‘I really do not know’: MP Thérèse Coffey unaware of when Sue Gray report will be published
Rebel Tory MPs are expressing concerns that delays to Sue Gray’s partygate report may give the prime minister time to spin the findings in his favor.
One told The Independent: “If they have it in their hands for three days before Boris has to make his statement to the House, there’s no doubt it’ll leak like a sieve and there’ll be an effort to control the narrative and suggest he’s in the clear . ”
It comes as No 10 this afternoon announced they still haven’t been sent the hotly anticipated report.
“It remains our intention to publish swiftly as possible once we receive the findings, and as you know the PM has committed to providing a statement in the House to respond to those findings,” the prime minister’s spokesperson said.
“It’s always been the case we will aim to publish as swiftly as possible, we would obviously need to speak to the Speaker.
“We’re delving into hypotheticals… our intention would be to publish as quickly as possible.”
‘There wasn’t actually a cake’
Boris Johnson has insisted he could not have been “ambushed with cake” at a birthday party in Downing Street, reportedly telling allies there was no cake present at the time.
Earlier this week, it was reported Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie organized a surprise gathering for his birthday on June 19 with more than 30 people there.
Tory MP Colin Burns went on to defend Mr Johnson, telling Channel 4 News in comments he was later ridiculed for on social media: “As far as I can see, he was in a sense, ambushed with a cake. It was not a premeditated, organized party. ”
But in the latest development in the Partygate saga, the close ally to the prime minister has now suggested there was not a cake after all.
Mr Burns told The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast: “I’m told under some authority indeed from him that there actually wasn’t a cake.”
Katy Clifton27 January 2022 21:49
Watch: Liz Truss says government gets ‘value for money’ with flights
Foreign secretary Liz Truss has defended chartering a private jet to Australia after The Independent reported that the trip’s flights would have cost taxpayers around £ 500.00, writes Adam Forrest.
Truss said the private government plane was available “precisely so that government ministers can travel”.
Pressed on whether it would have been better to have used commercial flights instead, the minister said: “Every government decision is based on value for money.” We have a government plane specifically so ministers, like me in my role as foreign secretary, can go and do the work overseas, which is ultimately delivering for the British people. ”
Liz Truss calls £ 500,000 Australia trip made on government plane ‘good use’ of public money
Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 20:45
‘There was not actually cake’ at PM’s lockdown birthday party, claims close Tory ally
Suggestions the prime minister may have been “ambushed” with cake at his lockdown-breaking birthday party have been opposed by one of his close allies – who has instead alleged there was no cake present.
NI Minister Conor Burns told The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics Podcast: “I’m told under some authority indeed from him that there actually was not a cake.”
He said: “I must be the first government minister in history who stands accused of cake-ism without an actual cake.”
Mr Burns then went on to describe the No 10 gathering as “a meeting.”
His comment made to Channel 4 News that Mr Johnson was instead subjected to a “cake ambush” – since met with ridicule on social media – was “not part of a strategy” to defend the PM, he said. “That was definitely a lone operation, for which I have paid a price,” he added.
A colleague said to me this morning: ‘You do realize, Conor, that’s going to be in your obituary. That will stay with me for some time. ‘
“But listen, when you make a bit of an a— of yourself, the key is to own it and not to be pompous about it.”
Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 20:20
Partygate ‘twist’ expected this evening, says The Telegraph’s political editor
Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 19:51
Rebels fear delays to partygate report will give Boris Johnson time to spin it in his favor
Rebel Tory MPs are voicing concern that delays to Sue Gray’s crucial report on Downing Street parties may give Boris Johnson the chance to spin her findings in his favor.
They are worried that if she hands her report to No 10 on Friday – when Parliament is all but deserted as MPs visit their constituencies – the PM could delay publication to Monday while allies use the intervening time to plant stories in the weekend press putting the best possible gloss on its contents.
One told our political editor, Andrew Woodcock: “If they have it in their hands for three days before Boris has to make his statement to the House, there’s no doubt it’ll leak like a sieve and there’ll be an effort to control the narrative and suggest he’s in the clear . ”
Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 19:45
Nadhim Zahawi ‘instrumental’ in securing controversial Greensill loans, says steel magnate
Steel magnate Sanjeev Gupta wrote to senior minister Nadhim Zahawi to thank him for his “instrumental” role in helping secure controversial loans from Greensill Capital, newly-published details have revealed.
The Gupta Family Group Alliance (GFG) obtained the emergency, government-backed Covid loans during from Greensill – the failed finance firm at the center of a political scandal about David Cameron’s lobbying activities.
In October 2020 Mr Gupta sent a letter to Mr Zahawi, who was then a minister in the business department, to thank him for his “support” in obtaining the Greensill loans through the British Business Bank, according to a report in the Financial Times.
Adam Forrest has the story:
Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 19:30
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says £ 500,000 Australia trip was made on ‘government plane’
Following on from Simon Calder’s exclusive, which found the foreign secretary flew by private jet to Australia at a cost of over half a million pounds to the taxpayer, Liz Truss has responded saying she used a government plane to take the trip, which she judged was a “good use” of public funds.
Ms Truss has said the government has a plane “precisely so that ministers can travel” after facing criticism for chartering a jet for her trip to Australia.
“I used the government plane – that’s why we have a government plane: to enable government ministers to conduct government business, and that’s what I flew to Australia in,” she told broadcasters.
Asked whether she deemed its deployment a “good use” of public money, she replied: “We have a government plane precisely so that government ministers can travel.”
Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 19:06
Boris Johnson should sack ‘woke crowd’ and ‘neo-socialists’ at No 10, says Lord Frost
Boris Johnson should clear out the “woke crowd” and “neo-socialists” at No 10 if he wants to cling on to power, ex-Brexit minister David Frost has said.
In a stinging attack on the prime minister, the Tory peer said “significant” changes were needed in policies and personnel at Downing Street.
Mr Johnson is fighting to save his premiership as Tory MPs wait for the findings of Sue Gray’s inquiry into lockdown-busting parties before deciding whether to send letters of no-confidence.
Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 18:45
Met records decreases in ten specific crime groups in London, but increase in sexual offense reporting
The Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) crime figures published today show the 12 month rolling stats to September 2021 have recorded decreases in a number of crime groups including, theft, burglary and robbery.
According to data compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), homicides have decreased by 13 per cent, knife crime by 32 per cent, knife crime with injury by 20 per cent, knife injury by 27 per cent, gun crime by 35 per cent and lethal barrel discharges at 21 per cent.
Other crime groups which have seen rates drop off are personal robbery by 44 per cent, personal robbery knife with injury by 34 per cent, burglary by 18.1 per cent, vehicle offenses by 13.3 per cent and theft from person by 10.5 per cent
However, they also show a 15.6 per cent increase in sexual offense reporting in London.
Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 18:25
DUP minister will act to halt Brexit port checks, First Minister says
Paul Givan said his party colleague Edwin Poots will order a stop to the controversial checks after a failed bid to secure the wider approval of the Stormont Executive to continue them.
The anticipated move by the Agriculture Minister has been branded a stunt by other parties on the Executive, which insists Mr Poots does not have the authority to prevent checks required under the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, an international treaty.
Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 17:45