Cabinet minister rejects calls for PM to quit if he broke No 10 party rules

Boris Johnson is defying calls to resign following a bruising PMQ performance yesterday where he apologized for attending drinks in Downing Street Gardens during the lockdown.

The defiant prime minister decided to fight for his position on Wednesday afternoon and mobilized the cabinet in his defence, with ministers posting messages of support on social media.

One of those ministers is Jacob Rees-Mogg, who answered questions on the party’s Commons door on Thursday. He told MPs the public Covid inquiry was to consider whether the lockdown rules, including restrictions on funerals, were “too tough”.

The pushback attempt comes as Labor leads in the polls by a gaping ten point gap – Labor’s biggest lead over the Conservative Party in nearly a decade.

Mr Johnson was also forced to cancel a visit to a Lancashire vaccination center due to a family member testing positive for Covid. No 10 said the Prime Minister would follow ‘guidelines for vaccinated close contacts, including daily testing and limiting contact with others’.

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Sue Gray may not be allowed in front of select committees to present No. 10 party report

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 13, 2022 2:44 p.m.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg unable to name Welsh Tory leader when asked in Commons

Jacob Rees-Mogg floundered when asked to name the Welsh Tory leader by Kevin Brennan during Business Questions on Thursday.

It comes after the Commons leader branded Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross a ‘lightweight figure’ in the party on Wednesday night

Mr Brennan asked: ‘Following his disparaging remarks about the leader of the Scottish Tories, can we have a statement from him as to what exactly he meant by that?

“For example, does he think the leader of the Welsh Tories is a light character? And can he name it?

After briefly laughing and then being silent for a moment, Mr Rees-Mogg replied: “The Secretary of State for Wales is Simon Hart.”

Andrew RT Davies was first elected leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd in 2011 before stepping down in 2018. He was reappointed last January.

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 13, 2022 2:37 p.m.

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US rejects UK call for steel tariff talks by humiliating Boris Johnson

The US has rejected a UK call for face-to-face talks to scrap punitive tariffs on British steel, embarrassing Boris Johnson.

But Gina Raimondo, the US Trade Secretary, has now told the Department for International Trade (DIT) that she is too busy to travel to the UK at this time.

“Although Secretary Raimondo appreciates the kind invitation, she is unable to travel to London in person at this time,” a spokesperson told the Politics website.

Our Deputy Political Editor Rob Merrick reports:

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 13, 2022 2:12 p.m.

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Prime Minister withdraws from public appearance after family member tested positive for Covid despite not being required to self-isolate

Boris Johnson has pulled out of a planned visit to a jab clinic after an unidentified family member tested positive for Covid-19.

The public appearance in Lancashire was reportedly an opportunity for the media to ask the Prime Minister questions about his attendance at a Downing Street ‘BYOB’ party on May 20, 2020.

Although official guidelines no longer require vaccinated contacts of coronavirus cases to self-isolate, Mr Johnson has withdrawn from the visit

A Downing Street spokesperson said: ‘The Prime Minister will no longer visit Lancashire today due to a family member testing positive for coronavirus.

“He will follow guidelines for vaccinated close contacts, including daily testing and limiting contact with others.”

Although the legal requirement to self-isolate does not apply to vaccinated contacts, they are advised to take daily tests and “limit close contact with others outside your household”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman added that Mr Johnson took a test on Wednesday and another on Thursday.

He said: “The Prime Minister is following instructions to carry out daily tests and limit contact with others. As I said, (the) positive test was on Wednesday, so the Prime Minister will continue to follow these guidelines until Tuesday next week.

“For reference, the advice is to take an LFD (lateral flow device) test every day for seven days, or until 10 days after the household member who has Covid-19 has started their period of self- isolation if it’s earlier, and in this example it’s not, so it’s seven days.

The spokesperson added that “in accordance with guidelines, he is reducing contact, he will work from No 10, carry out daily tests and limit contact with others both outside of No 10 and even outside No 10. ‘interior of n° 10 also’.

He said the Prime Minister will continue to hold meetings but “for the most part it will be done virtually”.

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 13, 2022 1:56 p.m.

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‘VIP-lane’ PPE contract ‘shady’ and ‘illegal’, says Rayner

The alleged VIP route for personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts was not just ‘shady’ but ‘illegal’, said Labour’s deputy leader.

Angela Rayner said: ‘The government’s VIP route for PPE supply was not only dodgy, it was actually illegal. This was not my opinion, but the judgment of a High Court yesterday.

The deputy Labor leader said Cabinet Office ministers stood at the dispatch box ‘repeatedly’ to say ‘detailed due diligence and full financial checks were carried out’ but on Wednesday the court ‘ found that the Cabinet Office simply did not have the resources to carry out due diligence”.

She added: ‘Officials simply searched online to confirm one company existed and another had a red warning, but it was not passed on. Can he tell us how many of those two contracts alone were spent on equipment that was not even used by the NHS? »

Cabinet Minister Steve Barclay dismissed his claims, insisting the government had strained “every nerve” to ensure PPE was available.

He said: ‘The court acknowledged, in quotation marks, that it is highly unlikely that the outcome would have been materially different had a different assessment process been followed.

“I think what the House would have rightly challenged the government is, firstly, whether something different would have happened had a different approach taken place, and secondly, on the fundamental point, which is in time of national crisis, if the Government did everything possible to ensure that those at the forefront of our NHS – clinicians – had the PPE they needed. The government did. »

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 13, 2022 1:50 p.m.

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Christine Lee: Security warning to MPs over Chinese spying threat

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 13, 2022 1:37 p.m.

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‘Cascading corruption revelations’: how European media reported on Boris Johnson’s No 10 party

Boris Johnson’s political meltdown over the lockdown parties in Downing Street has caught the attention of European newspapers – most of which cast a skeptical eye on the Prime Minister’s response.

French-speaking Belgian daily newspaper The evening carries an analytical piece calling Mr Johnson’s defense of the party “tiny”, saying he had “played the naivety card” on MPs on Wednesday. Meanwhile in Flanders Standard says the PM’s argument is ‘unconvincing’ and says he is gradually becoming a ‘walking dead man’.

Our political correspondent Peter Jon reports:

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 13, 2022 1:35 p.m.

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Watch: Labor MP says Johnson ‘not fit to lick the boots of NHS workers’

Labor MP says Johnson ‘not fit to lick the boots of NHS workers’

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 13, 2022 1:25 p.m.

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Angela Rayner has written letters to all Cabinet ministers to ‘be clear on what parties they attended’

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 13, 2022 1:18 p.m.

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Truss calls on EU to take a ‘pragmatic approach’ to ending protocol stalemate

Liz Truss told Brussels she had a “clear responsibility” to resolve the problems caused by Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit deal as she had her first face-to-face talks with Maros Sefcovic.

The Foreign Secretary, who took over responsibility for the negotiations after Lord Frost resigned, welcomes the Vice-President of the European Commission to her retreat from Chevening in Kent for talks on Thursday and Friday.

Ahead of the meeting, she said the EU needed to take a “pragmatic approach” to the problems created by the Northern Ireland Protocol, which effectively creates a trade barrier in the Irish Sea for goods from of Great Britain in order to prevent a hard border with Ireland. .

David Hughes to the story:

Emily AtkinsonJanuary 13, 2022 1:15 p.m.