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FirstFT: Boris Johnson on the brink after cabinet resignations

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UK prime minister Boris Johnson was clinging to power last night after chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid resigned from the cabinet within minutes of each other.

Many Tory MPs believed the ministerial mutiny could signal the end for Johnson, as a number of junior government members also quit.

But there was relief in Downing Street when other senior figures including deputy prime minister Dominic Raab, foreign secretary Liz Truss, defence secretary Ben Wallace and levelling-up secretary Michael Gove indicated that they were staying. Johnson immediately began reshuffling his cabinet.

The resignations came after Downing Street was forced to admit that Johnson had been briefed about past allegations of sexual misconduct by the disgraced former Conservative deputy chief whip Chris Pincher. Conservative Staffers for Change, a new campaign group, is due to meet Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle today about tackling bad behaviour.

With the truth starting to catch up with Johnson, Conservative MPs believe Johnson’s premiership is approaching its end. Last month, more than 40 per cent of MPs expressed no confidence in their leader and cabinet unity has broken. Still, Johnson’s instinct will be to hold, writes Robert Shrimsley.

Do you think the resignations signal the end of Johnson’s premiership? Let us know by voting in our poll, or sharing your thoughts with Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa — Jennifer

1. Meta pushes ahead with digital collectibles Facebook’s parent is moving forward with plans to roll out access to non-fungible tokens to its 3bn users despite the crash in crypto asset prices. The effort is vital to the social media group’s goal of building and monetising a virtual avatar-filled metaverse as it looks to reinvigorate its growth.

2. Church of England taps debt markets A Church of England investment foundation is tapping bond investors for the first time, seeking to raise £500mn. The decision by the £10bn-in-assets charity comes despite a shaky credit market backdrop, with corporate bond issuance in Europe down 16 per cent in the first half of 2022 compared with 2021.

3. Norway halts oil and gas strike Oslo has intervened to end an industrial action by oil and gas workers that threatened to slash production as Europe scrambles for supplies to offset cuts to Russian output.

4. BoE: UK economic outlook has ‘deteriorated markedly’ The Bank of England issued a stark warning on the global economic outlook and told banks that it would be “counterproductive” to shore up their balance sheets by withholding new loans.

5. Congo president warns of risk of war with Rwanda Félix Tshisekedi told the Financial Times that conflict could break out unless his country’s neighbour stopped backing rebel groups fighting in the east. The president’s comments followed a strong offensive in eastern Congo by the M23 militia, which he said was backed by Rwanda.

Félix Tshisekedi, the president of the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo, in his office in Kinshasa
Felix Tshisekedi, the president of the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo, in his office in Kinshasa © Gosette Lubondo/FT

The day ahead

UK manufacturers seek clarity on gas rationing A group representing the UK’s heaviest industrial energy users, such as glass and steel, will warn business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng of the risk of closures this winter if there is a gas shortage.

France rail strike Workers will begin an industrial action for pay rises to offset rising inflation, days before school holidays begin. (Reuters)

Fed minutes The US Federal Open Market Committee publishes minutes from its June meeting, which may give further clues about the extent to which the central bank is willing to tighten monetary policy.

  • Other economic indicators: Cips, IHS Markit and S&P Global construction purchasing managers’ index data are out for Germany, France, the UK and the EU, which also has May retail sales.

Chicago massacre suspect in court Robert E Crimo III, 21, who was detained in connection with a deadly mass shooting at a July 4 parade, will appear in court after being charged with murder. If convicted, he faces a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Women’s Euro 2022 The tournament, which kicks off in England and runs through to the end of the month, is expected to set records for a broadcast audience for women’s football as well as for attendance.

What else we’re reading and listening to

Crypto is not the new monetary system we need Money has evolved from coins, to notes, entries in balance sheets and bits on computers. But in the digital era, the system of cryptocurrencies — as objects of speculation rather than stores of value — is inherently flawed, writes Martin Wolf.

Qatar comes out on top The Gulf state has built an outsized role in global commodity markets since it began exporting liquefied natural gas more than two decades ago. Now, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and several deals to develop a gasfield, Qatar’s influence is set to grow.

Column chart of Annual production (million tonnes) showing Qatar's share of global LNG

Where Sainsbury’s pay defence doesn’t add up The supermarket’s investors will this week vote on whether Sainsbury’s should commit to paying its staff the living wage. Its board has recommended voting against the proposal, but it is noticeable that its arguments gloss over exactly the people the motion is trying to help, writes Helen Thomas.

Knocking on the door of a porn empire Financial pressure pushed porn giant MindGeek to radically alter its practices. But one of its biggest rivals changed almost nothing. In the latest episode of Hot Money, Patricia Nilsson travels to the company’s Prague headquarters to understand why.

Barrister strikes are symptomatic of a crumbling system A criminal barrister refusing to attend court is akin to a doctor refusing to treat a patient. Yet barristers are set to walk out for a second unprecedented week. From legal aid cuts to the case backlog, the government must take responsibility for the meltdown, writes the author of The Secret Barrister.

Work & Careers

Some of the most successful chief executives, from Apple’s Steve Jobs to Superdry’s Julian Dunkerton, share a pattern of leaving the company they started — and returning. Meet the founders with the boomerang factor.

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