Bully Bercow Brands Boris “Sexist”

Bercow says Boris is “sexist” for calling Emily Thornberry “Baroness Nugee”What would the Speaker call bullying female staff members then?

Russia on Boris

Slightly concerning Russian foreign ministry spokesman quote claiming Boris is:

“poisoned with hatred and anger”

Boris: Russia Has Been Stockpiling Novichok

“We actually have evidence, within the last ten years, that not only has Russia been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling Novichok itself.”

The major news from Boris this morning…

Boris: Putin Made Decision

“We think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the UK.”

Over to you Seumas…

No, Boris Didn’t Say England Might Pull Out of the World Cup

Various news outlets have reported that Boris threatened to pull England out of the World Cup during the Urgent Question on the spy poisoning today. If you look at what he actually said, he mentioned nothing about the England team and was clearly referring to “UK representation”. I.e. officials and diplomats from the UK government, not the England team:

“If things turn out to be as many members suspect that they are, I think we will have to have a serious conversation about our engagement with Russia, and for my own part I think it will be very difficult to see, thinking ahead to the World Cup this summer, I think it will be very difficult to imagine that UK representation at that event could go ahead in the normal way.”

Yet another example of certain media organisations hostile to Boris using a very serious story to make a cheap shot at the Foreign Secretary. Whether or not the government’s commitment to bring Russia “to heel” is an empty threat is surely a more pressing question…

Friday Caption Contest (SnowJo Edition)

Entries in the comments…

Boris on Corbyn’s “B*llocks”

Doesn’t take a lip reader to work out what BoJo thought of that Corbyn question…

Who’s Really Divisive? Top Remainers’ Unhinged Boris Abuse

Boris gives a speech reaching out to Remainers. How do some Remainers respond? With a torrent of personal abuse and conspiracy theories, refusing to engage with anything in the speech having already made up their minds beforehand, and calling him “mendacious” and “evil”, among other pleasantries:

Boris had a point about some Remainers suffering from “Brexchosis”. Who are really the divisive ones?

Optimistic Boris on Brexit’s Opportunities

“Brexit need not be nationalist but can be internationalist, not an economic threat but a considerable opportunity, not un-British but a manifestation of this country’s historic national genius.”

A Cabinet minister actually gives an optimistic vision of the opportunities of Brexit, rather than glumly talking about how to make the best of it. Why hasn’t this been the message from the government over the last 19 months?

Boris Brexit Speech

Tale of Two Interventions

Tuesday: Boris Johnson calls for more NHS spending, Downing Street organise for him to take a punishment beating at Cabinet and then publicly rebuke him to the Lobby.

Thursday: Philip Hammond calls for a sell-out on Brexit, Downing Street decline to comment.

Concerning…

Friday Caption Contest (Boris Bridge Edition)

Boris’ Holiday Car Trouble

MPs on their Christmas holidays update: The EyeSpyMP Twitter account has spotted a frustrated Foreign Secretary gesticulating at the car hire desk in Turin airport:

We’ve all been there…

Friday Caption Contest (Drink Up, Boris Edition)

Entries in the comments please…

Boris: Whole of UK Must Take Back Control

Boris put it simply in the Q&A after his speech today:

“Whatever way we devise for getting onto the body of the talks, it’s got to be consistent with the whole of the United Kingdom taking back control of our laws, of our borders and of our cash.”

Close alignment does not sound like taking back control. Worrying this needs to be said 18 months on from the referendum…

Boris on “Cowardly” Paperchase and Pizza Hut

On Monday Guido reported on anti-press freedom cranks Stop Funding Hate targeting much-loved children’s charity the NSPCC in their hellbent crusade to stamp out free discussion and debate in Britain’s media. The mask slipped and the true nature of the group was revealed…

In this morning’s Sun Boris takes apart Stop Funding Hate’s anti-freedom campaign, lambasting “cowardly” Paperchase and Pizza Hut for capitulating to a few hundred Twitter trolls:

“A small but dedicated group of left-wing activists has launched a campaign to undermine the financial base of some newspapers whose views they dislike. They have attacked the advertisers who help to fund those newspapers, and who make it possible for reporters to bring new facts into the public domain. The tactic of this campaign – misleadingly called “Stop Funding Hate” – is to urge a boycott of all companies who place advertisements in the Sun, the Daily Mail or the Daily Express. This week they even attacked the NSPCC – a much loved national charity – for the sin of running a promotion in the Sunday Express. It is deeply disturbing to learn that this campaign is beginning to have an effect. Last year Lego dropped all advertising in the Daily Mail, and actually apologised to its customers. In recent weeks Paperchase and Pizza Hut have followed suit. I believe that these decisions are sad and mistaken and indeed cowardly.

“It is not as if this internet campaign commands overwhelming public support. Despite all the noise and virulence of their campaign, there are said to be fewer than a thousand people who are actively involved. And these companies should realise that they are bowing to a ruse – the attack on advertisers – that comes straight from some of the worst authoritarian regimes in the world. As for those who are mounting the campaigns, they do not seem to appreciate the irony of what they are doing. They may not like the editorial line of these publications, or the way in which they cover certain issues. But this country has the world’s strongest laws against libel and defamation. We have highly progressive legislation against hate speech and the whipping up of prejudice of any kind. By attempting to drive some newspapers underground they risk fomenting a further sense of alienation in the public – and pushing some into the arms of extremists. They are not sticking up for liberal values. They are not sticking up for freedom. They are attacking the freedom which is the foundation of our democracy. They should remember the great French sage Voltaire, who summed up the approach that has served Britain well for generations. “I may not agree with what you say. But I defend to the death your right to say it.”

Well said…

Chuka Lying About Boris and Brexit Bill

Chuka Umunna has emailed supporters this morning claiming “Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, said that the Government wouldn’t pay a penny in a divorce settlement – Europe could go and whistle, he said”This is a lie that keeps being repeated by hardline Remainers.

This is what Boris said, from Hansard: “the sums that I have seen that they propose to demand from this country seem to me to be extortionate, and I think that to “go whistle” is an entirely appropriate expression”. Very clearly he says the EU can “go whistle” for “extortionate” … “sums that I have seen that they propose” (which were the reports of €100 billion at the time). All along Boris has said Britain will pay what it owes. In August he said“Of course we will meet our obligations. We are law-abiding, bill-paying people. We certainly have to meet our obligations”. Chuka’s claim that Boris said we “wouldn’t pay a penny” is a straight lie…

H/T @mrharrycole

Anti-Putin Record of Gove, Boris and Legatum

The Mail on Sunday and the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr seem to believe Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and the Legatum Institute conspired with Putin and the Russian state to deliver Brexit. There are more than a few problems with this theory, though Guido is going to focus on the most obvious: Boris, Gove and Legatum are all staunch critics of Putin and Russia. Anyone who listens to these Gove comments from 2015, in which he rails against Putin and Russian money “subverting” the West, can be in no doubt as to his view.

“You see the influence of Russian agency and Russian money. We should not underestimate the extent to which Putin and those behind him are seeking to throw off balance and to subvert everything that we’re doing… His aim is to divide, to destabilise, and if not necessarily to conquer, at least to consolidate and advance. And inside Russia the widespread view of the Russian people is that Putin is right and the West is seeking to keep Russia down and to divide and to weaken. And for that reason we need to be sensitive to where Russian public opinion is but also vigilant about the threat. Now what does that mean we need to do in terms of our security and defence profile? The answer to that is several steps above my pay grade. But I don’t believe that any of us for a moment should be naive about what Putin is interested in or fall for some of the interpretations we might get on Russia Today or elsewhere about what his real intentions are.”

Boris meanwhile is on the record condemning Putin as a “ruthless and manipulative tyrant” who has been “illegally occupying parts of Ukraine”, adding “Putin’s proxy army was almost certainly guilty of killing the passengers on the Malaysia Airlines jet that came down in eastern Ukraine” and “he has questions to answer about the death of Alexander Litvinenko”.

As for the Legatum Institute, the focus of the latest Remainer conspiracies, as Mark Wallace notes they have a long record of opposing Putin and employed Anne Applebaum, one of the leading anti-Putin voices around. Legatum was even condemned by Russia Today for anti-Kremlin bias. Which kind of ruins the story.

Perhaps all this was an elaborate double bluff. Or it could be, as the FT’s ultra-Remainer editor Lionel Barber concludes, “a stretch”…

UPDATE: Eurosceptic source: “The idea of Gove and Boris as agents of Putin is about as believable as Geordie Greig’s claim to be an impartial editor offering a clear eyed view of Brexit.”

Boris’ Unequivocal Apology

Boris’ unequivocal apology:

“It was my mistake, I should have been clearer and I apologise for the anguish the distress and anguish caused to Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family.”

Richard Ratliffe on Boris:

Lots of anti-Boris journalists are ignoring this from Richard Ratcliffe:

“It’s not in Nazanin’s interests to have the Foreign Secretary battling for his job”[…] Read the rest

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