Mark Spencer Appointed Conservative Party Chief Whip

Mark Spencer has been appointed by Boris Johnson, the incoming Prime Minister, as the Chief Whip. Spencer is the first Cabinet appointee made by Johnson, with the rest of the Cabinet team expected to be made tomorrow. Spencer replaces Julian Smith, who had held the role of chief whip since November 2017.

Rory Stewart and David Gauke Resign From Cabinet Following Johnson Victory

Rory Stewart

Rory Stewart, the Secretary of State for International Development, and David Gauke, the Secretary of State for Justice, have resigned from the Cabinet following the victory of Boris Johnson in the Conservative leadership contest.

Stewart posted on Twitter:

“Congratulations @BorisJohnson on becoming Leader. Honour to serve in turn as Minister of Environment @DefraGovUK, Mid East +Asia @DFID_UK, Africa @FCO, Prisons @MoJGovUK + then Development Secretary in Cabinet +NSC. Backbench tomorrow serving Cumbria. Thank you all. More walking!”

Gauke also posted on Twitter, saying:

“Congratulations @BorisJohnson on being elected as Leader of @Conservatives and PM @10DowningStreet. An honour to serve in Cabinet @MoJGovUK, @DWP and @hmtreasury under @theresa_may. Looking forward to returning to backbenches tomorrow, serving people of South West Hertfordshire.”

Anne Milton Resigns from Government

Anne Milton, the Minister of State at the Department of Education, has resigned saying that she has “grave concerns” about the plans which Boris Johnson, the new Prime Minister, has announced for Brexit.

Boris Johnson is the New Conservative Party Leader and Prime Minister

Boris Johnson has been confirmed as the new leader of the Conservative Party and the next Prime Minister. He will formally replace Theresa May tomorrow, on Wednesday 24 July 2019, when he visits Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen.

Boris Johnson beat Jeremy Hunt following a postal vote of the party’s members by 92,153 votes to 46,656.

Jo Swinson Announced as the New Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire, has been elected as the new leader of the party, replacing Sir Vince Cable who has stood down. She was first elected to the House of Commons in 2005 and she served as a junior Minister during the coalition Government.

Swinson beat Sir Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat MP for Kingston and Surbiton and the former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change during the coalition Government.

Tom Watson Condemns “Mob” in North West Durham Labour Party

Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, has condemned a decision made by North West Durham Labour to expel Hilary Armstrong, their former MP, from the party.

Posting on Twitter, Watson said:

“This misdirected mob justice degrades our great party. These attempts to silence dissent will fail. This is not the party I know.”

Pat Glass, the previous Labour MP for the constituency, posted:

“I cannot believe that @NWDurhamLabour have passed a motion to expel former MP @HilaryArmstrong but it seems it is true. She has broken no rules unless free speech is now banned in the @UKLabour”.

Laura Pidcock, the current Labour MP for North West Durham, was reported to have been at the meeting but chose not to speak and has made no comment on the expulsion.

Charlie Falconer, the Labour Peer, posted on Twitter:

“Dianne Hayter and Hilary Armstrong have given their working lives to Labour and made real Labour change. The idea Dianne should be forced off front bench or Hilary out of the party is completely wrong. If Labour isn’t wide enough for both of them it’s not Labour anymore.”

Anna Turley, the Labour MP for Redcar, posted:

“If this is true [the expulsion] it is disgraceful. Hilary has served the Labour Party with commitment & distinction for decades, as a former social worker, particularly for the vulnerable. She is Labour to her marrow and if there is no place for her in it, it is done”.

Chancellor Confirms He Will Resign if Boris Johnson Becomes Prime Minister

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has said that he will resign if Boris Johnson becomes the next Prime Minister. Hammond said that he couldn’t be part of a Cabinet which would accept a no-deal Brexit, and he stated that he would resign before Theresa May heads to Buckingham Palace to resign as Prime Minister.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Hammond said:

“Assuming that Boris Johnson becomes the next Prime Minister. I understand that his conditions for serving in his government would include accepting a no deal exit on the 31st of October. That is not something I could ever sign up to. It’s very important that a Prime Minister is able to have a Chancellor who is closely aligned with him in terms of policy and I therefore intend to resign to Theresa May before she goes to the palace to tender her own resignation on Wednesday.”

Boris Johnson Accused of Misleading Public in Kipper Speech

Boris Johnson, one of the two remaining candidates to become the leader of the Conservative Party, has been accused of misleading the public following his claim in party hustings that the European Union forced kipper suppliers in the Isle of Man to keep their dried fish cool with ice pillows.

Johnson said in his speech:

“After decades of sending kippers like this through the post he has had his costs massively increased by Brussels bureaucrats who have insisted that each kipper must be accompanied by this: a plastic ice pillow.”

Johnson’s claims were rejected by the European Union who said that the Food Standards Agency in the UK were responsible for the decision as the bloc did not have legal competence in this area. A spokesperson for the EU said:

“The case described by Mr Johnson falls outside the scope of the EU legislation and it’s purely a UK national competence, so I hope this is clear and the rules must be checked with the national authorities.”

Guy Verhofstadt, the Brexit co-ordinator for the European Parliament, said of Johnson’s speech that:

“National politicians who promote misinformation about “Brussels” for their own interests deserve to be caught out.”

Fullfact, the charity which fact-checks claims, said:

“The EU does not set any requirements on the temperature at which smoked fish must be transported. The temperature requirement is a UK regulation.”

Speaker and Minister Clash Over Legal Advice

John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has called into question the legal advice given by the lawyers at the Department of Health during a debate into funding for those suffering from Batten Disease. Jacob Rees-Mogg had secured the debate to discuss the concerns of a constituent, but Caroline Dinenage, the Minister for Care, said that she couldn’t comment on the individual case.

Dinenage said in reply to Rees-Mogg’s speech:

“I will endeavour to respond as fully as I can to the issues that my hon. Friend and other Members raised, but I should begin by saying, sadly, that I am unfortunately unable to comment on matters relating to the availability of Brineura, a drug used to treat Batten disease, as this is currently subject to an active judicial review procedure.”

John Bercow intervened and said:

“However, for the purposes of clarification, I want to make this point. I am not aware that this matter is sub judice, as I have not received prior notification that it is. I am not aware that it is, I have not been informed that it is, and the Clerks have not been informed that it is. If it is not sub judice, nothing whatsoever precludes the Minister from commenting on this case. If it is sub judice, as colleagues will know, it is within the competence —I use that term in the technical sense—of the Chair to waive the sub judice rule, which it would most certainly be my instinct to do.​

What the Minister says is a matter for the Minister, but it would not be right, as far as I can tell, to say that it is not possible, in a legal sense, for the Minister to comment on this matter. The Minister is the Minister, and the Minister’s answer on the specifics is sought. If the Minister wishes to proffer that answer, she can do so.”

Civil servants from the Department of Health quickly debated the matter, with Dinenage then saying:

“The advice that I have been given is that I have to be very careful on the legal procedure because of the fact that it is not a legal procedure between individuals and the Department, but between individuals and NICE. I do not want anything that we say potentially to negatively impact on a family’s opportunity to get these very important drugs for their children.”

Bercow replied:

“Very important decisions are subcontracted to NICE, but policy responsibility, as the hon. Member for North East Somerset has pointed out, is that of the Government. We do not have Government by NICE; we have Government in the case of health policy through the Department of Health and Social Care.”

At the end of the debate Bercow commented:

“Ordinarily, the proceedings would now conclude, and they will do so shortly. However, I think it important that our proceedings should be intelligible not only to right hon. and hon. Members but others who are interested in our proceedings but are not Members of this House. To try to achieve that objective, I want to add, by way of conclusion, the following.

I am advised by my officials that the Department of Health and Social Care claims that this matter—the subject of the debate—is sub judice because an application for a judicial review has been made. In the light of that, let me explain. Under the sub judice resolution of this House,​

“Civil proceedings are active when arrangements for the hearing, such as setting down a case for trial, have been made”.

The Department has not supplied evidence that this test is met. Therefore, I stand by what I said earlier on advice.”