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Boris Johnson ‘risks Thatcher-style felling by own MPs if he doesn’t fix sleaze’

Boris Johnson ‘risks Thatcher-style felling by own MPs if he doesn’t fix sleaze’
Party notoriously ruthless when ‘prime ministers are deemed to have outlived their usefulness’, Malcolm Rifkind warns

ボリス・ジョンソン is in danger of becoming “a liability” to the 保守派 and of being toppled by his own MPs as マーガレット・サッチャー だった, a party grandee says.

Malcolm Rifkind – a Cabinet minister during those dramatic events in 1990 – said the Tories are notoriously ruthless when “prime ministers are deemed to have outlived their usefulness”.

The former foreign secretary told 独立者 there is a growing mood that Mr Johnson is failing to show proper leadership, 後 the failed bid to rip up anti-sleaze rules to save オーウェン・ペイターソン.

And he warned: “I was in the Cabinet when Margaret Thatcher was required to fall on her sword.

“And if somebody of the stature of Thatcher can be disposed of pretty quickly and pretty ruthlessly by the parliamentary party, no prime minister can assume that they’re free from that risk.”

The warning comes amid Tory MPs’ anger over the botched attempt to clear Mr Paterson for breaching lobbying rules, which ended in a humiliating government retreat.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind was in the Cabinet in 1990 when Thatcher was forced out

It then emerged that Geoffrey Cox was given permission to work and vote from the British Virgin Islands during lockdown, advising the tax haven over corruption charges brought by the Foreign Office.

Backbench MPs have told 独立者 that they “feel very let down” by Downing Street and that loyalty to the prime minister is being “eroded”.

Sir Malcolm acknowledged he had opposed Mr Johnson becoming Conservative leader in 2019, but said he was briefly encouraged that he was proving himself up to the job.

しかし彼は付け加えた: “The big incidents of the week, and a number of smaller ones as well, suggest that old habits die hard.

“The events of the last week have been intensely damaging. I’m not in the House of Commons, but it would appear he’s in danger of becoming seen as a liability rather than an asset.

If you’re a prime minister, you ought to have the political nous to know that this is a very bad, ばかげている, stupid thing to do

Sir Malcolm Rifkind

“And the Conservative Party has a reputation, a well-deserved reputation, of being ruthless when prime ministers are deemed to have outlived their usefulness.”

Sir Malcolm said the bungled attempt to fix sleaze rules had strong echoes of the equally disastrous bid to impose Chris Grayling as head of Parliament’s intelligence committee last year.

An ambush by the committee – which is required, by law, to appoint its own chair – forced out a man widely seen as the prime minister’s stooge.

“There is a pattern of behaviour. This is the second serious occasion when 10 Downing Street has sought, de-facto, to give the government control over matters which were none of its business,” Sir Malcom said.

“On both occasions, it failed totally and seriously damaged its own reputation in the process. If you’re a prime minister, you ought to have the political nous to know that this is a very bad, ばかげている, stupid thing to do.”

Asked if Mr Johnson is “failing to learn lessons”, Sir Malcom said: “It doesn’t look like it –and sadly he begins with a reputation, fair or unfair, of being relatively indifferent to the need for the government to set an example on how to behave.”