Just 4 days since many of us were enjoying bank holiday sun and the PM’s support has seemingly melted away like the remaining Easter eggs we couldn’t bring ourselves to finish.
So here we are, a hefty political update for you this weekend that will no doubt be hopelessly out of date by Monday.
To vote, or not to vote…
That was the question facing Tory whips yesterday. Labour proposed a motion in the Commons to refer the Prime Minister to the Parliamentary Committee on Standards for an inquiry into whether he has misled the House over partygate.
First the PM wanted his MPs to vote for an amendment that would have neutered it. Then, when he realised he wouldn’t have support amongst his own MPs <[link removed]> for that he told them to abstain on the vote. Then when he realised many Tory MPs would actually rather vote FOR the inquiry he announced it would be a ‘free vote’ to avoid the embarrassment of MPs rebelling.
Finally, he realised the number of Tory MPs who planned to vote for the inquiry was still embarrassingly large and he just cancelled the vote entirely and let the motion pass without challenge. Which is embarrassing in itself, and really brings into question how long he can hold on to power.
So there will be an inquiry <[link removed]>, and we will be watching closely.
12,000 messages to MPs
Best for Britain supporters used our Hey-MP.uk tool to send almost 12,000 messages to their MPs in the past two weeks. Modesty stops us suggesting that the PM’s woes yesterday were all down to you and Best for Britain supporters like you… but we can be certain your feelings have been heard, and the government is running scared.
Sorry, not sorry
Johnson was forced to apologise <[link removed]> after being issued with a fixed penalty notice last week, but he was quick to move on from explanations and instead decided that too much rumination on his illicit partying would prevent him from ‘delivering on the priorities of the country’.
You could say, he fought the law and the law won <[link removed]>.
Clearly even his own MPs didn’t want to swallow that one and tarnish their own reputations defending him.
Passage to India
While all this was going on, Johnson disappeared off to India <[link removed]> to hide from the scrutiny. Which wouldn’t have endeared him to his MPs left behind to defend the indefensible while the PM himself bottled it. This clip of Johnson being interviewed <[link removed]> by the journalist Beth Rigby doesn’t exactly show a politician open to scrutiny.
We put together a list of five other times Boris Johnson ran away <[link removed]>.
Priti Patel continues to defend her plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, accusing her critics of failing to offer alternative solutions (despite evidence of her having ignored alternative solutions <[link removed]> emerging).
Boris Johnson decided to weigh in to support the policy and took a swipe at the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in the process. Welby had condemned the policy proposals <[link removed]> in his Easter Sunday sermon as the ‘opposite of the nature of God’. Instead of respecting what Welby had said, Johnson chose to falsely accuse the Archbishop of failing to condemn Putin.
Countdown to the Elections Bill
Next week, assuming no further enormous parliamentary upsets, the Elections Bill <[link removed]> will return to both Lords (on Monday) and the Commons (Weds) for MPs to vote on amendments added by the Lords.
Best for Britain has been working with Peers, opposition parties and civil society campaigns to make sure the Bill is amended to protect the independence of the Electoral Commission and to increase the types of ID voters will be able to use to cast their votes.
Please use Hey-MP.uk to write to your MP about this now, if you haven’t done so already. It is truly vital for our democracy. <[link removed]>
We fully expect Conservative MPs to vote against the Lords’ amendments so the Bill will go back and forth between the two houses in what’s called ‘ping pong’ (or ‘whiff whaff’ according <[link removed]> to Boris Johnson) until one side or the other gives in.
The Government needs to get this finished next week before Parliament is prorogued - closed down - prior to being reopened by the Queen’s Speech at the start of May. If any Bills are unfinished, they just fizzle out and would need to be started from the beginning.
The powerful PACAC committee of MPs chaired by senior Tory MP William Wragg hit out at the Government this week, backing up Best for Britain’s campaigns on the Elections Bill.
In a letter to Michael Gove <[link removed]>, the Minister responsible for the Bill, the PACAC committee urges the Government to accept amendments proposed by Lord Judge that would safeguard the Electoral Commission’s independence. Best for Britain has worked closely with Lord Judge in the drafting of these amendments and to build support for them in parliament.
Macron vs Le Pen, the sequel
Yes, it’s the run-off round of the French presidential election on Sunday and in a repeat of the 2017 election it’s Emmanuel Macron, the sitting president hoping for a second term, up against serial challenger from the far right, Marine Le Pen.
With the finish line in sight. Macron may have cemented his lead this week by coming off better in a nationalised televised debate with post debate polls suggesting 59% of viewers <[link removed]> deemed him the victor. That said, with Le Pen still within touching distance of the Élysée, you’ll forgive us for keeping the English sparkling on ice for the time being (the champagne is stuck at Dover).
Your Majesty, assemble
Happy birthday to HM the Queen who turned 96 this week. Naturally, at the changing of the Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace, the band played Happy Birthday, followed by the Avengers Assemble Theme <[link removed]>.
What happens next?!
A string of Conservative MPs have now come out and told Johnson he should go, though there seems to be disagreement on the timing. So watch this space.
Will he do the decent thing and resign as soon as possible? Seems unlikely. Perhaps the local elections <[link removed]> on 5th May will prompt him to step down, or maybe he’ll cling on until the Wakefield by-election <[link removed]> (the seat was vacated after Tory MP Imran Ahmed Khan was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15 year od boy - Labour are in a good position to take the seat).
In the meantime, the authoritarian legislation his government has set in motion is still threatening our democracy. The trade agreement he negotiated and signed with the EU is still failing British businesses and driving up the cost of living <[link removed]>.
Have a great weekend, who knows what next week will bring.
Director of Operations, Best for Britain
P.S. It's really easy to support Best for Britain's campaigns and be first to know what's going on. £5 per month will make you a Best for Britain Citizen of the World. Join now <[link removed]>.
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