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London political news LIVE: Fifth Downing Street aide resigns amid Partygate fallout

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Energy bills could rise further later in the year, regulator warns

Energy bills could rise further over the next six months after regulator Ofgem gave itself the power to make more changes to the price cap.

In a letter to suppliers, the watchdog said changes to the price cap on invoices, including the ability to change it more than twice a year, would reduce risks for suppliers.

On Thursday it was revealed that most households’ bills will rise from April when the price cap is raised by £693.

Ofgem’s letter said: “The changes introduced in cap period eight will benefit customers by reducing systemic risk to suppliers.”

The most likely option, preferred by Ofgem, is for the price cap to be changed once every three months, rather than the current twice a year, according to reports.

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Bank of England boss calls for wage moderation amid inflation fears

The Governor of the Bank of England has warned that inflation may not return to normal levels for two years and wage cuts are to be expected.

Andrew Bailey told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It will be a difficult time ahead, I freely admit, because we are all already seeing and we are going to see a reduction in real income.

“Based on what we’re seeing today, I would expect that, so we’re going to start to come out of that in 2023, and in two years we expect we’ll be back to a more stable situation – certainly inflation – to a more stable position.”

The Bank expects inflation to hit a whopping 7.25% in April – and Mr Bailey has urged businesses not to give staff huge pay rises to avoid an inflationary spiral.

He said: “I’m not saying don’t give yourself a pay rise. That’s about the size of [pay rises] …we need restraint.”

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Elena Narozanski, the prime minister’s special adviser on women and equality, has become the fifth adviser to resign in just 24 hours, according to reports.

Ms Narozanski, who previously advised Michael Gove and Theresa May, tendered her resignation on Friday, said Comservative Home which broke the news first.

She had been part of Political Unit No. 10, which also saw the resignation of Munira Mirza on Thursday. Mirza said she quit because of Mr Johnson’s Jimmy Savile jibe to Sir Keir Starmer in the PMQs.

Three other senior aides resigned on Thursday, Mr Johnson’s chief of staff, his director of communications and his principal private secretary.

Ms Narozanski had led sports policy in political unit No 10, according to reports.

Reports describe her as “highly appreciated” by the government and see her as key to the government’s response to the creation of the European Super League last year.

She is also said to have helped design grassroots support policies. Outside of work, she is an avid amateur boxer.

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Frustrated commuters will see improved service, minister promises

Train passengers who are fed up with emergency timetables will see “big improvements” in the next fortnight, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has promised.

Hundreds of daily services were cut in December and January following staff shortages caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

But despite falling virus cases, train times remain more than a fifth below pre-pandemic levels.

Mr Shapps said: “”In the next two weeks we should start to see big improvements.

“Of course, we’re timing this alongside the fact that not everyone is back to work yet, but we’re starting to see big increases in the number of people traveling.”

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Government ‘must do more to support poorer families with bills’

The government must do more to support poorer households during the cost of living crisis, the head of a major energy poverty charity has warned.

National Energy Action chief executive Adam Scorer told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that while the support unveiled in the government’s £9billion package had merits, it was not doing enough to support the poorest households.

“He (the government) should have gone hard and deep and then provided the support for the people who are going to be hit hardest by these price rises. £350 is going to be hugely welcomed by everyone and that has a lot of merit, ” he said.

“But if you take the rise in October and the rise that comes in April, those on the lowest incomes will still face a £500 price rise over the year. So unfortunately that was totally insufficient . And they’ll have to come back to that.”

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Boris Johnson ‘must improve’ or be forced out of office – Merriman

Tory MP Huw Merriman has said Boris Johnson must improve or leave Downing Street for good.

In what appeared to be a slightly confused warning to the Prime Minister, he said: “I am deeply troubled by what is happening.

“We all know that if the Prime Minister doesn’t ship then they have to adapt. [sic]and that is exactly what happened when this Prime Minister took office.

“We know how it works. I am sure the Prime Minister will now focus on the work at hand, on policy and on restoring public trust. »

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Rishi Sunak ‘has the right to distance himself from Boris Johnson’s Savile comment’

A prominent Tory MP has backed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision to distance himself from Boris Johnson’s comments about disgraced artist Jimmy Savile and said he was ‘deeply troubled by what is happening’.

Huw Merriman, Tory chairman of the Transport Select Committee, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘The Chancellor was right to say those were not the words he would use and I absolutely agree with that .”

He said his Tory constituents were “really upset and truly saddened” by the events in Downing Street after ‘Partygate’.

Mr Merriman said: ‘I want to get that trust back because it hurts me, I’m their MP, and if something isn’t done about that it gets back to me, so I’m sorry.’

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No 10 resignations, Boris Johnson “takes control”, says the minister

A string of resignations from senior Downing Street aides is Boris Johnson “taking charge”, a government minister has insisted.

Energy Minister Greg Hands said the Prime Minister had promised staff changes to No 10 in his response to the publication of Sue Gray’s report on the lockdown parties in Whitehall on Monday.

“Resignations have been made, resignations have been accepted,” Mr Hands told Sky News.

“The Prime Minister was absolutely clear on Monday that there would be changes at the top of No10 and that is what he delivered.

“The update to Sue Gray’s report says there have been lapses at the top of the operation. It’s the Prime Minister who is taking charge.

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Sunak: Factors driving up energy bills ‘outside government’s control’

Rishi Sunak attributed the record rise in energy prices to higher world prices from China and Britain’s “colder than usual” winter.

The Chancellor said the financial pressure on households in the coming months could not be underestimated.

Writing in The Sun on Friday, Mr Sunak said the factors behind the dramatic rise in energy prices were beyond the government’s control.

He wrote: “One (factor) is the surge in gas demand in places like China, which has driven up global prices.

“Another is the fact that we had a colder winter than usual, so we used more of our own gas reserves here at home.”

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Hello and welcome to the Evening Standard’s live blog of all the political developments throughout the day.

Some of the best stories from this morning are:

– Four senior aides to Boris Johnson quit last night, dealing another blow to the Prime Minister amid ongoing Partygate fallout

– The Conservatives took the Southend West seat after a by-election following the murder of former MP Sir David Amess. Other traditional parties had withdrawn from the contest

– Rishi Sunak has warned that households may have to prepare for even higher energy bills in the autumn, with bills already rising by almost £700 a year to millions from April. The government has unveiled a £9billion package in a bid to tackle the cost of living crisis.

– Mr Sunak also told reporters he ‘wouldn’t have said’ Boris Johnson’s Jimmy Savile jibe to Sir Keir Starmer, which caused a backlash