Andrew Marr: The PM is using a snap election as a weapon to persuade MPs to stick with him

30 June 2022, 18:23

By Megan Hinton

Andrew Marr thinks the Prime Minister is using "a snap election threat as a weapon to persuade MPs to stick with him" as he faces "ever deeper trouble inside the Tory Party".

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Speaking during the opening of Thursday's Tonight with Andrew Marr, LBC's host said: "The persistent rumour that Boris Johnson, facing ever deeper trouble inside the Tory Party, might announce an early general election this summer, to take place in say, September.

"The Tories are behind in the polls and in that sense it would be absolutely crackers to go early. There are lots of lesser reasons against it too.

"And yet, somehow this week it is the story that refuses to die. As The Sun, and many other newspapers report this morning, Boris Johnson refused to rule out a snap three times during his overseas trip.

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"There are rumours crackling away that this might be tied up with a crisis for labour.

"Journalists now expect the Durham police to report next week on whether Sir Keir Starmer broke the law over a beer and curry event and faces a fine - if he does, he’s said he’d resign as Labour leader.

"Snap, crackle and pop. Might Johnson exploit a time of chaos in the opposition?

"Well he might, but this is really more about his position in his party. Early next month the 1922 committee - that is all Tory MPs except ministers - vote to choose a new executive to run their business.

"Anti-Johnson MPs from the right and the left of the party hope to take control, and then potentially rewrite the rules so that the PM could be challenged again, perhaps quite quickly.

"Johnson faces another investigation by the privileges committee, reporting in the autumn, one which is already spooking Downing Street, judging by briefings to the papers.

"In his extraordinary hurtle through life as prime minister, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel and so forth, has dodged and vaulted many impossible-looking obstacles already. But how does he swerve these new ones?

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"In short, is the Prime Minister using a snap election threat as a weapon to persuade MPs to stick with him - you don't want to get rid of me just before we go to the polls do you, chaps?

"And confusingly, some anti-Johnson rebels are using the same argument for exactly the opposite purpose - if he’s crackers enough to take us into an election we are bound to lose to save his own skin, we better get rid of him smartish.

"To an innocent observer ambling around Westminster, that's me, it all looks a little bit tonto.

"There's a phenomenon in drama, whereby a writer or director doesn't know how to finish the story and so basically kills off everybody in the final act.

"William Shakespeare did it. Quentin Tarantino did it. And now the Conservative Party seems to be doing it.

"Luckily, this evening, to help me make sense of what’s happening I'm joined by one of the most experienced operators at Westminster, who helped organise the Brexit uprising among innumerable campaigns and who recently told Boris Johnson the gig is up."