for people to be appointed PM on a temporary, caretaker basis) and she said the priority was to speed up the contest.

If we can achieve that [complete the leadership contest] within weeks rather than within months, then I think we have to focus on that. We should focus on the leadership contest and just get it underway and then over and done with as soon as possible.

This helps to explain why in his Today programme interview earlier Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the 1922 Committee, declared the caretake PM plan dead, saying “that ship has sailed”. (See 7.51pm.) Clifton-Brown, like Nokes, is also someone who is not a Johnson loyalist.

Amid the chaos of Johnson’s resignation, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Labour could also soon be looking for a new leader.

Sir Keir Starmer has promised to step down if fined for an event in Durham during lockdown in which he and other party activists ate takeaway food and drank beer on a campaigning trip.

Asked about this on Today, Rayner says neither she nor Starmer will appeal if found by Durham Police to have broken coronavirus rules.

We’ll accept the findings.

You know, it’s very clear that both myself and Keir believe that we believe in the rule of law.

We believe that if you’re a lawmaker, you can’t be a lawbreaker, and that we couldn’t lead the party under those conditions.

We’ve got a prime minister who spent the last couple of months trying to cling on to power that has devastated the British public and we’ve not been dealing with the issues that matter to them.

That’s it from me for this morning, my colleague Andrew Sparrow is now taking over.

Rayner says Labour will table no confidence motion if Johnson does not go quickly

Next up on this morning’s media rounds is Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner.

She tells the BBC that Labour will call a no-confidence vote in the prime minister if the Conservative party does not get rid of him immediately.

Asked if her party will seek to speed up his departure from No 10, she says:

We will if the Conservatives don’t get their act together and get rid of Boris Johnson.

He’s a proven liar who’s engulfed in sleaze and we can’t have another couple of months of this.

So they do have to get rid of him, and if they don’t, we will call a no confidence vote because it’s pretty clear – he hasn’t got the confidence of the house or the British public.

More now from the 1922 Committee’s Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, who says that while in an “ideal world” deputy PM Dominic Raab would have been made caretaker prime minister after Johnson’s speech yesterday, “that ship has sailed”.

I think in an ideal world, Dominic Raab, as deputy prime minister, should have been the caretaker prime minister, but that ship I think has sailed and we must we must now live with the fact that Boris Johnson will be prime minister until a successor can be voted on.

He adds:

[Johnson] has said very clearly that he won’t be making any major changes during that period. And I think that is a good thing.

How will a new Tory leader be chosen?

Rajeev Syal

Rajeev Syal

It is for the Conservative MPs and then party members to determine a Tory leader, who is then prime minister as the party has a Commons majority.

To take part in the race, a Tory MP has to be nominated by eight colleagues.

Once all the candidates have declared, Tory MPs will hold a series of votes until only two remain. In the first round, candidates must get 5% of the votes to stay in the running, which is 18 votes.

In the second round they must get 10%, which is currently 36 MPs. In the following rounds, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated until two candidates remain.

When two MPs are left in the race, party members get to make their final choice before a deadline set by the 1922 Committee.

In 2019, when Johnson replaced May, the entire leadership process took about six weeks.

Assuming the new leader was able to command the confidence of the Commons, they would not be required to call a general election.

The treasurer of the influential 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs says the battle for the next prime minister is likely to go to the Conservative party membership.

This would happen if, once the candidates are whittled down to two by Tory MPs, one refuses to concede.

Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said:

In this case, I think there is a lot of competition. And I would be surprised if it didn’t go to the membership in the country.

I think, actually, under these circumstances with the division in the party, I think it is a good thing that it goes to the to the membership so they have an opportunity to have their say and a vote.

New Tory leader needed ‘pretty quickly’, says Cleverly

Finally from James Cleverly’s appearance on Sky News, he insists Boris Johnson “is resigning” as prime minister, despite not having used the word in his resignation speech.

He is resigning from his role as prime minister and leader of the the party once a successor has been appointed.

He adds:

It’s right that he has stood down and it’s right that he has put a team in place to continue governing whilst the selection procedure flows for his successor.

And we should do that I think pretty quickly, pretty promptly.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson says he is “utterly appalled” at the shooting of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Utterly appalled and saddened to hear about the despicable attack on Shinzo Abe.

My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 8, 2022

For the latest developments on that story, you can follow our dedicated live blog here.

Asked what he’s looking for in a new Tory leader, Cleverly says it needs to be someone who is “a good governor … a good campaigner”.

Does it need to be a Brexiteer? “Brexit is done,” he replies.

On whether he would support someone who “stabbed Johnson in the back”, he doesn’t give a clear answer – but says he and many other Tory MPs feel that potential leaders can expect more loyalty if they themselves have shown it to others.

James Cleverly rules out leadership bid

Pressed on whether he will stand to be Johnson’s replacement, Cleverly says he won’t.

I put myself forward last time. I don’t regret that. I really enjoyed it.

As you know, my wife has been going through cancer treatment. While that is going well it hasn’t concluded.

It’s not the right time for me and I feel comfortable that we have a range of candidates within the party that would make excellent prime ministers.

He adds that he is yet to choose who he will support.

Conservative MP James Cleverly, newly appointed as education secretary after Michelle Donelan’s speedy departure from the role, is on Sky News.

He is asked about the news that the Boris and Carrie Johnson are to host a wedding party at Chequers before the PM leaves office.

Cleverly says it is his understanding that this event will be paid for privately rather than by the tax-payer, and adds he is not invited despite considering Johnson a “long-standing friend”.

How the papers reacted to Johnson’s resignation

The chaotic choreography of Boris Johnson’s sort-of resignation as prime minister delivered some contrasting front pages on Friday.

The Guardian has a poster-style front page with a picture of an “unrepentant” Johnson during his resignation speech and the headline “It’s (almost) over” in which the words in parentheses are reduced to much smaller point size.

The Financial Times also highlights the outgoing leader’s “unapologetic” tone in its splash headlined “Johnson quits, defiant to the end”. However, Robert Shrimsley’s front page column says that despite losing the trust of MPs, his historical significance is “indisputable”.

The Mirror has an intriguing claim that Johnson wants to stay on as prime minister in order to hold a “lavish” party at Chequers that has long been pencilled in for 30 July to celebrate his wedding to Carrie last year. “Clinging on for one last party” the headline says.

The Times goes with “Johnson throws in towel”, reporting that his resignation has triggered a “bloody leadership contest”. Columnist Iain Martin says Johnson’s chaotic reign in Downing Street bequeaths his successor a “nightmare inheritance”.

After days of mounting pressure, the prime minister announced yesterday he would step down – but he has vowed not to leave office until a successor is chosen.

Defying calls to leave immediately from both inside and out of his party, Boris Johnson appointed new ministers and said he would continue governing.

He did, however, promise his government would not attempt to implement any new policies or introduce “major changes of direction”, including tax decisions over the coming weeks.

Even before Johnson delivered his ill-tempered exit speech, Conservative MPs’ focus had already switched to who might succeed him – and unlike in 2019, when he had been the prince across the water for months, this time there is no obvious successor.

Within just a few days, the likely shape of the race to be Britain’s next prime minister will be much clearer; but as the starting gun is fired, it looks wide open.

We’ll bring you all the latest political developments throughout the day – and you can catch up with some of yesterday’s events here:

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