Former minister has filed a letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson
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In a speech on February 4, Mr Johnson told aides remaining at Downing Street that “change is good”, quoting a line from beloved children’s film the Lion King. But he needs an image that is more appealing to the electorate, and the way to their heart is via policy. Express.co.uk has explored the five ways Mr Johnson can correct his course as new communications chief Guto Harri enters Number 10.
One of the few options open to Mr Johnson is to reaffirm what his Government has achieved since 2019.
Brexit is one of the things he and his supporters have touted most, with the UK now one year out from exiting the EU in 2021.
To capitalise on this, the Prime Minister is reportedly toying with setting up a minister for “Brexit opportunities”.
The potential new role will likely appeal to many of Mr Johnson’s supporters.
But the Government has not confirmed the role is in development, nor what it would entail.
Conservative party whips faced a crisis of their own in January when two MPs – Nusrat Ghani and Tory turncoat Christian Wakeford – alleged they had faced undue pressure from Parliamentary enforcers.
Mark Spencer, the chief whip, said Ms Ghani’s claim that she was sacked because her Muslim faith was “making colleagues uncomfortable” was “completely false”.
The whip’s office is now due an overhaul, according to sources inside Downing Street, who told the Sun’s Harry Cole Mr Spencer is on his way out.
Mr Cole said two names have come up as potential replacements; Chris Pincher and Nigel Adams.
Mr Pincher has directed a “shadow whipping team” while Mr Adams, the MP for Selby and Ainsty and career minister, has been a continuous source of support for the Prime Minister.
The 2019 intake
Many of Mr Johnson’s most loyal supporters hail from the 2019 intake of MPs, most of whom make up his 80-seat majority.
But they have proven unruly over the last few weeks, having orchestrated significant challenges to the Prime Minister’s authority.
The first came with the “pork pie plot”, of MPs from the election who allegedly coordinated to send letters of no confidence to the 1922 Committee.
Christian Wakeford, who won the Bury South seat by a slim margin in 2019, defected to Labour earlier this year in what appeared to be a killing blow for the Prime Minister.
However, it managed to rally the party briefly, and Mr Johnson will want to quell further unrest amongst the bloc of MPs by handing them Government jobs.
Rishi Sunak has managed to dodge the bulk of the partygate controversy, aside from “accidentally” attending a gathering on the Prime Minister’s birthday in 2020.
But he has courted fresh backlash from his recent policymaking around the cost of living crisis.
His proposals for a repayable £200 “energy rebate” and £150 council tax rebate have received poor reception following an announcement last week.
A “civil war” has now ignited in the Cabinet amid accusations Mr Sunak is waiting to succeed the Prime Minister, and Mr Johnson has reportedly been told to sack him.
Should he take this advice, the PM would have a chance to put some distance between himself and unpopular policy when the British public is calling for more.
The Downing Street shakeup
Mr Johnson is five staffers lighter, having suffered from a wave of resignations last week.
He has already appointed a new communications chief, Guto Harri, who has already gone toe-to-toe with ex-chief SPAD Dominic Cummings on Twitter.
The career Tory staffer will take a more “combative” approach to defending the Prime Minister, POLITICO reported today.
But he is one replacement, and Mr Johnson will need a new team dedicated to changing the way he puts across his platform.
Ultimately, changing his closest advisors and the media approach to defending the Downing Street parties is vital, given they have sparked several mini-controversies of their own.
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