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‘Boris Johnson risks wrath of Tory sharks as he ponders ban on second jobs’ – Nigel Nelson

Political editor Nigel Nelson analyses the sticky situation the prime ministers finds himself in as he plans to ban own Cabinet from their cushy second jobs

File photo dated 28/02/17 of Owen Paterson
Boris’s bid to save Paterson was a disaster

Boris Johnson is set to ban his MPs from directorships and consultancies – even though it may cost him his job.

The PM sees this as the only way to close the sleaze crisis down as Tory chief whip Mark Spencer tried to stifle it by forbidding MPs from speaking to the media.

A Whitehall insider said: “Boris is well aware of the damage he’s done and knows he needs to do something drastic. He’s turned a lot of formerly friendly people very nasty.

“But the risk is that banning second jobs would make a lot more people a lot more angry.”

The PM knows former First Secretary Damian Green and sacked Education Secretary Gavin Williamson are plotting against him. And he believes bitter predecessor Theresa May is pulling their strings.

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A second-job ban would pit more ex-Cabinet ministers against him. Sir John Redwood would lose £195,000, Andrew Mitchell £116,000, Chris Grayling £75,000, Julian Smith £64,000, David Davis £42,000 and Sir Iain Duncan Smith £37,500.

If the disastrous attempt to save sleazy MP Owen Paterson was the beginning of the end then – in the words of the Prime Minister’s hero Winston Churchill – this is now the end of the beginning.

The source added: “There’s blood in the water and the sharks are starting to circle.”

Antics that would before be airily dismissed as Boris being Boris – such as failing to wear a face mask on a visit to Hexham Hospital despite being asked three times to do so – are now met with disapproving scowls. The Tories are plunging in the polls, now six points behind Labour.

And there is despair as COP climate change summit goals are watered down further. Where countries were “urged” to meet targets there are now only “requests” that they do.

Letters of no confidence are now going to Graham Brady – the chair of the powerful Tory backbench 1922 Committee. Sir Graham never reveals how many. Not even to the PM.

Until they reach 56 that is – the magic number under party rules for a leadership contest.

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