From The Guardian: Boris Johnson does speak to Steve Bannon, Nigel Farage has said, increasing the pressure on the Conservative leadership frontrunner to explain his links to Donald Trump’s controversial former campaign manager.
“Steve likes to be seen at the centre of the action. He knows Boris, he speaks to Boris. Steve speaks to virtually everybody,” Farage told a press conference when asked what he knew of Johnson’s links to Bannon. “I’ve known Steve Bannon since 2012. There’s no great secret about that. Boris, of course, got to know Bannon when he was foreign secretary, when he was visiting Washington and going into the West Wing, and that’s how those two got to know each other.”
Farage’s comments follow the emergence of video footage in which Bannon speaks about his relationship and contacts with Johnson, and says he helped him put together his first speech after his resignation as foreign secretary, in which Johnson condemned Theresa May’s Brexit strategy. One clip shows Bannon reading a story about Johnson’s speech, before he says: “I’ve been talking to him all weekend about this speech. We went back and forth over the text.”
When reports emerged last year of links between Johnson and the far-right activist, who has tried to build up a network of populist movements across Europe, Johnson called them “a lefty delusion whose spores continue to breed in the Twittersphere”.
Two-thirds of Tory members believe UK areas ‘under sharia law’, as poll reveals scale of Islamophobia in party
From The Independent: Two-thirds of Conservative Party members believe parts of Britain operate under sharia law, a new poll has shown amid a mounting Islamophobia scandal.
From The Guardian: Neighbours of the man who overheard a row between Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds, prompting a late-night police callout, have corroborated his account of the incident with one saying the “tear-up” led him to believe that someone was being murdered.
Tory minister attacks ‘lefty neighbours’ for telling police of loud altercation involving Boris Johnson, then deletes tweet
From The Independent: Ben Wallace, minister and key Boris Johnson ally, dismissed the police being called to investigate a screaming row at his home as a “non-story” and attacked the “lefty neighbours” who alerted them.
From The Guardian: Police were called to the home of Boris Johnson and his partner, Carrie Symonds, in the early hours of Friday morning after neighbours heard a loud altercation involving screaming, shouting and banging.
The argument could be heard outside the property where the potential future prime minister is living with Symonds, a former Conservative Party head of press.
The neighbour said they recorded the altercation from inside their flat out of concern for Symonds. On the recording, heard by the Guardian, Johnson can be heard refusing to leave the flat and telling Symonds to “get off my fucking laptop” before there is a loud crashing noise.
Symonds is heard saying Johnson had ruined a sofa with red wine: “You just don’t care for anything because you’re spoilt. You have no care for money or anything.”
Tory MP Mark Field grabs female protester around neck and pins her against pillar before shoving her out of lavish banquet
From The Independent: Conservative MP Mark Field has been filmed manhandling a climate change protester who interrupted Philip Hammond‘s Mansion House speech.
From The Independent: Conservative Party members would happily support the break-up of the UK, “significant damage” to the British economy and even the destruction of their own party in order to secure Brexit, a poll has found.
However, when Johnson was editor of the Spectator magazine in 2004, he sparked outrage in one part of the UK, when he authorised the publication of an apparently satirical poem describing Scottish people as “a verminous race” who should be exterminated.
The poem, which has since been removed from the magazine’s archive, was written by its then staffer James Michie.
It described Scots as “tartan dwarves” who were “polluting our stock” and suggested that the country should be turned into a “ghetto” with the inhabitants submitted for “extermination.”
Reacting to the poem at the time, Maureen Fraser, director of the Commission for Racial Equality in Scotland, described it as “very offensive and the language is deeply inflammatory… Some of the language, such as ‘comprehensive extermination’ and ‘polluting our stock’, is completely and utterly unacceptable. It cannot be tolerated.”
From Channel 4 News: In 2009, Boris Johnson promised to end rough sleeping within three years. He said: “It’s scandalous that, in 21st century London, people have to resort to sleeping on the streets, which is why I have pledged to end rough sleeping in the capital by 2012.”
But by his final autumn in office (2015), there were an estimated 940 people sleeping rough in the capital.
Over his tenure, rough sleeping rose by 130 per cent.
Mr Johnson made a number of opaque and downright misleading claims about the strength of the Metropolitan Police while he was mayor of London, which we FactChecked at the time.
At one point he announced: “We are recruiting 5,000 constables over the next three years”, which sounded like a welcome boost to Met police numbers.
He failed to mention that the Met expected to lose 5,000 PCs over three years through natural wastage – all he was promising to do was replace the ones who left.
Bumboys, hot totty and piccaninnies: Boris Johnson’s long record of sexist, homophobic and racist comments
From Business Insider: In 1996, while a journalist for the Telegraph, Boris Johnson went to the Labour conference and wrote a piece reviewing the quality of “the hot totty” who were present.
“The unanimous opinion is that what has been called the ‘Tottymeter’ reading is higher than at any Labour Party conference in living memory,” he wrote.
He added that: “Time and again the ‘Tottymeter’ has gone off as a young woman delegate mounts the rostrum.”
He concluded that the real reason women are turning to Labour is because of their natural “fickleness.”
From Evolve Politics: The clear favourite to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, has risked the wrath of ordinary working people by pledging to spend a staggering £10bn cutting taxes for the rich by raising the 40% income tax threshold from £50,000 to £80,000 – plans that, conveniently, could see MPs like himself pocket an extra £6,000 a year.
Conservative Party Islamophobia must be investigated by equality watchdog, Britain’s largest Muslim group demands
From The Independent: Britain’s largest Muslim organisation has called for a formal investigation into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) sent more than 20 pages of evidence to the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the wake of the government’s refusal to adopt a proposed definition on Islamophobia.
From The Independent: George Osborne has denied “a lack of money” following his harsh austerity programme is the cause of Britain’s homelessness crisis.
Conservatives condemned by Muslim Council of Britain after party rules Boris Johnson burqa comments were ‘respectful’
From The Independent: The Conservatives have been accused of “giving a license to bigotry” by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) after the party ruled Boris Johnson’s comments on Muslim women wearing burqas were “respectful and tolerant”.
From The Herald: Unrepentant Tory MP Nicholas Soames has told the SNP leader at Westminster to “grow up” in the wake of a row over Soames’ “go back to Skye” comment at the start of an emergency Brexit debate.
Sir Nicholas responded with a lengthy Twitter hashtag saying: “Oh grow up, ten minutes before we had a very jolly talk in the tearoom. Complete fake outburst.”
"Go back to Skye".Before he could even speak during an emergency debate in the Commons on Brexit, the Scottish National Party (SNP)'s Ian Blackford MP was heckled by a Conservative MP.
Sir Nicholas has previously had to apologise for heckling an SNP MP.
In January 2017, he made a ‘woof’ noise at Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.
He said: “I thought that in her question to the Foreign Secretary she snapped at him a bit at the end, so I offered her a friendly canine salute in return.”
From The Guardian: Rising rough sleeping in Britain is not the result of government policy… the housing secretary, James Brokenshire, has claimed.
The number of people sleeping rough has more than doubled since 2010 to 4,751 according to the government’s own figures. The homelessness charity Crisis believes that this is a fivefold underestimate and that 24,000 people will be sleep on the streets, in cars and in tents. Sofa-surfers make up a further 68,000, according to Crisis.
But Brokenshire insisted the growing problem is not a political failure, even though charities which run hostels and advice lines believe that caps on housing benefit and welfare sanctions introduced as part of austerity policies have been key factors driving rises in homelessness every year since the Conservatives took office in 2010.
“I don’t see it in those terms,” Brokenshire said.
[…] Highly visible increases in tents in shop doorways in towns and cities and hidden rural homelessness mean this year’s government figures, taken during a census last month, are likely to show an eighth consecutive annual rise in homelessness in England.
[…] The prisons minister, Rory Stewart, also conceded that “far too many” inmates released after short sentences are struggling to find housing, with over a third of rough sleepers in London known to have been in jail.
From The Independent: Senior Tory MP Robert Halfon has compared the row engulfing the party to the deadly clashes between feral schoolboys in the novel Lord of the Flies.