Watch excruciating exchange as Boris Johnson dodges Partygate questions 17 times
Boris Johnson will lose the support of at least two cabinet ministers if he is fined for breaking his own coronavirus laws, according to a report.
The Prime Minister’s allies have said he will not resign if he is given a fixed fine notice (FPN) for attending parties in Downing Street.
But a source close to a cabinet member said The temperature: “If he gets an FPN, he will have to leave. How can you have a Prime Minister who has been found guilty of breaking the law?
A minister and ally of another cabinet member said his position would be made “extremely difficult” if police found he had breached regulations.
It comes as the election watchdog has issued a final plea for the government to drop a planned power grab, warning there is “no precedent” in Western democracies.
The reshuffle – allowing ministers to set the Electoral Commission’s ‘strategy’ – would see ministers able to ‘influence operational functions and decision-making’, he protested.
We’re suspending our political coverage for tonight. Thank you for following today’s updates from Westminster. Tune in to our Covid and Ukraine blogs for the latest updates on these developing stories.
Thomas KingleyFebruary 21, 2022 4:02 p.m.
Ministers will within days announce their response to a campaign backed by the Duke of Sussex to scrap visa fees for overseas-born British veterans who want to stay in the country.
The government has proposed that troops from non-British countries who have served in the British Armed Forces for 12 years can stay in the country free of charge.
In May the Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced there was a proposal to waive the £2,389 visa application fee for Commonwealth Service personnel, to ‘recognize their contribution’.
Conservative James Sunderland noted that several MPs had “lobbied” for visa fees “to be reduced or preferably removed altogether”, adding to the Commons: “Can I ask him where we are with the consultation and on the announcements that could be coming?
Defense Minister Leo Docherty replied: “He should wait for news this week on this matter.”
Last December, former Conservative defense minister Johnny Mercer said Harry had declared his support for the campaign during the talks.
Thomas KingleyFebruary 21, 2022 4:00 p.m.
Scotland-US ties ‘strong’ and ‘enduring’, says Angus Robertson
The ties between Scotland and the United States are “strong” and “will endure long into the future”, said Holyrood’s external affairs secretary.
Angus Robertson spoke about the ties between the two countries after laying wreaths on a recently restored statue of Abraham Lincoln.
The ceremony at the Edinburgh Memorial was organized by the White House Historical Association, with plans in place for it to be an annual event on Presidents Day – February 21.
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Thomas KingleyFebruary 21, 2022 3:41 p.m.
Maastricht rebel Sir Richard Shepherd dies aged 79
Former Tory MP – and Maastricht rebel – Sir Richard Shepherd has died aged 79, his family have announced.
Sir Richard, who represented the constituency of Aldridge-Brownhills for 36 years, was best known as one of the Tory Eurosceptics who proved a thorn in Prime Minister Sir John Major’s side with his opposition to the Maastricht Treaty on the EU.
At one point he had the Tory whip removed after voting against the government in a key division of the House of Commons – only to have it reinstated four months later.
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Thomas KingleyFebruary 21, 2022 3:15 p.m.
Tory donor threatens to quit voting for party over tax hike
A Tory donor said he did not see himself voting for the party unless there was a “complete change in tactics”.
Sir Rocco Forte, a hotelier, said he was disappointed with the government’s approach to coronavirus restrictions and taxes.
He said BBC Radio 4 World At One programme: “My disappointment with the Prime Minister and this government is that it is not acting like a Conservative government.
“Instead of reducing regulations, increasing them, instead of reducing taxes, it increases them, and now that many companies that have suffered greatly from the pandemic and taken on more debt as a result are facing increased national insurance costs and increased corporate taxes, and that is completely the wrong way to approach the situation.
When asked if he had stopped donating at the party, he replied, “Well, I mean, you don’t donate every five minutes at the party.”
When asked if he was on hiatus, he replied, “Yes…I would like to see a complete change of course from this government and if they don’t change course, I will not be not even interested in voting for them. ”
Thomas KingleyFebruary 21, 2022 2:59 p.m.
The EU is considering ways to prevent the break-up of Bosnia
European Union foreign ministers on Monday discussed ways to ease tensions in Bosnia and prevent the ethnically divided Balkan country from breaking up as the peace deal brokered more than 25 years ago years continues to unravel.
“Nationalist and separatist rhetoric is growing in Bosnia and Herzegovina and jeopardizes the stability and even the integrity of the country,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in Brussels, where he chaired a meeting of foreign ministers from the bloc of 27 countries.
He said that “Ministers will have to make a decision on how to stop this dynamic in Bosnia and Herzegovina and prevent the country from falling apart. It is a critical situation. »
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Thomas KingleyFebruary 21, 2022 2:38 p.m.
Russian plan to invade Ukraine has already begun, says Boris Johnson
The UK has seen intelligence suggesting Vladimir Putin’s plan to invade Ukraine is already underway, Downing Street said.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman stressed that this did not mean that Russian troops had started crossing the border into Ukraine.
But he said the latest intelligence suggests Moscow “intends” to invade, and the long-awaited playbook of how Putin would implement an invasion plan was now playing out on the ground.
Our political editor, Andre Bécassehas the full report below:
Thomas KingleyFebruary 21, 2022 1:56 p.m.
Russian invasion of Ukraine ‘very likely’, says Liz Truss
A Russian invasion of Ukraine remains “highly likely”, Foreign Minister Liz Truss said following talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Ms Truss’ pessimistic assessment came despite US President Joe Biden’s agreement to speak directly with Vladimir Putin in an attempt to avoid military action.
In the latest warning to Moscow about the consequences of any attack on Ukraine, the foreign minister said the international community must make the cost of an invasion “intolerantly high” for Russia.
Our Deputy Political Editor, Rob Merrickhas the full story below:
Thomas KingleyFebruary 21, 2022 1:30 p.m.
The Queen will hold a virtual meeting with Boris Johnson this week after falling ill with Covid
The Queen is expected to hold a telephone audience with the Prime Minister and conduct virtual hearings this week as she continues her light duties despite catching Covid.
The 95-year-old monarch, who is experiencing mild cold symptoms, is self-isolating at Windsor Castle, where a number of her team members have also been affected by the virus.
Concerns about the country’s oldest ruler have been heightened given her age and recent health issues.
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Thomas KingleyFebruary 21, 2022 1:00 p.m.
Economic growth hits highest rate since June, survey shows
UK businesses, particularly those in the services sector, are rebounding from the impacts of the Omicron wave of coronavirus and leaving behind the sluggish growth seen in January, new data shows.
According to an influential survey, the economy has scored 60.2 so far in February, down from 53.4 in January.
The British IHS Markit/CIPS flash composite PMI sees anything above 50 as growth; anything below means a sector is contracting. The metric hit over 60 for the first time in months – the best showing since June last year.
It came after January figures showed the worst growth in 11 months, when the Delta variant of Covid-19 was prevalent.
The February reading is based on preliminary data and a full score will be released early next month.
Thomas KingleyFebruary 21, 2022 12:29