The Tories may have an accidental vote of confidence on Johnson!?

Hopefully Johnson will soon be making his last wave from Number 10 but in the meantime squabbling Tories could even botch the planned ‘assassination’ attempt of a ‘No Confidence’ vote

In the surreal world which is the Tory Party there are so many twists and turns coming into play that its difficult to see the end game. The latest suggestion is that there may be a ‘no confidence vote’ called too early and that it may fail because the factions have yet to decide who their preferred candidates for PM are.

There are some pretenders but only one former Minister, Tom Tugendhat who no-one has heard of, has stated his ambition to take over. The betting is the Sunak will stand and he is very mildly distancing himself from Johnson over Starmer Gate. It would appear that even for many Tory MPs the absurd comments about Keir Starmer and Jimmy Saville were a step too far. I’m not over impressed with Starmer but to misrepresent him in a way that suggests his affiliation with paedophiles is absurd.

It’s almost unbelievable that they could get to the starting line of a ’no confidence’ vote’ without having new horses ready to run in the race but frankly given the state of the Tory Party today the unbelievable is only too believable. All their absurd attempts to divert people away from thinking and the leadership problems are falling apart.

The announcement last week about ‘levelling up’ fell apart when it became clear that there was no new money only the possibility for unspecified new powers at some time over some things. No-one except some of the Tory faithful fell for that one.

The idea that champagne would now be sold in pints always seemed a nonstarter to me. Now I have no particular interest in this. Champagne is, for me, a gassy nightmare. I’m a pint of real ale person myself although still wine is nice with a meal. It was never likely that the perfidious French would change the whole of their production lines to sell a handful of ‘pints’ to the UK where no-one was asking for it has now been firmly squashed.

Sunak’s proposals relating to dealing with the massive rise in electricity which will hit from April has been shown to be ill thought out and will miss many of those that need the help most. £150 will be deducted from council tax but many don’t pay council tax but rely on a range of tax credits. Will they be given the £150 instead? Similarly, students pay no council tax so how will they benefit when many of the homes they live in are thermally inefficient.?

£200 will effectively be borrowed and paid back over 4years. But even if you don’t benefit from the loan because you are not a householder now you will have to pay it back if you become one. I’m by no means an expert but it doesn’t sound legal to me. And what if energy prices don’t come down? Will there be another loan while we pay off the current one?

And then Johnson went to the Ukraine. I understand Putting was racked with fear, or was it laughter, than a man that has been ambushed by a cake could make an effective intervention inside a potential war zone!

All the distractions caused by the internal Tory squabbles are distracting from the huge problems facing our Country. I doubt that any Tory has the will or the desire to solve them but at least a change of Prime Minister would enable a new person to concentrate on the matters in hand.

There is a real cost of living crisis of which energy prices are only a part. The frictionless trade periods with the EU are coming to an end and the deal negotiated by the Tories is coming unstuck as all but the most rabid Brexiters are understanding. This is causing supply chain problems and a loss of stock in the shelves.

Brexit is leading to job losses throughout the economy. Trade has dropped off a cliff edge. Sale of some agricultural have dropped by 90% hitting hard at the agricultural and farming community. Fishing, which was supposed to have been saved by the Withdrawal Agreement is particularly suffering.

Of course, the only long-term solution to all this is a General Election when both Labour and the Lib Dems will pick up enough seats at worst to deprive the Tories of an overall majority, but it would appear more likely that there would be enough seat changes to drive them from office altogether.

That isn’t going to happen. May called an election when she thought she would both win it and improve her vote. That didn’t happen. The Tories certainly will not call an election when they can see, on the current state of the polls that they would lose it. They also want to wait for the parliamentary boundary changes which will improve their position.

So, the best that we can hope for is that the Tories forget about their narrow self-interests and put the Country’s need first. That is unlikely as well. So, in the short term the Tories will continue to slowly self-combust. Even if there is a change in PM without an election the Tories internal arguments are more important to them than the Country’s needs so the squabbling will go on.

Eventually Johnson will go. His days are numbered but we don’t know how to number them! In the meantime, Lib Dems and Labour must do their best to challenge the Tories in Parliament and at the ballot box. There are no imminent parliamentary by-elections but there is a large round of local elections in May. Lib Dems and to a lesser extent the Greens are doing well in local elections. Labour is maintaining its position and the Tories are losing.

If this trend can be turned into a rout and a blood bath of the Tories in May then let me make a Kemp prediction. If he hasn’t gone by then Johnson will be forced out by mid-May. As soon as he’s seen to be a loser he will be out, and it won’t be a moment too soon.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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