Culture secretary says ‘defenestrating that prime minister was never going to be clean or easy’
Boris Johnson was a “great leader” who was removed by a coup, his staunch ally Nadine Dorries has insisted, as Tory leadership candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss embark on a tour of the country in the battle to succeed him.
The culture secretary said that getting rid of Mr Johnson “was never going to be a clean or easy thing for anyone to do”, adding: “It was always going to have repercussions … we kind of unleashed the hounds of hell in doing that.”
As the race to replace him continued, Mr Sunak and Ms Truss both unveiled plans to crack down violence against women and girls. Mr Sunak proposed a new “down-blousing” offence, while Ms Truss offered a law against misogynistic street harassment.
The ex-chancellor also said he would create a new emergency task force to hunt down grooming gangs, as well as tighten the law to ensure perpetrators remain behind bars for longer, while the foreign secretary announced that she would create a new stand-alone criminal offence for street harrassment.
‘Defenestrating’ Boris Johnson was ‘never going to be clean or easy’, says Nadine Dorries
Nadine Dorries has said that “defenestrating” Boris Johnson was never going to have been “clean or easy”, adding that she had warned doing so would unleash “the hounds of hell”.
The culture secretary told BBC Breakfast: “Removing a sitting prime minister who won us an 80-seat majority less than three years ago, who took us through Covid and led the world in the response to the war in Ukraine – defenestrating that prime minister was never going to be a clean or easy thing for anyone to do.
“It was always going to have repercussions. I think I said at the very beginning we kind of unleashed the hounds of hell in doing that.”
Asked about her comments on Mr Sunak’s expensive suit and shoes, Ms Dorries said: “Judgment is a huge issue. We are facing a cost-of-living crisis.”
The Liz Truss supporter said there was no barrier to someone wealthy becoming prime minister but “it’s about judgment and it’s about who voters can relate to and who voters can relate to and who voters think have walked in their shoes and can understand their lives”.
Truss will be ‘bold and imaginative leader’, former minister claims
Chris Philp – who resigned as minister for tech and digital economy during the onslaught of departures which collapsed Boris Johnson’s premiership – has said he is supporting Liz Truss because she will be a “bold and imaginative” leader.
Asked if there has been a discussion about what his role may be in a Truss government, Mr Philp told Times Radio: “No, we haven’t discussed that kind of thing. Look, I’m supporting her because I think she’s the right person to be prime minister.
“I think she’ll be a bold and imaginative leader which I think our country needs at this time.
“I think she’ll get growth going by cutting tax and cutting regulation, creating the growth that will help us overcome this cost of living crisis, create more jobs, higher paid jobs, and put our country’s economy back on a sound footing. So I’m supporting her for those positive reasons, not for any others.”
He also said Ms Truss’s plan to introduce a standalone offence to criminalise street harassment is “a huge step forward”.
Boris Johnson ‘removed via a coup’, claims Nadine Dorries
Boris Johnson was removed “via a coup”, Nadine Dorries has claimed.
Asked to what extent she blamed Rishi Sunak for Boris Johnson’s demise, the culture secretary said: “It is not a secret that things happened that shouldn’t have happened, and Boris Johnson was removed via a coup.”
Referring to the Commonwealth Games and UEFA Women’s Euro final, Ms Dorries said: “Because these few days are going to be fantastic for sporting events – not just for sport, not just for the Commonwealth, but for women particularly – today is a day I don’t want to engage in the leadership [race] … for me the next few days are not about leadership, they’re about showcasing what is great about this country.”
The minister added: “The leadership race is going to go on all through the summer and will conclude on 5 September, at which point we will have a new leader and a new prime minister. For the next few days, please forgive me, but I am going to focus on what we have been working on in my department.”
Nadine Dorries interview interrupted by off-camera altercation
A TV interview with Nadine Dorries was interrupted by an off-camera altercation.
The culture secretary was speaking to Sky News live from Birmingham ahead of the start of the Commonwealth Games when the sound of a dispute could be heard in the background.
“I’m sorry Kay, the government … I’m afraid we’re going to have to go now,” she said, telling the presenter that “the cameraman’s in a bit of trouble”.
A man could be heard shouting: “Touch me then? You can’t because they’ll have you arrested for assault.”
Ms Dorries said: “He’s not touching you”, to which the man responded: “He can’t touch me madam, what do you mean he’s not touching me? He can’t, I’ll have him arrested in five seconds flat.”
Ms Dorries told viewers: “The cameraman did not touch him.”
Ms Dorries could then be seen checking whether someone behind the camera was “okay”, as the dispute continued.
Sir Keir Starmer visits Birmingham amid row over sacking of Labour frontbencher
Sir Keir Starmer will visit Birmingham today amid a Labour Party row after a frontbencher was fired following media appearances at an RMT picket line on Wednesday.
The party sacked shadow transport minister Sam Tarry after he defied Sir Keir’s ban on frontbenchers joining the pickets in support of striking rail workers.
The party said Mr Tarry had been “removed from the frontbench”, saying it took seriously “any breach of collective responsibility”.
Sir Keir will meet with community leaders and attend the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as debate continues over the sacking.
MP for York Central, Rachael Maskell, called for the Labour leader to visit picket lines on Wednesday night, while GMB general secretary Gary Smith said it was a “huge own goal” for Labour to “turn a Tory Transport crisis into a Labour story”.
Lack of support for menopausal women driving them out of jobs, warn MPs
A lack of support for women going through menopause in the workplace is driving female workers out of their jobs and prompting the UK economy to “haemorrhage talent”, MPs warned in a damning new report.
The research, carried out by the Women and Equalities Committee in the Commons, suggested employers’ dearth of provision for menopausal women will have repercussions on the gender pay and pension gaps, as well as the number of women taking up senior leadership roles.
MPs called for a menopause ambassador to be appointed in an attempt to stop the high numbers of women leaving the workplace.
The report also urged the government to overhaul the Equality Act so menopause is established as a protected characteristic, as well as including a responsibility for workplaces to deliver “reasonable adjustments” for workers grappling with menopause.
Our women’s correspondent Maya Oppenheim reports:
MPs call for Menopause Ambassador to be appointed to stop menopausal women leaving workplace
Sadiq Khan pledges £3.1m to tree planting after record heatwaves and wildfires
London mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a £3.1m tree planting package in the wake of record-breaking temperatures and wildfires in the capital.
The City of London said the funding would be targeted in areas with low numbers of existing trees and where people are most vulnerable to climate change.
Mr Khan said last week’s events “laid bare how vulnerable London is to the effects of climate change”.
“As Mayor, I will continue my bold action to preserve and increase tree coverage across the capital as we build a better, greener and more sustainable London for everyone.”
It comes after the head of London Fire Brigade, Andy Roe, said the fires in the capital last week were unprecedented: “I saw stuff this week that I had not expected to see as a London firefighter.”
Sam Tarry ‘proud’ to join the striking rail workers
Labour frontbencher Sam Tarry sacked for joining striking rail workers on the picket line was “proud” of supporting them.
Mr Tarry said: “It has been a privilege to serve on Labour’s front bench for the past two years and to have had the opportunity to speak up for hard-pressed workers who deserve so much better than the treatment they’ve received from this corrupt and out-of-touch government.”
“I remain committed to supporting the striking rail workers, and campaigning for a Labour victory at the next general election, which I will fight for relentlessly from the back benches,” the Ilford South MP said.
And he warned the Labour leadership was on a “direct collision course” with unions over strikes, revealing in an interview with LBC he had received calls from seven union general secretaries – six of them affiliated with the party – who were “fuming” about his sacking.
Labour MP sacked after defying Starmer order
Keir Starmer provoked a furious backlash from unions on Wednesday night by sacking a frontbencher who joined striking rail workers on the picket line.
He moved swiftly to sack Sam Tarry after the shadow transport minister defied orders by conducting TV interviews alongside strikers in London.
It came as Aslef announced another walkout on Saturday 13 August affecting nine rail companies, on top of planned action this Saturday.
Meanwhile, unions voiced fury at government plans to tighten laws on industrial action, with RMT leader Mick Lynch suggesting he would back a general strike if Liz Truss became prime minister on a platform to “effectively outlaw collective action”.
Our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports:
Aslef announces another walkout on Saturday 13 August affecting nine rail companies
Sunak and Truss battle for votes amid a heating campaign trail
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are poised to go head to head in the latest Tory leadership hustings as the race for the top job intensifies.
Tax and spending are likely to be key points of contention as the hopefuls embark on their summer tour of the country, taking questions from party members who will ultimately decide who gets the keys to No 10 in September.
Other potential topics up for debate include immigration, identity politics, Brexit, defence, climate change and the NHS.
Mr Sunak will seek to regain his footing after he was accused of “flip-flopping” on his fiscal policy, as he pledged to temporarily slash VAT on energy bills despite repeatedly branding Ms Truss’s tax-cutting plans as “comforting fairy tales”.
On Wednesday, the foreign secretary said she welcomed the pledge but challenged her rival to “do more” and reverse the national insurance rise.
Meanwhile, in a video clip on Twitter, the former chancellor said he had “another great day” campaigning in Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.
He told his followers: “We have been talking about everything on people’s minds, tackling the cost of living, how we realise the benefits of Brexit.”