Tory leadership race live: Home Secretary Sajid Javid launches leadership bid
Frontrunner Boris Johnson launched his own campaign to become the next Conservative leader and PM earlier in the day.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has launched his leadership campaign, saying he is “uniquely qualified” to lead the country through the “challenges” ahead.
Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, introduced Mr Javid at his press conference.
Earlier, Boris Johnson launched his bid for the Tory crown with a warning to MPs that they will face “mortal retribution” from the electorate if they try to stop Brexit.
The former foreign secretary presented himself as the one candidate among the contenders bidding to succeed Theresa May who could stop Jeremy Corbyn seizing the keys to No 10.
Here’s the latest:
Tory leadership favourite Boris Johnson has been labelled a “disgraceful politician” by one of the challengers to become the next Liberal Democrats leader.
Sir Ed Davey said the UK would enter a “dangerous” period if he were to become Prime Minister.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has been outlining his agenda if he were to become the next Conservative Party leader and new Prime Minister.
Mr Javid added: “For a healthy democracy of course you want good vigorous debate but the best way to do that is to bring out the best in people.
“I would say I’m a change candidate – Boris Johnson is yesterday’s news.
“He’s been around in politics for a while, he’s achieved a lot, he’s still got a big role to play.
“But I think if we’re trying to connect with the next generation and move forward as a country then I think it’s time for the next generation with a bold new agenda.”
Standing room only as @sajidjavid speaks at the official launch of his campaign. Impassioned and bold yet self-deprecating and humble. This is a man who speaks to and for the nation. A man who can take Conservative values to whole new audiences. #TeamSaj pic.twitter.com/EEwEcPdbj9— Nick King (@nickphking) June 12, 2019
Mr Javid said: “I am concerned about the rise of division in politics. It’s not just in the UK.
“Some politicians, I’m not talking about anyone in particular but politicians around the world, think the way to win votes is to exploit division.
“I’m very worried about that. I think the leader of the Labour Party is all about identity politics, about absolutism, no compromise whatsoever, and I’m concerned about that.
“We have got to make sure that our political future is not about division but is about bringing people together and I think I’m well placed to do that.”
Mr Javid said: “I believe now more than ever that at this moment as we face the challenges that are unlike any that we have faced before, this calls for a new kind of leadership and a new kind of leader.
“A leader is not just for Christmas, or just for Brexit.
“We can’t risk going with someone who feels like the short-term, comfort zone choice.”
Mr Javid added: “I was lucky, I am lucky.
“I have a strong, supportive family around me – where we can rely on each other for support no matter what happens.
“So we must ensure that government is supporting families in everything it does.”
On presenting a different image to voters, Mr Javid said: “I know we can do this because in one part of the UK, we are already doing it.
“For years we were behind in Scotland – we all heard Labour’s joke about the number of pandas north of the border.
“Then the Scottish Tories threw out central casting and picked someone totally different. Someone who made people look at our party again.
“Ruth Davidson brought that change and with her she brought huge gains.”
Mr Javid, acknowledging the delays that a Commons vote blocking a no-deal Brexit had made to his pitch for Tory leader, added: “And when Labour tried to kybosh this launch of my leadership campaign, because the leadership campaign they fear the most, they failed and here we are.
“And can I thank you all for waiting.”
Mr Javid outlined a number of occasions when he felt like an “outsider”.
He said: “When I was at secondary school, the other kids told me about their summer holidays.
“I only ever went to Rochdale on holiday, so I pretended to go on holiday and they couldn’t tell whether this was a tan or not.
“I was told kids like me should know their limits, and kids like me should stay in their lane.
“So when I got racially abused in school by the toughest guy in school, well, rightly or wrongly, I punched him.”
Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, introduced Sajid Javid at his press conference pitching for the leadership of the party.
Ms Davidson, mother to Finn with fiancee Jen Wilson, said: “I’m a new mum who needs a pretty big reason right now to jump on a flight and spend extra hours away from my boy.
“I wouldn’t do it for just anyone.
“This is a phrase I have not used very often, but he’s the man for me.”
Tory leadership candidates have been warned that Parliament will continue to fight against a no-deal Brexit.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer issued a statement after MPs rejected a motion to give them control of the Commons agenda on June 25, as part of efforts to block a no-deal Brexit.
He said: “This is a disappointing, narrow defeat.
“But this is just the start, not the end of our efforts to block no deal. Labour stands ready to use whatever mechanism it can to protect jobs, the economy and communities from the disastrous consequences of a no deal Brexit.
“Any Tory leadership candidates should know that Parliament will continue to fight against no deal.”
MPs have rejected a motion to give them control of the Commons agenda on June 25, as part of efforts to block a no-deal Brexit, by 309 votes to 298 – majority 11.
So disappointing that a small handful of Labour colleagues failed to support our motion aimed at preventing a new Tory PM closing down Parliament & crashing us out of the EU with no deal. We would have won otherwise. But we’ll be back. #brexitshambles #FinalSay #PeoplesVote— Ben Bradshaw (@BenPBradshaw) June 12, 2019
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has said he fears one of the main Tory leadership candidates could resort to drastic action to avoid the same fate as Theresa May.
He said: “I believe the real risk here is that one of the mainstream leadership candidates, having made unqualified commitments to remove Britain from the EU by October 31st, encounters the same arithmetic as his predecessor, encounters the constraints of the Withdrawal Agreement and in order to avoid the humiliation of the present Prime Minister feels obliged to resort to drastic action.
“And that’s the risk that we face and I’m grateful to member for West Dorset (Mr Letwin) for starting a process of providing a necessary safety valve.”
How big are the majorities that each of the 10 leadership candidates are sitting on?
Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary has described the Conservative leadership contest as the “disturbing, the ludicrous and the reckless”.
Sir Keir Starmer said: “It’s become an arms race to promise the most damaging form of Brexit or to make the most absurd or undeliverable promises. No wonder (Tory MP Boris Johnson) is the frontrunner against that criteria.”
He criticised leadership contender Dominic Raab for suggesting Parliament could be temporarily shut down to allow a no-deal Brexit, and later joked his campaign website on Tuesday said: “Access to dominicraab2019.com is denied because it belongs to a category that we blocked to protect customers using the parliamentary network.”
Sir Keir added: “Quite right too.”
Conservative former minister Steve Brine noted: “I always knew parliamentary ICT people would get it right in the end.”
With a number of Tory leadership candidates refusing to rule out proroguing Parliament in order to force our EU departure on October 31, Labour is introducing a motion aimed at blocking a no deal Brexit.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: “The motion before the House is a simple proposition, namely that on the 25th of June Parliament and not the executive shall have control of the business of the House.
“That would ensure that there’s an opportunity for this House to bring forward a further business motion to set out at that later date a schedule for the stages of a parliamentary bill related to our departure from the EU.”
‘The idea of Parliament not sitting until November, as Dominic Raab suggests, is unconscionable’ (Starmer). Raab not even bothering to be in the Commons for the debate!— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) June 12, 2019
Sir Keir added: “So it is a motion that empowers Parliament, it will introduce a safety valve in the Brexit process and it will be a reminder to all Conservative leadership candidates this this House will take every step necessary to prevent a no deal.”
Philip Hammond has warned Boris Johnson is unwise to box himself “into a corner” over his “impossible” commitment that the UK will leave the EU on October 31.
The Chancellor said he did not think Mr Johnson would be able to succeed on his pledge that “after three years and two missed deadlines we must leave the EU on October 31”.
Speaking at Bloomberg’s Sooner Than You Think Summit in London, Mr Hammond compared committing to the October deadline with driving “towards this cliff-edge at speed”.
Mr Hammond told delegates: “I don’t think it’s sensible for candidates to box themselves into a corner on this.
“Parliament will not allow a no-deal exit from the EU and our experience to date has suggested that it might not be that easy to agree a deal in Parliament.
“Boris and any other candidate is perfectly entitled to say that they need to go and test this for themselves.
“But I can advise them that the EU is not likely to be prepared to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement we have already opened with them.”
Watch: Round-up of Boris Johnson’s Tory leadership bid
Back in the Commons, Theresa May was urged to stay on as Prime Minister by a Labour MP and not “cut and run” with “Parliamentary democracy in crisis”.
Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) said he had been tracking her “impressive career for 22 years”, ever since she made her maiden speech having been first elected in 1997.
Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions, he asked: “Will she change her mind about cutting and running?
“With her integrity, her experience, indeed can I say her moral compass, this parliamentary democracy is in crisis.
“Why can’t she stay here, even come on the backbenches and give some of the people who will take over from her a bit of the medicine that they’ve given her?”
The PM confirmed she will not be leaving Parliament altogether when she leaves Number 10, saying: “I will indeed be staying here as I will continue to be the Member of Parliament for my constituency.”
But she turned down Mr Sheerman’s offer to remain in Downing Street, adding: “Can I also say I am a woman of my word.
“I gave my word to my party as to what I would do, and I stand by that word.”
Watch: Boris Johnson was heckled as he made his Conservative leadership bid.
Also during PMQs, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn seized the opportunity to poke fun at confessions made by Tory leadership candidates about their pasts.
He said: “I know the Tory leadership candidates have been falling over themselves to confess to their past indulgences, but can the Prime Minister name an industry that is legal that her Government ministers have actually backed?”
Meanwhile in the House of Commons, during Prime Minister’s Questions, SNP leader in Westminster Ian Blackford hit out at the candidates in the Tory leadership race, saying the party is about to get “a whole lot nastier”.
He said: “The state of politics in this place is humiliating. The Tory leadership race is a total horror show.
“The EU was clear, ‘use the time wisely’, and yet the Tories are obsessing with themselves at the expense of people across these islands.
“Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, they are even lurching further towards the extremes.
“The Prime Minister once described her party as the nasty party. Well, with candidates like the one announcing today, it is about to get a whole lot nastier.
“Do you agree that the fantasy fairy stories of the Tory Party’s candidates are nothing more than an assault on our common sense?”
Rory Stewart shared his thoughts on his leadership rival.
On reflection I am beginning to think there are only 2 candidates who can beat Boris - me, and Boris himself.— Rory Stewart (@RoryStewartUK) June 12, 2019
Mr Johnson, answering a question about his commitment to Brexit, added: “The real existential threat that I now think faces both parties if we fail to get this thing done. And I think that in the end maturity and a sense of duty will prevail.
“It will be very difficult in the end for colleagues in Parliament to obstruct the will of the people and to block Brexit.
“They (the public) returned a very clear answer by a substantial majority.
“I think if we now block it collectively as parliamentarians we will reap the whirlwind and we will face mortal retribution from the electorate.”
He added: “I am not going to pretend to you now that everything will be plain sailing.
“There will be difficulties and there will be bumps in the road, but my team will hit the ground running.
“A sensible, orderly Brexit that allows this country to flourish as a great, independent nation.”
Asked about a previous confession that he had taken cocaine at university, Mr Johnson said: “I think the account of this event when I was 19 has appeared many, many times.
“I think what most people in this country want us to really focus on in this campaign, if I may say so, is what we can do for them and what our plans are for this great country of ours.”
Boris Johnson defended stop and search policies, and said his record as mayor of London made him suitable to be the next prime minister.
Mr Johnson said: “It was terrible. We had kids losing their lives in our city at a rate of 28-30 a year, teenagers were being stabbed to death in London. We had to take some very tough decisions.”
He added: “I believe, frankly, there is nothing kinder or more loving that you can do if you see a young kid coming down the street who may be carrying a knife, than to ask him to turn out, or her, almost invariably him, to turn out his pockets and produce that knife.
“That is not discriminatory, that is a kind, compassionate, loving thing to do. And it worked.
“We ended up, as I said just now, we ended up cutting serious youth violence by I think 32%. Knife crime went down, the murder rate went down.”
When challenged by a reporter about past comments, including saying Muslim women wearing burkas “look like letter boxes”, Mr Johnson said: “I want to make a general point about the way I do things and the language I use.
“Occasionally some plaster comes off the ceiling as a result of a phrase I may have used, or the way that phrase has been wrenched out of context by those who wish for reasons of their own to caricature.
“But I think it’s vital for us as politicians to remember that one of the reasons that the public feels alienated now from us all as a breed, is because too often they feel that we are muffling and veiling our language, not speaking as we find – covering everything up in bureaucratic platitudes, when what they want to hear is what we genuinely think.”
Asked whether he had ever done anything illegal, Mr Johnson said: “I cannot swear that I have always observed a top speed limit of 70mph…”
As Mr Johnson spoke, Labour MP David Lammy accused him of “shameless opportunism”.
Boris Johnson says the UK must "have the guts" to prepare for No-Deal Brexit. But he turns down countless debates, interviews and outright refuses to put it to the country in a #PeoplesVote.— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) June 12, 2019
This is not leadership, it is shameless opportunism that will cause permanent damage.
Boris Johnson says with a straight face he will "unite this country and unite this society".— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) June 12, 2019
The same man who described black people as "piccaninnies", mocked Muslim women as "bank robbers" and peddled lies throughout the referendum.
Britain deserves so much better than this.
Ending his speech, Mr Johnson said: “To sum up my mission in a sentence: what I want to do now, with your help, is to do for the whole country what we did in London – releasing the creative energies of our country and its people and healing its divisions.”
He said: “We can fight for the teachers, and the nurses and the firemen, and the armed service personnel, and the police, precisely because we are willing to encourage the tech wizards and the shopkeepers and the taxi drivers and, yes, the bankers as well.
“We enable the extraordinary success of our private sector with a strong, committed, passionate, well-funded public sector.
“It is that synergy, that symbiosis, that sizzling synergy, that is so fertile in generating further economic growth, that is the formula, that is the way we will bridge the opportunity gap and bring the country together, responding to the mighty plea of the majority of our people for fundamental change.”
Mr Johnson said: “In everything we do, we will seek to strengthen the union of our four nations… that invincible quartet, the awesome foursome that makes up the UK – the world’s soft power superpower.
“And I have seen across the world in our armed forces, in our diplomacy, our sheer cultural impact, how we are so much more than the sum of our parts.”
Shortly after Mr Johnson began speaking, heckling from the street outside the venue was audible in the room.
Cries of “Bollocks to Boris” and “No to Brexit” could be heard during Mr Johnson’s launch speech.
Mr Johnson said: “And yet we cannot ignore the morass at Westminster where parties have entered a yellow box junction, unable to move forward or back, while around the country there is a mood of dissolution, even despair, at our ability to get things done.
“The longer it goes on, the worse the risk that there will be serious contamination and loss of confidence because the people of this country deserve the best from their leader.”
Taking to the stage, amid prolonged applause, Mr Johnson said: “It’s a measure of the resilience of this country that since the vote to leave the EU, and in defiance of all predictions, the economy has grown much faster than the rest of Europe…
“Unemployment has fallen to the lowest levels since 1972, exports have soared, English football teams have won both the Champions League and the Europa League by beating English football teams, and inward investment has soared.
“It’s almost as if the commercial dynamism of the British people is insulating them from the crisis in our politics.”
There was also family support for Boris Johnson, with his brother Jo and father Stanley attending the campaign launch.
Attendees at the launch were offered “Boris bacon butties” and “Boris eggs Benedict” inside the venue.
They were also invited to wear “Back Boris” badges.
A smattering of anti-Brexit protesters have gathered to picket outside the venue for Mr Johnson’s campaign launch in central London.
Veteran anti-EU withdrawal protester Steve Bray told the Press Association: “My message to Mr Johnson is he’s not fit to be an MP, let alone PM.”
Former defence secretary Gavin Williamson, who Prime Minister Theresa May sacked from the Cabinet, declined to speak to reporters when he arrived for the event.
Meanwhile, leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom has ruled out holding a second Scottish independence referendum – less than 24 hours after saying she would “never say never” to the prospect of such a ballot.
The former leader of the House of Commons U-turned on that to insist there would be “no second referendums” on either Brexit or independence if she becomes prime minister.
There will be no second referendums on my watch - not on Scottish Independance and not on EU membership. I respect the result of referendums!— Andrea Leadsom MP (@andrealeadsom) June 12, 2019
Sam Gyimah, who quit the Tory leadership contest earlier in the week, called on contenders to concede Brexit “cannot be delivered” by October 31 if they are “serious” about renegotiations.
People are fetishizing the Oct 31 EU exit date, just like Theresa May did with 29th March. If contenders are serious about the renegotiations they are promising, then Brexit cannot be delivered by 31st. Better to be straight with the public now, than to stoke disillusion— Sam Gyimah MP (@SamGyimah) June 12, 2019
Watch: Who’s who in the Tory leadership race?
Liz Truss also defended Mr Johnson when asked about his sacking for “lying in public” about an affair, saying: “I do not think the British public is interested in Boris’s personal life.”
Defending the Tory leadership hopeful from accusations that he is refusing to speak to journalists during his campaign for the top job, she said: “He has got nothing to hide.
“This is the parliamentary stage of the process. The important thing is he is talking to parliamentary colleagues.”
Cabinet minister Liz Truss this morning defended Boris Johnson as a “brilliant” foreign secretary who deserves to be prime minister.
As Mr Johnson prepares to launch his leadership bid, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Ms Truss attempted to bat away a string of criticisms about how he may not be a fit and proper person to hold office.
When the accusation that Mr Johnson was “the worst foreign secretary in living memory” was put to her by the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, she said such attacks were due to his “huge public appeal”.
She added: “His record is of being the most successful mayor of London we have had, of being an excellent foreign secretary who got countries around the world to take action against Russia by expelling their diplomats.”