Partygate: Johnson faces no further action as police investigation winds down
Boris Johnson is among dozens of Downing Street figures who have been warned they will be named in Sue Gray’s long-awaited report into the Partygate scandal.
Letters were reportedly sent by Ms Gray’s team on Friday to around 30 people, although they were not told the findings of the report which is due to be published in full next week.
The Prime Minister today refused to apologize for mass gatherings in Downing Street during the lockdown after the Metropolitan Police said their investigation into the events resulted in a total of 126 fines.
Appearing in public for the first time since the Metropolitan Police concluded their investigation into the events, Mr Johnson did not directly respond when asked if he would apologize to the public for his behavior and that of his employees.
Instead, he replied, “I’m very grateful to the Met for their work, I’m grateful for everything they’ve done.”
Nicola Sturgeon tests positive for Covid
Nicola Sturgeon has announced that she has tested positive for Covid-19.
The Scottish First Minister said she hoped to be “back later next week”.
Scotland no longer has Covid restrictions in place, but the government is advising adults to follow NHS guidelines to stay at home for five days after testing positive.
Ms Sturgeon today met Michelle O’Neill, Vice President of Sinn Fein and leader of the party in Northern Ireland.
Liam JamesMay 20, 2022 7:58 p.m.
Partygate: junior employees “think they bear the responsibility” of their elders
The Metropolitan Police’s reluctance to reveal the names of those fined in the Partygate inquiry is ‘causing some consternation in Whitehall’, according to Times Radiopolitical correspondent of.
The Met announced yesterday that it had issued 126 fines for law-breaking gatherings in Downing Street during the lockdown, but declined to name who had been fined.
Charlotte Ivers, political correspondent for Times Radiosaid: ‘We have not seen the full details of those convicted by the Metropolitan Police, but it is causing some consternation in Whitehall.
“There is a feeling that juniors are forced to take responsibility for their senior counterparts.”
Liam JamesMay 20, 2022 7:46 p.m.
Boris Johnson among ‘dozens’ at No 10 named in Sue Gray report
Boris Johnson is among dozens of Downing Street figures who have been warned they will be named in Sue Gray’s long-awaited report into the Partygate scandal (Andre Bécasse writing).
The individuals were given a Sunday evening deadline to challenge the Whitehall Mandarin’s account of their involvement, with sources close to the investigation team saying any serious objections could delay publication beyond the date originally planned next week.
Letters were said to have been sent by Ms Gray’s team on Friday to around 30 people, most of whom are expected to be named in the report, but also others who are asked to confirm they accept the account of the incidents in which they were involved.
But they are not told what conclusions Ms Gray has reached in the crucial section of the document, in which she is expected to give her verdict on lapses in leadership and judgment, as well as the drinking culture in Downing Street.
Liam JamesMay 20, 2022 7:37 p.m.
Opinion: Is there anything the Conservative Cabinet won’t try to have a culture war over?
Minister of Labor Jess Phillips argues that people are beginning to see through the conservative “divide and conquer” approach:
Liam JamesMay 20, 2022 7:30 p.m.
Government Covid figures no longer UK-wide
The official government Covid-19 dashboard will no longer include daily case and death figures for the whole of the UK from tomorrow.
Northern Ireland is the first UK country to stop reporting figures, last doing so on Friday.
Northern Ireland’s Department of Health said the data “no longer provides a full indication of community prevalence”.
Changes to “testing policy and behavior” made the numbers “less useful for tracking progress and the response to the pandemic”, he added.
Data on Covid-19 cases and deaths in England, Wales and Scotland will still be available on the coronavirus dashboard, the UK Health Security Agency has said.
Liam JamesMay 20, 2022 7:21 p.m.
NI Protocol Fix Must Be “Fundamental”, Says DUP Maintainer
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says he told Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin he was not interested in a ‘sticky plaster’ approach to resolving issues with Northern Ireland’s protocol .
Mr Martin is in Belfast to meet party leaders amid the current standoff in Stormont over post-Brexit trade deals.
The DUP, the region’s main unionist party, is currently blocking a return to power-sharing in Stormont in protest at the protocol, which has created economic barriers to trade between Britain and Northern Ireland.
Following his meeting with Mr Martin, Sir Jeffrey said: “We have made it very clear to him the problems with the protocol, the harm it is doing to Northern Ireland and that we need a solution, we need decisive action to solve these problems.
“We are not interested in a sticky plaster or tinkering around the edges approach, this needs to be a fundamental change that respects Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market and nothing less than that won’t be enough.”
The UK government this week presented its controversial plan to act unilaterally to scrap parts of the protocol.
Liam JamesMay 20, 2022 7:12 p.m.
Channel 4 asks Nadine Dorries for evidence to back up her claim reality TV was rigged
Channel 4 is asking Nadine Dorries to provide evidence to support her claim that a TV production company faked a reality show she aired, in which she starred (Andre Bécasse writing).
The Culture Secretary – who has unveiled controversial plans to privatize Channel 4 – told a parliamentary committee she had discovered actors had been hired to play poor people in a housing estate.
But Channel 4 said today it had not received any previous allegations about contributors to the show, Tower of the Commonswhich aired in 2010, while the independent company that created the show, Love Productions, said it believed Ms Dorries’ claims were “baseless”.
Liam JamesMay 20, 2022 7:03 p.m.
Joe Biden’s ally aims to ‘convince’ UK to drop NI protocol plan
US President Joe Biden’s close ally has said he will try to “convince” Boris Johnson’s government to drop plans to override the Northern Ireland protocol at talks in London (Adam Forest writing).
Congressman Richard Neal, who is leading a US delegation to Europe for a series of meetings in the coming week, said he would urge UK ministers to oppose any unilateral “breach” of the Brexit treaty.
It follows a warning from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said the US Congress would not agree to any trade deal if Britain plunged into a plan to “reject” the protocol.
Ms Neal is expected to repeat the message to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan in talks on Saturday.
Liam JamesMay 20, 2022 6:55 p.m.
Brexit has laid bare the UK’s ‘democratic deficit’ – Sturgeon
Brexit has underlined a “democratic deficit” in the UK, the Scottish First Minister said as she met Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O’Neill in Edinburgh.
The two leaders discussed issues surrounding Brexit and the ongoing row over the Northern Ireland Protocol – after the government in Westminster this week announced plans to unilaterally change the terms of the deal.
Ms Sturgeon said the government risked a trade war between the UK and the EU which would have “significant and very serious impacts” on businesses and standards of living in Scotland.
She added that the Brexit process had “highlighted very fundamental questions” about the system of governance in the UK.
“Scotland, even Northern Ireland – we both voted against Brexit, but we are both facing very negative consequences of Brexit,” Ms Sturgeon said.
Liam JamesMay 20, 2022 6:43 p.m.
Lib Dem leader rules out Labor by-election pact
The Lib Dem leader insisted there were ‘no pacts’ with Labor to defeat the Tories in the next two by-elections to replace MPs who quit in disgrace.
The Conservative Party has officially launched contests to replace two of its members – in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and Tiverton and Honiton, Devon.
Asked if any arrangements had been made with Labor to help secure either contest, Sir Ed Davey said: ‘There are no pacts or agreements or now or in the future.”
His deputy, Daisy Cooper, had previously refused to rule out a pact.
Sir Keir Starmer has also ruled out making a pact with the Lib Dems although last week Andy Burnham, Manchester Labor seen as a credible successor to Sir Keir, accepted that the two sides were closely aligned on many issues and said there might be a time when “adult conversations” were needed about cooperation.
Liam JamesMay 20, 2022 6:30 p.m.