Boris Johnson says he will leave No 10 ‘with my head held high’ at first PMQs since resignation – live | Politics
Catherine Haddon from the Institute for Government thinktank has got a plausible explanation for why Johnson earlier implied this might be his last PMQs. (See 12.20pm.)
It would not be at all surprising if Johnson were to decide to spend next Wednesday in Kyiv.
Rishi Sunak’s campaign team has responded with this to Keir Starmer implicit attack on him (over non-dom status) at PMQs earlier.
Patricia Gibson (SNP) says Johnson resigned after MPs who had supported him changed their minds. So why shouldn’t the people of Scotland be allowed to change their minds about independence too?
Johnson says he thinks the SNP is deciding what to do about Gibson.
Stewart McDonald (SNP) asks for an inquiry into the Panorama investigation into the killing of Afghans in cold blood by special forces.
Johnson says the government does not comment on special forces. That does not mean it accepts the allegations, he says.
Jack Brereton (Con) thanks the PM for what he has done to level up Stoke-on-Trent.
Johnson says Brereton is right. Stamer knows more about Stoke Newington than Stoke-on-Trent, he says. He says he wants to help people into good jobs. He leaves office with unemployment at 3.8%. When Labour left office, it was 8%, he says.
Jon Trickett (Lab) asks about a constituent who died waiting for hospital treatment. Does the PM accept we are living through an emergency health crisis?
Johnson says the NHS has a record number of people working in it. The key thing it to get patients moving through the system. Delayed discharge is making things very difficult for hospitals. That is why fixing social care is crucial, he says.
Sir Mike Penning (Con) thanks the PM for delivering Brexit, and for the vaccine rollout programme. He asks about plans for a hospital in Watford. Will the PM tell his successor to build a new hospital.
Johnson offers Penning a meeting with a minister.
Liz Saville Roberts, the Plaid Cymru leader at Westminster, says 37% of children in the places she represents are growing up in poverty. Will he scrap the two child limit for benefits?
Johnson says the Welsh government is responsible for schools in Wales. The government will come out strongly from this, he says.
Katherine Fletcher (Con) says people in the north of England are proud fo their industrial heritage. Will the PM back a plan to reopen a tram bridge across the Ribble.
Johnson says he has built more bridges than any other MP. At this stage in his career, he cannot promise to build this bridge. But there are eight people Fletcher could approach. “She is in a strong bargaining position,” he says.
Johnson says his departure won’t mean end of Brexit
Jacob Young (Con) says the people of Redcar are grateful for what Johnson achieved. And people are grateful to him for delivering Brexit. Is the PM optimistic about future?
Johnson says people think his departure means “the end of Brexit”. They are wrong, he says.
Stephen Farry (Alliance) says a recent poll suggests only 5% of people in Northern Ireland trust the goverment. Will the PM apologise for how he has left affairs in NI?
Johnson says the government has a bill to fix the problems with the NI protocol.
Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, says the Tory leadership contest is quickly descending “into a toxic race to the right”. They are all trying to outdo each other on an extreme Brexit. Is the reason the PM won’t endorse any of these “awful candidates” because the next leader will “make Genghis Khan look like a moderate”.
Johnson says he hopes the next leader will protect the union.
Blackford says he hopes the next Tory leader will be as popular in Scotland as Johnson.
Many families will not be able to afford heating this winter, he says. He says people in Scotland do not just want rid of Johnson; they want rid of the whole system.
Johnson says the government is increasing support for people with the cost of living. The last thing the people of Scotland need “is more constitutional wrangling when we need to fix the economy”.
Johnson says he will be leaving No 10 ‘with my head held high’
“I really am going to miss this weekly nonsense from him,” Starmer says.
He quotes from Rishi Sunak’s resignation letter, saying it implied the PM could not tell the truth. Now Sunak says he wants to fix the economy. Can he think of any jobs Sunak has done that might have had an impact on the economy.
Johnson says the next Tory leader might be elected by acclamation. So this might be his last PMQs, he claims.
(Almost no one expects that, and the Tory election rules say this should not happen.)
Johnson says Starmer has been “considerably less lethal” than other Labour leaders.
He says it is true that he is leaving “not at a time of my choosing”. But he is proud of the initiatives he has started, and the leadership he has shown. He goes on:
I will be leaving soon with my head held high.
Starmer says Johnson is “totally deluded to the bitter end”. Nadhim Zahawi would cut some budgets by 20% to fund tax cuts. Was he speaking on behalf of the government when he made those promises?
Johnson says this is “pitiful stuff” from a party that voted against the health and social care levy, he says.
He says the government has got growth because the government came out of lockdown when Starmer said that would be reckless.
Starmer says the Tory leadership candidates have promised £330bn in giveaways. That is double the budget of the NHS. Does the PM agree they should explain where the cash comes from?
Johnson says all the commitments he has heard are very good. The government will hire more police officers, and build 40 new hospitals, he claims. Labour voted against the funding for that. And he says Labour proposes extra spending worth £94bn.
Starmer asks if the PM agrees that any leadership candidate should declare if they have been part of a non-dom scheme.
Johnson says as far as he is aware all MPs pay their taxes. He says he does not approve of this constant vilifaction of MPs. Labour is happy to see people languishing on benefits, he says.