There's an 'ethical and political vacuum in No10', says former chief of staff

24 June 2022, 09:30

By Daisy Stephens

There is both an ethical and political vacuum at the heart of Boris Johnson's government, a former Downing Street chief of staff has told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

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Nick Timothy, who was chief of staff to Theresa May when she was prime minister, was asked about the response to the crushing by-election results from Boris Johnson and Priti Patel.

"The line we hear from the PM in Kigali and the line that we've had from the Home Secretary on the show in the previous hour is that 'we've listened to this, we must carry on working, we must find a solution to the cost of living crisis, we must of course defend our friends in Ukraine'," said Nick Ferrari.

"Is that what you'd be advising a PM to say at this time?"

Mr Timothy said there was an "ethical vacuum in number 10", but also said the government lacked any clear plan to tackle the biggest domestic crisis facing the UK - the soaring cost of living.

Read more: 'We've done incredibly well': Priti says govt will 'crack on' despite by-election wipeout

Read more: Rwanda migrant plan is not 'appalling' but 'should be a deterrent', Priti Patel tells LBC

"I think the problem is that there is this ethical vacuum in number 10, because Boris broke his own laws and then appears to have misled parliament and the public about having done so," he said.

"But there's also this political vacuum as well where there isn't enough of a clear purpose and agenda for the government and they're being buffeted by events.

"He's clinging onto Zelenskyy and Ukraine and maybe he'll go on another trip to Kyiv today because he seems to like to do that when there's bad news at home.

"But on inflation, and the cost of living, which is the immediate domestic crisis the government faces, there isn't really a clear story about what the government thinks is going on, what the main drivers of inflation are, what the government is doing to help people get through the crisis.

"And that's why you see ministers getting beasted on TV and radio interviews day by day.

"Because the government is lacking that clear purpose and lacking that clear policy programme to help people through."

Read more: Nick Ferrari asks Rachel Johnson if the PM has 'Margaret Thatcher's balls'

Read more: Boris to tell Charles to 'keep an open mind' over Rwanda migrant plan

The government lost two by-elections on Thursday.

Tiverton and Honiton went to the Liberal Democrats, whilst Wakefield went back to Labour after the Tories took it in 2019.

The results led to the resignation of Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden - but Boris Johnson has said he will not step down.

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