Boris Johnson ‘welcomes’ Met investigation as it will ‘provide the public the clarity it needs’
The highly-anticipated report into alleged lockdown-breaking parties at No. 10 is yet to be handed over to the prime minister, as Boris Johnson awaits another grueling PMQs.
Downing Street has said Mr Johnson wants to publish it – in full or in part – “as soon as possible”, meaning its potentially explosive findings may be known in the coming hours.
Reports suggested Sue Gray, who is leading the Cabinet Office investigation, was in possession of photographs showing parties in Downing Street, including images of the PM, alcohol bottles and people stood close together. Sky News said it understood the photos had been “handed over to investigators” by government “officials”.
Plans to bring the so-called partygate scandal to a swift conclusion this week were thrown into chaos on Tuesday after Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick announced that the force was launching its own inquiry into possible criminal offenses by government staff.
PM has ‘no behavioral compass whatsoever’, says Jack Straw
Jack Straw has said Boris Johnson has “no behavioral compass whatsoever”.
The former Labor foreign secretary claimed the prime minister “does not think rules are for him” and said previous PMs would have resigned “weeks ago”.
Tom Batchelor26 January 2022 09:37
‘Ambushed by Cake: it just has to be the title of my next book’ – Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson has responded to the claims that the prime minister was “ambushed by cake” during a birthday party at No 10, suggesting it made good title for her next book.
The celebrity chef tweeted: “Ambushed by Cake: it just has to be the title of my next book!”
Tom Batchelor26 January 2022 09:25
PM ‘so mired in scandal he’s not able to tackle cost-of-living crisis’, says Labor MP
Bridget Philipson, the shadow secretary of state for education, has called for Boris Johnson to resign following the Metropolitan Police’s confirmation that they will investigate allegations of lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street.
She told Sky News: “I think it’s now for senior Conservative politicians, for the Conservative Party, to think whether they really want to continue to put the country through this. It’s time the prime minister just did the decent thing and resigned.
“They’re so mired in scandal and are making excuses for what’s been going on, but they’re not in a position to tackle the cost-of-living crisis that families are facing.”
Tom Batchelor26 January 2022 09:14
‘Dozens’ still facing prosecution for historical Covid breaches
The Evening Standard‘s courts correspondent tweets that there are “dozens” of Londoners being prosecuted today for Covid-related incidents in December 2020 and January 2021:
Tom Batchelor26 January 2022 08:58
Tory MP urges Johnson to ‘respond and take responsibility’
Conservative MP for Harlow Robert Halfon said he would like to see the PM “respond and take responsibility” for his actions over parties in No 10.
Mr Halfon told Times Radio: “I do not need Sue Gray or the police to tell me or my constituents of Harlow that what’s gone on has been pretty awful. We all feel let down and disappointed.
“We’ve just been talking about education and what I’d say is, I call it the three Rs, I’d like to see the three Rs from the prime minister.
“How he’s going to respond to the anguish and upset from the public, how he’s going to take responsibility himself and his own staff and how he’s going to reset the Government. I will wait for the parliamentary statement. “
Tom Batchelor26 January 2022 08:44
Truss says nothing is ruled out when it comes to sanctions against Russia
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has warned Russia it would face “severe sanctions” in the event of an incursion into Ukraine.
She told Sky News: “We are already supplying support to Ukraine. We’re supplying defensive weapons. We’re providing economic support.
“We are urging Russia to desist from an incursion and we’re making it very clear that if they were to do that there would be severe economic cost to Russia – severe sanctions.”
On what these sanctions might look like, she said: “They would target individuals, they would target financial institutions and they would be co-ordinated with all of our allies across Europe, the United States and others.”
Asked if the Government would support individual sanctions against President Vladimir Putin, Ms Truss said she was not “ruling anything out”.
Tom Batchelor26 January 2022 08:37
PM warned about ‘jiggery-pokery’ with Gray report
The chairman of the Committee on Standards of Public Life has warned that Boris Johnson could attempt “jiggery-pokery” by publishing Sue Gray’s report just before PMQs to avoid being questioned on its findings.
Chris Bryant said the PM was likely intending to “manipulate Parliament” once the report was handed to No 10.
The Labor MP for Rhondda said the timing of the publication would determine whether or not the leader of the opposition could respond properly in the House of Commons.
Asked about possible delays to its publication, he told BBC R4’s Today program: “I have a suspicion that that may be that Sue Gray noted that the prime minister was intending to do a bit of jiggery-pokery by publishing the report at noon just as he stood up for Prime Minister’s Questions and expecting the leader of the opposition in Parliament to be able to respond.
“I’ve seen this too many times when governments just try to get far too clever and try to manipulate Parliament.
“Sue Gray should publish according to her own timetable. All of her reports should be published in full, both the finding and the workings, because they will be just as important for people to determine what happened and that should be published with plenty of time for Parliament to be able to read it, respond to it and go to the prime minister with it. ”
Tom Batchelor26 January 2022 08:26
Sue Gray report release ‘fairly imminent’, says Truss
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said Downing Street has not yet received the Sue Gray report, but told LBC its release was “fairly imminent”.
She also said “there clearly needs to be a change in culture” at Downing Street.
Asked if Mr Johnson should resign if he has broken the law or misled parliament, she told Sky News the PM “has apologized for what has happened” – urging people to wait for both the Gray report and police probe.
Ms Truss said she did not attend any alleged rule-breaking parties in Downing Street, nor was she invited. Asked on Sky News: “Did you go to any parties?”, She said: “I did not.” To the question: “Were you ever invited?”, She said: “No.”
Adam Forrest26 January 2022 08:18
Truss supports PM ‘100%’
Liz Truss has said she supports Boris Johnson “100 percent”.
Asked if Mr Johnson should resign if he has broken the law or misled Parliament, the foreign secretary told Sky News: “The Prime Minister has appeared before Parliament, he has apologized for what has happened.
“He’s admitted that mistakes were made and I 100 per cent support him, and want him to continue as prime minister.”
Ms Truss said she found out about the police investigation into partygate after Cabinet met on Tuesday.
She said: “I was aware yesterday there would be a police investigation. Personally, I was aware after Cabinet. ”
Asked if the PM should have told her before, she said: “The police are … operationally independent from the Government, so I think it’s right that the government finds out after the police have made that decision.”
Tom Batchelor26 January 2022 07:50
Liz Truss empty-chaired by GMB
Liz Truss is the minister put forward for this morning’s broadcast round.
She earlier conducted a slightly tetchy interview with Sky News’ Kay Burley, who was clearly frustrated at the foreign secretary’s apparent unwillingness to comment on the soon-to-be-published Sue Gray report.
However it appears Ms Truss has not turned up for her Good Morning Britain interview. The ITV show has decided to empty-chair the cabinet minister in response:
Tom Batchelor26 January 2022 07:34