Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

Robin Walker resigns as schools minister, saying he no longer has faith in PM’s leadership

Robin Walker has resigned as schools minister, saying he no longer has faith in Boris Johnson’s leadership.

Walker was a state minister at the Department of Education. A prominent one nation Tory, his father, Peter Walker, was a minister in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet (although seen as a “wet”). In his letter, Walker says he considered Johnson an “instinctive one nation Conservative” but thought the government was now making too many mistakes.

Key events:

Will Quince given ‘categorical assurance’ from No 10 over Pincher allegations – video

Quince says in his resignation letter that he spoke to Johnson last night and that Johnson delivered a “sincere apology”. But Quince says he has to resign anyway because he repeated what he was told by No 10 “in good faith”.

Effectively he is saying he regards saying things that are untrue to the public as a resignation matter – even though he was not to blame. There are many of his colleagues who do not apply the same standard, and who have given false information to viewers on the basis of a No 10 briefing but who have not resigned.

In his letter Quince says:

Dear Prime Minister.

Thank you for meeting with me yesterday evening and for your sincere apology regarding the briefings I received from No 10 ahead of Monday’s media round, which we now know to be inaccurate.

It is with great sadness and regret that I feel that I have no choice but to tender my resignation as minister for children and families as I accepted and repeated those assurances in good faith.

With great sadness and regret, I have this morning tendered my resignation to the Prime Minister after I accepted and repeated assurances on Monday to the media which have now been found to be inaccurate.

I wish my successor well – it is the best job in government. pic.twitter.com/65EOmHd47p

– Will Quince MP 🇬🇧 (@willquince) July 6, 2022

Laura Trott resigns as PPS in transport department, saying trust in politics ‘of upmost importance’

Laura Trott has just resigned as a PPS (parliamentary private secretary). She has posted this on her Facebook page.

I want to update you all, that I have resigned from my role as parliamentary private secretary, to the Department of Transport. Trust in politics is – and must always be – of the upmost importance, but sadly in recent months this has been lost. Thank you to all of you who have written to me expressing your views. I have read them carefully, and taken them into consideration as part of my decision. I have, and will always, put the residents of Sevenoaks and Swanley front and center of my work in Westminster.

Q: On inflation, there is an argument that you can not afford tax cuts when inflation is a problem because that will fuel inflation. That is what Rishi Sunak thought. But there is another argument that tax cuts are needed, because they will fuel growth. Is that why you were appointed?

Zahawi says that is not right. He says he was appointed because he would be evidence-led. He will rebuild the economy, and promote growth.

Zahawi has now slipped into talking about the vaccine delivery program, saying the focus on data, evidence and transparency made it a success. That is what he will do with policy in general, he says.

Robinson says the data and evidence shows that taxes are going up to a record high under this government. Why not tell people the truth? Tough times demand high taxes.

Zahawi says his focus is on promoting growth. 2023 is going to be hard for growth.

Q: Taxes are going up?

Zahawi does say “Yes”, but rapidly moves on.

Zahawi says the PM told him last night to focus on “delivery, delivery, delivery”. But it must be a team effort. He goes on:

Divided teams do not attract votes.

(That does not bode well for Zahawi’s party, in light of everything else being said by his Tory colleagues today.)

Q: Everything ministers have told us about what No 10 knew about Chris Pincher was untrue. It was only when Simon McDonald spoke out they told the truth?

Zahawi says the PM apologized last night. “In my view that’s good leadership,” Zahawi says (he is referring to apologizing for your mistake).

Q: But you and he did not tell the truth when you said he did not know about the Pincher allegations when he appointed him.

Zahawi says he was telling the truth to the best of his knowledge.

He tries to change the subject, and says they have a big challenge ahead.

The people trying to turn the Tories against each other are people like Alastair Campbell, he says.

Robinson says it is “insulting” to claim this crisis has just been created by the government’s opponents.

Nadhim Zahawithe new chancellor, is now being interviewed by Nick Robinson on the Today program.

Q: Why was it in the country’s interests, as against yours, for you to stay in the cabinet?

Because we are facing a global battle against inflation, says Zahawi. And we have been on our continent. Many people are struggling with their bills. Today the biggest personal tax cut in a decade is coming into force (the rise in the national insurance threshold).

Q: Do not you agree with Rishi Sunak, who said the government should be conducted properly and competently? And do not you agree with Sajid Javid who said the government should have integrity.

Zahawi says Boris Johnson apologized for the Chris Pincher appointment. He says governments make decision at speed, and do not get everything right.

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