Revealed: How Boris Johnson lied to David Davis and MPs over Churchill’s ally after being told ‘In the name of God, go’ – Tom Richmond

BORIS Johnson appeared to feign indifference when David Davis – his one-time Brexiteer comrade-in-arms – used a wartime analogy at Prime Minister’s Questions to demand his resignation. It was, however, another deceit.

The Prime Minister reacting to David Davis MP during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.
The Prime Minister reacting to David Davis MP during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.

The incendiary intervention by the Haltemprice and Howden MP evoked the famous words that Leo Amery told Neville Chamberlain in 1940 following the Norway disaster: “In the name of God, go.”

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They ultimately changed the course of history with Chamberlain replaced by Winston Churchill – Johnson’s great hero – and who led Britain through its darkest days to victory in the Second World War.

This was David Davis, the former Brexit Secretary, telling Boris Johnson to resign on Wednesday.

And after prefacing his question by stressing how he had “spent weeks and months defending the Prime Minister against often angry constituents”, Davis said that he expected leaders “to shoulder the responsibility” and for their actions and that the Amery quotation would be “altogether too familiar” to Johnson.

Yet the Tory leader appeared visibly perplexed by Davis whose resignation, as Brexit Secretary, in 2018, prompted Johnson to quit the Foreign Office many hours later after calculating that it was in his best personal interests to do so.

Boris Johnson at Prime Minister's Questions this week.

“I must say to my right hon. Friend that I do not know what he is talking about. I do not know what quotation he is alluding to,” said Johnson in reply to a stunned House of Commons.

Really, Prime Minister?

Let me help. Amery’s speech in the Norway debate of 1940, following a string of military and naval disasters, brought Chamberlain down. Former premier David Lloyd George said he had heard few speeches that matched the “sustained power” of Amery’s intervention and “none with so dramatic a climax”.

Now let me point readers to page 19 of a ‘number one’ bestselling book which describes the defiant mood inside the Cabinet room after Churchill come to power and decided not to enter into negotiations with Hitler.

File photo dated 05/04/1955 of Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill bowing to Queen Elizabeth II as he welcomes her and the Duke of Edinburgh to 10 Downing Street for dinner - one of the many biographies of Churchill is by Boris Johnson.

It saw Churchill end his speech with these galvanising words: “If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.”

The author says all those present, including “Leo Amery”, were so moved that they “cheered and shouted” before running round to clap Churchill on the back (I’m unsure whether the latter was journalistic embellishment or not).

They go on: “Churchill had ruthlessly dramatised and personalised the debate. It was not some diplomatic minuet. It was a choice between protecting their country or dying, choking in their own blood.”

The book is called The Churchill Factor. The author is Boris Johnson. And for him to effectively deny knowledge of Leo Amery, a member of Churchill’s wartime cabinet, and his place in history is another example of an unerring ability to twist the truth where it suits.

Not content with embarrassing the Queen over the raucous party at Downing Street on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral, Boris Johnson will even deny history to deflect attention away from the breakdown of public trust.

Prime Minister, it’s not Churchillian. It’s cowardly and a reaffirmation of how the office of prime minister – made great by Winston Churchill – has become so diminished by Johnson’s daily deceit.

KATE Josephs, who has impressed many since becoming Sheffield City Council’s chief executive a year ago, has gone to ground. This follows her admission that she attended a Cabinet Office drinks party on December 17, 2020, to mark the end of her stint as head of the Government’s Covid taskforce. It came 48 hours before Boris Johnson effectively cancelled Christmas.

Yet, while Josephs, too, awaits the outcome of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry, she cannot escape these questions that are fundamental her future. Why did she wait nearly six weeks to admit her lockdown breach – or was she ordered by senior figures in the Government to stay silent and, if so, by whom and what were their motives? Do tell Kate...

I WAS appalled to read last weekend’s well-sourced report by Tim Shipman in The Sunday Times that Chris Grayling is one of three former ministers in line for a knighthood as Boris Johnson tries to reset his government.

Before the honours system is brought into further contempt, just how would such an undeserved reward for failure improve the work of Downing Street?

It is simply a grubby ruse to buy the silence of ‘Failing Grayling’ over Johnson’s unsuitability for high office – unless the PM can offer one reason why I’m mistaken. Just one...

MY aside about the backlog of mail deliveries in Leeds appears to have the desired effect – 16 letters arrived on one day at Richmond Towers from a postwoman who, according to neighbours, was offering profuse apologies to all those inconvenienced.

Yet, given the volume of hospital appointments still sent out by post, and the Royal Mail looking to prioritise parcels and leaflets to protect its revenues, can a system be devised so that correspondence from the NHS is treated as a priority at all times?

AFTER confusing the ever diminishing number of Radio Five listeners with her reference to “two non-batters” that this column highlighted last week, the BBC’s Eleanor Oldroyd has again left cricket devotees in another spin.

Her ramblings about the final Ashes Test in Hobart, where she was sent to provide score updates, included a section about the prowess of ‘number one batters’ prior to the final England collapse and capitulation. I’m stumped. What’s wrong with the term ‘openers’?

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