First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Pressure mounts on UK's Boris Johnson after crushing el...

Newsdeck

Boris Johnson

Pressure mounts on UK’s Boris Johnson after crushing election defeats

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson departs his official residence at 10 Downing Street ahead of Prime Ministers Questions at Parliament in London, Britain, 22 June 2022. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL
By Reuters
24 Jun 2022 0

LONDON/KIGALI, June 24 (Reuters) - Boris Johnson's Conservatives lost two parliamentary seats on Friday, a crushing blow to the governing party that prompted the resignation of its chairman and intensified doubts about the future of Britain's prime minister.

In Rwanda for a meeting of Commonwealth nations, Johnson was defiant, pledging to listen to voters’ concerns and do more to tackle a cost-of-living crisis after what he described as “tough” results in the two so-called by-elections.

The losses – one in the Conservatives’ traditional southern heartlands and in a northern English industrial seat won from Labour in the last election – suggest the broad appeal Johnson presented to win the 2019 election may be fracturing.

Fears that Johnson could have become an electoral liability may prompt lawmakers to move against him again after months of scandal over COVID-19 lockdown parties at a time when millions are struggling with rising food and fuel prices.

Johnson has so far resisted pressure to resign after he was fined for breaking lockdown rules at his Downing Street office.

This month, he survived a vote of confidence by Conservative lawmakers, though 41% of his parliamentary colleagues voted to oust him, and he is under investigation by a committee over whether he intentionally misled parliament.

“I think as a government I’ve got to listen to what people are saying,” Johnson told broadcasters in Kigali after the results. “We’ve got to recognise there is more we’ve got to do.”

Following the losses in Tiverton and Honiton in southwest England, and Wakefield in the north, Conservative Party Chairman Oliver Dowden resigned in a carefully worded letter that hinted he might believe Johnson should take responsibility.

“We cannot carry on with business as usual,” he said. “Somebody must take responsibility and I have concluded that, in these circumstances, it would not be right for me to remain in office,” added Dowden, a long-time ally of Johnson.

Some Conservatives blamed him for running poor campaigns in both the voting areas by ignoring local concerns.

Johnson responded by saying he understood Dowden’s disappointment but “this government was elected with an historic mandate just over two years ago” and he would continue to work to that end.

A Conservative party source said Johnson was not concerned about further resignations from his cabinet team of top ministers and took a swipe at the media for what they called “misreporting” of lockdown parties.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said “we all take responsibility” for the defeats.

 

CONSERVATIVE UNREST

But the explanations offered by Johnson and his team may do little to ease frustration in the Conservative Party.

Several Conservative lawmakers tweeted support for Dowden, saying he was not to blame for the results in messages that suggested resurgent dissent against Johnson’s leadership.

Although under his party’s rules Johnson cannot face another confidence motion for a year, lawmakers fearing for their own futures may try to force a change to bring about a second vote.

That might take time. It would entail changes to the committee that represents Conservative lawmakers who do not have government jobs.

A wave of cabinet resignations could also be another route to force Johnson out before the next national election, expected in 2024. It could be called earlier, but U.S. bank Citi said in a note the likelihood of that was “limited”.

The by-elections were triggered by the resignations of Conservative lawmakers – one who admitted watching pornography in parliament, and another found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

The party lost its large majority of more than 24,000 votes in Tiverton and Honiton to the centrist Liberal Democrats.

“If Conservative MPs don’t wake up, I think at the next election, the voters will send them packing,” the Liberal Democrats’ leader, Ed Davey, said.

In the parliamentary seat of Wakefield in northern England, the main opposition Labour party won.

“This result is a clear judgment on a Conservative Party that has run out of energy and ideas,” Labour leader Keir Starmer said.

Johnson led the Conservatives to their biggest majority in three decades at the 2019 national election, winning in traditionally Labour-voting areas in north and central England.

But the loss of Wakefield could indicate that his ability to repeat that trick has been compromised.

By Alistair Smout, Elizabeth Piper and Andrew MacAskill

(Additional reporting by Andrew MacAskill in Kigali, Muvija M, William Schomberg, Kate Holton in London; Editing by Toby Chopra and Alison Williams)

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted