London party

London politics latest: Sue Gray’s ‘partygate’ report unlikely to come out today as MPs head home

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It seems unlikely that Sue Gray’s report on the Downing Street parties will be released on Wednesday as the House of Commons packs its bags for the day.

Earlier Boris Johnson said he ‘cannot comment’ during a row over whether he misled Parliament as Scotland Yard continues to investigate ‘gross’ breaches of the rules. lockout rules.

Mr Johnson faced a confrontation with Sir Keir Starmer during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday – hours before a report into the ‘Partygate’ scandal was published.

In a discussion with the Labor leader, the Prime Minister agreed the Cabinet Code applied to him, but declined to comment on the party’s Downing Street inquiry.

Meanwhile, former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said Tory MPs would decide in the “coming days” whether Boris Johnson should remain prime minister. He described the series of “parties” in Downing Street as “appalling”.

Mr Duncan Smith also stressed that there should have been ‘serious leadership from all concerned’ to prevent such a culture from developing in No 10 when Britain was in lockdown or under other Covid restrictions.

Live updates

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Rees Mogg: PM can speak on Gray report on Thursday or Friday

Jacob Rees-Mogg said Boris Johnson would be able to make his statement to Parliament on the Gray report on Thursday or Friday if the Prime Minister had received it.

The Commons Leader told BBC News: ‘The House will sit tomorrow from 9.30am, it will be possible to have a statement tomorrow and in fact Friday is a sitting Friday so that the business of the House continues and that an important statement of this type can come to the House with considerable flexibility.

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Wait for the report to “move to another day”

The adjournment means Sue Gray’s report is unlikely to be published today, according to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, who said that unless something unusual happens, the wait “turns into another day”.

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The House adjourned for the day and will therefore not be able to debate the Sue Gray report until tomorrow at the earliest

The House of Commons has adjourned for the day, meaning any consideration of the Sue Gray report in the House will have to wait until Thursday at the earliest.

The adjournment proceedings ended at 4:40 p.m., nearly three hours earlier than scheduled.

The Commons resume Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

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Boris ‘needs to change his mind but should continue to run the country’, says Tory MP

Tory MP for Bolton North East Mark Logan said Boris Johnson needed to have a ‘change of heart’ but should continue to lead the country.

Mr Logan told Sky News: “There has to be a huge change. There has to be a change of heart with the Prime Minister, there has to be a change of approach and a complete change of the infrastructure around of the prime minister.

“But I believe if he digs – and when he digs deep – it’s that we can bring about that change and we can overcome what has been a difficult few weeks for the government and for the country.”

Mr Logan, who met Mr Johnson on Tuesday and spoke to him again on Wednesday, said the Prime Minister had ‘genuine contrition’ and was ‘really sorry about what happened, you know, for the mistakes that were made.” .

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UK reports over 100,000 daily Covid cases

The UK reported 102,292 Covid cases and 346 deaths on Wednesday, according to the latest daily figures.

The rise in infections represents an 8% jump from Tuesday’s figure and brings the total to 16,149,319.

Meanwhile, the rising death toll brings the total to 154,702.

Infections are down 5% in a week and 21% in a fortnight – although deaths are up a third from last Wednesday’s figure.

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The DfT will launch a major campaign to raise awareness of the changes in the rules of the road

The Department for Transport (DfT) is to launch a major awareness campaign to alert motorists to changes to the road code.

The DfT said its road safety offshoot Think! would launch a £500,000 communications campaign in February to ensure ‘road users across the country understand their responsibilities’.

The Highway Code, which contains advice and rules for people on UK roads, is due to be updated from this weekend to provide more protection for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. pedestrians.

The advertising campaign will run on radio and social media channels, with further activities later in the summer.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “I am proud to say that we have some of the safest roads in the world, but I am determined to make them even safer for everyone.

“These updates to the rules of the road will do just that by bringing the rules into the 21st century, encouraging people to respect and consider the needs of those around them and ensuring that all road users of the road know the rules of the road.”

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PM accused of ‘body shaming’ over cake comment

Boris Johnson has been accused of ‘body shaming’ SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, writes Michael Howie.

In an exchange during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Boris Johnson appeared to allude to Mr Blackford’s weight.

While urging Mr Johnson to step down over the party scandal, Mr Blackford said: ‘The impending National Insurance tax hike hangs like a guillotine while they eat cake.’

In response, the Prime Minister said: “I don’t know… who ate the most cake.

Reacting to the comments, Mr Blackford’s deputy, Kirsten Oswald, said: ‘Whether it’s his shameful jokes, his racism, his homophobia or his broader misconduct in public office, Mr. Johnson is giving people another telling glimpse into his heinous character.

“The Prime Minister’s often offensive remarks will have a detrimental impact on many young people and must be exposed.

Our full story here.

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Wallace: At no time did the Prime Minister order me to evacuate the pets from Pen Farthing

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said “at no time” did Boris Johnon ask him “to evacuate Pen Farthing, his staff or his pets” from Afghanistan.

In a statement, Mr Wallace said: “I have seen the email reports regarding Pen Farthing and the evacuation of pets.

“The evacuation of Kabul under Operation Pitting was carried out under my authority and provided by the British Army through the Chief of Joint Operations.

“At no time were he or I ordered by the Prime Minister to evacuate Pen Farthing, its staff or its pets.

“As I made clear at the time, we were not going to put pets before people and as the actions showed, Pen Farthing left last and its staff had to leave after the end. evacuation by other means.

“The evacuation was an operation led by the Ministry of Defence, supported by the processing of requests by the Ministry of Interior and the FCDO. The idea that a Minister of the Environment and his officials have any authority or responsibility in the conduct of the evacuation is ridiculous.

“I am, however, aware of the false claims made throughout by Nowzad which have caused considerable distress and distraction to those trying to save lives in very difficult circumstances.”

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Sunak denies ‘ignoring’ fraud concerns

Rishi Sunak has denied accusations that he is ‘ignoring’ billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money lost to fraudsters under Covid support schemes.

It comes after Treasury Secretary Lord Agnew radically quit government last week over the ‘schoolgirl’ handling of fraudulent business loans.

Mr Sunak, writing on Twitter, said: ‘Many people are worried about fraud in our Covid support measures and they are absolutely right to be.

“No, I don’t ignore it, and I certainly don’t forget it.”

He described the investments to fix the problem before adding: ‘The vast majority of people have done the right thing, but we are still dealing with incorrect claims.

“Last year we stopped or recovered nearly £2.2bn of potential bounceback loan fraud and £743m of overclaimed furlough grants.”

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Prime Minister says Tories are ‘neither racist nor Islamophobic’

The Conservative Party is neither racist nor Islamophobic, insisted Boris Johnson.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Labor MP Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow) claimed that “racism and Islamophobia” were part of the “character of this government”.

Boris Johnson replied: “She talks about racism and Islamophobia. Look at this government.

Mr Johnson highlighted his top team, including Home Secretary Priti Patel and Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

He added: ‘If you look at the modern Conservative Party, we are the party of hope and opportunity for people, regardless of race or religion, and we don’t care what religion you affirm, whatever we are interested in whether you are invested in ideas of aspiration and opportunity.