Boris Johnson latest: By-election ‘neck and neck’ in Tory stronghold

Boris Johnson fails to deny he offered Carrie Symonds top job

The crucial by-election in the Conservative stronghold of Tiverton and Honiton is “neck and neck”, according to the Liberal Democrats.

As voters prepare to head to the polls on Thursday in two by-elections, Sir Ed Davey suggests his party “could be on the verge of a historic victory”.

The second ballot will be held in Wakefield, which is a “red wall” seat that Sir Keir Starmer is hoping to sixteen back for Labor after it fell to the Tories at the 2019 election for the first time since the constituency was created in 1932.

Conservative MPs told The Independent that a double by-election defeat would be a “disaster” for the embattled Boris Johnson, who narrowly survived a vote of no confidence a fortnight ago.

Meanwhile, Jacob Rees-Mogg has been accused of unveiling a Brexit “gimmick” – a quarterly dashboard of reformed EU laws – which will “do nothing to address the real challenges that the public face today”.

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Government borrowing hit record in May as inflation soars

Government borrowing stood at a higher-than-expected £14 billion last month as soaring inflation sent interest on the debt racing to a May record, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said government borrowing was £4 billion less than in May last year, but was still the third-highest May borrowing since monthly records began in 1993 and £8.5 billion more than in May 2019, before the pandemic struck.

The data revealed that surging levels of inflation sent interest payments on government debt to a record-breaking £7.6 billion – £3.1 billion higher than a year earlier.

The ONS said the jump in UK debt interest payments is down to the recent surge in the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, which determines payouts on index-linked gilts.

So far this financial year, debt interest payments have totaled £14.1 billion, up £4.7 billion year-on-year, the ONS said.

June figures are expected to show the worst of the impact of inflation on government debt interest payments, with the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasting £19.7 billion – the biggest on record by far.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 June 2022 08:07

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Six Brexit problems six years after the EU referendum

It is six years after the 2016 EU referendum, and Brexit has been delivered. But all is not necessary well.

Polling conducted by Savanta ComRes in October found that just 36 per cent think the project has been a success, with 52 per cent considering it a failure, Jon Stone writes.

Here are six of the biggest enduring problems Brexit has caused to mark six years since the big vote.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 June 2022 07:51

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Voting opens in by-elections

Voting has opened in Tiverton, Honiton and Wakefield for the crucial by-elections which could see Conservative uprooted from the towns.

The competition in Tiverton and Honiton is “neck and neck”, according to the Liberal Democrats, who are aiming for a major political upset in the Devon seat.

Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer is hoping to reclaim Wakefield for Labor after it fell to the Tories in 2019 for the first time since 1932.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 June 2022 07:28

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Brexit has left ‘enduring scars’ on EU nationals living in UK, research finds

Six years on from the EU referendum, Brexit has left “enduring scars” on European nationals living in the UK, according to a new study.

Two-thirds of UK-resident EU and EEA citizens taking part in the survey said Brexit had “significantly – and mostly negatively – affected their feelings about Britain”, said researchers from the University of Birmingham and Lancaster University.

And many of the 364 people questioned said that Brexit had prompted them to reconsider their future in the UK and undermined their trust in British institutions and politicians.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 June 2022 07:17

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Labor MP signed off sick after ‘sustained campaign of misogynistic abuse’

A Labor MP is taking time away from work after suffering from “a sustained campaign of misogynistic harassment and abuse”.

Apsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, posted a statement on Twitter on Wednesday night that said she attended hospital on 12 June and was subsequently signed off work by her GP.

She said: “For the duration of my time as a Member of Parliament, I have been subjected to a sustained campaign of misogynistic abuse and harassment.

“As a survivor of domestic abuse, it has been particularly painful and difficult. This abusive campaign has had a significant effect on my mental and physical health.”

Ms Begum, who was part of the 2019 intake of MPs, added that her staff and office will still be open to help people in her east London constituency while she is off sick.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar23 June 2022 06:24

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Suspended Tory MP faces fresh investigation into ‘paid advocacy’

David Warburton, who was suspended by the Conservatives over allegations of sexual harassment and cocaine use is facing a fresh Commons inquiry.

Mr Warburton was disciplined by his party and is already being investigated by parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), it is understood.

Now the MP for Somerton and Frome is also the subject of a probe by the parliamentary standards commissioner into whether he broke the MPs’ code of conduct on three counts.

They are “paid advocacy”, failure to declare an interest, and over rules concerning the declaration of “gifts, benefits and hospitality”.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar23 June 2022 06:10

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Labour’s next leader should be a woman, says Harman

Harriet Harman said that it was “downright embarrassing” that the Labor party had never had a woman at its helm and that the next leader should be a woman.

“As and when we do in the far-distant future have a leadership election, it has got to be a woman the next time around, because it’s just downright embarrassing that the Conservatives have had two and we haven’t even had a woman leader in opposition, let alone a woman prime minister,” she told GB News.

Ms Harman added: “I think it’s partly because women in the Labor party are more subversive than the women in the Conservative party. The women in the Conservative party tend to work with men without challenging them in quite the way we do.”

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar23 June 2022 05:41

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Voices | Boris Johnson floundered as Keir Starmer won the rhetorical battle

We took our places for Leader of the Opposition’s Questions, expecting Boris Johnson to ask Keir Starmer six times to condemn the rail strikes.

But because everyone expected the prime minister to do it, he was robbed of the element of surprise.

That advantage lay with Starmer instead, who started by praising the “plucky” Conservative candidate in the Wakefield by-election.

The Labor leader had no solutions, but he looked in charge at this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, writes John Rentoul.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar23 June 2022 05:35

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Tory MP calls striking rail workers ‘Putin’s friends’

Senior Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood has called striking rail workers Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “friends”.

“The one government in Europe that is actually standing up to [Vladimir] Putin is completely distracted in this way,” Mr Ellwood said.

“I say to the unions, please don’t be Putin’s friend. Return to the talks today so we can get the country moving again.”

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar23 June 2022 04:56

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Bypoll in Tory stronghold of Tiverton and Honiton ‘neck and neck’

A crucial by-election in the Conservative stronghold of Tiverton and Honiton is “neck and neck”, according to the Liberal Democrats, who are aiming for a major political upset in the Devon seat.

As voters prepare to head to the polls on Thursday in two by-elections, Sir Ed Davey suggests his party “could be on the verge of a historic victory” in the southwest constituency overturning a 24,000 Tory majority.

The second ballot will be held in Wakefield, which is a “red wall” seat Sir Keir Starmer is hoping to sixteen back for Labor after it fell to the Tories at the 2019 election for the first time since the constituency was created in 1932.

Conservative MPs told The Independent that a double by-election defeat on Thursday would be a “disaster” for the embattled Boris Johnson, who narrowly survived a vote of no confidence a fortnight ago.

Ashley Cowburn and Rob Merrick report.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar23 June 2022 04:41

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