Tories join with Labour to dump Johnson and prepare way for a national government

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YESTERDAY, MPs debated the motion from Labour that would refer the behaviour of prime minister Boris Johnson to the Commons standards committee to investigate the charge that he had broken the ministerial code of conduct by lying to Parliament over the ‘partygate’ affair.

Johnson had jetted off to India the day before, supposedly for ‘vital’ trade negotiations, but in fact to act as a messenger boy for the US begging the Indian government to join in the imperialist sanctions against Russia.

Safely outside the UK, Johnson abandoned any pretence of contrition over his guilt, instead proclaiming to the world that he would remain prime minister and lead the Tories into the next general election.

The Tory leadership had a plan to block the pathetic Labour motion for yet a further inquiry into Johnson’s proven law breaking and lying.

It submitted amendments to the Labour motion that put off any referral to the standards committee until such time as all the many police and civil service investigations had taken place.

This was thought to be enough to satisfy Tory MPs living in fear of the public outrage at the contempt being showered upon them by Johnson, while kicking any inquiry so far in the future that they hoped it would be forgotten.

Yesterday morning, however, the calculations changed dramatically. It soon became apparent to Downing Street that the boast that they could ‘easily kill off’ the motion was a massive underestimation of the anger and fear amongst Tory backbenchers who were no longer prepared to defend Johnson and risk accusations of joining in a cover-up and losing their seats!

Minutes before the debate began the government scrapped its amendments to Labour’s motion with the Tory chief whip issuing a statement that Johnson ‘is happy for the Commons to decide on referrals to the Privilege Committee’ and that a vote on the unamended motion will be a free vote for all Conservative MPs.

In fact, the last thing Johnson wanted was another inquiry that will find him guilty.

Ministers were forced to pull the rug from beneath him because they faced the real prospect of being defeated in the Commons on his amendments, and this would have meant the entire Tory government going down the drain with him.

With the Tory government in the line of fire and facing a demoralising defeat, they instead opted for unity with the Labour Party to try and deal with the problem of what to do about the cavalier Johnson’s leadership. In doing so, the Tories have conceded that Labour must have a say in the leadership of their party and also a say in the entire government.

Yesterday’s unity vote on the Labour motion prepares the ground for a formal declaration of a national ‘unity’ government.

Such a government would undoubtedly be headed by a Tory but with Labour leader Keir Starmer given a supporting role befitting a former state prosecutor.

It is even possible that Johnson would be kept on as a figurehead leader sustained by Starmer. After all Starmer has spent his entire leadership of the Labour Party propping up Johnson so it would not be a massive change for him.

Johnson may well be kept on at the insistence of the US government who regard him as a valuable asset in the developing imperialist war against Russia.

Starmer, with a seat in a national government, would be viewed as an advantage by the ruling class, bringing with him the promise of Labour being a willing tool in curbing the working class that is now rising up against the poverty being inflicted on it by the economic collapse of capitalism.

With the Tories too weak to wage the war to dump this crisis on the backs of the working class, a national government is increasingly the only way forward for the ruling class.

The trade unions must put an end to this treacherous plan by breaking with the Labour Party and rapidly building the WRP as the only party prepared to fight for a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers government that will expropriate the bosses and bankers and go forward to building socialism. This is the only way forward.