Boris Johnson – live: PM accused of changing ministerial code ‘to save his own skin’

Rishi Sunak says he will give his £400 energy rebate to charity

Boris Johnson has been accused of watering down the rules on ministerial behaviour to ‘save his own skin’.

A new government policy statement issued said ministers who are found to have breached the Ministerial Code will no longer be automatically expected to resign or face the sack.

The chair of the House of Commons standards committee Chris Bryant criticised the move, claiming it took the country into ‘banana republic territory’.

It comes as veteran Tory MP Sir Bob Neill called for prime minister to quit in the wake of Sue Gray’s report into Partygate.

In a statement posted to his website, Sir Bob said that as those the “set the rules”, politicians have a “particular responsibility to stick to them ourselves.”

Elsewhere, chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new tax relief on investment in oil and gas extraction in the UK will cost the taxpayer around £1.9 billion a year, it is claimed.

The tax relief. that has been widely criticised by green groups, opposition politicians and even oil executives also risks short-changing the taxpayer further down the road, according to estimates from think tank the New Economics Foundation (NEF).


Porn, parties, petrol prices: True blue Tories consider Lib Dem switch in Tiverton and Honiton by-election

It was the afternoon of the Sue Gray report and, stood under the historic Tiverton Clock Tower, life-long Tories Andrew and Heather Barlow had already decided how they would vote in next month’s by-election here.

This was, he made clear, not a decision taken lightly.

The couple, both retired teachers, had gone blue at almost every election since they turned 18. As a student, Mr Barlow had been a member of the Oxford University Conservative Association. He once had dreams of being a politician – until Mrs Barlow told him that she had no dreams of being a politician’s wife.

Yet this near lifelong loyalty will be broken after the prime minister refused to resign over revelations he broke coronavirus lockdown rules by attending boozy Downing Street parties.

For more on Colin Drury’s look at the by-election, click here.

Sam Rkaina28 May 2022 11:45


Tory MP Steve Brine submits letter of no confidence

Tory MP Steve Brine has confirmed he has submitted a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

In a statement on his website, Mr Brine said: “There is no question in my mind, the events collectively known as ‘party-gate’, have created a sense of great disappointment and mistrust in our Government and the Conservative Party. This is neither sustainable for the country or fair on good people (including MPs) just doing their job.

“For me also, new revelations in the Sue Gray report that staff and cleaners were not treated properly is deeply disappointing and speaks to a culture inside Downing Street which I find distasteful to put it mildly. It was right for the Prime Minister to apologise to them and I note a number of reforms that Sue Gray has welcomed in her final report. Yes, all the senior management at No.10 have changed since these events – except the PM – and that’s a problem.

“There is of course a bigger picture here about leadership, honesty and decency. Not whether this Prime Minister can get away with it, but whether he should.

“I said some time ago, I thought it was inevitable the Prime Minister would face a vote of confidence among Conservative MPs (it was widely reported) and I haven’t changed my view. All I can do as a backbencher is seek to trigger that process and (some time ago actually) I have done that.”

Steve Brine said he had submitted a no confidence letter ‘some time ago’

(PA Media)

Sam Rkaina28 May 2022 11:12


Downing Street solely focused on keeping ‘monstrous ego’ Boris Johnson in power, says Rory Stewart

Rory Stewart has said the entire Downing Street operation is now focused solely on trying to keep “monstrous ego” Boris Johnson in power, as he warned about the erosion of trust in British politics and compared the current leadership to that of convicted fraudster and former Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

The former Conservative cabinet minister joined a chorus of voices criticising the prime minister and his No 10 team after the damning Sue Gray report laid bare the extent of the lockdown-breaking behaviour at the heart of government, writes Tom Batchelor.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 11:10


ICYMI – SNP leader calls PM a ‘charlatan’ in response to Johnson ripping up ministerial code

SNP leader Ian Blackford has branded Boris Johnson a “charlatan” after a new policy statement was announced yesterday which said ministers should not be expected to resign if they break the ministerial code.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 10:40


‘They look down on us like we’re the dirt we clean’: Protesters outside No 10 call for respect for cleaners

Cleaners delivered a stinging rebuke to Boris Johnson’s government at a Downing Street protest on Friday evening, accusing the cabinet of looking “down on us like we’re the dirt that we clean”.

Workers told The Independent that the problems with respect went beyond No 10 and raised issues relating to insecure, outsourced contracts and low pay.

My colleague Liam James has more details:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 10:10


Former cabinet minister says Tories ‘see themselves losing next election’

David Davis has said discontent was spreading across the Conservative ranks due to MPs fearing the controversy around the Downing Street lockdown parties could cost them their seats.

The former cabinet minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Nobody in the world could have made it plainer, I don’t think, that I want the Prime Minister to go – I haven’t changed my mind about that.”

Asked whether discontent was spreading in the Tory party, Mr Davis said: “There is no doubt about that, for two reasons.

“Number one, frankly they see their own seats disappearing in many cases, they see themselves losing the next election on the back of this.

“Also, it has a bad effect on the country … it is a distraction on everything you do and it doesn’t help the reputation of the country.”

The former Brexit secretary said party leadership trouble traditionally took a “long time” to be sorted out, pointing to the length of time Sir John Major and Theresa May stayed in No 10 despite experiencing backbench revolt.

He added: “I fear we’ll not resolve this until the latter part of the year.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 09:40


Attorney general says schools do not have to accommodate transgender pupils

Schools do not have to accommodate transgender pupils by addressing them by their prefered pronouns or allowing them to use gender-appropriate toilets, the attorney general has said.

In an interview with The Times, cabinet minister Suella Braverman said that schools are under no legal obligation to allow transgender children to wear their prefered school uniform.

She also criticised schools for their “unquestioning approach” to gender reassignment, saying they should take a “much firmer line” when it came to making provisions for transgender students.

My colleague Holly Bancroft reports:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 09:10


Conservatives would hold just three out of 88 battleground seats if election held now, poll suggests

In a major blow to the party, the prime minister’s own seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip would likely fall to Labour control, with current results suggesting a 5 point Labour lead over the Conservatives.

According to latest YouGov modelling, of the 88 seats which Boris Johnson’s party either won from Labour in 2019 or currently hold with a slim majority, the Tories would only manage to retain its control of Ashfield, Bassetlaw, and Dudley North, writes Emily Atkinson.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 08:40


Tory MP accuses PM of ‘misleading’ parliament

Boris Johnson has been accused of misleading Parliament by one of his own MPs as the number of Tories calling for him to resign over No 10 lockdown parties continues to grow.

Veteran Conservative Sir Bob Neill and 2019 entrant Alicia Kearns both voiced their dissatisfaction with the Prime Minister’s insistence that he had not broken coronavirus rules by attending leaving-dos for departing officials.

Sir Bob, a qualified barrister and chairman of the Commons Justice Committee, confirmed he had submitted a letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson’s premiership following the publication of Sue Gray’s report into Downing Street partying.

Ms Kearns said the senior civil servant’s inquiry demonstrated that Mr Johnson had been “complicit in the holding of many goodbye parties for his staff” which the backbencher said “displayed a complete disregard” for Covid restrictions in place at the time.

The Rutland and Melton MP said she had reached the conclusion that the “Prime Minister’s account of events to Parliament was misleading”.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 08:10


Rishi Sunak’s ‘obscene’ tax relief for fossil fuel firms will ‘cost taxpayer £1.9bn a year’

Rishi Sunak’s new tax relief on investment in oil and gas extraction in the UK will cost the taxpayer around £1.9 billion a year, it’s claimed.

Rishi Sunak’s latest idea has been met with criticism

(PA Wire)

Sam Rkaina28 May 2022 07:40


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