Partygate: Boris Johnson’s repeated denials and apologies
Boris Johnson’s conduct on Partygate risks leaving the concept of a ministerial code open to “ridiculousness”, according to his own ethics adviser.
In a public rebuke, Christopher Geidt said there were “legitimate” questions about whether the fixed penalty notice, issued for a June 2020 birthday party held in honor of Mr. Johnson in the Cabinet Room, could have constituted a violation of the “primary duty within the Ministerial Code to obey the law”.
He also questioned the prime minister’s willingness to “take responsibility for his own conduct” in relation to ministerial rules.
Mr Johnson, in a letter published on Tuesday evening, responded by saying the FPN ‘did not breach’ the Ministerial Code as there was ‘no intention to break the law’, adding that he had assumed “full responsibility for everything that happened on my watch”.
Meanwhile, former Tory MP and education secretary Justine Greening has joined a call for the expansion of the free school meals scheme, amid warnings that more than a million children are at risk to go hungry due to the cost of living crisis.
Minister unable to convert ‘universally understood’ imperial measures
On Tuesday, a government minister struggled to switch from metric measurements to what Downing Street called “universally understood” imperial units.
Appearing on Sky News, the Arts Minister was first asked how many ounces there were in a pound – to which he incorrectly answered 14. Host Kay Burley continued: “If you order a pound of sausage, about how many grams of sausage do you get? 250, 350, 450 or 550?
Lord Parkinson, a Cambridge University graduate, hesitantly chose the first answer – again, incorrect.
The moment has come amid reports that the UK may revert to Imperial units, reports Zaina Alibhai:
Namita SingJune 1, 2022 6:56 a.m.
Starmer and Rayner receive a police questionnaire on Beergate
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner both received police questionnaires about the so-called ‘Beergate’ event at a party office in Durham last year.
The party confirmed the two senior figures were asked by Durham Constabulary to explain their attendance at the April 30 rally, at which beer and curry were consumed.
The Durham Force announced earlier this month that it would investigate potential breaches of Covid laws by Starmer and his staff, although it initially decided not to act when footage of the meeting emerged for the first time.
My colleague Adam Forest giving the details:
Namita SingJune 1, 2022 6:45 a.m.
“Brexit could trigger a potato shortage in Ireland”
Brexit could lead to a major shortage of potatoes for Irish consumers by 2023, experts have warned.
Prior to the UK’s departure from the EU, the majority of seed potatoes used by Irish farmers for varieties such as Kerr Pinks, Golden Wonders and British Queens had been imported from Scotland.
But under post-Brexit rules and following the UK’s departure from the single market, exports of seed potatoes – those not eaten but used to plant other potatoes – from l Scotland to Ireland are no longer permitted.
Namita SingJune 1, 2022 06:29
“The conditions of truck drivers must be improved”
The road transport sector should be given two years to improve conditions for lorry drivers and hire more workers or face a new tax, demanded a cross-party group of MPs.
They also called on the logistics industry to “get its house in order”, including better overnight facilities for drivers and new training routes to recruit more carriers as the sector faces labor shortages.
But the Commons Transport Select Committee said if the changes are not made within two years, the most profitable parts of the sector would face a new tax.
Huw Merriman, the Conservative chair of the committee, said: ‘We urge the government to be brave and force the sector to put its house in order. A supply chain levy has already worked to encourage reform.
The committee’s report, Road Freight Supply Chain, calls for minimum standards of facilities, including safety, clean showers and toilets, healthy food options and services for female drivers.
The report highlights testimonies from drivers who “criticized poor washing facilities” in HGV drivers’ sleeping areas, including dirty and “vandalized” showers.
Namita SingJune 1, 2022 6:26 a.m.
NHS complaints procedures like ‘marking your own homework’
A team of researchers set out to review national complaints handling policies and likened the NHS complaints procedure to ‘asking hospitals to rate their own homework’.
Complaints are a “critical source” to help make improvements, with most patients and families contributing to the system to prevent harm from being done to others, but they “often” feel dissatisfied with the system, a said a team of academics, led by experts from Imperial College London.
Tasked with reviewing the national policies guiding NHS hospitals, the researchers said the “complex and bureaucratic nature” of the complaints system is often cited as a “barrier to effective complaints handling”.
Their article, published in the Journal Of The Royal Society Of Medicine, identified a number of national policies that “undermine a patient-centred, improvement-oriented approach to complaints”.
Namita SingJune 1, 2022 6:15 a.m.
Former Tory education secretary joins call for expansion of free school meals
Boris Johnson is under pressure to extend the free school meals scheme ahead of the summer holidays amid warnings that more than a million children are at risk of going hungry due to the cost of living crisis.
Former Labor and Conservative education secretaries, along with the Mayor of London, unions and charities have urged the government to act as it has done during the Covid pandemic.
As inflation rises, the cost of some foods has already skyrocketed, while the Governor of the Bank of England has warned of ‘doomsday’ prices ahead.
Justine Greening, the former Conservative education secretary, said: ‘The government has a chance to avoid the free school meals mess that happened last year and anticipate the next phase of the crisis cost of living for families.
Read the details in this exclusive by Kate Devlin and Zoe Tidman:
Namita SingJune 1, 2022 06:05
Rees Mogg’s suggested bonfire on EU rules is more Brexit propaganda
Jacob Rees-Mogg received over 2,000 responses after asking for suggestions on how to make Brexit even better than we know it.
But Sean O’Grady, the publisher associated with The Independent writes that the ideas considered worthy of further exploration by the Minister are not so politically appealing and not necessarily what the Brexit people voted for.
Find out why he feels this way in Politics Explained:
Namita SingJune 1, 2022 05:55
New Tory target voters take aim at Johnson
Downing Street hopes the ‘little C Tories’ who shop at Waitrose will keep the Prime Minister in power – but our correspondent Colin Drurry find them unconvinced.
Namita SingJune 1, 2022 5:45 a.m.
Rees-Mogg welcomes possibility of scrapping EU restrictions on vacuum cleaners
Jacob Rees-Mogg’s office has listed scrapping EU vacuum cleaner regulations as one of the ‘most interesting’ ideas it has received on how to capitalize on the UK’s newfound Brexit freedom .
Following his appointment in February as Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency, Mr Rees-Mogg appealed to the Daily Express for the newspaper’s readers to offer ideas on how he might fulfill his new term.
“Government is not the center of all knowledge and wisdom. In fact, there is much greater wisdom with the British people as a whole,” Mr Rees-Mogg had said, pledging to push to get rid of “what the government is doing in their daily lives that makes their life more difficult”.
Find the details in this report in Andy Gregoire:
Namita SingJune 1, 2022 05:28
‘No final decision’ on controversial asylum center
The government has made “no final decision” on its plan to house 1,500 asylum seekers at a former RAF base in a small North Yorkshire village, it has revealed.
Announced by the Home Office last month, the idea sparked outrage among residents of Linton-on-Ouse, which is currently home to around 600 people.
Local MP Kevin Hollinrake also said he disagreed with the proposal, as did Hambleton District Council, which threatened to take legal action against the government.
Although the first 60 asylum seekers were due to arrive at RAF Linton by Tuesday, ministers have apparently decided to delay its conversion to a processing center already dubbed Guantanamo-on-Ouse.
Namita SingJune 1, 2022 05:10