From Operation Save Big Dog to Operation Red Meat, Boris Johnson has what Baldrick might have called a shrewd plan for recovering from Partygate. From stopping alcohol at counters to Navy boats in the Channel, we look at what is being said…
First it was Operation Save Big Dog, with Boris Johnson ready to blame his officials for the drinking and partying culture in Downing Street.
Now his Operation Red Meat – a bid to win is preventing conservatives from demanding his resignation with classic, hard-line policies.
As Baldrick in Blackadder might have said, the Prime Minister has a cunning plan.
According to the Sunday Times, Boris Johnson is preparing to announce a flurry of policies in the next two weeks to deflect – and recover from – Sue Grays Partygate report.
Some will be welcome across the country – the Chancellor is expected to announce help for soaring energy bills before the April hike is announced on February 7.
The Prime Minister is also said to be preparing announcements on the NHS backlog of surgery, the skills and training of benefit claimants (after cutting their Universal Credit by 20 a week) and, of course, the end of the Plan B Covid rules January 26.
But others might raise a few eyebrows among those who are not diehard Tory MPs.
We emphasize that none of these are confirmed by No10, and some of them are highly speculative.
But if true, will they be enough to save Boris Johnson? We go through the PM Clever Plan Reports and let you make up your own mind
Promise we won’t drink at work anymore
In a move unlikely to impress teachers, nurses or police, the Prime Minister is considering banning staff from drinking at their desks.
Shaken by the Mirrors revelations about Friday’s wine hour, for which staff bought a 142 wine fridge and wheeled a suitcase to Tesco, the Prime Minister could ban alcohol at No 10.
According to The Sun on Sunday, staff will be ordered to drink only outside the premises and outside working hours in the future.
Alcohol would be prohibited behind the black door of No. 10, except during official receptions.
Removal of BBC license fees
If there is still a turning point in the world of right-wing conservatives, it is the desire to get rid of the BBC license fee.
And Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries duly obliged today, revealing that the current licensing fee settlement – until December 2027 – will be the last.
She also retweeted reports that the 159 annual bill will be frozen for two years, forcing the Beeb to make around 2 billion cuts.
Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell said: The Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary seem determined to attack this great British institution because they dislike its journalism.
Put the army on the Channel boats
If there is yet another turning point in the world of right-wing conservatives, its migrant boats.
For months there have been worries on all sides about how to handle thousands of people making the dangerous crossing to Britain in the English Channel.
Priti Patel has already authorized the Border Force to push the ships back to France, a move the Joint Human Rights Committee has said could break the law.
Now reports suggest the Royal Navy will be tasked with operations in the English Channel within days.
Publish the upgrade white paper, late and with little cost?
Tory ministers had pledged to publish a white paper by Christmas 2021 on how to improve livelihoods in cities left behind – two and a half years after the Prime Minister’s pledge.
But it was pushed back earlier this month, with Leveling-Up secretary Michael Gove hoping it would be the first major intervention of 2022.
Then it was pushed back to the end of January. Now the Sunday Times are reporting it won’t arrive until the first week of February.
And there could be funding issues. According to the Sunday Times, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said Mr Gove can’t have any more money for the plan so he is trying to re-announce other departmental plans to bolster it.
And finally Sir Gavin Williamson?
That may seem unlikely to those who fought through the 2020 exams fiasco, or who remember he was fired for a national security leak (which he has always denied).
But the Sunday Times claims Gavin Williamson could be knighted in the next chart to silence him.
After all, he is a man who knows which side his bread is buttered on. He has the unlikely honor of leading the leadership campaigns of Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
This means that for all his public image, he is a man watched closely by the right people in power.
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