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“There’s no place like home!” Boris Johnson sighed today. “So I’m keen to get back.

“I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to getting [home].”

The Prime Minister’s Magical Mystery Tour of summits in Rwanda, Germany and Spain is finally coming to an end as his plane lifts off from Madrid this afternoon.

And sure, after eight days away from Downing Street he must be pleased to be back in his own, grace and favour bed.

Except he suffered the worst by-election defeat in history last week in Tiverton and Honiton, which fell to the Lib Dems on a massive swing. And Labour retook Wakefield, which the party lost in 2019 over Brexit.

Tory MPs are now talking about changing the rules to oust him in December if he’s found to have lied to Parliament, in an investigation which properly kicked off while he was away.

In short, the Prime Minister’s relief at jetting in tonight won’t last much longer than a nap…

Boris Johnson boarding his plane to leave his eight-day trip today ( PA)

Election that could pave road to his downfall

Boris Johnson is safe from a leadership challenge for 12 months under Tory rules after he won a vote of no confidence vote 211-148.

But those rules could change after a secret ballot for the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, which is due within weeks and could determine the Prime Minister’s future.

It is due to hold elections for its 18-member executive in the coming weeks.

Rebels are tipped to field most of the 18 positions though it’s widely expected chairman Sir Graham Brady – who has not taken a side in the row – will be re-elected.

Even Tories who publicly voted for Boris Johnson told the Mirror he will not last until the next election in 2024.

Boris Johnson is safe from a leadership challenge for 12 months – or is he? ( Getty Images)

Inquiry into his Partygate ‘lies’ finally under way

The investigation into whether Boris Johnson misled MPs over Partygate has officially begun today.

Labour veteran Harriet Harman was confirmed as chair after the Privileges Committee finally met for the first time over the probe – two months after MPs ordered it.

The inquiry also appointed Rt Hon Sir Ernest Ryder, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, as its independent advisor. One of the most senior judges in the land, he began serving on the High Court in 2004.

MPs opened a call for evidence asking anyone with “knowledge of events” related to Partygate, and whether the Prime Minister “misled the House”, to contact them by July 29 ahead of hearings this autumn.

No10 did not rule out the Prime Minister and his wife giving evidence if they are called to do so.

If he is found to have lied and refuses to resign, that could be a fresh moment of danger this winter.

No10 did not rule out the Prime Minister and his wife giving evidence if they are called to do so ( AFP via Getty Images)

Scotland Yard facing legal action over parties

The Met Police will be sued in the High Court after the force was accused of not properly investigating Boris Johnson over Partygate.

Formal proceedings were issued while Boris Johnson was in Spain by Brian Paddick, the Lib Dem peer and Scotland Yard’s former Deputy Assistant Commissioner, and the Good Law Project, which took a string of legal actions against the government over Covid.

Their case accuses the Met of failing to issue questionnaires to the PM over three Covid law-breaking leaving dos that were held at 10 Downing Street.

They were for aide Lee Cain on 13 November 2020, for defence advisor Capt Steve Higham on 17 December 2020, for two No10 private secretaries on 14 January 2021.

The Mirror previously revealed that Boris Johnson was only sent questionnaires for two out of the six shindigs he attended.

It will reopen questions about whether Partygate is truly done and dusted and ‘old news’, as the PM’s allies insist.

A case accuses the Met of failing to issue questionnaires to the PM ( BRAIS LORENZO/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Mounting pressure over tax cuts

Tory MPs and the business community are ramping up calls for the Prime Minister to cut taxes – and he may not be able to bat them away for months.

Shevaun Haviland, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said firms face a “perfect storm” of spiralling costs and demanded no more business tax rises before a 2024 election.

She added: “The Government has until the autumn budget to reset, rethink and get their house in order.”

It will pile pressure on the Chancellor to scrap a corporation tax rise from 19% to 25% next April on profits over £250,000.

Downing Street today refused to rule out scrapping the rise as pressure from businesses mounts.

A No10 spokesman said: “There are no current plans to scrap that corporation tax rise but you’ll appreciate that tax is a matter for the Chancellor.”

Downing Street today refused to rule out scrapping the rise in corporation tax ( REUTERS)

A grilling before a supergroup of MPs

Boris Johnson will want to come back to Parliament with a bang, talking about his attendance at the CHOGM, G7 and Nato summits.

But he could land with a bump as Tories plot against him after two by-election defeats – and he’s grilled by a supergroup of MPs.

The Liaison Committee, made up of the chair of every other committee, will question the Prime Minister on Wednesday 6 July.

It’ll be a marathon day for him with scores of questions on detailed policy being fired his way at 3pm, just after PMQs.

A big row over defence spending

Speaking at the Nato summit, the PM said Britain will boost defence spending by billions of pounds but still cut thousands of troops from the Army.

He said the UK would lift cash for the armed forces from 2% of GDP to 2.5% by the end of the decade.

But, grilled by the Mirror, he vowed to press on with cutting the Army by 9,500 soldiers – leaving an Army of just 72,500 soldiers while bolstering their gear.

And the rise is less than the amount demanded by Tory Party critics, who had called for a hike to at least 3% of GDP.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had also called for a spending hike from the middle of the decade.

Boris Johnson attempting, in vain, to fist-bump Joe Biden ( POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Fresh warnings about the cost of living

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said on Wednesday that soaring inflation will hit Britain harder than any other major economy during the current energy crisis.

And he warned output in the UK is likely to weaken earlier and be more intense than others.

Household finances failed to keep up with soaring inflation once again at the start of the year.

It’s the first time real disposable income has fallen for four quarters in a row since records began, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said real household disposable income dropped 0.2% between January and March as income growth of 1.5% was outstripped by household inflation of 1.7%.

Boris Johnson was forced to deny he was being “complacent” about spiralling inflation – saying the “cost of freedom” is “always worth paying” amid soaring costs exacerbated by the Ukraine war.

A Summer of Discontent

A string of unions in different industries are threatening to strike after rail workers with the RMT staged the biggest walkout in decade, and warned of more.

While the Prime Minister was in Madrid on Wednesday, TSSA members at stations along the West Coast Main Line voted for strike action.

And as he left Germany on Tuesday, Royal Mail managers voted to strike in a dispute over jobs

Recruitment firms meanwhile have attacked the Prime Minister’s plan to break the strikes by using agency workers.

Mr Johnson has denied he wants to “crush” the unions like Margaret Thatcher – but has vowed to push on and refuse above-inflation wage hikes, which he says would make inflation worse.

That will get a lot worse within days, when the government is set to start making recommendations about public sector pay rises including the NHS.

His Rwanda plan being fought in the High Court

Finally, the Prime Minister may see a battle with ‘lefty lawyers’ as a good thing – but perhaps not so much if he loses.

Next month his plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda will undergo a full judicial review in the High Court, which could rule it unlawful.

If the court rules against the policy, (and isn’t overturned in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court) there will be big questions for the PM, who was accused of introducing it just for headlines.

Rwanda’s government has already started spending the £120m it’s been given by the UK government, and has not promised it will give the money back.

Even more embarrassingly, if asylum seekers have been sent over by that point, they could have to be brought back to Britain.

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