“Dan Rosenfield offered his resignation to the Prime Minister earlier today, which has been accepted.
“Martin Reynolds also informed the Prime Minister of his intention to stand down from his role as Principal Private Secretary and the Prime Minister has agreed to this.
“He has thanked them both for their significant contribution to government and No 10, including work on the pandemic response and economic recovery.
“They will continue in their roles while successors are appointed, and recruitment for both posts is underway.
Westminster is a funny place where time moves at different paces; yesterday we were hearing pressure had cooled off on the PM, tonight we could be hours away from Brady declaring a confidence vote. Lobby hacks have, this afternoon, given breathless reports of discontented MPs pushing it close to hitting the letter threshold for a leadership contest. Much of this evening’s speculation was sparked by a tweet from Laura Kuenssberg:
Hear a group of 2019 Tory MPs had a meeting this lunch time to talk about the ongoing mess - been dubbed the ‘pork pie plot’ by an irritated loyal minister as one of those there said to be the MP for Melton— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) January 18, 2022
The MP for Melton being Alicia Kearns, a leading 2019 MP often touted for a future ministerial career. Guido’s since heard a good 30-or-so MPs attended the so-called ‘Melton coup’ meeting, however it wasn’t the first and Kearns isn’t a key organiser, her office merely hosted today’s meeting. A meeting also took place last night, apparently hosted by Dorset MP Chris Loder who recently wrote “I’m embarrassed by Downing Street party revelations”. Funnily enough he’s managed to avoid similar briefings against him…
Several MPs have reckon the initial briefing to Kuenssberg of coming from the Whips’ office. One MP accused Mark Spencer himself of being the source of the briefing, in an attempt to dissuade further 2019 backbenchers from joining the rebellion. One MP told Guido the whips are a ####### disgrace…
As well as the briefings against Kearns, Guido hears another 2019er involved in the talks has this evening been approached by a paper claiming No. 10 has since pointed the finger of blame at them. Newsnight’s Nic Watt claims 2019ers are under siege from whips…
In other news, one MP informed Guido that multiple PPSs met with Dan Rosenfield in PCH this afternoon, where at one meeting of six they told him point-blank that there needed to be mass sackings from No. 10, and that this is the worst administration they’d seen in recent political memory.
Over at the Carlton Club tonight Will Wragg was holding court tonight with a small number of the 109 Group of MPs.
Group of 109 MPs in the Carlton Club with Will Wragg holding court. Obviously plotting.— Eye Spy MP (@eyespymp) January 18, 2022
This confused many on Twitter who thought a mob of 109 MPs had gathered with pitchforks in St James. Matters got more confusing when Telegraph legend Chris Hope tweeted:
LATEST Chaos at the Carlton Club tonight. Boris Johnson had a drink with Conor Burns.— Christopher Hope📝 (@christopherhope) January 18, 2022
Nadine Dorries was addressing an Onward dinner.
Four 1922 members were having supper.
The Press arrived believing a plot was under way so everyone left by the backdoor. One MP: "It is a farce."
Nadine Dorries was characteristically blunt “Chris, this is just hysterical unsubstantiated nonsense. Journalists need to calm down. Neither the PM or Conor Burns were anywhere near the Carlton Club tonight. However, I was, as the guest speaker at a dinner accompanied by a SPAD. Seriously, go and lie down.” Too much cheese and wine?
Where this all leads, that’s for tomorrow to decide…
Boris’s Chief of Staff, Dan Rosenfield, has come under renewed fire from government insiders today. On Saturday The Times published a damning profile on the “demoralised” state of No. 10, laying bare the now gaping rift within the Downing Street hierarchy. Multiple sources tell Guido the piece was on the money…
Following Cummings’s departure from Downing Street, No. 10 was desperate to hire a new chief of staff who would bring some order to the top of government. While one source tells Guido Rosenfield has sped up some decision making (“Dom sat on things for too long”) there are now persistent accusations that far from being neutral, Rosenfield “does have an agenda” of his own. Whilst the quiet professionalism of Rosenfield was initially welcomed following Cumming’s pantomime departure, it’s now felt he’s taken the role too far the other way:
“Bring a longtime Treasury official into a top political post, surprise surprise they act like a Treasury official. No imagination, no vision. Not even good man-management skills”
The departure of long-time aide Nikki de Costa from Downing Street is also seen as “very worrying”, with sources allied to her claiming “a big part of her reasons for leaving are because she’s fed up of the way [Dan’s] running things”.
Asked whether Rosenfield will survive, one government source said it wouldn’t look disastrous to sack him now, pointing out no one “cares about this stuff” other than SW1 insiders. One source cited recent rumours that Rosenfield had been making inquiries to mates in the City about the possibility of needing a job soon…
Political pundits and Westminster hacks (along with the rest of the country) eagerly watched England’s triumphant victory against rivals Germany in last night’s match. Guido has collected the best and worst political reactions.
Boris Johnson limbs when Kane scored. pic.twitter.com/4b8SepNo3J— Away Days Videos (@AwayDaysVideos) June 29, 2021
I’m genuinely worried Priti Patel would stop football at the border and try to deport it https://t.co/rTwckjmyj0— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) June 29, 2021
Last night on Sky News, Isabel Oakeshott accused the Sky News of trying to start a “race row” with the worst take that goal scorer Raheem Sterling should have appeared on more front pages of newspapers.
Having avoided a national row about the kneeling, could we not avoid a race row when everyone is celebrating?