Andrew Marr: PM's survival means more division and is bad for (almost) everyone

7 June 2022, 18:11 | Updated: 7 June 2022, 18:12

Outcome of Boris Johnson confidence vote is 'terrible for the country', Andrew Marr declares

By Megan Hinton

Andrew Marr fears "months of political mayhem" lay ahead for the UK after the vote of confidence in Boris Johnson unearths "more drift and division" in the Tory party.

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In his opening monologue on LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, he told listeners: "Last night, when I heard the news of the Tory vote and Boris Johnson surviving by 211 to 148, I felt a wave of depression.

"Since then I've been asking myself why. After all, he's only going to face one crisis after another - and that's good for journalism.

"We love trouble - and the wilder the trouble, the better for trade. But I'm also, I hope, a patriotic person, and this outcome is terrible for the country. Johnson's still there but he's very badly wounded.

"Who would have chosen to end of all this plotting with the same Prime Minister as before - only more damaged and less able to lead?

"After all the unifying and edifying celebration of the platinum jubilee, all of us somehow on the same side, Britain was quickly brought back to reality during yesterday’s vicious parliamentary mudfight.

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"And what was all that for? More drift and division - a wounded government - more months of political mayhem in the middle of an economic crisis? Well, that was worth it. 

"But Giant Haystacks, as is his right, took a win for a win and today promised tax cuts.

"Of course it was only a few weeks ago he was raising taxes after Rishi Sunak’s decision to swipe the Labour policy of a windfall tax. But ok: which taxes will he now cut? And given the state of the public finances, which spending is he now going to cut to pay for them?

"Answers, I guess, for another day. Another thing he could do if he wants to heal the wounds in the Tory Party is offer government jobs to some of his senior critics - to reach out, to be generous.

"A little earlier on I was speaking to David Lidington, deputy prime minister under Theresa May, and here's what he said.

"Well it's not quite the Johnson style we've become used to. But again who knows? Maybe he has been shaken by the strength of the hostility to him, both among the public and inside the Conservative Party?

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"Maybe he can change? His Tory critics don't think so and they haven't given up: today they are already talking about changing the rules to allow another challenge to him in the autumn also.

"I would really like to be talking about something else now. I think the countries turned against the prime minister and his time is up: I'd like to see him go quickly and with dignity.

"My friends, I don't think it's going to happen and therefore this goes on.

"Well, it is good for journalism - lots of twists, turns and moments of drama to come, but one thing I've learnt after 40 years in the trade is that in general, what is good for journalism, is bad for almost everyone else.

"Anyway, that’s how it feels to me today."