Submarine Boris Johnson is finally surfacing today to launch his Tory leadership campaign.
The blonde-haired Brexiteer buffoon is currently the frontrunner for 10 Downing Street.
Yes, that’s the same MP who endangered jailed mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran, called black people “piccaninnies” , rugby tackled a 10-year-old boy on a business trip, accused the President of Turkey of defiling a goat, called Barack Obama “part-Kenyan”, said a Libyan city would be great once they “clear the dead bodies away”, and boasted about whisky tariffs at a Sikh Temple .
He was also sacked from the Tory frontbench in 2004 over claims he lied about an affair and sacked from the Times as a young journalist for making up a quote. He joked about gay people as “tank-topped bum boys” and he has questions to answer over his conflicting accounts of whether he ever took cocaine.
You can sort of tell why the gaffe-prone ex-mayor of London has been kept hidden until now.
Those who worked with him accuse him of not reading his briefs and failing to show the thoroughness needed to be PM. And rival Rory Stewart last night suggested he couldn’t be trusted with instructions for the UK’s nuclear submarines.
But despite previous flip-flopping, writing one article for Remain and one for Leave, he’s convinced a parade of Tory Brexiteers MPs to back him by vowing to leave the EU on October 31, deal or no deal.
That means MPs look set to put him in the final two candidates next week. Then all he needs is to win a vote by 160,000 Tory members and he’ll be PM by the end of July.
There’s more than just Boris going on today – but he’s the star of the show. Here’s everything you need to know.
1. Slippery Boris Johnson is out of hiding – and hurtling towards No Deal Brexit
The Tory frontrunner has finally come out of hiding to officially launch his campaign.
He has more than twice the number of MPs backing him than his nearest rival – including, today, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay. But he’s been kept out of the spotlight to avoid gaffes which might threaten his lead.
He will say: “After three years and two missed deadlines, we must leave the EU on October 31.”
He will take questions from the press. But how many? At this point no number of questions will be enough.
And he’s launching just an hour before PMQs so may have to conveniently run off.
In a pointed jibe at the notoriously slippery politician, former Tory leader William Hague warned the winner would only survive if they had a plan to break the Brexit deadlock.
The Tory heavyweight said that without one, the next PM would lead a “sandcastle administration” which would quickly crumble.
In comments interpreted as a warning about Mr Johnson, he said it was “by no means clear” that candidates were ready for “what is going to hit them if they win”.
2. But MPs will try to BLOCK No Deal today
This afternoon, their motion will force a vote.
If it passes, it will put MPs, not the government, in charge of the parliamentary agenda on Tuesday 25 June 2019.
MPs can then use that time to pass a legally-binding motion to block No Deal Brexit.
It’s significant because many Tory leadership contenders, including Boris Johnson, have said they will leave the EU with or without a deal on October 31.
Dominic Raab even said he would prorogue Parliament – effectively suspending the House of Commons – in order to avoid MPs blocking no deal on October 31.
Labour’s Shadow Brexit Minister Jenny Chapman today denied it would undermine Britain’s unwritten constitution.
She told the BBC: “This is just about parliament doing its job and saying to the government, ‘you don’t have the consent of parliament.'”
3. Sajid Javid will launch his campaign too
Sajid Javid will be the final candidate to launch his campaign this afternoon.
The Home Secretary impressed pundits yesterday with a glossy video proudly displaying his heritage, his upbringing, his family – and his pet dog.
The video told of his father leaving Pakistan in 1961 with “one pound in his pocket”
But he’s had a faltering start to the race and few believe he can win the support needed from backers of rivals like Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove.
He has also been hit by his handling of migrant boats in the Channel, when he was accused of playing politics, and earlier when he was Business Secretary, the now-failed salvation of British Steel.
4. Dominic Raab is refusing to lift an old non-disclosure agreement
Dominic Raab faces fresh questions after refusing to lift a non-disclosure agreement, according to reports.
The MP signed the deal with a former colleague after he faced a bullying claim in 2007.
Mr Raab has repeatedly, vigorously denied the claims as “false”, and sued a newspaper that published claims in 2011 for libel. His ally Maria Miller, a fellow MP, yesterday said the claims were brought “vexatiously”.
Ms Miller suggested he may have been “forced into” signing the non-disclosure deal because it was “used to try to allow the case to be settled.”
Yet Mr Raab is refusing to voluntarily pull out of the agreement. Also, according to BuzzFeed News, Mr Raab’s legal team e-mailed the woman concerned in 2011 warning of “consequences” if she breached the agreement.
Last night a spokesman for Mr Raab told BuzzFeed News: “The right time for the confidentiality obligations to be lifted on both sides for a fair and balanced airing of the dispute was before the court back in 2012.”
5. Theresa May is finally trying to get a legacy – and it’s about climate change
She is a lame duck Prime Minister.
But today Theresa May is kick-starting a legally binding plan for the UK to have zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The Government is laying out legislation to set a new binding target to cut emissions.
The statutory instrument will amend the existing goal to cut climate pollution by 80% by 2050, which was agreed by MPs under the Climate Change Act in 2008.
Hitting net zero – a 100% cut in emissions – will mean an end to heating of homes with traditional gas boilers, more green electricity, and a switch from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles, walking and cycling.
It could require people to eat less meat and dairy and take fewer flights.
Any remaining pollution in 2050, from aircraft for instance, will need to be “offset” through measures to cut carbon such as planting trees.