5 min read

⏳ Thursday Fix: Beyond Saving?

⏳ Thursday Fix: Beyond Saving?

Morning all,

Is Boris really beyond saving? Is the Northern Ireland Protocol really beyond fixing? And is Russia really beyond the point of no return when it comes to Ukraine?

Until tomorrow,

Your Fixers


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There hasn't exactly been a huge number of Conservative MPs submitting letters of no confidence in Prime Minister Johnson, more a "slow and steady" stream.

According to The Guardian, seven Tories have publicly acknowledged they submitted letters. The Times put the number at 11, and reported "at least a further five" are "considering" doing the same.

Remember: 54 letter are required in order to trigger a confidence vote. The article in The Times makes for a very helpful read, particularly their explainer below - the most helpful summary of the vote of confidence process we have seen.

Meanwhile, in a fascinating piece for The New Statesman, Andrew Marr spells out why he believes Johnson's time is up, arguing the prime minister is "beyond saving".

Marr suggests it might be too early in Rishi Sunak's career to put his hat in the ring as Johnson's potential successor, but instead pointed to Jeremy Hunt who has been "discreet" in gathering support in the background.

Source: The New Statesman


A by-election is scheduled to take place today for the seat of Sir David Amess, the Conservative MP who was murdered in October.

The constituency, Southend West, has been held by Conservatives "since its creation in 1950".

Worth noting: As The Independent noted, the Conservatives are putting a barrister called Anna Firth forward for the seat. Both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats declined to put candidates forward.

Remember: Following the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016, opposition parties declined to put candidates forward in that by-election.


In Northern Ireland, the DUP's Edwin Poots ordered post-Brexit checks on goods arriving in from Britain to be stopped from midnight.

Those critical of the move have described it as a "breach of international law". This is all about the Democratic Unionist Party's ongoing objections to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Okay, let's rewind: From the moment the Brexit negotiations began it was very clear Northern Ireland would be the most difficult aspect to figure out, as it shares the UK's only land border with the European Union, and thus a border with the single market.

Putting a border on the island of Ireland between the north and the republic was not an option, with many saying it would have undermined the peace brought in under the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. President Biden even weighed in, saying a trade deal with the UK was contingent on there being no border on the island of Ireland.

Okay, so then how could the EU ensure goods were checked before they arrived into the single market via the Republic of Ireland?

In the end, the UK government agreed with the European Union on a "Northern Ireland Protocol". This meant goods going from Britain to Northern Ireland would be checked before arrival. Unionists in Northern Ireland hate this arrangement, saying it effectively creates a border down The Irish Sea, separating them from the rest of the UK.

How has the British government reacted? So far, they seem to be indicating they will not interfere. According to BBC News, they have said the issue is a "matter for the Northern Ireland Executive".

Okay, what next? The UK's Brexit negotiator Liz Truss has a meeting scheduled for today with the European Commission's vice president, Maros Sefcovic.

Here is a really helpful article on this.


For weeks now, fears have been mounting that Russia is preparing some sort of an invasion of Ukraine.

Here is a look at the latest headlines;

  • The US announced 2,000 extra troops would be deployed to Poland and Germany - two NATO countries.
  • Another 1,000 troops based in Germany would be sent to Romania
  • Russia continues to deny plans to invade
  • BBC News had a very helpful map showing newly arrived Russian troops in Belarus, near the border with Ukraine and not too far north of its capital, Kiev
  • Prime Minister Johnson told President Putin an invasion of Ukraine would be a "tragic miscalculation"

Most helpful read today? You might need a subscription, but The Financial Times has a fascinating read - Russia's revamped military learns from failures of the past.

Below is an eye-opening chart comparing Russia and Ukraine's militaries.

New here? Read our recent explainer about all of this: All eyes on Ukraine - is Russia going to invade?

Source: The Financial Times


Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN worldwide, made the surprise announcement of his resignation to staff on Wednesday.

Why resign? In an email to staff, Zucker acknowledged he had not disclosed a relationship with a senior colleague at CNN. Media reports now suggest it was an "open secret" at the network.

Worth noting: The news made headlines around the world, but rumours about Zucker also wanting to leave the role - one he has had since 2013 - had swirled since last year.

The ripple effect: Andrew Cuomo was the Governor of New York. He eventually resigned last year - in a stunning fall from grace - after facing multiple accusations of sexual assault and harassment. As a result, his brother Chris Cuomo - a primetime CNN anchor at the time - was subsequently investigated for the role he played in helping his brother fight the accusations. He was ultimately fired from CNN. Anyway, Zucker's undisclosed relationship emerged during the network's investigation into Chris Cuomo.


New Zealand has announced its plans to reopen the country after effectively closing its borders amid the pandemic.

Okay, what's the timeline? Vaccinated citizens based in Australia will be able to return from 27 February. Those based elsewhere can do so from March 13. They will all still be obliged to isolate for ten days upon arrival.

Remember: Throughout the pandemic, New Zealand has had one of the strictest border rules. To date, they have recorded 17,007 cases, and 53 deaths.



Look, no hands.