Frank Williams, actor best remembered as the vicar Timothy Farthing in Dad’s Army – obituary


Telegraph Obituaries

Sun, 26 June 2022, 4:40 pm

Williams, r, as the Rev Timothy Farthing with the verger, Maurice Yeatman, played by Edward Sinclair - Television Stills
Williams, r, as the Rev Timothy Farthing with the verger, Maurice Yeatman, played by Edward Sinclair – Television Stills

Frank Williams, who has died a few days short of his 91st birthday, was a theatre and television actor who applied his talent to such diverse roles as Satan, Queen Boadicea and, in a cinema advertisement for Guinness, a man who, having consumed the Irish beverage, acquires the ability to walk through walls; but he was most widely recognised for playing the Reverend Timothy Farthing in Dad’s Army.

Farthing, in the battle to resist the temptations against which he warned his parishioners, suffered repeated reverses. He maintained a jealously proprietorial attachment to his Walmington-on-Sea church hall and office, which circumstances obliged him to share with Captain Mainwaring, Arthur Lowe’s Home Guard commander.

Farthing also struggled with patience, and no list of the vicar’s attributes would be complete without such adjectives as petulant, indignant and fractious. The virtues of abstinence and generosity also tended to elude him: a recurring joke in Dad’s Army was that, in scenes on licensed premises, the vicar would attempt to order large whiskies at others’ expense. The request would invariably be thwarted either by the purchaser, or by the fretful, bespectacled verger, Maurice Yeatman (played by Williams’s friend Edward Sinclair), ever-vigilant against the detrimental effects of strong liquor.

Williams, right, with Bill Pertwee as ARP Hodges and, left, Edward Sinclair - Television Stills
Williams, right, with Bill Pertwee as ARP Hodges and, left, Edward Sinclair – Television Stills

Dad’s Army, a series conceived and written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, is celebrated for the bravura performances of its leading actors: Lowe’s Mainwaring, John Le Mesurier as Sergeant Wilson, and veterans John Laurie and Arnold Ridley. Another of the writers’ great strengths was the care with which they developed supporting characters and allowed them to shine. In this respect the Rev Farthing – leader of an embattled trinity comprising Verger Yeatman and air raid warden William Hodges, played by Bill Pertwee – represented one of their most notable achievements.

If his character’s attributes were sometimes less than saintly, the role of a fastidious clergyman and bachelor was one to which Frank Williams was eminently suited. The natural tone in his high-pitched, adenoidal voice was one of exasperation.

A life-long Christian, whose faith embraced both Anglicanism and Catholicism, Williams, who in later life would serve on the General Synod, was so well suited to his character that the Dad’s Army producers would consult him on matters including order of service and ecclesiastical decor.

Though he did not join Dad’s Army until the third of nine series, and usually had only a few lines, many classic episodes involved the vicar, typically enduring situations of trial and adversity. Williams is central to some of Dad’s Army’s most memorable scenes: helping to steer a hand-cranked railway bogie away from a steam train driven by Ian Lavender’s hapless Private Pike or attempting to conduct an open-air church service blessing the harvest, while his congregation – who have accepted with vigour the offer of unlimited quantities of the farmer’s potato wine – instigate a brawl.

At one point in the episode, “When Did You Last See Your Money?” (in which butcher and uncompromising patriot Lance Corporal Jones, played by Clive Dunn, has mislaid £500 in charitable donations) John Laurie, as the elderly undertaker Fraser, attempts to hypnotise Jones in the hope of restoring his memory. The scene is witnessed by the verger, who bursts into Farthing’s bedroom and shakes him awake.

“Oh,” Farthing snaps, “you are a beastly nuisance.”

“There is a horrible black mass,” Yeatman informs him, “in the church hall.”

“A horrible black mass?” Farthing replies. “Of what?”

Frank John Williams was born on July 2 1931 in Edgware. His father was a Welsh draper whose own name, William Williams, earned him the sobriquet “Twice”; his mother Alice encouraged her son’s attempts at staging reviews to support the war effort. As a boy, Williams used his middle name, and only adopted “Frank” when he entered the theatre. He was brought up a Presbyterian.

Members of the Dad's Army cast in 1972 including Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring in the centre with Bill Pertwee as ARP Warden Hodges, Frank Williams and John Le Mesurier - NCJ Archive
Members of the Dad’s Army cast in 1972 including Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring in the centre with Bill Pertwee as ARP Warden Hodges, Frank Williams and John Le Mesurier – NCJ Archive

His first experience of cinema was an excursion with his father to see the 1936 film Captain January, starring Shirley Temple, at the Ritz in Edgware. He was educated at Broadfields School which took boys until 11, after which he moved to Parkside Preparatory, and at 12 to Ardingly College, West Sussex, a Woodard School in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. It was in the chapel there that Williams received First Holy Communion.

It was also there that, as Williams would recall in his autobiography, an unnamed master used to offer him tea and toast: “I would sit next to him on the sofa. His arm would go round my shoulder and his hand would go up my trouser leg.”

A fellow pupil, three years older, was Bill Cotton, later to become head of light entertainment at BBC Television.

Williams subsequently attended Hendon County School, by which time he was already planning a career in the theatre. In his final year he appeared in a production of The Ghost Train, written in 1923 by Arnold Ridley, his future colleague in Dad’s Army.

On leaving school Williams moved to London and became assistant stage manager at the Gateway Theatre in Westbourne Grove. His own first play, No Traveller, about a man who suffers amnesia, was performed at the Gateway, where his contemporaries included Liz Smith.

Williams accepted numerous small roles in films. He appeared as an archer in Ivanhoe (1952) starring Elizabeth Taylor and filmed at Elstree. He brought his best efforts to the demands of lying on a stretcher while tended by Anna Neagle’s Florence Nightingale in Lady With a Lamp (1951) and appears as “An angry man” in The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan (1953).

His first lines on the big screen, spoken in the 1956 drama Shield of Faith in which he played a dying infantryman, consisted of the opening lines of the 23rd Psalm.

Williams’s first contact with Jimmy Perry came when he was cast in a play called Honeymoon Beds, staged at the Watford Palace, run by Perry and his wife Gilda. Perry swiftly identified the potential in the young actor and writer, and agreed to produce one of Williams’ plays, The TV Murders.

His big breakthrough came in 1957 when he was cast as a psychiatrist in the ITV comedy, The Army Game. Williams went on to appear in 75 episodes of the series, latterly as Captain Pocket. Fellow cast members included Alfie Bass (“Excused Boots” Bisley), Bernard Bresslaw and Charles Hawtrey. It was in the course of a dream which came to Bisley that Williams appeared as Queen Boadicea with, as he would recall, “a long green dress and horns coming out of my head”.

Religion and drama were the twin pillars of his life, even though, where acting was concerned, he continued to accept modest roles, so as to avoid more mundane forms of employment. He appeared in advertisements for the cough sweet Tunes (declaiming the product’s name with joyful clarity once his sinuses were cleared) and, for the National Coal Board, was cast as the devil in hell.

For a while he was synonymous with “Delikat: the Food No Cat Can Resist”, playing a supporting role to the feline leads, who would throw dinner parties at which the actor was required to serve the delicacy to assembled quadrupeds.

In the 1960s, having attended a midnight mass, he became an Anglo-Catholic, and attended John Keble Church in Mill Hill. Professionally, he remained a journeyman, gravitating towards comedy with parts in television series starring Terry Scott, Harry Worth, Tommy Cooper, Norman Wisdom and others.

Williams was saved from obscurity in the spring of 1969 when he was asked to appear in Dad’s Army, becoming the youngest member of the cast other than Ian Lavender. The series had already been running for six months; Williams made his debut in an episode entitled “The Armoured Might of Jack Jones”, which marked the first occasion on which the butcher’s van was used as Home Guard transport.

From the beginning, Williams said, “the vicar was not very nice. I don’t think he was a terribly good advert for the church.”

Though not himself a heavy drinker, Williams enjoyed socialising with a cast whose most tirelessly gregarious faction was led by Le Mesurier and Lowe, often, after filming, at the Bell Hotel, Thetford.

Williams was often accompanied by a close platonic friend, Betty Camkin, a staunch Conservative who lived near to him in Edgware. Within the family of Dad’s Army, Williams said, “she was accepted in the same way as the wives of the married members of the cast.” When Betty Camkin died of a brain haemorrhage in 1992, Williams’s was the name she left to be contacted in the event of an emergency.

In the autumn of 1975 a live theatrical version of Dad’s Army came to the West End; the television series finally ended in 1977. Williams maintained close friendships with several members of the cast, notably Arthur Lowe and his wife Joan, for years afterwards.

Frank Williams would never capture the public imagination on quite such a scale again, though he had appeared in Monty Python’s Flying Circus as a clerk of the court. “My main function,” he later said, “was to keep asking Michael Palin, whose character was a policeman giving evidence, to refrain from addressing me as ‘Darling.’ ” Otherwise his talents were applied to less highly lauded comedies, such as Perry and Croft’s Hi-de-Hi! and You Rang, M’Lord?, the latter being the two writers’ last collaboration, which ran from 1990 to 1993.

Williams in 2015: he was a devout Anglican - Ian Vogler/Sunday Mirror
Williams in 2015: he was a devout Anglican – Ian Vogler/Sunday Mirror

Frank Williams was a devout Anglican and a lay member of the General Synod of the Church of England, on the moderate Anglo-Catholic wing. In November 1992 he voted against the ordination of women. Around that time he was asked by The Daily Telegraph’s religious affairs correspondent, Damian Thompson, about the liturgical preferences of the vicar in Dad’s Army: he judged that the vicar was “Low Church but not evangelical”. He left the Synod in 2000.

Williams maintained a parallel career as a dame on the pantomime circuit and achieved modest success in regional theatre with his own series of murder mysteries. In later life he also completed what he called “serious” scripts, including The Boating Lake, a drama set in 1938, about a family on a seaside holiday, but none was produced.

He did, however, appear in Jonathan Miller’s 1996 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Almeida Theatre in Islington in the role of Quince; a performance described by one critic as “Betjemanesque”.

Frank Williams – unlike some actors whose fame derives from one defining role – never lapsed into bitterness once his most celebrated part had ended.

Williams, who was unmarried, published, in 2002, an autobiography called Vicar to Dad’s Army: The Frank Williams Story. The book is not lacking in detail, mentioning that his childhood house, at 26 Parkside Drive, Edgware, had a “walk-in airing cupboard”, and detailing the property’s generous stock of garden gnomes. But it is more reticent on the subject of the actor’s personal life.

Williams once offered this reflection on the show with which he was most closely associated: “Although Dad’s Army is a comedy, there is always in the background that underlying determination to win though.

“The characters may be comic but they are also heroic. They care about King and Country. The characters on Dad’s Army were not cardboard cut-outs but men with a purpose. There was never anything malicious in the comedy, which is perhaps why it has remained so endearing to viewers of every generation.”

Frank Williams, born July 2 1931, died June 26 2022

Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla’s latest photos have royal fans all saying the same thing

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall sent royal fans into a tailspin on Sunday after they shared a new post on Instagram as their visit in Rwanda drew to a close.

The fabulous photos were taken at a special dinner hosted by the royal couple for leaders of the Commonwealth and saw the pair looking as elegant as ever.

One snap captured the stunning sapphire blue gown worn by the Duchess who was wearing her Garter Star alongside Prince Charles, who like his wife, donned the important badge.

This Prince wore a classic black suit and bow tie for the event. Other photos showed Charles making a speech at the epic night and a close-up of the stunning table decorations.


Charles and Camilla shared the update on Instagram

Fans couldn’t get enough of the update and were all saying the same thing in the comments. “The Duchess looked stunning last night. The Garter Star suits her perfectly,” said one fan.

A second replied: “I’m really proud of Camilla, she seems to have stepped up to the role just right!!”

A third added: “Camilla looks stunning in that cobalt blue gown. One of her best evening wear looks so far!”

charles-and-camilla-arrive-in-rwanda
charles-and-camilla-arrive-in-rwanda

The pair were in Rwanda for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 

A fourth replied: “Our beloved Duchess was radiant, Their Royal Highnesses Charles and Camilla make a matchless couple.”

A fifth said: “Their Royal Highnesses look fabulous and the napkins and table decorations are beautiful.”

The stunning table decorations were created by local women’s groups with napkins by Nyamirambo Women’s Centre, mats by women from Mayange Reconciliation Village and impressive ‘peace basket’ centrepieces hand-woven by Irebe women.

charles-and-camilla-rwanda-fashion-week
charles-and-camilla-rwanda-fashion-week

The royal couple attended Kigali Fashion Week

Captioning the selection of snaps Charles penned: “Our Commonwealth family must have something fairly unique about it.”

He continued: “After all, an increasing number of countries are seeking membership, with Mozambique and Cameroon having joined in the nineties and Rwanda in the noughties; and now, after a short pause, Togo and Gabon are on the path to membership, with others also expressing interest.

“Perhaps, Your Excellencies, they have discovered that the country with the highest percentage of female parliamentarians is in the Commonwealth (here in Rwanda as it happens); that the world’s fastest male and female runners (not to mention marathon world record-holders) are Commonwealth nationals; that Reggae, Calypso, Afrobeats, High-life, Hip-Life, Bollywood and Nollywood all originate from the Commonwealth; that the Commonwealth has given the world some of its finest dishes – curry, Jollof rice, maple syrup, Roti, Jerk chicken, Nasi Goreng and, dare I say, fish and chips!

“Or that the men’s and women’s Rugby world Champions and the ten highest ranked men and women’s cricket teams are – you’ve guessed it! – all from the Commonwealth.- HRH The Prince of Wales.”

Majority of Americans believe the Supreme Court will limit gay marriage after overturning Roe v. Wade: poll

A person holds up a sign as they join people to protest the Supreme Courts 6-3 decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization at Washington Square Park on June 24, 2022 in New York City.
A person holds up a sign as they join people to protest the Supreme Courts 6-3 decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization at Washington Square Park on June 24, 2022 in New York City.Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
  • The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday.
  • The landmark 1973 decision made abortion legal.
  • More than half of Americans are now worried the Court could limit gay marriage, per a CBS/YouGov poll.

More than half of Americans think the Supreme Court will limit gay marriage after overturning Roe v. Wade, a CBS News poll found.

In a poll of 1,541 Americans taken on June 24 and 25, immediately following the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that overturned the 1973 landmark decision that made abortion legal, 57% said it was very or somewhat likely that the court would rule to limit gay marriage next.

More than half of respondents also said it’s very or somewhat likely that the court would rule to limit access to birth control.

The poll found that more than half of those surveyed said the Supreme Court’s ruling would make life worse for Americans, with 50% saying they feel upset.

Read the original article on Business Insider

NYC’s Annual ‘Dyke March’ Draws Thousands

Protesters marched through the streets of New York City during the annual ‘Dyke March’ on Saturday, June 25.

Footage by Storyful journalist Rob McDonagh shows a large crowd gathering at the New York Public Library before marching through the city chanting, “Fight, fight, fight, abortion is a right.”

Pride Marches and Pro-Abortion Rights marches were set to take place over the weekend, after a Supreme Court ruling overturned the landmark Roe v Wade decision on Friday, June 24 . Credit: Rob McDonagh via Storyful

AOC says Supreme Court justices lied under oath, Congress should consider impeachment


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
 called for the impeachment of two Supreme Court justices on Sunday for misleading senators over their views on whether Roe vs Wade should be overturned.

Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, the New York congresswoman called for “consequences” for Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, who senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin said last week had indicated both during their private meetings and testimony under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee that they believed abortion rights to be settled case law.

Supreme Court justices serve for life, but can be removed via the same impeachment procedures that the House and Senate can employ against a president. Two-thirds of the members of the Senate would have to vote for removal for it to occur, a highly unlikely prospect.

“What makes it particularly dangerous is that it sends a blaring signal to all future nominees that they can now lie to duly-elected members of the United States Senate to obtain Supreme Court confirmations,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said. “I believe lying under oath is an impeachable offense,” she added.

She also noted that Justice Clarence Thomas had committed a potentially impeachable offense as well by refusing to recuse himself from cases related to White House records on January 6 given that his wife was recently revealed to have been in contact with senior White House staffers around that same time.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s calls for impeachment proceedings or investigations into whether Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh lied under oath have yet to be taken up by Democratic leadership, which is facing pressure from the party’s base as leaders like Joe Biden are being accused of inaction on the issue of abortion rights.

The general sentiment among the party’s activist base in recent days, according to multiple news reports and observations from journalists on the ground at protest marches around the nation, is that Democratic leaders have little idea about what to do to protect abortion rights beyond fundraising and campaigning on the issue in the hopes of securing a Senate supermajority in the far future.

Other members of the House and Senate have echoed the same general feeling that Ms Ocasio-Cortez outlined on Sunday: That the Supreme Court is facing a historic legitimacy crisis while the justices making up its conservative majority, including Chief Justice John Roberts, appear to care little if at all about their unprecedented unpopularity and the general sense that the institution is corrupted.

A multitude of issues are now plaguing the nation’s highest court, which has remained characteristically aloof and unresponsive even as it takes a new hard right turn and appears to be on the verge of rolling back further rights beyond last week’s abortion ruling.

BBC’s Amol Rajan criticised for using phrase ‘pro-life’ in Roe v Wade interview

<img src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/UxjDD.fQNwmAqUvI9i07ig–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtjZj13ZWJw/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/7JCjeDqy4JxK05S9YXUwIg–~B/aD0wO3c9MDthcHBpZD15dGFjaHlvbg–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/980aa5d92872b3b9f6ba9d47cde015ce&quot; alt="<span>Photograph: Matt Crossick/PA
Photograph: Matt Crossick/PA

One of the BBC’s most high-profile presenters has been criticised for using the term “pro-life” to describe anti-abortion campaigners in a discussion about the US supreme court’s overturning of Roe v Wade.

The term, which is considered partisan, was used twice by Amol Rajan during Saturday morning’s Today programme on Radio 4, in segments about the landmark ruling ending Americans’ constitutional right to abortion.

The BBC News style guide advises journalists to “use anti-abortion rather than pro-life, except where it is part of the title of a group’s name”.

The first mention was in a discussion with Sarah Smith, the BBC’s North America editor, about the ruling’s repercussions. While Smith referred to protesters against abortion as “anti-abortion”, Rajan described them as “pro-life”.

“As you say, Sarah, this is not the end but the end of the beginning,” he said. “Because for the pro-life groups, for the pro-life coalition, who have been campaigning for this for many, many years, since Roe v Wade actually, they’re very ambitious, aren’t they, there’s a lot more that they want to achieve.”

The second time was during an interview with Erica Hofland, a clinician from Red River Women’s Clinic in North Dakota, in which he said: “The argument from the pro-life organisations is that life is life”.

Women’s organisations in the UK criticised Today’s use of the term, which they said was “disappointing” and “speaks to the huge power and influence” of the anti-abortion lobby. Hannah Barham-Brown, deputy leader of the Women’s Equality party, said: “Anti-choice campaigners have long tried to hide behind the facade of being ‘pro-life’ when the reality is that they are anything but – they are really trying to restrict women’s freedoms.

“Banning abortions only bans safe abortions and women will die as a result of this ruling, and thousands more will be criminalised or face continuing a pregnancy that they did not choose.”

She added: “It is of course disappointing to hear a ‘pro-life’ framing on the Today programme – unintentionally or not – but it speaks to the huge power and influence of the groups and politicians at the front of these efforts to control women and push an untrue narrative that they are saving lives.”

Kerry Abel, chair of the group Abortion Rights, said to be “pro-choice” was the neutral position. “It’s not between an absolutist anti-abortion position on one side and pro-abortion on the other. Having access is the neutral position.”

She added: “We know from the strong connections between the gun lobby and anti-abortion activists that they are not pro-life. Pro-life for who? Women die when they don’t have access to safe abortions. We call these groups ‘anti-choice’ not ‘pro-life’.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “The style guide suggests anti-abortion as the preferred term, but the use of the term pro-life by presenters and contributors is not against the BBC’s editorial guidelines.”

‘Kindred spirits’ Biden, Scholz work to heal U.S.-German ties

G7 leaders summit

Andrea Shalal and Andreas Rinke

Sun, 26 June 2022, 5:08 pm


SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany (Reuters) – Panned by critics for dragging his feet on Ukraine, called a “sulky liver sausage” by the Ukrainian ambassador, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday won public praise from a man he has long privately admired: U.S. President Joe Biden.

Reaching over to touch Scholz’s arm as they sat at the start of a G7 meeting in the Bavarian Alps, Biden said it was “in no small part because of you” that the West had stuck together against Russia four months after the invasion of Ukraine.

The two men, who are from different political generations but both took office last year, have made common cause over Ukraine as they sought to heal ties that were sorely strained under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump.

Both leaders have vowed to strengthen Ukraine’s armed forces, increase sanctions pressure on Moscow and counter surging food and energy prices that have undermined their popularity at home and tested their own domestic alliances.

At Sunday’s meeting, Biden pushed back against criticism of Scholz’s leadership, praising the chancellor for marshalling Europe’s response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“They are kindred spirits and they’re dealing with some of the same challenges,” said Steven Sokol, president of the American Council on Germany. “I could easily imagine there’s a bit of a bromance going on,” he said.

While privately expressing reservations about some other leaders, the 64-year-old Scholz speaks especially warmly of the U.S. president and sees the transatlantic relationship as a crucial pillar of German and European security.

He “has always looked very much to the USA,” according to one long-time friend and confidante.

The Social Democrat Scholz also values what he sees as Biden’s commitment to fighting for those left behind by globalisation and technological advances, a theme Scholz explored at length in his book “Land of Hope” in 2017.

KEEPING PROMISES

For his part, Biden, 79, has lauded Germany for agreeing to boost its military spending by 100 million euros over the next decade, and overcoming resistance stemming from World War Two on providing weapons to Ukraine.

Berlin’s support for repeated rounds of sanctions against Russia, often against its own economic interests, has impressed U.S. officials who had braced for a more halting embrace.

Germany was “one of the countries where we wanted to really restore and rebuild the trust and the solidarity in that relationship and I think we’ve really been able to achieve that,” a senior U.S. administration official said.

“The warm and friendly words between the two, the president’s expression of trust in Scholz showed that we’ve been able to make progress on that goal, and achieve a lot of that close working relationship that we wanted.”

Biden’s administration has also welcomed Scholz’s rapid and unprompted decision to halt the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 pipeline, said one source familiar with the matter.

“Scholz had promised the president that if Russia further invaded Ukraine, the pipeline would be shut down,” the source said. “He did exactly what he said he would do, and that was deeply appreciated.”

The Trump years contrasted to the warm relationship that Scholz’s predecessor Angela Merkel forged with Barack Obama after initial friction from disclosures that the National Security Agency had tapped Merkel’s mobile phone.

Trump’s public and private pummeling of Berlin over the pipeline, its failure to raise military spending to meet NATO targets and its support of the Iran nuclear deal sent the partnership reeling.

Biden first met Scholz in Rome at the Group of 20 meeting in October, shortly before the German leader took office.

“Relations between the two administrations are unusually close”, said one German government source. “In fact – the higher you get in the hierarchy in Washington, the closer relations are to German government.”

There have been differences, to be sure, including lingering frustration in Berlin and other European capitals over the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last August, a move seen as a “big mistake” that may have even encouraged Putin, according to German government sources.

Some in Washington meanwhile question Germany’s continued strong economic ties with China, echoing criticisms under Trump.

But on Sunday, Scholz was all smiles after Biden’s warm words: “It’s a good message that we all managed to stay united, which, obviously, Putin never expected.”

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Andreas Rinke; editing by Matthias Williams and Raissa Kasolowsky)

Putin wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine if Tory 1922 committee was not ‘on his case’, claims Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson at G7 summit in Ukraine (PA)
Boris Johnson at G7 summit in Ukraine (PA)

Boris Johnson has suggested that Vladimir Putin would have not invaded Ukraine earlier this year if he didn’t have the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers “on his case”.

Speaking at the G7 summit, the prime minister boasted to CNN that he had “a new mandate for my party” after squeaking through the recent confidence vote arranged by the powerful Tory committee.

“I’m very happy … I got a higher percentage of the parliamentary votes than I did the first time. So, I’m very happy, we will move forward,” he said on the challenge by Tory rebels.

“I think the great thing about democracy is that leaders are under scrutiny and that I do have, even though you say I got things going on back home, that’s a good thing. I have got people on my case, I have got people making arguments,” said Mr Johnson.

The PM added: “Do you really think that Vladimir Putin would have launched an invasion of another sovereign country if he’d had people to listen to properly … arguing, if he’d had a committee of backbenchers, the 1922 Committee, on his case?”

It comes as Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said the 1922 Committee rules should not be changed to allow a second confidence vote against Mr Johnson within 12 months – despite his own calls for the PM to resign.

Current rules state that confidence votes can only be held once a year. But Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has outlined plans to stand for the 1922 Committee’s executive role on a manifesto pledge to change the rules.

Speaking on BBC’s Sunday Show, Mr Ross said: “I’m a member of the 1922 Committee but I’m not on the executive committee and it is for the executive committee to look at rule changes.”

He added: “I personally don’t think we should change the rules midway through a process. I think that’s the wrong way to do it.”

Senior Tory MP Tim Loughton said on Sunday that ministers who oppose Mr Johnson should have the courage to resign, a senior Tory MP says – arguing that would provide the “momentum” to force him from power.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson also claimed that the UK would have not been able to be at the forefront of providing support for Ukraine if it was still in the EU.

Asked if the UK was better off after Brexit, the PM told CNN “it is [better off]”, before mentioning Britain’s Covid vaccine response and its ability to strike new trade deals.

The PM added: “We are able to change some of our regulations to take back control of our borders. We are no longer spending shedloads of money on projects that we couldn’t control. And that was a good decision.”

Mr Johnson went on: “I don’t think that the UK within the European Union… I don’t think that we would have been out in front, as the first European country to arm the Ukrainians, to give them the wherewithal to protect themselves.”

Russian aggression in Ukraine forcing Nato to ‘look again’ at boosting military capability

Russia’s war in Ukraine is forcing Nato to “look again” at boosting its military capability, a top defence chief has said.

Sir Tony Radakin, chief of the defence staff, was asked by LBC’s Nick Ferrari if he was concerned about comments made by defence secretary Ben Wallace that Western countries could struggle to mount a long-term offensive against Russia.

Sir Tony said the military alliance was looking at its resources and the speed with which it could respond if there was an escalation with Russia, but added that the “collective defence” of Nato gave the UK and its allies “extraordinary power”.

Head of UK armed forces, Chief of Defence Admiral Sir Tony Radakin (PA Wire)
Head of UK armed forces, Chief of Defence Admiral Sir Tony Radakin (PA Wire)

He said: “I think the big point to reflect here is that we’re in the world’s largest and most effective military alliance, called Nato.

“That’s three-and-a-half million people in uniform. That collective defence with the US, all of the European nations in Nato and Canada gives us extraordinary power.”

Sir Tony added: “But I think what the defence secretary is reflecting is that this aggression from Russia… is understandably causing all of us to look again at the speed at which we can respond, the depths with which we can respond and the rates of expenditure that a war might entail.”

Russian shelling continues to devastate Ukraine (AP)
Russian shelling continues to devastate Ukraine (AP)

“How do you ensure that you win quickly?” he continued. “That’s what we’re looking at again, and I’m pleased to say that it is our collective defence.

“It’s our preparedness, which is the best way to prevent war, and demonstrating that we’re always ready. And the aggression, if it is meted out, it will be met in a very clear way.”

Sir Tony’s comments come just days after Mr Wallace admitted there were concerns that the UK and its allies would struggle in a long-term offensive against Russia.

He said the forces in the UK, Europe and the US were “hollowed out” and did not have sufficient supply lines.

Glastonbury live: Diana Ross plays a joyous Sunday Legends Slot on the Pyramid Stage

Roisin O’Connor,Maanya Sachdeva and Louis Chilton

Sun, 26 June 2022, 4:47 pm

Saturday at Glastonbury saw some of the best sets of the weekend so far.

From Joy Crookes making her Worthy Farm debut to returning champions Haim in a glorious, sun-drenched Pyramid Stage performance, there was a particularly special atmosphere ahead of Sir Paul McCartney’s highly anticipated headline slot.

Other excellent shows came from Glass Animals, Metronomy, Celeste and Gen-Z pop star Olivia Rodrigo, who stormed the Other Stage with a surprise guest appearance from Lily Allen. Performing Allen’s 2012 hit “F*** You”, the duo called out the Supreme Court for their overturning of Roe vs Wade in the US.

Taking to the Pyramid Stage right before Macca, Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds played a string of crowd-pleasing Oasis hits, prompting critic Mark Beaumont to wonder if the gloves are fully off in his sibling rivalry with younger brother – and former bandmate – Liam.

Then it was time for the man himself, Sir Paul McCartney, who brought out his superb band and half a century’s worth of classic songs, not to mention tremendous surprise guests in the form of Bruce Springsteen and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. What a night!