According to an excellent long read by Tim Shipman in tomorrow’s Sunday Times last Monday morning at a meeting with aides the PM was apoplectic and raging about his Chancellor. This had been sparked by Sunak’s leaked letter to his boss a calling significant easing of the coronavirus travel restrictions and other measures. Shipman writes:
In a fit of frustrated impotence, Johnson openly suggested that he might sack his chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak..The problem was that the first Johnson knew of the letter was when details of it appeared in the media. Officials had failed to flag it for his attention, or to put it in his ministerial red box.
Shipman then quotes a “senior source” as saying that Johnson said this
‘I’ve been thinking about it. Maybe it’s time we looked at Rishi as the next secretary of state for health. He could potentially do a very good job there.’ In an open meeting, after ranting about Rishi, he then suggested the chancellor could be demoted in the next reshuffle.
Such things happen quite often in British politics when the PM and the Chancellor potentially clash. We all remember the days when Blair was PM and the ongoing briefing war from Number 10 by Gordon Brown and his team.
The relationship of Sunak with Johnson has hardly been helped by the latest ConHome survey of party members that had Johnson with a net satisfaction rating that had plummeted to just 3% compared with Sunak who was on a net plus 74%.
Here lies a problem for the PM. Any move against Sunak could possibly trigger off moves within the party against his leadership.
UPDATE: These are the markeThis market relates to whether the UK government re-introduces any legally enforceable restrictions on social contact in England related to the spread of coronavirus, following the legal end of restrictions on social contact (currently expected to take place on 19 July 2021). Examples may include, but are not limited to, the mandatory wearing of face masks on public transport or the closure of pubs/nightclubs. For the purposes of this market, restrictions will not include any regulations on international travel or any regulations related to self-isolation or quarantine. For the purposes of this market, ‘re-introduce’ does not require any restrictions to exactly replicate previous restrictions. If the UK government does not end restrictions on social contact in 2021, and thus could not ‘re-introduce’ restrictions, this market will be void. Dates in this market relate to when any restrictions come into force in England, rather than the date on which they are announced. All times and dates in this market are in UK time. Clarification (14 July 2021): This market refers to mandatory England-wide measures introduced by the UK government. Any measures that are introduced locally or by individual companies (e.g. Transport for London only) will not count towards the settlement of this market. Clarification (6 September 2021): If ‘vaccination passports’ are required for entry to nightclubs or other events, this market will be settled for yes, so long as the measure satisfies the other conditions in the market rules, i.e. that it is mandatory, implemented by the UK government, England-wide and legally enforceable. Clarification (12 October 2021): If vaccines become mandatory for people working in care homes at any point in 2021 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vaccination-of-people-working-or-deployed-in-care-homes-operational-guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-of-people-working-or-deployed-in-care-homes-operational-guidance) this market will be settled for yes, so long as the measure satisfies the other conditions in the market rules, i.e. that it is mandatory, implemented by the UK government, England-wide and legally enforceable.