Boris Johnson latest news: PM branded ‘embarrassment’ after Partygate leak

Related video: Boris Johnson ‘completely co-operating’ with police, says Liz Truss

Labour’s Angela Rayner has branded the prime minister an “embarrassment” after a leak suggested he and all No 10 staff being questioned over lockdown-busting parties were doing so under police caution.

It makes Boris Johnson the first UK prime minister to be questioned in this way, with the newly-surfaced copy of Scotland Yard’s questionnaire showing recipients were asked if they have a “reasonable excuse” for attending any of the 12 gatherings under investigation.

According to a copy of the document, published by ITV News on Tuesday night, people filling it in are informed at the outset that they have an opportunity to provide “a written statement under caution”. It is also shown to include the police caution: “You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you subsequently rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

Speaking to the broadcaster last night, Ms Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party, said: “This is an embarrassment that for the first time in UK history we have a prime minister interviewed under police caution.”

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Young Labour clash with party over Starmer ‘backing Nato aggression’ in Ukraine

In other news, young Labour activists have been rebuked by their party after attacking Keir Starmer for “backing Nato aggression” over the Ukraine crisis.

The Labour leader has been condemned for “celebrating” closer cooperation by the 30-country strong alliance while “attacking Stop The War and other pro-peace activists”. The party’s youth wing claimed in a series of tweets: “Stoking up tension, macho posturing & trying to ‘out do’ the Tories on hawkish foreign policy will only lead to further devastation, loss of life and displacement of people across the world.”

But David Lammy, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, condemned the “lazy knee-jerk” anti-Americanism of the group, as Russia threatens a wider invasion of Ukraine, writes our deputy political editor Rob Merrick.

Sam Hancock23 February 2022 11:16


PM to ‘clarify’ he was wrong to say Ambromovich sanctioned

Today’s House of Commons order paper shows Boris Johnson will issue a written statement containing a formal clarification.

Wednesday’s Commons order paper

(House of Commons)

Sam Hancock23 February 2022 11:04


Following my last post, here’s our home affairs editor Lizzie Dearden with more on that story:

Sam Hancock23 February 2022 10:51


Deputy Met commissioner asks for review of Cressida Dick’s ousting

An update on the shock resignation of former Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick now.

The force’s deputy commissioner, Stephen House, has written to the home secretary to ask for a review of how the resignation of Dame Cressida was handled.

Giving evidence to the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, he claimed that due process had not been followed.

“I feel deeply disappointed, there’s a clear procedure in statute laid down to allow the removal of a police chief officer, it’s not been followed in this instance,” he said.

“It’s not even been initiated in this instance, due process has not been followed and instead we’ve seen matters played out in the media. Because of this, I’ve written to the Home Secretary to ask her to have a review carried out of the events that have taken place.”

He added he was surprised at the apparent U-turn by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who he said had been a “vocal supporter” of the commissioner “only a few weeks ago”.

Sam Hancock23 February 2022 10:51


Watch: PM ‘co-operating’ with police, says foreign secretary

Boris Johnson ‘completely co-operating’ with police, says Liz Truss

Sam Hancock23 February 2022 10:23


Truss: Ofcom must decide whether Russia Today ‘propaganda’ continues

Foreign secretary Liz Truss says it is up to regulator Ofcom to decide what kind of content the Russia-backed RT network continues to broadcast in the UK, following calls for a crackdown.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on the government to tackle the “propaganda” put out by the state-controlled channel, formerly known as Russia Today.

Responding, Ms Truss attacked the channel for disseminating “fake news” on behalf of the Kremlin – and suggested that Ofcom should “look” at what it broadcasts, writes Adam Forrest.

Sam Hancock23 February 2022 10:00


Watch: Truss grilled over Tory donations linked to Russia

Liz Truss grilled over Tory donations linked to Russia

Sam Hancock23 February 2022 09:29


Billions lost and risked due to fraud and error in Covid schemes – MPs

Government has risked and lost “unacceptable” billions due to fraud and error in key Covid support schemes, a new report warns.

In a blistering assessment, the chair of the Public Accounts Committee said the mistakes, waste, and openings for fraudsters “will all end up robbing current and future taxpayers of billions of pounds”.

MPs on the committee said there was a lack of preparedness and “weakness” in systems — concluding the total cost of government losses remained “uncertain”.

Our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn reports:

Sam Hancock23 February 2022 09:27


Sam Hancock23 February 2022 08:57


Minister refuses to rule out sanctions on Tory donors with Russia links

More from Liz Truss now, who has refused to rule out slapping sanctions on Conservative Party donors with links to Russia, while vowing to “inflict more pain” on Vladimir Putin’s regime.

The cabinet minister defended the “very serious package” of sanctions announced on Tuesday, despite widespread criticism from both Tory and Labour MPs that the measures do not go far enough.

Ms Truss said the UK has a “long list” of people complicit in the actions of the Russian leadership, who the government is willing to “turn up the heat” on unless Moscow pulls back its forces.

Sam Hancock23 February 2022 08:55

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