Cabinet minister rubbishes claims Boris Johnson is ‘indecisive’

15 November 2020, 12:36

George Eustice defends PM over apparent chaos in Downing Street

By Joe Cook

The environment secretary has hit back at suggestions that Boris Johnson is indecisive following a string of high profile government U-turns.

George Eustice told LBC’s Swarbrick on Sunday he believes the Prime Minister is a decisive leader and dismissed the reports of turmoil in Number 10 as “gossip” and merely “an episode involving personnel”.

Senior Tories have called on Mr Johnson to use the departure of his top advisers Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain as an opportunity to “reset the government”.

During Mr Cummings’ time as senior adviser there were complaints from Tory MPs that the party was not being listened to and that foreseeable U-turns have been made.

With media reports of another upcoming government U-turn over plans to change the planning permission system, LBC’s Tom Swarbrick pressed Mr Eustice to explain which decisions the government has made that it actually stuck to in the past few months.

“There will be many, many decisions that we have made and have stuck to,” the environment secretary said, “we made a decision to do this latest lockdown and we are sticking to that and that will last until the 2 December”.

Read more: Boris takes back control after Cummings exit

George Eustice gives update on Brexit negotiations

But Tom noted that Boris Johnson had previously told Parliament a second national lockdown “would not be the right course” and would “do such damage to our economy as to erode our long-term ability to fund the NHS and other crucial public services”.

Mr Eustice retorted that the PM “changed on that because the situation changed, but we have now got that lockdown until the 2 December”.

“Like all prime ministers he is making lots and lots of decisions all the time, particularly at a very difficult time with the pandemic,” he continued.

“That is an evolving, moving situation where sometimes, yes, you have to change tack and adapt your approach to deal with an emerging situation.

“But on all of the other key areas - let’s take leaving the EU, he was clear that we would leave, that we would leave at the end of this year, clear that we would not extend the transition period and we didn’t.”

Read more: Expert urges against 'flip-flopping' between pandemic and economy

Read more: David Davis: UK guilty of 'really low calibre of pandemic planning'

David Davis: 'Downing Street has not been very functional'

Following Friday’s departure of Dominic Cummings, rumours about why the senior aide quit have been circulating throughout the British media.

One report suggested the PM was angered by claims a No10 faction, headed by Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain, had been "briefing against him" and his fiancee Carrie Symonds, who they allegedly labelled "Princess Nut Nuts".

Boris Johnson had said Lee Cain was a "true ally and friend" and would be "much missed", after accepting his resignation on Thursday.

Read more: Why has Dominic Cummings quit Downing Street?

Watch: 'Writing has been on the wall' for Cummings - former special adviser

Mr Eustice told Swarbrick on Sunday “he did not know if” the atmosphere in Number 10 was “toxic”, as Tom suggested, but conceded “there have obviously been some toxic briefings”.

“I have not immersed myself in the gossip of this, who called who what names, whether people were upset or whether they cried.”

“From my point of view, as a cabinet minister, there has been an episode involving personnel at Number 10.

“The prime minister has taken a decision that he wants to change the balance of his advisors, but this is about advisors to the prime minister, it is not about the government.”

James O'Brien reacts to Johnson's second national lockdown U-turn

On Thursday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told LBC’s Nick Ferrari the reports of "squabbling" at Number 10 were "pathetic".

"We're in the middle of a pandemic, we're all worried about our health and our families, we're all worried about our jobs, and this lot are squabbling behind the door of Number 10”, he said.

"It's pathetic. Pull yourselves together, focus on the job in hand."

More Tom Swarbrick

See more More Tom Swarbrick

Exclusive
UK should prepare for 'something close to war', Nato's deputy tells LBC, amid warning members have 'neglected defence'

UK should prepare for 'something close to war', Nato's Deputy General tells LBC, as he warns Russia 'cannot be trusted'

Emma Webber (left) speaking to LBC

Mother of Nottingham attack victim Barnaby Webber blasts police ‘mistruths’ after force is put in special measures

Lord Harrington said there should be a cap on the number of asylum seekers the UK takes.

Former refugees minister Lord Harrington calls for a cap on the number of asylum seekers the UK takes

Mel Stride has backed the PM

Rishi Sunak has 'absolutely not' betrayed nation over Rwanda plan, insists minister after Braverman's attack on PM

Tom and caller

'Our family is there': Mother shares heartbreaking experience of being a British Jew during Israel-Hamas conflict

The ban will be brought into effect in months

'Children should be in the classroom to learn': Gillian Keegan orders 'blanket ban' of mobile phones in schools

Exclusive
Tributes have been paid to Elianne after she was stabbed to death in Croydon

Fellow pupil of schoolgirl stabbed to death in Croydon describes heartbreaking moment students were told of her killing

Scotland's first safe drug consumption space set to be openned

'Isn't this just decriminalising heroin?': Tom Swarbrick questions Labour MSP over first safe drug consumption room

The education secretary discusses educational reforms with Tom Swarbrick

Shadow education secretary says 'Building Schools for the Future Programme' would have prevented Raac crisis

Tom Swabrick

'Is it not completely mental?': Tom Swarbrick astonished as schools shut due to crumble-risk concrete before new term

Exam results

Equation sheets given to GCSE cohort in attempt lessen reduced grade inflation blow, schools minister says

Crime commentator on Adam Provan

Internal review of rapist ex-Met officer is the equivalent of 'marking your own homework', says crime commentator

Education Secretary discuss new Eton free schools on LBC

‘Bailed out by Eton’: Education Secretary discusses new free schools with Tom Swarbrick

Lucy Letby: We have to know what went so 'catastrophically wrong' says Tom Swarbrick

Lucy Letby: We have to know what went so 'catastrophically wrong' says Tom Swarbrick

Exclusive
Lord Edward Garnier has called for a public inquiry into Andrew Malkinson's case

Top lawyer blasts Andrew Malkinson rape case as the 'worst miscarriage of justice of the 21st century'

Suella Barge

Suella Braverman can't be blamed for housing migrants on barge with Legionella, ConservativeHome editor says