Controversial Boris orders ministers to hold Covid-style press conferences on cost of living crisis as PM tries to fight back against latest scandal and allies urge him to ‘squat’ into recess
- Boris Johnson plans to hold Covid-style press conference amid inflation crisis
- Prime Minister emphasizes that the tight cost of living remains his ‘top priority’
- No10 denies the plan is a way to distract from the latest Tory sleaze scandal
Boris Johnson has told senior ministers of his plan to hold Covid-style press conferences to highlight the government’s efforts to tackle the cost of living crisis.
The prime minister, who is being ravaged by a new Tory sleaze scandal, emphasized today that pressure on household budgets would remain his “top priority” in the coming months.
The economic pain for families is expected to worsen further with predictions that inflation could climb to 11 percent in the fall.
Downing Street suggested the appearance of top ministers at regular press conferences would show the government is treating the cost of living crisis with “the same seriousness” as the Covid pandemic.
Number 10 denied the plan, and the announcement today was a way to distract from Mr Johnson’s latest woes.
The prime minister’s leadership is under renewed pressure after his deputy head whip Chris Pincher resigns over claims he drunkenly groped two men.
It has emerged that Mr Johnson was aware of previous allegations against the 52-year-old – including a complaint accepted when Mr Pincher was Secretary of State – before appointing him as deputy head whip in February.
Allies of the prime minister today urged him to sit down and wait for Parliament’s summer recess at the end of this month, when an immediate threat to his premiership from Tory rebels would wane – at least for a few weeks.
Boris Johnson has told senior ministers of his plan to hold Covid-style press conferences to highlight the government’s efforts during the cost of living crisis
Prime Minister’s allies today urged him to lay down and wait for Parliament’s summer recess amid fresh Tory sleaze scandal
Boris warned he might be safe for summer but could still be away for Christmas
Boris Johnson faces a renewed threat to his leadership after the latest Tory sleaze scandal.
Claims against ex-deputy head whip Chris Pincher – and No10’s handling of the spat – have emboldened conservative rebels in their efforts to get rid of the prime minister.
Their challenge to achieve that goal is the fact that Mr Johnson won a vote of no confidence in his leadership only last month.
This granted him immunity to another challenge for 12 months.
But in a new rebel plot, critics of the Prime Minister seek key positions on the 1922 Committee — the influential body responsible for Tory leadership contests — in a battle with Prime Minister loyalists.
If the rebels gain a majority in the Committee’s 18-member executive, they could change the rules so that Johnson can face another no-confidence vote earlier than June next year.
The 1922 elections will not take place until next week and the MPs will go on summer vacation on 21 July.
This means there is little time for Tory rebels to change the rules and also hold a no-confidence vote before MPs leave Westminster until September.
No.10 will therefore trust the Prime Minister to be safe for the summer – which they could hope will act as a ‘firebreak’ to cool the ire of rebel MPs.
Johnson will plan a fall fight with his October Tory conference address.
But some still predict that the prime minister – despite being on a summer break – will still be gone within months.
A North Tory MP, who has not been a regular rebel, said: ‘I’ll be surprised if Boris goes to Christmas.’
At a cabinet meeting this morning, Mr Johnson praised tomorrow’s changes to national insurance thresholds and described them as the “biggest personal tax cut in a decade.”
“The Prime Minister said it will be in people’s pay packages from tomorrow and that it is there, among other things, to help people across the country with the cost of living,” Downing Street said in a readout from the meeting.
No10 revealed how Mr Johnson had told his cabinet that ‘tackling inflation and tackling the cost of living will remain the top priority’.
The prime minister also told his top ministers that they will “hold regular government press conferences over the next six months to explain the details of various elements of the government’s plan for the economy.”
During the early stages of the Covid pandemic, the Prime Minister and other ministers – as well as top advisers such as Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty – attended daily press conferences.
Downing Street said the cost of living press conferences would not be as regular – and not necessarily weekly or biweekly – but would be held “at the right time” and could coincide with the release of the latest economic statistics.
Asked if the plan was a sign that the inflation crisis was as severe as the pandemic, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “It can be risky to draw equivalence as we are talking about individuals who have sadly lost their lives.” .
“It’s true that this is something that is a significant burden to people across the country, and even worldwide.”
That meant that the cost of living crisis “must be treated with the same degree of seriousness in terms of trying to tackle the problem,” the spokesperson added.
The Tory’s latest sleaze feud over Pincher has encouraged Tory rebels to renew their efforts to tear up Conservative Party rules and force Johnson to pass another no-confidence vote – despite taking such a vote last month. match won.
But a high Conservative MP loyal to the Prime Minister downplayed the idea that the current scandal would put Mr Johnson down – though they criticized the ‘very frustrating’ way No10 handled the spat.
They told MailOnline: ‘When the break starts, it won’t be long… we have two weeks from Thursday. The story continues until then.
“Basically, it’s very frustrating that a story of misjudgment in a single appointment has been unnecessarily magnified by failed communication.”
The MP also insisted that the prime minister “didn’t go”, as they suggested he had been held back by more serious controversies.
“Just look at all the other stuff he hasn’t gone over,” they added.