Cabinet ministers including Rishi Sunak will this week urge Boris Johnson not to continue to sideline his ministers, as officials warn of a difficult fall ahead with pressure on waiting lists for hospitals, social care reform and court backlogs.
Johnson will face a tough few days after the landslide defeat in the by-elections to Chesham and Amersham, a defeat many of his own MPs attribute to his controversial planning changes and which Labor will seek to exploit in a debate and vote on Monday .
He also remains under persistent attack from his former aide Dominic Cummings, who promised a new submission on the PM this week and a live question-and-answer session on Monday.
Former Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow revealed on Sunday that he left the Tories for Labor, calling Johnson someone who only has knowledge of the truth during a Leap year.
Sunak is one of many cabinet ministers who are privately pushing Johnson to pay more attention to collective decision-making, rather than keeping all decisions in a tight clique at No.10 and bringing in only the Secretary of State concerned.
Cabinet needs to be involved in all big decisions that reflect what the party stands for, cabinet needs to be more involved in those decisions, a Whitehall official said. All Cabinet ministers must be involved in making decisions that take place in a larger context. If you don’t collectively make decisions, it’s very difficult to come out and sell a cohesive pitch.
Another cabinet source said cabinet meetings, once arenas of combat under Theresa May, have become non-events without debate and not always attended by key officials. A reshuffle has long been rumored, but the source said there would likely be a delay until the fall. Every prime minister hates reshuffles and Boris hates them more than most, the source said.
Senior No 10 officials believe the government is reaching the limit of its support in the polls and politics as usual is likely to return once memories of the vaccination program start to fade.
Johnson is reportedly keen to go on the offensive with government priorities, especially infrastructure investment plans, although the government faces urgent spending demands.
It’s no secret that there are huge immediate pressures, a senior No.10 official said. Hospital wait times are a major concern, the backlog of courts also appears to be very high. difficile, it was likely that more should be spent on education when considering spending.
When asked if this would mean a return to austerity measures in any way, the official replied: We never even thought of using that word here.
Johnson, Sunak and Health Secretary Matt Hancock will hold a summit on Tuesday to discuss progress on welfare reform proposals, with the ambition of having an announcement ready for the summer, although sources have stressed that this was not a decision-making meeting. .
Hancock’s allies said the health secretary was pushing for a decision. His take is that this is something we have promised people, we have to get on with it ASAP, one said.
Johnson would support a settlement similar to that proposed by economist Andrew Dilnot in 2010: a lifetime cap on social care costs, set at around 25,000-50,000. He also proposes that people in residential care could have up to 100,000 workers before the state intervened, compared to 23,250 currently.
Sunak would be concerned about the high costs of this proposal, especially with higher than expected inflation rates. A Treasury source said Sunak believed the program would be expensive and costs would only increase, and that there was some skepticism about the fairness of Dilnot’s proposals, which were more likely to benefit richest retirees.
We are not against expensive things, but we have to be accountable, the source said. Sunak has made it clear that he opposes any increase in income tax in the wake of the pandemic, which he says will hit families too hard.
Johnsons spokesman denied a major rift between the two, first reported in The Sunday Times, saying they were in sync throughout the most difficult period a government has faced since the Second World War.
Among the measures Sunak plans to use to curb spending is a one-year moratorium on the link between pensions and wages, which would lead to an almost 6% increase in pension contributions costing workers $ 4 billion more, the Sunday Times said. Sunak said he was committed to the current policy.
No 10 released a statement on Sunday saying the government was determined to enforce the triple pension lockdown. There is still significant uncertainty regarding the trajectory of average incomes and whether there will be a peak as expected. A source from the Treasury said there remained considerable skepticism about the continued percentage increase in wage growth during the fall review.
Peter Fleet, Lib Dem-defeated Tory candidate Sarah Green in Chesham and Amersham, told his party on Sunday that Tory voters want to see more fiscal discipline.
They love and respect Rishi Sunak very much. And they don’t expect worried Tory MPs to push the chancellor to say yes to every demand for more and more public spending from the benches opposite, he wrote in the Sunday Telegraph .
Conservative MPs in the Lib Dem seats who were frightened by the outcome have a new WhatsApp group, the Love Bombers, coordinated by Harrogate MP Andrew Jones and designed to put pressure on No 10 not to. not ignore the concerns of their regions. The maneuvers have also frightened some Conservative MPs in the northern seats who are hoping for a definitive victory in the Batley and Spen by-elections in order to persuade the PM not to change course.
The fear is that [the government will] decide to move away from Red Wall values towards Chesham values, a Midlands MP said. I’ve been arguing for some time that in order to win Hartlepools you’re going to have to do things Chesham won’t like to cut back on foreign aid, oppose identity politics.
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