Twice losing the election, his party’s chairman resigned with a farewell shot saying the Conservatives “deserve more than this”, and his colleagues back home openly discussed how to change. party rules for another vote of confidence – nothing seemed to bother Boris. Johnson.
As MPs back in the UK talk – publicly and privately – about how voters have sent the Conservative Party and its prime minister a clear message that things need to change, Mr Johnson emerges. content to continue doing so, urging MPs to remember the “golden rule”: “Focus on what we’re doing, what we’ve been elected to do, to help move the country forward.”
So far predictable.
The Prime Minister is known to hate having to apologize, be irritable or admit guilt – traits that his admirers and detractors both love and dislike by equal measure.
So his admission in our Sky News interview on Saturday that he gave “crammed” is a rare moment of frankness from an often baffling politician.
When he tried to reduce electoral defeats to those whose “democratic safety valve is loosening governments”, I told the prime minister that much of the criticism was directed at him. that.
He replied, “That’s right.”
“What I definitely think is that if you look at the by-elections, people are absolutely fed up when they hear about the stuff that I’ve crammed, loads of things.
“And what they want to hear is, ‘um, but what is this guy. What is this guy doing?’.”
Ukraine war an ‘economic problem we don’t need’
But that was just as much self-reflection as the Prime Minister was prepared for when he turned to talk about the economy and his desire to counter Russian aggression on the world stage.
With his interest in G7 and NATO, he knows what he means “Weary Ukraine” as he urged fellow leaders not to give up the fight.
“People are looking at this and too many countries are saying that this is a unnecessary European war. It’s an economic problem that we don’t need and so the pressure will be on. growing bigger and bigger to encourage, force the Ukrainians to have a bad peace,” Mr. Johnson said.
He went on to say that if Vladimir Putin “escape from the naked conquest of another’s territory, the reading throughout for each nation here is utterly dramatic”.
The prime minister argued that a Russian aggressor that did not respect international borders would bring about a “lasting disaster”.
Mr. Johnson is clearly going to be right behind the President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in trying to resist any demands that Ukraine make territorial concessions to Russia in exchange for the end of this war.
It is these conversations that are likely to dominate the rest of the prime minister’s eight-day trip, as he flies to the G7 summit in Bavaria on Saturday night and then to NATO.
At both meetings, Britain will press Europe to set a deadline for Russian gas imports, discuss next steps on sanctions, how to help grain exports from Ukraine, and consider support. economic and military could be supplied to this country.
Will the government cut taxes next year?
However, as the prime minister admitted this weekend, as he sought (at least most of the time) to blame the election defeat on midterm blues and the cost of living crisis, everyone people who are looking for the government to help ease their income squeeze.
To that, the Prime Minister told me “of course we will do what we can” when I urged him on whether the public can expect a tax cut next year.
But on public sector wages, he spoke less about the prospect of higher wages for workers to help offset soaring inflation.
Millions of public sector workers, already struggling with rising prices, will have to prepare for real wage cuts if wages rise 2-3% along with inflation – already at 9, 1% – and is forecast to hit double digits in the fall.
To put it in context, average wage growth in the private sector is currently 8%.
But the Prime Minister on Saturday declined to commit to higher wages amid this difficult economic backdrop, as he warned of the risk of an inflationary spiral.
“We can’t let the wage increase be wiped out by raising prices any further,” he said.
Putting aside the election defeats and the rumbling party insurgency, which flared up again in the last 48 hours, then just part of the problems he faced when he returned home. .
A summer of possible strike action, pressure to help bills and tax cuts, and all these difficult and controversial decisions made in the pressure cooker of a still very young prime minister. many difficulties.