That’s all from me for today.
Thanks for the comments.
Here is the statement from the Conservative 1922 Committee confirming that Theresa May has resigned as party leader.
Compass, the leftwing pressure group committed to progressive pluralism, has published an interesting take on the Peterborough byelection claiming it could be the launch of a “regressive alliance”. Here is an extract.
More ominously, [the byelection] tells us that a regressive alliance could be looming. The result will have tipped the balance in the Tory party further to ‘no deal’ and away from traditional one-nation politics in general. Between them, the Tories and the Brexit party got 50% of the vote. If, or probably when, [Boris] Johnson wins the Tory leadership, it’s very easy to imagine a north-south carve up in which the Brexit party gets a free or clear run at Labour leave seats and the Tories are unhindered to take on Labour and the Lib Dems in the south. The message from [Nigel] Farage today is that more Tories should vote tactically and that if you vote Tory then you get [Jeremy] Corbyn. Johnson will say the same about Brexit party voters where the Tories can win. The ground for a regressive alliance is being prepared.
YouGov has released some polling about the Tory leadership candidates, and it is being enthusiastically shared by Rory Stewart’s campaign. On one measure Boris Johnson comes top; there are more people (26%) saying he would make a good prime minister than there are saying any of the other candidates would make a good prime minister. But if you look at the net scores (% saying he would be good minus % saying he would be bad) Stewart comes top.
Unfortunately for Stewart, you cannot read too much into these figures because, when asked about Stewart – indeed, when asked about half the candidates – most votes said they could not say what they would be like as PM because they did not know enough about them. Some 12% said Stewart would be good, 17% said he would be bad, and the rest either were not sure, or did not know enough to have a view.
A source from the Stewart campaign said that these figures, and the way they show Stewart’s ratings going up, prove that the more people see of Stewart, the more they like him, and that he would be “the best candidate to win a general election and reach across the divide”.
The YouGov polling is based in a sample of general voters. But the new leader will be chosen by Conservative members. The fact that Stewart appears to poll well with the public at large, when most of the public at large don’t vote Conservative, may reflect the fact that he is seen as one of the least Tory of the candidates. This would be an advantage if he were leading his party into a general election, but it is not necessarily a bonus in an election decided by Tory activists.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust have issued this joint statement about the election of Lisa Forbes as Labour’s new MP for Peterborough. Their concern is prompted by the revelation before the poll that Forbes for liking a post that said Theresa May had a “Zionist slave masters agenda”. She apologised and said she intended to like a video, not the accompanying text.
Theresa May has formally resigned as Conservative party leader, the Telegraph’s Christopher Hope reports. This is what she announced that she would be doing today two weeks ago.
This morning Prof Sir John Curtice, the leading psephologist, said the 30.9% share of the vote that Labour got in Peterborough was the lowest share of the vote by a winning party in a byelection since 1945. (See 10.25am.)
But it’s worse than that. According to an analysis by David Cowling, the former head of research at the BBC, this is the lowest share of the vote by a winning party in a byelection since 1918. It beat the previous record, the 32.4% secured by the Conservatives when they won Bromley in September 1930, he says.
The voting figures for before 1918 are harder to obtain, but Cowling says there was a lower vote share for a winning party in 1909, when Labour won the Sheffield Attercliffe byelection with 27.5% of the vote.
The Electoral Reform Society said the result showed why a replacement for first-past-the-post was needed more than ever. In a statement its chief executive, Darren Hughes, said:
Just beneath the surface it is clear that we are a multi-party democracy trapped in a two-party system – one which is breaking at the seams, as Britain’s fragmented politics tries to find a place under an outdated one-person-takes-all voting system.
As we have long made clear, no one should be able to take 100% of local representation with just 30.9% of the vote, and there are fundamental questions about the state of our democratic processes
Much like the situation in hundreds of seats across the UK, nearly 70% of people voted for someone else, yet will feel totally unrepresented. This erodes confidence in our politics and leaves voters feeling unheard.
Now more than ever we need a fair and proportional voting system in Westminster, for a parliament that represents the views of the people it serves. Only through genuine reform can we begin to restore faith in our broken politics.
UPDATE: I’ve corrected a date in the post above in response to this very helpful comment from a reader below the line.
Michael Gove, the environment secretary, has received an interesting endorsement today. It is from Oliver Letwin, the former Cabinet Office minister.
Letwin was one of the MPs leading efforts in parliament to prevent a no-deal Brexit in the spring (a campaign that led to Yvette Cooper’s bill being passed), and his decision to back Gove may reflect the belief that Gove is the candidate best placed to stop the leadership being won by Boris Johnson, someone willing to accept no-deal.
The high court has not given its reasons yet for its decision to quash the Boris Johnson prosecution. But this, from the barrister and legal blogger Matthew Scott, may help to explain why the court took the decision it did.
This is from Andrew Smith, a partner at the law firm Corker Binning, commenting on the Boris Johnson decision. He said:
If the high court hadn’t quashed the summons, the CPS would surely have intervened to discontinue it for public interest reasons. Legally, there is no election-specific statutory offence of providing false or misleading information, except in relation to a candidate’s character or conduct. Marcus Ball therefore had to rely on misconduct in public office, an ill-defined common law offence, much criticised by law reform bodies such as the law commission. The high court was clearly not satisfied that the district judge had applied this law correctly – and frankly to prosecute a politician for making allegedly false or misleading claims during a political campaign would have been not only legally remarkable but without precedent.
Here is the text of the decision (pdf) issued by District Judge Margot Coleman last week explaining why she was allowing the private prosecution of Boris Johnson to go ahead. Today her decision has been overturned, and the summons against Johnson has been quashed.
This is from the Press Association on the Boris Johnson case.
Boris Johnson will not face a criminal prosecution over claims he made during the referendum campaign about the UK sending 350 million a week to the EU after winning a high court challenge.
The former foreign secretary was handed a summons, issued by District Judge Margot Coleman on May 29, to attend Westminster magistrates’ court to face three allegations of misconduct in public office.
But, following a hearing in London on Friday, Lady Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Supperstone overturned the earlier decision.
Addressing Johnson’s barrister, Adrian Darbishire QC, Lady Justice Rafferty said: “We are persuaded, Mr Darbishire, so you succeed, and the relief that we grant is the quashing of the summonses.”
The judge said reasons for the court’s ruling will be given at a later date.
Launching a private prosecution Marcus Ball, 29, claimed Johnson lied during the 2016 referendum campaign by saying Britain gave £350m a week to the European Union.
He crowdfunded more than £300,000 through an online campaign to bring the prosecution.
The £350m figure was emblazoned on the red campaign bus used by Vote Leave during the referendum, with the slogan saying “We send the EU £350m a week, let’s fund our NHS instead”.
Darbishire argued that the attempt to prosecute Johnson was “politically motivated and vexatious”.
Johnson, who is currently the front runner in the Conservative party leadership contest, did not have to appear and did not attend the high court hearing.
And here are some tweets from Joshua Rozenberg with the arguments put to the high court this morning in favour of the case against Boris Johnson being allowed to go ahead.
The DJ is the district judge.
If you are interested in the Boris Johnson hearing, the legal journalist Joshua Rozenberg has been tweeting from the court proceedings. You can read his tweets here.
Here are some of his key tweets.
The high court has today quashed the private prosecution against Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary and favourite in the Tory leadership contest, that was being brought on the grounds that Johnson allegedly committed misconduct in public office by lying in the 2016 referendum about Britain giving £350m a week to the European Union, Joshua Rozenberg reports.
The Jewish Labour Movement has issued a statement this morning saying Lisa Forbes, the party’s new MPs for Peterborough, should have the whip withdrawn.
And here are some more tweets on the Peterborough results.
From the Press Association’s Ian Jones
From YouGov’s Chris Curtis
From the politics professor Rob Ford
Source: The Guardian