Thursday briefing: Johnson vows to fight after bruise day |


Headline-grabber: By-election rumbles after Tory MP’s flaws

Hello, Warren Murray with you in the name of hello here is the news.

Boris Johnson faced a defection from a junior MP and a demand to resign from one of the most senior Tories on a dramatic day in Westminster, with even allies of the Prime Minister warning that the current situation cannot last. David Davis sent shockwaves when he told Johnson in the Commons: “In the name of God, go ahead.” Tory MPs estimated that up to 30 letters could have been submitted out of the 54 required to elicit a vote of confidence, and more are expected to arrive after senior civil servant Sue Gray delivered her finding on an alleged breach of rules in Downing Street next week.

‘In the name of God, go’: Tory MP David Davis urges Boris Johnson to quit – video

In Bury South, some voters want a by-election after Christian Wakeford defected from the Conservatives to Labor over partygate. In a letter to Johnson, Wakeford said he believed ‘the policies of the Conservative government you lead do nothing to help the people of my constituency and in fact only worsen the struggles they face on a daily basis’ .

“What are Republicans for? – Joe Biden spoke of a “winter of peril and opportunity” and criticized American Republicans for “a sustained effort to ensure that the most important thing was that President Biden did nothing”. In his second solo White House press conference alone – which lasted nearly two hours – Biden said: “One thing I haven’t been able to do up to this point is… get my Republican friends in the game to make things better in this country… What are Republicans, what are they for? Name me one thing they are meant for.

“What are Republicans for?  » : Joe Biden says that Trump « intimidates » the whole party – video
“What are Republicans for? » : Joe Biden says that Trump « intimidates » the whole party – video

Referring to the leader of the Republican filibuster minority in the Senate, the president insisted, “I actually like Mitch McConnell. We like each other. But he has a simple goal: to make sure that there’s nothing I do that makes me look good, in his mind, to the general public… I think the fundamental question is, “What is Mitch for? ” Biden suggested his biggest mistake. had underestimated the radicalization of the Republican Party under Donald Trump. He told the story of five Republican senators who told him privately that they agreed with him, but told him “Joe, if I do this, I will be defeated in a primary.”

Student Guard Dog at Police Course Worth – More than 60,000 full-time students in England are pursuing degrees at institutions that could be punished for poor quality and poor value for money. The Office for Students (OfS) said 80% of students should continue beyond their first year and 75% complete their degree if universities and colleges are to avoid being sanctioned. Under the proposed rules, institutions could also be investigated and penalized by the OfS if less than 60% of their graduates go on to work in what it describes as skilled employment. According to the OfS, there are still 150,000 part-time undergraduates at institutions that may not meet its requirements. The rules are put out for consultation.

Alcohol funded drinking classes – According to a study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, schools are using “misleading and biased” information funded by the alcohol industry to teach students as young as nine to drink. The academics said the documents “present alcohol as a normal consumer product for impressionable young minds”. They analyzed material collected by Drinkaware for Education, Smashed and Talk About Alcohol. Teachers in thousands of UK schools use their lesson plans, fact sheets and films. Drinkaware has removed the affected materials from its website, saying they are outdated. The Alcohol Education Trust and Diageo, which sponsor Smashed, have defended their programs and said underage drinking in the UK is falling.

GM crops ‘didn’t yield much’ – Gene-editing research on plants in the UK will become easier thanks to new rules proposed by the government. Ministers have repeatedly expressed their support for genetic modification as an aid to modernizing agriculture and reducing its impact on the environment. Activists expressed their concern: Pat Thomas, the director of Beyond GM, said that “farmers don’t really want to grow GM crops and citizens don’t want to eat them… After 35 years of use, GM crops modified didn’t do much. in terms of real value and they have largely sidetracked more meaningful discussions about the kind of food system we want and need to transition to. But Professor Nick Talbot of Sainsbury’s laboratory in Norwich said it would ‘produce nutritious crops requiring much lower fertilizer inputs and with greater resilience’.

“I’ve read all the Marvel comics” – Did Dark Reign foresee Trump? Was Iron Man talking about American military might? Who was Unbeatable Squirrel Girl – and was her superpower really nonviolent conflict resolution? Only one man knows…Douglas Wolk who has read all 27,000 Marvel comics. Here’s what he learned.

Today in Focus Podcast: The Chinese Agent in Westminster

The British security services have appointed Christine Lee as a Chinese state agent attempting to carry out influence operations in parliament. Dan Sabbagh explains what is behind this extraordinary statement and what it means for British politics.

Today in brief

The Chinese Agent at Westminster

At lunchtime, read: “Let them talk, then kill!”

Lorraine Kelly has been a happy face on daytime TV for nearly 40 years – all the while tackling big issues and making evasive guests squirm. She talks about going viral, covering tragedies and fighting the taxman.

Lorraine Kelly. Photo: Suki Dhanda/The Observer


Australian Open joker Andy Murray is due out on the court as we speak, with Emma Raducanu later – follow the build-up and action on our live blog. Meanwhile, eyebrows were raised at the revelation that alongside taking an anti-vaccination stance, Novak Djokovic owns an 80% stake in a Danish biotech company developing a non-vaccine treatment for Covid-19 .

Manchester United capitalized on their chance in the first half but were ruthless in the second to continue their run to the top four, beating hosts Brentford three goals to one as Leicester 2-3 Spurs at the King Power Stadium. The Women’s Ashes start in Hobart amid off-field problems for England and Australia. More than two-thirds of male football fans hold hostile, sexist or misogynistic attitudes towards women’s sport, according to a study by Durham University. Progressive views among men were strongly represented but not as common as hostility and sexism. The study took place in the context of the increased visibility of women’s sport in recent years.


Asian stock markets rose after China cut interest rates to support sluggish economic growth and Japan reported a double-digit rise in exports. Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul advanced. On Wednesday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 index fell 1%. The FTSE tends to rise around 30 points in futures trading before the open. One pound fetches $1,362 and €1,200 at the time of writing.

The papers

The front pages of UK newspapers for Thursday 20th January 2022
The front pages of UK newspapers on Thursday 20th January 2022. Composite: various

Boris Johnson’s precarious situation warrants another separate roundup of today’s front pages, which we summarize as follows. the Guardian splashes with ”In the name of God go’: Tory anger mounts as Boris Johnson clings on’. the Mirror too much goes with the Davis quote. Johnson “hanging by a thread,” he wrote, above the “In the Name of God, Go” headline. And the Metro take is “In the name of God GO!” wedged between photos of Davis and Johnson.

Guardian front page, 20 January 2022
Guardian front page, 20 January 2022.

the To post splashes with ‘Boris and Carrie’s baby hit by Covid’, reporting that six-week-old Romy was seriously ill but is now on the mend. Above that, a story dismisses the “narcissistic scum of Tory MPs” trying to overthrow the Prime Minister – and tells Davis “In the name of God, grow up! “. the Express follows a similar sentiment with his example: “In the name of party unity, go… and back off the prime minister! the Time a ‘PM fights as plotters pull back from the abyss’ – the PM is said to have won a reprieve from MPs plotting to oust him amid growing concern over the Gray inquiry will be more critical of the prime minister than expected.

the Telegraph leads with Johnson’s challenge, “Johnson: I won’t resign if the rebels force the vote”. the Sun plays with the theme of so-called pork pie plotters, “As shown in our Bojo pork pie chart…”, he wrote, under the caption “Battling PM crust ahead” and a shot of a pie divided according to the urgent problems of the day. the FT splashes with “Johnson buys time after defecting to Labor rallies of restive Tory MPs”. the I paper has a similar feel with “Johnson clings to power…for now”.


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