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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
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54? Not anymore

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It has been a week of melodrama in the latest instalment of the soap opera that is the Conservative & Unionist Party.

Talk of a "pork pie plot", so called as the Rutland & Melton MP, Alicia Kearns, one member of the 2019 new intake of Conservative MPs was allegedly pivotal in it, was seized on by the mainstream media whose appetite for the potential scalp of Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is voracious.

After enduring significant pressure after his flaccid apology at the previous week's PMQs, Johnson was much more dexterous in dealing with Sir Keir Starmer, who whilst laughing at his own jokes, failed to land anything like a knockout blow. Lembit Öpik rightly pointed out that Johnson would have been resigning that day if Tony Blair had been his opponent.

Christian Wakeford, MP for Bury South and another member of the 2019 new intake of Tories, crossed the floor to Labour just minutes before PMQs, which appeared to galvanise both Johnson and the benches behind him.

With a majority of 402, Wakeford has gambled that by switching to Labour, his time in Parliament may be extended at the next General Election. The "irony" of Wakeford being the co sponsor of a bill to ensure that any MP that crosses the floor should automatically trigger a by election was conveniently ignored. By him at least.

Andrew Bridgen, one of a number of MPs to publicly admit that he had submitted a letter to Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the Tory 1922 Committee of backbenchers, calling for a vote of no confidence in Johnson's leadership of the party claimed that the 54 signatures needed to trigger such a vote would be reached before the end of the week, with the vote to be held as early as Monday 24th January.

Friday came and went and following the lifting of the majority of pandemic restrictions, rumours swirled in Westminster that some letters were being withdrawn.

Bridgen entered Parliament in 2010, he has been a "prime mover" in the "letters to the '22" against David Cameron, Theresa May and now Boris. He has no ambitions of high office, allegedly turning down a junior ministerial position prior to the Brexit referendum which would have been conditional on him supporting Remain.

So, Boris lives to fight another day at least but allegations from his jilted former Special Adviser, Dominic Cummings that Boris lied to Parliament over his prior knowledge of the Downing Street "bring your own booze" party of 20th May 2020 have led to him being interviewed by the now infamous Sue Gray.

Despite the dearth of alternatives with any political heft, let alone track record of winning elections to Johnson (Rishi Sunak, who walked off set when asked if he gave Johnson his full support and former Lib Dem, and Remainer, Liz Truss are the two prominent names) if Gray uncovers unequivocal evidence that he lied to Parliament, in breach of the Ministerial Code, Boris will undoubtedly have used up his 9 Prime Ministerial lives. 

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