Sending military to the English Channel and scrapping license fees among Johnson’s ideas to save his job
Johnson left the House of Commons last week.
Source: Alamy Image Bank
BRITISH MINISTERS are drawing up a series of policies, under the title Operation Red Meat, which are designed to revive Boris Johnson’s fortunes as he faces continuing anger over ‘partygate’ allegations.
The fury over the gatherings was heightened when it emerged that two events had taken place at No 10 the day before Queen Elizabeth II was due to sit alone at the funeral of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, Last year.
The Prime Minister had previously apologized for personally attending a ‘bring your own booze’ party in Downing Street Garden in May 2020 during the first coronavirus lockdown.
Six Tory MPs have publicly called on Johnson to leave, while many others are said to have privately waved a vote of no confidence in him as Tory leader.
But, anticipating the potential flashpoint of senior civil servant Sue Gray delivering the outcome of her investigation into the party allegations, the government launched a response on multiple fronts.
The first is a plan that would turn heads.
Sacrificing staff to save ‘Big Dog‘ and reduce alcohol consumption at No. 10
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) January 14, 2022
Dubbed ‘Operation Big Dog’, there have been reported efforts to blame Johnson’s staff to save his job as prime minister.
The Sunday Times suggested that Martin Reynolds, Johnson’s principal private secretary, could go after he sent the email inviting more than 100 employees to the ‘Bring your own booze’ event in the garden of No 10 on May 20, 2020.
Although it was during the first Covid lockdown, the Prime Minister admitted to attending the rally but insisted he believed it was a work event which could have ‘technically’ complied the rules.
Chief of staff Dan Rosenfield would also be in the line of fire, along with members of the communications team.
Dowden also said there were plans to “tackle the kind of culture that enabled” the alleged breaches of the rules, with reports suggesting this will include a crackdown on drinking in Downing Street.
Scrap license fees
Among the ‘red meat’ initiatives designed to please backbench MPs and pissed off Tory voters is telling the BBC that license fees could be replaced after the current deal ends in 2027.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is expected to confirm that the annual payment will be frozen at £159 (€190) until 2024.
She said the next review of the BBC’s funding model in five years “will be the last”, signaling a major shake-up for the public broadcaster.
Labor described it as a ‘truly obvious and pathetic distraction from a Prime Minister and a government that has no road left and whose leadership hangs by a thread’.
End of Cov restrictions
Johnson appears set to end England’s Plan B measures, including mask-wearing and work-from-home advice, on their current expiry date of January 26.
Not only would this be warmly welcomed by lockdown-skeptical Tory MPs, but it would also prevent another massive rebellion if he tried to renew them.
Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden signaled over the weekend that the “signs are encouraging” for the remaining restrictions to be lifted.
Repression of the Channel crossing
Johnson plans to task the British military with reducing the number of small boats crossing the Channel, rather than the Border Force which is currently overseeing such efforts.
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Plans are being drawn up to send migrants, including asylum seekers, to countries like Rwanda and Ghana for processing, according to the Times.
The Ministry of Defense did not deny it could be called in, with a spokesman saying: ‘The Government is exploring all avenues to prevent further crossings and details of how this can be achieved will be known in due time.”
Invest in the North of England
Chief Cabinet Minister Michael Gove is reportedly preparing to publish his ‘upgrade’ plans to improve life in neglected areas across the country.
But it was suggested he would receive no new money to implement his proposals and scoured departments in Whitehall for announcements already priced.
New plans are also expected to ease the looming cost-of-living crisis and further tackle the backlog of operations in health services caused by the coronavirus pandemic.