Priti honour ‘is wrong message’
his biggest fans, former Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries, unexpectedly stepped down from her Mid Bedfordshire seat.
And the idea that the disgraced ex-pm might stand for re-election to Parliament in her former seat is one of a number he is discussing for his future.
Yesterday another close ally, Nigel Adams, forced a third by-election by quitting his seat in Selby and Ainsty, North Yorks.
Mr Johnson had been warned in an email on Thursday that he would be carpeted by the Commons Privileges Committee’s investigation into whether he misled MPS over Downing Street parties during Covid. That meant he faced a 10-day Commons suspension, triggering a by-election. On Friday afternoon, Downing Street released the finalised list of Mr Johnson’s resignation honours list. Ms Dorries and
Mr Adams, both expected to go to the Lords, were not on the list.
Number 10 insisted Mr Sunak had made no changes to it, and his only role had been to pass it to the House of Lords Appointments Commission.
It is understood the commission removed eight names from the peerages list – half of the total number – for reasons of propriety.
In a furious and lengthy resignation statement, Mr Johnson lashed out at Privileges Committee chair and Labour MP Harriet Harman, branding the probe a “kangaroo court”.
He said: “It is very sad to be leaving Parliament – at least for now – but
NICOLA SMALL above all I am bewildered and appalled that I can be forced out, antidemocratically, by a committee chaired and managed, by Harriet Harman, with such egregious bias.”
While all three vacant seats have healthy Tory majorities, none are guaranteed to stay that way as the party trails in the polls.
The Tories have lost four seats in by-elections since
June 2021 – three to the Lib
Dems and a fourth to Labour.
Mr Johnson had a majority of 7,000 in Uxbridge and
South Ruislip, putting the seat high on Labour’s hit-list. Labour’s candidate there, Danny Beales, said: “I think people are telling us that they’re pretty fed up. “Whether they voted Labour or Conservative last time, they feel the country is not working. I definitely think we’re in with a shot.” Ms Dorries’ majority in Mid Bedfordshire was 24,664 and the Lib Dems would need a swing of 23.6% to take the seat – less than they achieved in their shock by-election upsets in Chesham and Amersham, North Shropshire, and Tiverton and Honiton. Leader ‘IN WITH A SHOT’ “are not genuine asylum seekers” and only want to live in UK hotels.
Refugee Ali-martin Fatmata, who fled war in Sierra Leone in 2019, said: “What sort of message does it give to reward someone like this?
“She has no empathy for asylum seekers and now she’s been given an honour. It really is ridiculous.”
Ed Davey is set to make an appearance there today, and the party has already printed 40,000 leaflets to be handed out by dozens of activists flooding in from around the country.
A source said: “All the ingredients are there for us to pull off another historic by-election upset.”
The cost of fighting three by-elections at once could be crippling for the Conservatives.
In February, billionaire Mohamed Mansour reportedly offered to dig the party out of a financial black hole after donors deserted the party.
Donations dropped by 45% in the third quarter of 2022, according to Electoral Commission figures.
Mr Mansour was given the role of senior treasurer, and handed the party £5million to “keep the lights on”.
Meanwhile, veteran MP Sir Bill Cash and former minister Will Quince, both of whom have backed Mr Johnson, announced they would step down at the next election.
It takes the number of Tory MPS stepping down before the next election to a staggering 43.