Rishi Sunak says he will give his £400 energy rebate to charity
Former attorney general Jeremy Wright has become the latest of at least 25 Conservative MPs calling on Boris Johnson to resign, as the Partygate scandal rages on.
The latest in a string of such calls came on Monday as Downing Street failed to deny that Mr Johnson had attended a birthday gathering during the first lockdown, after fresh reports claimed he had joined his wife Carrie and friends in their No 11 flat to celebrate his 56th birthday hours, just after being supposedly “ambushed by cake”.
Asked eight times by reporters on Monday, a spokesperson failed to deny that Mr Johnson attended the alleged gathering, which was not mentioned in Sue Gray’s Partygate report.
The Cabinet Office was forced to reject claims on Sunday that Ms Gray’s report had been tampered with, after it was claimed that senior members of Mr Johnson’s team sought to pressure her to omit certain details and names, with one source claiming “the entire machine contested her.”
UK firms slam post-Brexit EU trade as they face ‘same nightmare week after week’
Business chiefs have hit out at post-Brexit trading rules, with one describing life outside the EU as “the same nightmare week after week”, my colleague Matt Mathers reports.
Mark Brearley, who runs Kaymet, which makes tea trolleys and other kitchen equipment, said both the cost and red tape involved in the exporting of goods to the EU has increased.
He said that a large proportion of his time is spent with “things going wrong” and that the EU feels like “the hardest place in the world to ship things to sometimes.”
andy gregory30 May 2022 15:27
Sinn Fein ‘not giving up’ on attempts to elect speaker at Stormont
Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill has said her party will keep having the Stormont Assembly recalled until a new speaker is elected, after the DUP thwarted a second attempt to elect a speaker as part of its continued protest over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“Here we are 26 days after the public have spoken, they placed their votes, they have voted for politics to work, they have voted for parties to work together to start tackling the issues that are worrying everybody right now, cost of living crisis and the fact that our waiting list situation is completely out of hand,” Ms O’Neill said.
“We had our second attempt today to try and get things up and running, but unfortunately the DUP stand-off continues. We will come back again, we will do this again because I’m not giving up. I believe in making this institution work.
“I’m disappointed, the public deserves a functioning Executive and Assembly. The DUP are punishing the public, it is the public who are missing out, it is the public who are being held to ransom because of their actions.”
andy gregory30 May 2022 15:11
Angela Rayner hauls up No 10 over ‘totally untrue’ flat gathering comment
Angela Rayner is among those to point out that No 10 had previously said claims of a birthday gathering in Boris Johnson’s No 11 flat were “totally untrue”.
despues de ITVNews reported claims in January that Mr Johnson hosted family friends in his private residence on birthday in June 2020, a No 10 spokesperson said: “This is totally untrue. In line with the rules at the time the Prime Minister hosted a small number of family members outside that evening.”
But asked again today in light of fresh reports, a Downing Street spokesperson repeatedly failed to deny that the PM attended such a gathering.
andy gregory30 May 2022 14:55
Stormont fails again to elect new speaker as DUP Brexit protocol protest continues
The Stormont Assembly has failed for the second time to elect a new speaker, after the DUP refused to back the bid in protest until the UK government takes action over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The two nominations for the role, the Ulster Unionists’ Mike Nesbitt and the SDLP’s Patsy McGlone, failed to secure the necessary cross-community support from MLAs, and the plenary session of the Assembly was suspended.
Sinn Fein had brought a recall petition to elect a speaker, deputy speaker – and to appoint a first minister and deputy first minister, which the DUP are refusing to do.
Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill told the chamber: “The people have spoken and they want action, not protest. They want the parties and every single MLA elected to this democratic institution to get their sleeves rolled up and to get down to business.”
She added: “The DUP’s stand-off is with the public and not with the European Union. As I stand here today I am ready to work with others.”
But the DUP’s Paul Givan described the recall as “hypocrisy” not a “serious attempt” to restore powersharing, calling it “another attempt at majority rule” which “has no credibility when it comes forward from the party that kept these institutions down for three years”.
andy gregory30 May 2022 14:39
Ex-minister calling for PM’s resignation ‘not a usual suspect’
With the new statement from Jeremy Wright, two of the government’s most prominent backbench lawyers are now calling on Boris Johnson to resign, BBC Newsnight‘s policy editor points out.
In an increasingly familiar observation over recent days, ITV‘s Paul Brand notes that the former attorney general is “not one of the usual suspects” to be calling for Mr Johnson to step down.
andy gregory30 May 2022 14:23
Enough letters to trigger no confidence vote may have already been met, former government adviser suggests
The requisite number of letters needed to trigger a no confidence vote in Boris Johnson’s leadership could have been reached, but are being held back until parliament returns next week, a former government adviser has suggested.
While only Sir Graham Brady knows how many letters he has received, Sam Freedman – a senior fellow at the Institute for Government and former Department for Education adviser – noted that, in the event that the threshold of 54 has been reached, the 1922 Committee chairman would likely notify Tory MPs who have submitted letters to ensure they stand by their position, increasing the potential for news of a looming announcement to leak.
Our chief political commentator John Rentoul has this running tally of potential letter-writers:
andy gregory30 May 2022 14:10
Tory MP says he is ‘very disappointed’ but not among those calling for PM’s resignation
Despite being “very disapppointed” by the “very painful episode” of Partygate, Conservative MP Anthony Browne has confirmed he is not among those calling for Boris Johnson to resign.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Mr Browne was asked about former attorney general Jeremy Wright, who a moment ago became the latest of at least 25 Tory MPs to call on the PM to step down.
”Well, I came on to talk about economic growth,” Mr Browne said. “I mean, clearly, the whole parties in Number 10 have been a very painful episode
“I’ve been very disappointed by it, as many other people but the government, the prime minister has got the big measures right in terms of the pandemic and in terms of the war in Ukraine, which is obviously a huge international crisis that is ongoing at the moment.”
On whether he is therefore not going to be among those calling for the prime minister to resign, the MP for South Cambridgeshire said: “No, but I am happy to answer questions about growth.”
andy gregory30 May 2022 13:59
MP’s missing statement on Boris Johnson resignation reappears
A Conservative former minister’s statement calling for Boris Johnson to resign returned to his official website after disappearing.
Jeremy Wright’s statement, which said the prime minister should resign because of the “real and lasting damage” of Partygate, was replaced with a “page not found” message for several minutes.
andy gregory30 May 2022 13:44
Breaking: Tory former attorney general calls on Boris Johnson to resign
Former attorney general Jeremy Wright has become the latest of at least 25 Conservative MPs to call on Boris Johnson to resign.
In a subsequently deleted statement, the Kenilworth and Southam MP said he “cannot be sure that the prime minister knowingly misled the House of Commons”, but added that Partygate had had a “real and lasting damage to the reputation not just of this government but to the institutions and authority of government more generally”.
He added: “That matters because it is sadly likely that a government will again need to ask the citizens of this country to follow rules it will be difficult to comply with and to make sacrifices which will be hard to bear, in order to serve or preserve the greater good. The collective consequences of those citizens declining to do so may again be severe.”
Mr Wright also cited the need for “accountability and restoring faith in good government” in order to allow the current administration “to deliver the important legislation it has introduced, including vital changes to social care funding, energy security and online regulation”.
“It now seems to me that the prime minister remaining in office will hinder those crucial objectives. I have therefore, with regret, concluded that, for the good of this and future Governments, the Prime Minister should resign,” he concluded.
Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has more on this breaking story here:
andy gregory30 May 2022 13:28
The government ‘doesn’t expect energy rationing this winter’, No 10 says
The government does not expect the UK to experience power cuts this winter, or the need for energy rationing, No 10 has said.
”I think you would expect the government to look at a range of scenarios to ensure plans are robust, no matter how unlikely they are to pass. Neither the government or National Grid expect power cuts this winter,” a Downing Street spokesperson told reporters.
“You will know that we are in a fortunate position, we are not dependent on Russian energy imports and have one of the most reliable and diverse energy systems.”
Asked about energy rationing, he added: “We don’t expect energy rationing this winter. Again, we are in a different position to other countries in that we are not as dependent on Russian energy as some. You will know that we have access to our own North Sea gas reserves, and imports from other reliable partners.
“But again, I think you would expect us to plan for all scenarios.”
andy gregory30 May 2022 13:17