UK politics reside: Zahawi says Johnson is protected in his job and says Starmer ought to apologise for drink | Politics

Good morning. Is Boris Johnson protected in his job? You wouldn’t have thought so studying the weekend papers (right here is Toby Helm’s evaluation of what’s prone to occur subsequent within the Observer) however this morning Nadhim Zahawi, the schooling secretary, claimed that he’s. Zahawi implied that Johnson deserved credit score for his apology, and for his judgment on “huge choices” up to now.

However, in an interview on the At this time programme, it took the presenter, Nick Robinson, three goes to get Zahawi to say Johnson was protected. It wasn’t the strongest vote of confidence ever. Right here is how the trade went.

Right here is how the trade went.

NR: Do you consider that Boris Johnson is protected in his job?

NZ: I feel Boris Johnson has achieved the precise factor to apologise.

NR: Is he protected in his job?

NZ: I feel the prime minister on the massive, huge choices – when you have a look at what he did on Brexit, on vaccines, on Omicron pre-Christmas, on the economic system being essentially the most open economic system in Europe – has referred to as it proper. However he’s human.

NR: Is he protected in his job?

NZ: Sure, he’s as a result of he’s human and we make errors and really he got here to the despatch field and apologised and mentioned he’ll we completely submit himself to parliament when [the Sue Gray investigation] is concluded.

Robinson additionally tried thrice to get Zahawi to say whether or not or not he thought Johnson was able to altering the way in which he operated, however Zahawi dodged the query every time. This was in all probability smart; Johnson is 57, and his modus operandi has been rackety and chaotic all his grownup life. Any important change in how he operates that appears unlikely.

The interview was additionally notable for Zahawi saying that Keir Starmer ought to apologise for having a drink with Labour workers once they had been working final yr. The Tories, with help from the Daily Mail, try to recommend this quantities to equivalence with partygate, however, as my colleague Peter Walker studies, it sounded as if even Zahawi may inform this was not likely a runner.

Peter Walker

On R4, Nadhim Zahawi briefly tries to deliver up the No 10 counter argument about Keir Starmer needing to apologise however permits Nick Robinson to instantly change the topic again once more. Felt a bit like his coronary heart wasn’t in that a part of the agreed traces to take.

January 17, 2022

Right here is the agenda for the day.

9am: Keir Starmer hosts his ‘Name Keir’ LBC phone-in.

11.30am: Downing Avenue holds a foyer briefing.

2.30pm: Priti Patel, the house secretary, takes questions within the Commons.

After 3.30pm: MPs debate the remaining levels of the elections invoice.

There might be some UK Covid protection right here, however for additional coronavirus protection, do learn out world reside weblog. It’s right here.

I attempt to monitor the feedback under the road (BTL) however it’s not possible to learn all of them. In case you have a direct query, do embrace “Andrew” in it someplace and I’m extra prone to discover it. I do attempt to reply questions, and if they’re of basic curiosity, I’ll submit the query and reply above the road (ATL), though I can’t promise to do that for everybody.

If you wish to entice my consideration rapidly, it’s in all probability higher to make use of Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you possibly can electronic mail me at

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