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As Boris Johnson seeks reinstatement, Tory legislators are further flawed

LONDON – Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempted to change the subject on Wednesday, hoping to replace the public image of him as a nonpartisan with that of a confident and global statesman. a visionary national builder.

The Prime Minister highlighted a phone call with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. Hours earlier, his government had detailed an ambitious, multi-year plan to spread prosperity, or “upgrade” neglected regions in the Midlands and north of England. with richer London and the southeast.

But Mr Johnson’s re-establishment was overshadowed by news that three more Conservative Party lawmakers called for a vote of no confidence in him. It was further evidence that his political support had waned amid a wave of outcry over the alcohol-fueled social gatherings in Downing Street that breached lockdown restrictions in the country. Translate.

Mr Johnson’s busy day is meant to gauge both Britain’s relevance on the post-Brexit world stage and his commitment to the country’s rust belt, where voters accept his oath as “get Brexit done” in 2019. Their support has fueled his Conservative Party’s landslide boom since the 1987 Margaret Thatcher affair.

Retaining those voters is crucial for the party to stay in power. As Mr. Johnson’s political troubles deepen, the “leveling” project is no longer just a main pillar of his agenda; it’s also Picture A in his case for why Tory lawmakers embroiled in scandal shouldn’t be launching a leadership challenge against him.

However, the bigger fear of many lawmakers is electoral defeat from an internal party report, released in redacted form on Monday. The report paints an unflattering picture of Mr Johnson’s leadership, citing the prime minister’s excessive drinking culture at parties, some of which he has attended. attend.

Downing Street has promised to finally release the full report of a senior civil servant, Sue Grey, which is likely to reveal even more damaging details. British police are conducting a review of the parties; they could soon question Mr. Johnson about his attendance and possibly fine him.

Tony Travers, professor of politics at the London School of Economics, said: “Centries ago were not good, given what we now know about how harmful the redacted Sue Gray report was. “. “This doesn’t look like it’s going to go away.”

Under normal circumstances, the “leveling” project would be a welcome announcement to the government, he said, promising to revive struggling towns and cities with the showcase projects. , such as cultural centers or rebuilt town squares, and long-term investments to improve transport and education links and prolong life.

Professor Travers said: “It is a policy of complete consensus, across the UK political scene. “The opposition is not against it – they just want more of it. But de-industrialization as a matter got caught up in politics and populism. “

For Mr Johnson, the “upgrade” initiative is perhaps the largest in a string of policy announcements in the country, nicknamed “Operation Save Big Dog” by his political advisers. , who hoped it would show strong leadership and remind lawmakers why voters flocked to him.

But Mr Johnson doesn’t just rely on domestic policy to save him. On Tuesday, he traveled to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky. He voiced solidarity with the Ukrainian people and warned that Britain would impose sanctions on Moscow as soon as “the first Russian one” reached Ukrainian soil.

Mr Johnson sent a similar message to Mr Putin by phone on Wednesday. In remarks on the call, Downing Street said the prime minister had warned him that “any Russian incursion into Ukrainian territory would be a tragic miscalculation.”

But Russia committed suicide into Britain, and Mr. Johnson. Deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, told Sky News that “British diplomacy has shown that it is completely worthless,” while Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said Putin would speak. Talk to anyone, even those who are “completely confused.”

In Kyiv, Mr Johnson was entangled in questions about partisans on Downing Street while in Britain a Conservative lawmaker, Peter Aldous, said he would call a vote of no confidence. On Wednesday, three other Tories joined him: Gary Streeter, Anthony Mangnall and Tobias Ellwood, who chair the select committee on defense in the House of Commons.

That brings the total number of public Tory dissidents to about a dozen. A total of 54 such requests are required to trigger a vote. Because the submission process is confidential, no one knows the current total, but some political analysts estimate it could be 30 or more.

Many legislators are known to be unhappy in private. But some may be hiding the timing and assessment of public sentiment, fearing that a declaration of no confidence in Mr Johnson could trigger a backlash among loyalist activists in the region. their area.

Others worry that, if they miscalculate and trigger a vote too soon, Mr Johnson could survive and cement his position. He has shown an uncanny ability to recover from scandals and failures.

Mr Johnson’s critics have long dismissed “leveling” as a slogan without a policy. But that criticism changed on Wednesday after the government released a lengthy document outlining plans for more city and regional mayors, along with lofty aspirations for skills training, transportation, and more. public and economic productivity.

While there is widespread acclaim for the government’s wish list, critics have lamented the modest financial scale behind a project that some have likened to the reconstruction of East Germany after in unification with the West.

Previous Labor-led governments have pursued many of these policies, with similar standards and timetables, critics and some analysts note. After the Conservative-led government came to power in 2010, some of the worst-affected areas suffered years of public spending cuts under new austerity policies.

“A lot of this is like going back to where we were then and admitting that a lot of this is like going back to where we were then and admitting that a lot of it,” said Jonathan Portes, an economist at Kings College London who worked in Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labor government. many things happened after that was a mistake. .

Some analysts praised the fact that the document set a timeframe, but added that its 2030 target was too short to address ingrained social and economic issues.

“We’re talking about a problem that hasn’t existed for at least 100 years; Paul Swinney, director of policy and research at the Center for Cities, a think tank.

The outcome of this initiative is also not guaranteed to appeal to wavering voters in struggling northern towns by the time of the next election, which is before the end of 2024. and many look forward to next year.

“Voters are unlikely to see any difference in practice at the time of the next election. The question is whether they will acknowledge the political intentions of the government and then lend them their vote again,” Mr. Swinney said.

Whether Mr Johnson will lead the Tories to that election remains unclear.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/02/world/europe/boris-johnson-parties.html As Boris Johnson seeks reinstatement, Tory legislators are further flawed

Fry Electronics Team

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