Boris Johnson U-turned on his central manifesto vow by hiking National Insurance – from 12% to 13.25% in April 2022 to raise £12bn a year. Despite it being to fix social care, all but £5.4bn of the first £36bn will go to the NHS instead. Threshold changes will cancel out the rise for earners below about £37k from July following a Tory backlash.
Boris Johnson’s plan to force Britain’s unwanted asylum seekers to Rwanda was branded “opposite of the nature of God” by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Migrants who arrive “illegally” on dinghies or fridge trucks will be detained, then “removed” with a one-way ticket almost 5,000 miles away with no option to seek asylum in Britain. Experts said the plans were costly and unworkable. It comes after outrage at the Nationality and Borders Bill which will make it legal to strip some people’s citizenship, and criminalise asylum seekers who arrive in small boats.
After weeks of delay, Boris Johnson published his plan in April 2022 to wean Britain off Russian energy. An early version of the document pledged 30GW of capacity from onshore wind by 2030 and 45GW by 2035 – up from 14GW now. But despite hilltop wind turbines being much cheaper than ones in the sea, the the PM axed this target – due to a Tory tussle over the “eyesore” machines.
Ministers threatened criminal and civil proceedings against P&O Ferries after the shamed firm sacked 800 seafarers with no notice, including over a Zoom call. But they were accused of not doing enough to stop the behaviour – voting against Labour MP Barry Gardiner’s crackdown on ‘fire and rehire’, and only legislating afterwards to close loopholes on the minimum wage at sea.
The PM’s friendship with model-turned-entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri – who went on three trade missions he led as London mayor – sparked a string of ethics probes. She later said she had an affair with the married politician and they had sex on his family sofa. The police watchdog did not open a criminal investigation, but found “some evidence” they were in an “intimate relationship” – and said failing to declare it could have breached the London Assembly’s code of conduct.
Boris Johnson was accused of lying about whether he personally “authorised” the rescue of cats and dogs from Afghanistan while troops struggled to man the gates of Kabul airport during a Taliban takeover. He denied it as “rhubarb”, but Josie Stewart, the Foreign Office’s Head of Illicit Finance, turned whistleblower to say the PM’s involvement was “widespread knowledge” and officials lied.
Boris Johnson was blasted for “shafting” swathes of England with his flagship levelling-up ‘Bus Back Better’ plan. Ministers announced £1.2bn for 34 areas that applied for “bus service improvement plans” (BSIPs) – including Kent, Norfolk, Warrington, Somerset and West Berkshire. But the 34 made up less than half of the 79 areas that were eligible and told to apply. And only £2.4bn was committed out of £3bn pledged by the PM in a ‘bus revolution’.
Labour accused Boris Johnson of ‘wallpaper for festivals corruption’ over the luxury makeover of his Downing Street flat. The PM and partner Carrie spent more than £112k revamping the four-bed residence. The PM assumed a charitable Trust would pay, but donor Lord Brownlow paid instead when the idea fell through. The PM claimed he had no knowledge – but then ‘missing’ messages revealed not only did he ask Brownlow for ‘approvals’, he also promised to examine the donor’s idea of a second Great Exhibition. Eventually the PM settled the bill himself but the Tories were fined £18k for not recording the affair properly.
The Government awarded thousands of contracts to private companies as they battled to get vital equipment such as PPE and tests at the start of the pandemic. While ministers insisted they had to act quickly, meany deals were handed to associates of ministers and officials. The High Court later ruled a so-called VIP lane to hand out PPE contracts to two firms was unlawful.
Hedge fund boss and major Tory donor David Harding was knighted for “services to philanthropy”. The PM’s pal Zac Goldsmith earned a ministerial job and Lords place after losing his seat. Billionaire former Tory treasurer and mega-donor Michael Spencer got a peerage. Boris Johnson’s ex-aide Daniel Moylan now sits in the Lords, as does the PM’s journalist former boss Charles Moore and his former aide Eddie Lister. Tory donor Tony Gallagher, who gave the PM a £780 silver envelope to celebrate his son’s birth, was made a Sir. The PM’s ex-minister brother Jo is in the Lords too.