The Prime Minister puts out Brexit and increases the impetus as the ‘partygate’ report approaches

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has lined up plans to take advantage of Brexit and is expected to move forward with the equalization agenda this week, awaiting the results of the much-anticipated “partygate” report.

Two years after Britain left the EU, the government has launched a new “Brexit Freedoms” bill as part of an effort it claims will “cut £ 1 billion in bureaucracy” for businesses.

The long-awaited Leveling Up White Paper is also expected to be published this week – although a policy followed over the weekend was heavily criticized by the opposition.

The announcements will be seen as an attempt by Mr Johnson to steer the narrative away from toxic “partygate” allegations that have dominated the news agenda in recent weeks.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will embark on a mission to restore confidence in his prime minister this week (Carl Recine / PA)

But Downing Street was in hot water again overnight Sunday when a senior official working in No. 10 during the pandemic struck out at the government over the scandal.

Nikki da Costa, formerly Mr Johnson’s director of legislative affairs, wrote in The Times, claiming that No. 10 seemed to have “failed as a collective” in “living by the spirit and the letter of those rules” , it put.

Questions have been piling up about the future of the Prime Minister’s premiership as he awaits the results of Whitehall and police investigations into allegations of lockdown-busting rallies held in Downing Street.

Nr. 10 had still not received a copy of the long-awaited Sue Gray report Sunday night.

The PA news agency understands that it must be delivered within a few days.

It was also reported Sunday that the government is expected to announce a U-turn on mandatory Covid vaccinations for NHS and social workers.

NHS staff
The government is expected to announce a U-turn on mandatory Covid vaccinations for NHS and social workers, according to reports (Jane Barlow / PA)

Health Minister Sajid Javid has been under pressure to lift the requirement for health workers in the UK to be vaccinated by April due to fears it will lead to a major staffing crisis.

Commerce Secretary Penny Mordaunt tweeted in response to reports in The Telegraph: “This looks promising … Hopefully a sensible way can be found through for both health and social care.”

And Conservative former Secretary of State Steve Baker said: “What a relief. The right decision.”

In a taster of the policies coming in its Leveling Up White Paper, the government announced over the weekend new plans to “breathe new life into disadvantaged communities” across the UK.

The Department of Leveling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said 20 selected sites will be prioritized for a £ 1.5 billion Brownfield fund to be made available from April 2022.

But the pressure on where the money came from, DLUHC clarified to the PA news agency that the money to fund the work was allocated by the Ministry of Finance last year.

Labours equalization secretary Lisa Nandy described the regeneration funding as “very small beer”.

Meanwhile, tensions remain high between Russia and Ukraine, with Johnson expected to speak with President Vladimir Putin and travel to the troubled region earlier this week.

It emerged over the weekend that Mr Johnson is looking at doubling the number of troops deployed to strengthen Europe’s borders.

Nr. 10 said it could send defensive weapons to Estonia, while fast jets, warships and military specialists could be sent to protect NATO allies.

Liz Truss
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said a situation in which British troops would fight with Ukrainians against Russia was ‘highly unlikely’ (Aaron Chown / PA)

But the foreign minister said on Sunday that a situation where British soldiers would fight alongside Ukrainians against Russia was “very unlikely”.

The Brexit Freedoms Bill, announced on Monday, will affect the handling of preserved EU legislation – Brussels-made rules, which were retained in the UK Code of Legal Continuity after the transition period ended in 2020.

The government has previously made it clear that in the long run it intends to amend, replace or repeal all the retained law which it considers “not really for the UK”.

But Downing Street said that under current rules, changing or scrapping rules in the pipeline of outdated legislation would take “several years” due to a lengthy process of change.

It said the new bill would “ensure that changes can be made more easily” so that Britain can “capitalize on Brexit freedom faster”.

Brexit
Two years since Britain left the EU, the government has launched a new bill on ‘Brexit Freedoms’ (Stefan Rousseau / PA)

Nr. 10 did not specify exactly what provisions the bill would include to speed up reforms, or how it calculated that companies would save £ 1 billion by cutting bureaucracy.

It comes after the foreign minister insisted the government is “obliged to cut taxes” as the prime minister and chancellor took the bold step of doubling plans to raise national insurance.

Liz Truss said “taxes are never popular” but significant sums spent on dealing with the Covid crisis “must be repaid”.

She stood by the Prime Minister on Sunday and told the BBC that he is “absolutely” the best person to lead the Conservative Party into the next parliamentary elections.

Asked if she is tempted by the top job, she said: “There is no competition. There is no discussion. “

How will the social security contributions increase
(PA graphics)

On Saturday, Tom Tugendhat, a Tory MP on the back table who has been critical of the government’s handling the withdrawal from Afghanistan, became the first to announce his intention to run as leader if there is a competition soon.

The Independent later reported that the chancellor was putting the finishing touches on a leadership bid after telling allies he believed the scandal over alleged parties in Downing Street and Whitehall could be “unsustainable” for the prime minister.

But the newspaper quoted a source close to Mr Sunak as saying that these allegations were “completely false”.

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