The Tories are torn, Boris Johnson's credibility is in tatters - John McLellan

The best is yet to come, a major economic package will be revealed next week, tax cuts are coming…. Why would any Conservative MP have voted against the Prime Minister last night when the Big Dog has still to fire his big bazooka at the faltering British economy?

It’s unlikely many changed their minds at the last minute following Mr Johnson’s late impassioned appeal to stave off defeat in the Vote of No Confidence, especially as the tax cuts had already been promised and a major economic package next week or next month should be a basic prerequisite of the First Lord of the Treasury when the country is facing an economic crisis. Nevertheless, 211 loyally stayed on board and backed him to get on with the job.

Tax Cuts? He’s a Conservative Prime Minister, for heaven’s sake. Having to spell that out as a reason to support him cuts to the heart of the issue because as the rebels’ one-page manifesto spelt out, too many Conservatives don’t know what he stands for other than self-preservation. As it turned out, 148 of them are MPs.

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No-one had an “alternative vision” said Mr Johnson, as if anyone can describe his vision now that Brexit is done, and his reward was less support than that for Theresa May.

Boris Johnson speaks on the phone with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr ZelenskyBoris Johnson speaks on the phone with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Boris Johnson speaks on the phone with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

But the country has not turned against him because of a lack of vision or a muddled tax agenda. The dogs in the street, big or otherwise, know trust in him has gone, the last vestiges blown away by the Sue Gray report and confrontation with his ethics chief Lord Geidt.

Even the letter of support from 23 prominent Tory donors spoke only of the need for consistent leadership, not of rebuilding faith.

From a Scottish perspective, whether a double U-turn or not, with 83 per cent of the public dissatisfied with Mr Johnson, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross had no choice but to vote against him. The mistake was calling for his resignation without an obvious Plan B in the likely event he stayed, and then to withdraw, unlike Borders MP John Lamont who kept his powder dry until the vote was called.

Scotland Secretary and Boris loyalist Alister Jack apart, Scottish Conservatives may be united in their opposition to Mr Johnson, but the party is now impossibly torn, Mr Johnson’s credibility at the dispatch box in tatters with 40 per cent of his own people wanting him gone.

But the consensus is he’ll fight to the death to stay...and Labour want him alive until the next general election.



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