Boris Johnson to appear in court over misconduct claims - as it happened

Last modified: 02: 09 PM GMT+0

Follow updates on the Tory leadership race, the Brexit crisis, and the rows in the Labour party over antisemitism and expulsions

Summary

That’s it for today. Here’s a summary of what’s happened:

Updated

Rory Stewart has pledged to double spending on climate change and the environment as he warned the UK must do more in the face of an “environmental cataclysm”.

The International Development Secretary warned a million species could be lost and 100 million more people could be plunged into poverty unless more is done.

Speaking on Sky News, Stewart also said he would double the UK’s diplomatic budget and “completely reframe” the intelligence services.

He said: “I want to make DfID (the Department for International Development) centred on climate change and the environment.”
Stewart said he wants to double the amount of DfID’s budget being spent on tackling climate change, taking it from £1.1bn to £2.2bn.

He said the increase would be met over a five-year period.

Stewart warned: “We are facing an environment cataclysm. Quite literally the ice shelf is going 10 times more quickly than people expected, we are about to lose maybe a million species on Earth and that is even before you count the fact that 100 million more people will be in poverty unless we tackle this. We have to tackle this.”

Stewart continues to attract praise from left leaning commentators, but he is struggling in the leadership race with only three Tory MPs willing to publicly back him.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The Scottish government’s constitutional relations secretary, Michael Russell, has described the SNP’s victory in the European election as a “fresh start” for independence.

He said that Scotland had “said loudly and clearly that it was a European nation”, adding that the conditions for holding a second independence referendum set out in the SNP’s 2016 manifesto had been “met in full” as the UK was now heading for a no deal Brexit.

Setting out the new referendum bill, published this morning, Russell said that one of the key lessons from Brexit was that “there is a need for reconciliation”. He put put forward cross-party talks and a a citizen’s assembly to discuss Scotland’s future.

Russell also announced that the secretaries of an Irish initiative used to successfully reform Ireland’s abortion laws, would be visiting Holyrood to speak to MSPs about the initiative next month.

Russell concluded that the Scottish government was trying “to get away from the negativity and nastiness of the current Brexit process”.

He added: “Scotland deserves, and this week, has clearly demanded better. We must create a country in which we all feel we have gained something worth having, in which we all feel part of a shared national endeavour regardless of which side of the argument we have come from….That is the fresh start the people of Scotland have offered us.”

Ruth Davidson, leader of Scotland’s Conservatives, has vowed to block the new bill.

Today, Nicola Sturgeon kick started her latest #Indyref2 bid by introducing a new referendum bill to parliament. @ScotTories will defend Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.

Sign up here to tell Nicola Sturgeon no to Indyref2 https://t.co/aMXcpBnwq5 pic.twitter.com/cdB425tAYw

— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) May 29, 2019

Updated

John Bercow should not be allowed to stay on longer as Speaker in light of last year’s damning report about sexist bullying in parliament, Maria Miller, the chair of the women and equalities committee, has said.

Miller said MPs should take a stand against Bercow, after the Speaker indicated he wanted to stay in the chair until Brexit is resolved, contrary to previous expectations that he would leave the post soon.

The Speaker faced calls to step down after last October’s report by Dame Laura Cox but the pressure ebbed away after friends of Bercow privately indicated he was planning to step aside in July this year.

“The Cox report was clear that the House of Commons needs a wholesale change in leadership to address an unacceptable culture of bullying and harassment,” Miller said.

On Tuesday, Bercow told the Guardian that he plans to stay on as Speaker. And in a speech in Washington, he said it was “for the birds to think” to think that parliament could be sidelined in the debate over Brexit.

“The idea that parliament is going to... be evacuated from the centre-stage of the debate on Brexit is unimaginable. It is simply unimaginable,” he said.

Updated

Ian Lavery, the Labour party chairman, has hit out at second referendum campaigners for sneering at “ordinary people” with pro-Brexit views and sniping at those who want to see the results of the 2016 poll respected.

As Jeremy Corbyn faces intense pressure to back a “people’s vote” in the wake of the European elections, Lavery argued in an article for the Guardianthat Labour would not win a general election “simply by fighting for the biggest share of the 48%”.

He said both sides needed to come together to fight the prospect of a no-deal Brexit being pushed by some of the Conservative leadership candidates who are competing to be the next prime minister.

“As someone who has opposed a so-called public vote, not least because parliament has no majority for it in principle and nobody has the faintest idea what we would actually put on the ballot, I have been doggedly attacked by certain sections of the party, as well as those on the outside,” he said.

Tory leadership candidates, Rory Stewart and Sajid Javid, have said they would block Nicola Sturgeon’s plan to hold a second independence referendum for Scotland.

In everything we do and everything we say in this leadership race we should remember that the key is to unify the country and not divide the United Kingdom. https://t.co/5Feuvf3Ucu

— Rory Stewart (@RoryStewartUK) May 29, 2019

If I become PM, I won’t allow a second Scottish independence referendum. People stated views clearly in 2014, so there should be no second vote. Nicola Sturgeon should spend more time improving public services in Scotland, and less time grandstanding https://t.co/sxKKMdXX2S

— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) May 29, 2019

Update: James Cleverly has also pledged to try to block a second Indy Ref.

I lived and worked in the Grampians and love Scotland. It is family, and I will do everything to stop the break up of the Union. https://t.co/3O57z5sH6g

— James Cleverly MP (@JamesCleverly) May 29, 2019

Updated

MP David Davies, who backs a hard Brexit, describes the court summons as “deeply sinister”.

Deeply sinister that Brexiteers like ⁦@BorisJohnson⁩ face being dragged into court. EU supporters falsely claimed that a leave vote would collapse the economy. No action being taken against them.. https://t.co/lW6BPTZ8Lg

— David Davies MP 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🇬🇧 (@DavidTCDavies) May 29, 2019

Stephen Parkinson, the former deputy head of the attorney general’s office, has expressed surprise at the Johnson courts summons.

Parkinson, now a senior partner at Kingsley Napley, said:

“Freedom of political debate forms the bedrock of any democratic system. Clearly, if politicians were exposed to prosecution for the statements that they make in campaigns, that would have a chilling effect on our politics and undermine democracy.

“The offence of misconduct in public office has become almost fashionable parlance recently given the frequency with which it is cited. However these types of prosecutions are still very rare.”

Meanwhile, my colleague Ben Quinn, looks at what happens next:

• Will be sent to Crown Court, probably Southwark, for preliminary hearing. Johnson’s team would be expected to seek to have case dismissed.
• If they fail, full trial in front of a jury not be expected to take place for another six months. Johnson could well be PM.
2/2

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) May 29, 2019

Legal guidance on ‘misconduct in public office’

Summary

Here’s what’s happened so far today:

Updated

Ed Davey, who is expected to run to be the new Lib Dem leader, welcomed the court summons for Johnson.

In a statement released by the pro-EU group, Best for Britain, Davey said:

“Boris Johnson has never had to rely on these vital public services. That’s why he doesn’t care about the impact of his campaign slogans.

“Three years down the road and our NHS is on its knees. EU staff are leaving in their droves, having been made to feel unwelcome, while local hospitals around the country have warned that they won’t be able to deliver critical services in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“We cannot let our communities down like this. Boris Johnson facing court is a sideshow - we need a final say vote on Brexit so that we can prevent the catastrophe he started.”

Updated

Opposition MPs have seized on the summons.

Labour’s David Lammy tweeted: “Regardless of what happens in court, this charlatan should never be allowed to become PM.”

Boris Johnson to appear in court for misconduct in public office. This man is favourite to be our next PM. The Conservative Party are not fit to run this country. https://t.co/km2CpyOc9q

— Wera Hobhouse MP 🔶 (@Wera_Hobhouse) May 29, 2019

Updated

Ladbrooks still has Johnson as the favourite to win the leadership race, but he’s also 2-1 to drop out before the first round of voting.

Ladbrokes: It's 2/1 that Boris Johnson drops out of the race before the first MPs ballot.
https://t.co/MApIXOezjf pic.twitter.com/FzmASBswwN

— Ladbrokes Politics (@LadPolitics) May 29, 2019

Peter Shilton, former England goalie turned pro-Brexit conspiracy theorists, smells a rat:

I ask myself dirty trick ? that @BorisJohnson is being taken to court over being involved in the famous Brexit bus advertisement before the last referendum Funny how @michaelgove was also involved but not been summoned (he’s now a remainer!) Yes we can see through the games 👍

— Peter Shilton (@Peter_Shilton) May 29, 2019

Commentators continue to predict it will be a boost for Johnson.

A gift for Boris Johnson who can double down on his argument and will cite general exaggerations of the campaign, minimising the fact that his is harder to support. Who on earth thinks this changes minds? https://t.co/8b1kT1pkAR

— anne mcelvoy (@annemcelvoy) May 29, 2019

Full text of Johnson decision

Here’s the full text of the decision to summon Johnson to court:

Updated

In her written decision summoning Johnson to court, District Judge Margot Coleman also said:

“The applicant’s case is there is ample evidence that the proposed defendant knew that the statements were false.

“One example is given that in a televised interview in May 2016 the proposed defendant stated, ‘we send the EU 10 billion per year’ and that therefore he knew that the 350 million per week figure (20 billion per year) was incorrect.”

She said: “I accept that the public offices held by Mr Johnson provide status but with that status comes influence and authority.

“I am satisfied there is sufficient to establish prima facie evidence of an issue to be determined at trial of this aspect. I consider the arguments put forward on behalf of the proposed defendant to be trial issues.”

Decision of District Judge Margot Coleman in Ball v Boris Johnson delivered at Westminster MC today https://t.co/kDBPqZd8lr

— Judicial Office (@JudiciaryUK) May 29, 2019

Updated

Some commentators reckon Johnson’s court summons will be a boost to his leadership bid.

If Boris wants to fight a campaign based on being the PM to take on the Establishment elites (I know, I know, the irony could flood the Hebrides), this could be a bit of a gift. https://t.co/axPz72QNPf

— Stewart Wood (@StewartWood) May 29, 2019

Anyone who thinks Boris being ordered to attend court over Brexit will damage his chances of becoming Tory leader is a Grade A idiot

— Stephen Pollard (@stephenpollard) May 29, 2019

Madness. This gets Boris into the second round, is worth an extra 40% with the Tory membership and hoovers up Brexit party votes. Why not charge Brown on declaring the end of boom and bust? Blair on Iraq? https://t.co/JEkzVzF1JG

— Iain Martin (@iainmartin1) May 29, 2019

Johnson’s response to claims of misconduct was outlined in the ruling, describing the application as a “(political) stunt”.

His position in summary said:

“This application is brought for political purposes. The position presented to the Court is that this is a disinterested attempt to improve the standards of political debate.

“The reality of this enterprise is different. The ‘Prosecutor’ (a limited company) is ‘Brexit Justice Limited’. Brexit Justice Limited is the product of a campaign to undermine the result of the Brexit referendum, and/or to prevent its consequences.

“The company and this application owe their existence to the desire on the part of individuals such as Mr Ball to undermine the referendum result. The ‘Brexit justice’ which is ultimately sought is no Brexit.”

Johnson summoned to face accusations of misconduct in public office.

The ruling said:

“The court is dealing with an application, dated 20th February 2019 and received by this court on the 25th February 2019, for a summons against the proposed defendant, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, for three offences alleging misconduct in a public office.”

It said that although there is no obligation on the court to give written reasons why an application for a summons is granted or refused, “this is an unusual and exceptional application with a considerable public interest and it is right that full reasons are provided to the unsuccessful party”.

Johnson to be summoned to court over referendum claim

Boris Johnson will be summoned to court to face accusations of misconduct in public office over claims he was lying when he said the UK gave the EU £350m a week, PA reports.

The favourite to win the Tory leadership race faces a private prosecution by campaigner Marcus Ball.

Lawyers representing Ball lodged an application to summons Johnson to court, claiming he had deliberately misled the public during the Brexit referendum campaign in 2016 and then repeated the statement during the 2017 general election.

In a written decision, District Judge Margot Coleman said Mr Johnson will be summoned to court.

She wrote:

“The allegations which have been made are unproven accusations and I do not make any findings of fact. Having considered all the relevant factors I am satisfied that this is a proper case to issue the summons as requested for the three offences as drafted. The charges are indictable only.

“This means the proposed defendant will be required to attend this court for a preliminary hearing, and the case will then be sent to the Crown Court for trial.

“The charges can only be dealt with in the Crown Court.”

Ball has raised more than £200,000 through a ‘Brexit Justice’ crowdfunding campaign to pay for the private prosecution.

Updated

Neil Findlay
Neil Findlay Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

Neil Findlay, the Scottish Labour MSP who oversaw his party’s disastrous European election campaign, has made clear he disagrees with its sudden switch in favour of a people’s vote on Brexit.

Findlay, until now right hand man for Richard Leonard, the Scottish Labour leader, suddenly resigned from the party’s frontbench at Holyrood on Tuesday and announced he was stepped down from the Scottish parliament at the next election in 2021.

One of Corbyn’s most influential allies in Scotland, Findlay admitted in a BBC interview he shared the blame for his party’s humiliating defeat, losing both its MEPs and 200,000 votes.

“I played a part in that election and clearly I have some responsibility for that; and I have never in my life shirked my responsibilities,” he said, before taking aim at his centrist opponents in the party.

But he criticised Leonard’s conversion in the last 48 hours to emphatically back a second EU referendum and to support remain in any new vote, even if a Brexit deal is shaped by Labour – a position which goes further than Corbyn’s reluctant admission a fresh referendum is now necessary.

Fuelling suspicions this dispute played a part in his decision to resign, Findlay told BBC Scotland it would fuel the Scottish National party’s calls for a second independence referendum:

“I have a difficulty in arguing for a second referendum because you then open up the issue of another referendum on Scotland. If the next one goes a different way, d’you think the people who lose out in that referendum will stop calling for it? We’re going to be in absolute neverendum territory.”

It was Scottish Labour’s worst electoral performance since 1910 and the result in West Lothian, where Findlay was born and still lives, may have played a part in his decision to quit. In common with the rest of Scotland, Labour’s vote in West Lothian collapsed from 31.7% in the 2014 European elections to 11.5% last week, only two points above the Tories and five points below the Brexit party.

Legislation has just been published that could pave the way for a fresh vote on Scottish independence.

The Holyrood parliament is anticipating a lunchtime statement from constitutional relations secretary Michael Russell on how the Referendums (Scotland) Bill will work.

This bill has been much-trailed, and we know what it won’t say: no date, question or referendum period.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has committed to securing the necessary transfer of powers from Westminster. This is something that Theresa May has consistently ruled out, but Sturgeon has yet to ask explicitly ask for the transfer of powers.

Sturgeon is still suggesting that she’d like to hold a referendum before the next Holyrood elections in 2021. She said:

“Now, more than ever, it is essential that we keep Scotland’s options open so that people have the opportunity to choose a better future.”

“An independence referendum within this parliamentary term will give Scotland the opportunity to choose to be an independent European nation - rather than have a Brexit future imposed upon us.”

As with most developments around Scottish independence, this may be interpreted – and over-interpreted – as SNP sabre-rattling, or an attempt to mollify hardline activists who have been growing increasingly frustrated with the party leadership’s more gradualist approach.

But it undeniably adds momentum to the independence question and - if a referendum does not happen before 2021, which remains a very real possibility - the next Holyrood election campaign will be far more explicitly about the constitution.

Former lord chancellor and Labour peer, Charlie Falconer, has joined criticism of Labour over the expulsion of Alastair Campbell.

He told the Today programme: “If it was an offence under the rules, then I suspect thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of members of the Labour Party at the European elections broke the rules and that’s not a tenable position.”

The decision, he said, was “bound to have been taken high up the chain”.

He said: “It’s very important, I think, to underline that how you operate your disciplinary process sends a message as a political party about the things that you are really concerned about.”

Falconer said he voted Labour in the European elections, was not in favour of a second referendum and trying to find a deal was the right answer.

Speaking to Sky News, Falconer agreed that Labour had showed double standards on the swift expulsion of Campbell compared to how it has dealt with members accused of antisemiticism.

He said: |A political party’s disciplinary process is a means of sending out signals as to what is acceptable and what is not. And being antisemitic has got to be completely unacceptable and that means the disciplinary process has got to be swift, effective and clear as to what it finds acceptable.”

YouGov founder and Labour party member, Peter Kellner, says he should have been expelled from Labour years ago for voting tactically.

In my 42 yrs as a Labour party member I voted tactically for the Lib Dems a number of times. It seems I should have been expelled decades ago. Can I have my money back?

— Peter Kellner (@PeterKellner1) May 28, 2019

The Tory leadership race is tightening according to a tally of MPs who have declared support for one of the candidates.

The count, by Conservative Home, still puts Jeremy Hunt on top with 28 supporters (down one since Tuesday). But Boris Johnson is a close second on 26, with Michael Gove hot on his heels on 25 and Dominic Raab on 22. Sajid Javid is a distant fifth on 12 supporters and like the others appears to be struggling to cut through.

Boris Johnson is the favourite with the bookies followed by joint second favourites Michael Gove and Dominic Raab.

Watson’s statement will fuel the row in Labour about support for a second referendum and claims of double standards.

On Tuesday Jess Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley, tweeted that Campbell was “expelled quicker than a man who threatened to kill me [and] quicker than a man in my [local party] who denied the Holocaust”, adding that the two had only been suspended.

The former Labour home secretary Charles Clarke called on the party to reinstate Campbell and said he also voted Liberal Democrat in the European elections.

“His expulsion from Labour party membership is a disgrace and only compounds Labour’s current political difficulties,” Clarke said. “I also voted Liberal Democrat. This was a one-off decision because of the hopeless incoherence of Labour’s position, particularly that of Jeremy Corbyn, on Brexit.

Fiona MacTaggart, a former Labour minister who was an MP for Slough, admitted she also voted LibDem and urged others to do the same in a “I am Spartacus” fashion.

Is @campbellclaret’s expulsion time for us all to declare “I am Spartacus”. Hey @labourpress come for me too!

— Fiona Mactaggart (@fionamac2017) May 28, 2019

Letter writers to the Guardian agreed:

Updated

Watson says Campbell's expulsion was 'spiteful'

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has stepped up the row about the expulsion of Alastair Campbell, by branding the move “spiteful”.

In a statement he called for an “amnesty” for members who did not support the party at the European elections.

He said:

“It is very clear that many thousands of Labour Party members voted for other parties last week. They were disappointed with the position on Brexit that a small number of people on the NEC inserted into our manifesto. They were sending the NEC a message that our position lacked clarity and they were right.

“It is spiteful to resort to expulsions when the NEC should be listening to members.

“The politics of intolerance holds no future for the Labour Party. A broad church party requires pluralism and tolerance to survive.

“There should be an amnesty for members who voted a different way last week.

“We should be listening to members rather than punishing them.”

Tom Watson MP Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
Tom Watson MP, deputy leader of the Labour Party Photograph: Rob Pinney/LNP/REX/Shutterstock

Esther McVey has doubled down on her support for a no-deal exit, in the face of warnings that this would risk the government losing a vote of no confidence.

Writing in the Telegraph she says: “We need to stop wasting time having artificial debates about renegotiating backstops or resurrecting botched deals ... The only way to deliver the referendum result is to actively embrace leaving the EU without a deal.”

No government I lead will ever seek an extension beyond Oct 31. It’s time for our Party to wake up, listen to voters & embrace Brexit as a great opportunity, not as a problem to be managed. Any other approach risks putting Corbyn into No10 #RestoreTrust https://t.co/4xHwrLP4eC

— Esther McVey (@EstherMcVey1) May 29, 2019

The Tory leadership hopeful Matt Hancock has laid into his rival Boris Johnson for dismissing business warnings against a hard Brexit, saying: “To the people who say fuck business, I say fuck fuck business”.

Hancock also poured cold water on the claims of candidates who said they would take the UK out of the EU by the end of October whether or not there was a deal.

He said: “The brutal reality is, ‘no deal’ is not a policy choice available to the next prime minister.”

Johnson was reported last year to have said “fuck business” when questioned about their concerns around a no-deal Brexit, although sources close to him say he was referring to anti-EU business lobby groups and not companies.

James Cleverly has become the latest Tory leadership candidate to flirt with the idea of leaving the EU on 31 October without a deal.

No deal, he said, was “still one of the options” but added “it is not my preferred destination”.

He told Today no deal would be “an added level of uncertainty and difficulty at a time when we could well do without that, we absolutely can deliver a Brexit with no deal”.

He added: “Until we have delivered Brexit we will not have the legitimacy to talk about any of the other issues that we absolutely have to talk about.”

So far four of the candidates: Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom, Dominic Raab, and Esther McVey have pledged to leave the EU with or without a deal on 31 October.

In response several senior Conservatives, including the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and the former education secretary, Justine Greening, have hinted that they could vote to bring down the government to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Clevery said candidates needed to be realistic.

Reacting to John Bercow’s pledge to stay on as Speaker, Cleverly said:

“Well I’ve long known that the House of Commons and the Speaker in his fastidiously impartial way will do everything they can to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

“Now that doesn’t take no deal off the table. My current role in government is to make sure that the country is prepared to leave without a deal if that’s what happens, but the House of Commons has expressed its will on a number of occasions and the Speaker has facilitated the House expressing its will and that is reality. So we’ve got to deal with the realities and it’s no good for anybody, potential leaders or otherwise, to suggest there are some simple, easy ways of sorting this out.”

New Tory leadership candidate @JamesCleverly says a no deal Brexit is "not my preferred destination" but it will not be massively damaging to the country #r4Today https://t.co/XqIPQkcBKp pic.twitter.com/B2whPZBd41

— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) May 29, 2019

Boris Johnson supporter, Nadine Dorries, claims the clean campaign pledge is a “dirty tricks campaign” by Raab. She reckons Johnson wasn’t asked to sign it before it was published.

. @BorisJohnson was not asked to sign this before it was published.

This is not a declaration of fairness, it is a dirty tricks campaign, apparently led by @DominicRaab

I and many others would like to see better than this in No10 https://t.co/2Wnvm4PQEF

— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) May 29, 2019

Hard Brexiter, Steve Baker, who is still considering launching a leadership bid, also accused Raab of not consulting other candidates about the clean pledge.

And did you ask the other declared candidates to sign before you published this @DominicRaab, @sajidjavid, @MattHancock?

I hope so. That cheap trick was played on @andrealeadsom last time. Hopefully the three of you are better than that. https://t.co/Al9Jd5LCEs

— Steve Baker MP (@SteveBakerHW) May 29, 2019

Presumably Matt Hancock agreed not to speak ill of his fellow Conservatives and keep the campaign clean before he took this expletive-laden swipe at Boris Johnson.

Fruity Matt Hancock joins the “stop Boris” campaign @FT pic.twitter.com/GCyH05lgbH

— Lionel Barber (@lionelbarber) May 29, 2019

Rory Stewart, who is heading for Wigan on his campaign tour of the UK, has become the fourth candidate to sign Raab’s clean campaign pledge after complaining of negative briefings against him.

Delighted to sign-up - please put my name down https://t.co/0Qs0SB0RD2

— Rory Stewart (@RoryStewartUK) May 29, 2019

Louise Ellman, the veteran MP for Liverpool Riverside, has said her party is now in a “very shameful situation” after the Equality and Human Rights Commission announced it was launching a formal investigation into allegations of Labour antisemitism.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ellman, who is Jewish, said:

“This issue has been festering for about three years now.

“The Labour Party hasn’t taken proper action against anti-Semitism within its own ranks and now the EHRC, itself set up by the Labour Party, is investigating the party itself for anti-Semitism, it’s a very shameful situation to have reached.”

The party, she said, needed to have taken “immediate action”, but had for long a time “denied there was a problem” and there was a “clear campaign where it was alleged that people making allegations of anti-Semitism were doing so simply to smear the leader of the Labour Party”.

Ellman added:

“The party has simply failed to act, it has responded when there has been public exposure of its failings, but otherwise it hasn’t acted.”

“Well, there’s quite a contrast there with the speed of action. Alastair Campbell was expelled very quickly indeed, as I understand it without any kind of hearing, whereas the allegations of anti-Semitism just roll on and very little action is taken.”

“I certainly couldn’t say I will never leave the party, but it is true to say that I find it extremely difficult to leave the party that I’ve been so involved with and represented over so very many years.”

Summary

Welcome to politics live and another day on the increasingly crowded Conservative leadership hustings.

Three of the Tory contenders have signed a pledge to keep the contest clean in a move being seen as bid to thwart Boris Johnson’s campaign.

It was organised by Johnson’s hard Brexit rival Dominic Raab. So far it has been signed by both the health secretary, Matt Hancock and the home secretary Sajid Javid after complaints that the campaign is turning nasty.

Delighted that @MattHancock and @SajidJavid have joined with me for this Clean Campaign Pledge. Fighting a clean campaign is essential if we want to unite our party again. pic.twitter.com/uyHAu3RUCn

— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) May 29, 2019

Rory Stewart accused his leadership rivals of poor taste after a Tory source suggested he was a “suicide bomber” candidate attempting to clear the path for Michael Gove.

Stewart, who previously served as a governor in Iraq during the Iraq war, told the Guardian he found the trope offensive. He said he believed the negative briefings were coming from Johnson’s supporters and suggested he was being targeted because of growing support for his candidacy.

His comments came after Johnson-backing MP Nadine Dorries accused Stewart of running a Stop Boris campaign on behalf of Michael Gove. “The stop Boris team in all its nasty glory,” she tweeted.

Under the new pledge candidates commit “do all that I can to encourage my supporters to keep their campaigning clean – particularly on social media”.

It also says: “I will not allow third parties to spend money on online advertising to support my candidacy. All spending on my campaign will be declared properly.”

On Tuesday the Guardian revealed an online campaign putting pressure on Conservative MPs to back Boris Johnson being run by Paul Staines, the founder of the Guido Fawkes blog.

Boris on the Ballot, which launched this weekend, is designed to encourage members of the public to write to their local Tory MP and encourage them to nominate Johnson for leader.

Meanwhile, Brexit minister, James Cleverly, the 11th candidate to enter the race, is setting out his leadership pitch.

Our #Cleverly4Leader campaign resource centre is stocked with assets for you to download and show your support for @JamesCleverly.

Check it out 👉 https://t.co/uhWJshhm1O pic.twitter.com/GLONKzyhuS

— James Cleverly for Leader (@TeamCleverly) May 29, 2019

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, has promised to reverse Conservative cuts to front line policing, if he becomes prime minister.

👮🏽‍♀I want to see 20,000 more bobbies on the beat keeping our streets safe.

👮🏿‍♂As Home Sec I’ve been making the case for more police for a year.

👮🏻‍♀As Prime Minister, I would put in the money to make this happen.

Read more about my plans 👇https://t.co/CVSZ8AEyig

— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) May 29, 2019

Also today Speaker John Bercow has risked the fury of Eurosceptics by signalling he wishes to stay on in the post.

And Labour is under pressure to ballot members on a second referendum.

Contributors

Matthew Weaver

The GuardianTramp

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Tory leadership hopeful makes pro-business pitch against a hard Brexit

Rowena Mason Deputy political editor

29, May, 2019 @7:49 AM

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Channel 4 debate: Tory leadership candidates take part in first TV hustings without Boris Johnson - as it happened
Rolling coverage of the first televised hustings for Tory leadership candidates, on Channel 4, featuring Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart - but not Boris Johnson

Andrew Sparrow

16, Jun, 2019 @9:00 PM

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Brexit: Jeremy Corbyn calls on Boris Johnson to resign after supreme court ruling – as it happened
Rolling coverage including supreme court ruling on Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament and Labour conference in Brighton

Andrew Sparrow and Kevin Rawlinson

24, Sep, 2019 @9:23 PM

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Labour antisemitism claims revealed ahead of BBC documentary – live news
The day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs and the latest from the Tory leadership contest

Mattha Busby (now) and Andrew Sparrow (earlier)

10, Jul, 2019 @6:01 PM

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Boris Johnson leads Tory leadership race with 114 votes; Leadsom, McVey and Harper out – live
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including the first round of voting in the Tory leadership contest

Andrew Sparrow

13, Jun, 2019 @5:25 PM