Rishi Sunak says he will give his £400 energy rebate to charity
The Cabinet Office has appeared to reject claims that Sue Gray’s Partygate report was tampered with prior to publication, with details of an alleged party at Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat supposedly removed.
Senior members of Mr Johnson’s team are also alleged to have put pressure on the civil servant to remove certain details and names from her report into coronavirus rule-breaking, according to the Sunday Times, which quoted a source as saying that “the entire machine fought her” once she made clear an intention to publish emails and WhatsApp messages.
But the Cabinet Office insisted on Sunday that Ms Gray’s report “was impartially conducted and its contents represent the findings and conclusions of the investigation team alone”.
Earlier, a No 10 source had denied the allegations, saying: “It is untrue that anyone on the political side saw anything in advance or sought to influence it.”
The claims come as the prime minister fends off increasing pressure over the report, with 24 of his own MPs now publicly calling for his resignation.
Johnson looking to appease Tories as no confidence threat looms
Prime minister Boris Johnson is reportedly looking for ways to appease possible Conservative rebels as the Partygate affair threatened to reignite over new rule-breaking claims.
More Tories in recent days have publicly announced they want a confidence vote in the future of Mr Johnson’s leadership in response to his handling of the revelations about No 10 lockdown parties.
The number to have confirmed they have submitted a letter of no confidence has almost reached half the amount needed to trigger a vote, although the actual figure could be higher given MPs do not have to declare if they have handed in a letter.
Stuti Mishra30 May 2022 04:26
Partygate fallout piles pressure on Johnson
Our front page looks at the renewed pressure facing Boris Johnson over Partygate:
Rory Sullivan30 May 2022 03:00
Millions of Britons could face power cuts in winter, warn ministers
Six million households in the UK could face power cuts later this year as a result of the Ukraine war, ministers have warned.
Under the government’s “reasonable” worst-case scenario, there could be widespread blackouts if Russia decides to reduce its energy supplies to the EU, according to the Times.
Rory Sullivan30 May 2022 02:00
Government opens new visa scheme to attract overseas graduates
The government has launched a new visa scheme to attract graduates from the top 50 non-British universities to live in the UK.
Ministers said the “high potential individual” route, which opens on Monday 30 May, will allow the “brightest and best” to work in Britain.
Applicants can receive a two-year work visa for most degrees and a three-year one for those doing PhDs.
Rory Sullivan30 May 2022 00:45
Britons face more holiday chaos as Tory cuts could see 8,000 fewer passports processed every day
Government staffing cuts could lead to a significant reduction in the number of passports being processed, jeopardising Britons’ holiday plans, Labour has said.
The opposition party’s warning comes as complaints mount about the current passport-processing backlog.
Rory Sullivan29 May 2022 23:50
Inquiry into Boris Johnson statements on Partygate on course to coincide with Tory party conference
An inquiry into whether Boris Johnson misled parliament over Partygate is likely to coincide with a Tory party conference, according to reports.
The House of Commons inquiry could fall either side of the autumn Tory conference at the start of October. This would mean that findings could either disrupt the preparations for the conference, or dominate coverage when it runs, The Observer reported.
The inquiry is expected to look at whether Mr Johnson misled the Commons when he was asked about a leaving do at Downing Street on 13 November 2020.
He was asked if a party took place on that date and replied: “No, but I am sure that whatever happened, the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times.”
Holly Bancroft29 May 2022 22:56
Labour demands PM ‘comes clean’ over fresh allegations of second flat gathering
Labour has demanded that the Prime Minister account for his “whereabouts” on his 56th birthday after reports emerged that he might have attended a second “potentially illegal” gathering that day.
Boris Johnson was handed a fine by the Metropolitan Police for attending his own surprise birthday bash in Downing Street on June 19 2020 when indoor mixing was forbidden.
In her report published last week, senior civil servant Sue Gray provided details of the event, with sandwiches, cakes and alcohol available for those who attended, including Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak who were also given a £50 fixed-penalty notice each.
According to The Sunday Times, there is possible evidence of a second gathering taking place a few hours after the Cabinet room party, with Mrs Johnson said to have been in the Downing Street flat with “several friends”.
Holly Bancroft29 May 2022 22:10
More than 120,000 of Britain’s poorest families set to miss out on help due to benefits cap
Tens of thousands of Britain’s poorest families stand to miss out on a huge boost to their incomes next year in Rishi Sunak’s £15bn package to ease the cost of living crisis thanks to the benefits cap.
Benefits payments are set to soar by as much as 10 per cent from April, the chancellor has confirmed, but more than 120,000 households will lose out unless ministers raise the cap on how much they can receive from the state.
Experts warned that unless the government acts, more families, many of whom have children under five, will hit the ceiling on payments.
Carl Emmerson, the deputy director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), said that if ministers planned to make benefits more generous, to keep up with spiralling inflation, “the benefit cap should almost certainly increase to reflect that”.
Holly Bancroft29 May 2022 21:21
Boris Johnson faces new questions over Partygate scandal amid drip-feed of resignation calls
Boris Johnson is facing renewed pressure over the Partygate scandal amid suggestions of a second gathering in the No 10 flat and a drip-feed of Tory MPs calling for his resignation.
On Sunday, the Cabinet Office was forced to issue a statement denying that senior figures had been able to edit or influence the 37-page document that was published on Wednesday.
A spokesperson stressed that Ms Gray’s long-awaited report had been “impartially conducted”, and that its contents “represent the findings and conclusions of the investigation team alone”.
Holly Bancroft29 May 2022 20:45
Labour demands publication of messages suggesting second No 10 flat gathering
Labour’s Angela Rayner has demanded an investigation into text messages suggesting a second gathering took place in the No 10 flat on Boris Johnson’s birthday.
According to The Sunday Times, messages sent by the prime minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, appear to show that she was in the flat with several friends on the evening of 19 June, 2020.
The alleged event is not mentioned in the senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report into lockdown-busting events that was published on Wednesday following the conclusion of the Metropolitan Police investigation.
It is also separate to a birthday celebration held for Mr Johnson in the Cabinet Room earlier the same day — an event which the couple have both been issued with fixed penalty notices for.
Under Covid regulations, indoor socialising was banned, but exemptions were available for work purposes.
Read the full story from Ashley Cowburn here:
Holly Bancroft29 May 2022 20:04