Boris Johnson is set to face MPs in the House of Commons today less than 24 hours after two senior ministers resigned from their roles.
In what was a devastating blow to the Prime Minister, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, and former Health Secretary Sajid Javid, handed in their resignation letters yesterday evening and stepped down from their roles as two of Boris Johnson’s most senior and trusted cabinet members during his time in office.
In Mr Sunak’s shock resignation letter posted to Twitter, he stressed that he had been “loyal” to the Prime Minister over the years, but that he had now concluded their “approaches are fundamentally too different”.
“I firmly believe the public are ready to hear that truth,” he added in his letter.
“Our people know that if something is too good to be true then it’s not true. They need to know that whilst there is a path to a better future, it is not an easy one. I am sad to be leaving Government – but I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we cannot continue like this.”
Similarly, Sajid Javid said in his resignation letter that the British public “rightfully expect integrity from their government”, adding: “The tone you set as a leader, and the values you represent, reflect on your colleagues, your party and ultimately the country.
“Conservatives at their best are seen as hard-headed decision-makers, guided by strong values. We may not have always been popular, but we have been competent in acting in the national interest.
“Sadly, in the current circumstances, the public are concluding that we are now neither.”
He added that last month’s vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister showed “humility, grip and new direction,” and that it is “clear” to him that “this situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too.”
Mr Sunak and Mr Javid announcing they would be stepping down yesterday evening subsequently lead to a wave of other resignations, with a total of 10 Conservative MPs announcing they would be leaving their positions – two cabinet ministers, one minister, four parliamentary private secretaries, one vice chair, and two trade envoys.
All resignations were in the wake of the Prime Minister’s handling of the ongoing row over MP Chris Pincher’s conduct – who quit as deputy chief whip last week after claims that he groped two men at a private members’ club.
Mr Johnson had been told about concerns around Mr Pincher’s behaviour dating back several years, and after having several MPs and ministers publicly deny that he had any knowledge of this, eventually admitted in interviews this week to knowing about the claims when he the “bad mistake” to promote Mr Pincher to chief whip.
It has been confirmed that Nadhim Zahawi has been named the new Chancellor, and Steve Barclay has become Health Secretary.
The Prime Minister will now face MPs in the House of Commons for Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) today from 12pm – which is less than 24 hours after the resignations.
He is expected to be quizzed on a range of topics, including “integrity in politics”, the rule of law, and Ukraine and its impacts on the UK – but of course, he will most likely be hit with questions over his handling of Mr Pincher’s promotion, the resignations of last night, and other pressing issues.
The Pincher row is the latest issue to prompt Conservative MPs to question the Prime Minister’s leadership and direction of the current government – which has been dogged by a series of controversies in recent months.
The ongoing ‘Partygate’ scandal and the police investigation into parties in Downing Street during lockdown has grabbed most of the headlines this year, but other Tory MPs have also expressed dissent over tax rises, the government’s response to rising cost of living crisis, and its policy direction going forward.
A recent snap YouGov poll of more than 3,000 people has found that seven in 10 Brits think Mr Johnson should resign as Prime Minister – but he has reportedly told allies that he intends to fight on despite the resignations.
Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said he would welcome a snap election and that the country needed a change of government, adding: “After all the sleaze, all the failure, it’s clear that this Tory government is now collapsing.”
A Number 10 source said the PM is determined to “deliver what he promised the people”.
Woman who protested alone outside Chanel show labelled ‘a queen’
A woman who staged a lone protest outside the Chanel show in Manchester last week has been inundated with praise from locals.
The woman was positioned on High Street, mere metres from where a-list celebrities and high-fashion models were parading for the fashion giant.
The fact that the exclusive event took place in Manchester has been considered a huge coup for the city, and one which will have had a significant economic impact.
But the woman outside the Chanel show chose the opportunity to highlight the stark contrast between the luxurious fashion show and the harsh reality of many living in poverty in our city.
She held a sign that read: “Over 250,000 children living in poverty in Manchester. Higher than UK average.
“Manchester has one of the highest level of homelessness. 1 in 74 people. 7407 and rising!
“Where have you hidden the homeless Andy??”
Speaking about Chanel, she told photographer Project Certi: “No one was consulted about this. It’s not for the people of Manchester. You can come here if you want a celebrity spot but that’s not for you.
“This sort of thing moves around the world, they’ll have it somewhere weird and wonderful every year, and this is kind of like, capitalising on the working class history of Manchester.
“The poster’s got, ironically, the suffragettes on it, you know, people fighting for rights. They’re using images from the Hacienda, they’re using music of Joy Division and New Order, all of that what made Manchester on the music map all came out working class struggle. It all came during Thatcher and the attack on the working class, which is exactly what we’re seeing now with 12 years of austerity.”
She also highlighted the man who died on the street in the Gay Village on a night where temperatures dropped, and the ‘cr*ppy B&Bs’ that homeless people find themselves housed in.
Speaking of the impact of Chanel on Manchester though, Deputy Leader Luthfur Rahman OBE said: “The impact of the decision by CHANEL to hold its prestigious Métiers d’Art show here in Manchester is something that is already resonating with people around the globe and is going to continue to be felt by the city for quite some time.
“It speaks volumes about the regard in which Manchester is already held across the world, but more importantly it also sends a clear signal to international businesses and the international visitor economy that Manchester is the place to be.
“It’s impossible at this stage to even begin to quantify the economic impact hosting the event has had on the city, or to put a figure on it. The true impact will involve not just the direct spend and income generated within the city over these last few weeks leading up to and during the event, but also the longer-term benefits that will come from the massive boost to Manchester’s profile that CHANEL has given the city, that in turn translates into more visitors coming to see what Manchester has to offer, and more businesses choosing to invest here.
“It has been without doubt quite a moment for Manchester, not least coming as it does off the back of many other significant moments for the city this year, that together place Manchester in absolute pole position on the world’s stage for the years ahead.”
In the comments on Project Certi’s video, one person wrote: “Thank you for giving this woman a platform.”
Another wrote: “Whoever this woman is, she’s a legend. As are you for capturing it.”
Someone else posted: “I have so much respect for this woman, I’d love to meet her and let her know she’s not alone in her feelings towards this.”
One comment said: “She is such a queen, bang on with everything she’s saying.”
Unexpected Manchester city centre street named ‘one of the most polluted’ in the UK
A new fieldwork study has revealed the worst air polluted city centre streets in the UK, and a popular Manchester thoroughfare has been named one of the worst.
Except, it’s really not the street you’d expect it to be.
For some bizarre reason, despite the fact it’s a pedestrianised commercial shopping street in the heart of Manchester city centre, Market Street has been named one of the most polluted streets in the country.
Recordings were taken at high streets in the 25 largest towns and cities in the country over a two-week period, and the results found that 76% are exceeding the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended annual level of air pollution, The Hoot reports.
The study enlisted a planning consultancy to collect samples using an air quality monitoring device at 11am on either a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday to ensure as much comparability as possible between the locations.
The study comes after a poll of 2,000 adults found that 36% have concerns over the health of the community due to air pollution, or the health of their family (26%) or themselves (25%).
Speaking on the shocking findings from the new study, Sam Clarke, who is the chief vehicle officer at the sustainable energy business, said: “With millions set to hit the high street this festive period, we wanted to look at the state of the nation’s air quality in the locations people will be doing most of their Christmas shopping.
“It’s shocking to see that so many were above the World Health Organisation’s annual recommendations for air pollution, and that one in 10 shoppers are even planning on foregoing the highstreets altogether due to air quality.”
20 streets in the UK were over the recommended World Health Organisation recommended levels of 5 µg/m3).
The Most-Polluted Streets in the UK
Stoke-On-Trent (Parliament Street) – 11.7
Newcastle (Northumberland Street) – 11.5
Leicester (Gallowtree Gate) – 11.2
Coventry (West Orchards Way) – 11.1
Hull (Jameston Street) – 10.7
Bradford (Broadway) – 10.6
Southampton (Above Bar Street) – 8.8
Nottingham (High Street) – 7.7
Luton (George Street) – 7.6
Manchester (Market Street) – 7.6
Northampton (Abington Street) – 7.3
Birmingham New Street – 7.3
Liverpool (Church Street) – 7.1
Derby (St Peter’s Street) – 6.9
London (Oxford Street) – 6.8
Sheffield (Fargate) – 6.3
Brighton (Western Road) – 5.6
Leeds (Briggate) – 5.3
Portsmouth (Commercial Road) – 5.1
“If we’re to reach the World Health Organisation’s annual target of 5 µg/m3 of PM2.5 in our air, collectively we need to change our behaviours,” Sam Clarke added.
“With vehicle emissions being a key contributor, anything we can do to travel more greenly, from walking more to cycling, and including electric vehicles, is a very valuable set forward to improve the air we breathe daily.”