By Ned Simons
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Whatever You Say, Boss
Sajid Javid quit as chancellor yesterday saying “no self-respecting minister” could agree to Boris Johnson’s demands.
This morning the new cabinet met for the first time. And in a show of self-respect, were led in a call and response by the prime minister. “How many hospitals are we going to build?” the PM asked. “40,” the ministers replied in unison. “Well done,” Boris beamed.
Ministers also agreed with the PM that 20,000 police would be recruited. Police numbers have fallen by around 20,000 since the Conservatives came to power in 2010. Well done.
One bit of news from the meeting was that ministers agreed to implement a points-based immigration system from the beginning of next year.
Communities secretary Robert Jenrick this morning denied Rishi Sunak, the new chancellor, was Johnson’s “puppet” for accepting the job. Sunak addressed Treasury staff before cabinet met. Javid attended a pensions fair in his constituency which had the “best turnout ever!”
Visiting a local school today, ousted Northern Ireland secretary Julian Smith was asked by a child if he knew the prime minister and how is last meeting went. “Er, er, er… great, it was just great,” Smith replied.
Ballot papers in the Labour leadership contest will be sent out soon. But the race still has a long way to go. The result will not be announced until April 4. which is seven weeks away.
Rebecca Long-Bailey used a speech in Salford this morning to argue she started the campaign from “behind”. The shadow business secretary added “Jeremy [Corbyn], John [McDonnell] and Diane [Abbott]” had now “done their bit” and she was ready to “take up the mantle of socialist leadership”. The Guardian’s Kate Proctor has a good write up.
Emily Thornberry has until midnight to secure the nomination of three more constituency Labour parties (CLPs) if she is to make onto the ballot. She is agonisingly close to the threshold of 33, having so far won the backing of 30.
Keir Starmer will hold a rally at the Roundhouse in Camden on Sunday. Today he won the support of the TSSA. Many will recall the transport union housed Momentum’s first headquarters in Euston during the 2015 and 2016 leadership contests.
Watch out for our fun interview with Richard Burgon tomorrow, especially for deputy leadership candidate’s favourite book, films and song.
Quote Of The Day
“I think my future plans are things like going to the pub”
– Julian Smith tells Sky News what he will do now he is no longer in the cabinet. Same Julian. Same.
Friday Cheat Sheet
Alex Sobel, the MP for Leeds North West, has revealed he will be tested for coronavirus. “Just to be clear I’m not exhibiting any systems,” he tweeted.
UK negotiators have held trade talks in total secrecy with at least one unknown country, it has been claimed. As Rachel reports, the news emerged during a tribunal in central London, where campaign group Global Justice Now is challenging the information watchdog to order ministers to publish data about government trade operations.
Anti-racism campaigners are urging Boris Johnson to suspend a Tory MP and launch an “urgent investigation” as pictures were revealed showing Dehenna Davison, the new MP for Bishop Auckland, with two far-right activists. Davison said she “in no way whatsoever” condones “the views highlighted of the individuals concerned”.
What I’m Reading
The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Unilad – VICE
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Former Sajid Javid special adviser Salma Shah talks us through the reshuffle and the way her old boss stood up for his staff. Click here to listen to the episode.