Boris Johnson Postpones His Tory ‘Away Day’ as Covid Surges
(Bloomberg) -- After a turbulent few weeks, Boris Johnson had hoped to bring together his Conservative members of Parliament at a countryside retreat in early January for a team-bonding stay to ease rising tensions.
But the residential session has been postponed due to the current coronavirus spread, MPs were told in an email on Monday, according to a person familiar with the matter. No new date has yet been set.
The trip would have been the first “away day” hosted by Johnson, following the example set by his predecessors Theresa May and David Cameron, who organized similar getaways. The U.K. prime minister has struggled to control his rank-and-file lawmakers in recent weeks after a string of errors fueled mistrust and frustration within the party.
The idea was to encourage MPs to bond over discussions of policy and strategy, plus some group activities and more socializing over dinner and drinks in the evening. Many new MPs -- some of whom took “red wall” seats from Labour in northern England -- have barely met their more experienced colleagues because Westminster proceedings have been largely virtual due to the pandemic.
It wasn’t clear how many MPs would actually have turned up. A significant section of the parliamentary party is angry at Johnson’s handling of the pandemic and new restrictions on the public.
Around 100 Tory MPs voted against his suite of “Plan B” measures last week -- his biggest rebellion as prime minister so far.
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