Artillery Row

What Boris Johnson told the ’22

Digs at Nicola Sturgeon and an end to lockdown “before the tulip season is over”

The 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers had a virtual meeting with Boris Johnson this evening. He spoke for about ten minutes and he set out why he believes the England-wide lockdown was necessary, telling them that we’d be able to ease it “before the tulip season is over”. There were several questions from MPs who were unhappy with the school closures, but nobody spoke who opposed the English lockdown in general. Some were unhappy with the local elections in May going ahead and wanted him to announce their postponement.

The Prime Minister repeated his aim to vaccinate 15 million vulnerable people by mid February but he managed to get in a dig at Nicola Sturgeon, telling his backbenchers that without the UK “the SNP Government in Scotland would not have a single vaccine for the Scottish people”. It’s a point he needs to make in public more frequently if he is serious about preserving the union, especially after the failure to return the vast majority of British fishing stocks to UK waters in the Brexit trade deal, and the continuing failure to agree a deal with Norway for the UK’s long distance fleets, both of which are easily weaponised by the SNP. 

It’s interesting that the Prime Minister felt it necessary to address his backbenchers before a big vote tomorrow that he’s sure to win. Perhaps it’s something to do with the story that appeared in the FT which said two MPs of the new intake have handed in their letters of no confidence to the long-standing chairman of the ’22, Sir Graham Brady.

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