Security Minister asked ‘what the public should think’ about party No 10 held while Queen mourned
Boris Johnson’s former communications director, James Slack, has apologized “without reservation” for a party held at No. 10 last April to mark his departure from Downing Street, saying it “shouldn’t have happened at a time when it happened”.
it comes after The Daily Telegraph reported that two events were held on the evening of Friday, April 16, 2021 – when England fell under Step 2 Covid restrictions, banning indoor mixing and limiting the number of funerals and weddings, and on the night before Prince’s funeral Philip, with the Queen sitting alone and wearing a face mask during a social distancing ceremony.
In a statement released Friday morning by News UK, publisher of The sun, of which Mr. Slack is now the deputy editor, said: “I am very sorry and take full responsibility.”
Calls for Boris Johnson’s resignation have intensified since news broke last night of Mr Slack’s party and another unconfirmed departure for the Prime Minister’s photographer. Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey demanded “[Mr] Johnson must go,” while Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner said she “had no words for the culture and behavior at number 10”.
Barry Gardiner: The Labor MP in the spotlight for links to Lee
After my last post, here’s a little more about Christine Lee’s story. One particular aspect that is drawing the country’s attention is the suspected Chinese spy’s link to Labor MP Barry Gardiner.
Former shadow cabinet minister, Mr Gardiner, who received more than £500,000 from Ms Lee in six years, said he was “deeply saddened” to learn that one of his biggest donors was illegally trying to influence British politicians. He also insists that Ms. Lee “got no political advantage from me for the Chinese state,” but admitted to having discussed labor policy with her.
The link between Mr Gardiner and Ms Lee — a Chinese lawyer, whose office in central London serves as legal adviser to the capital’s Chinese embassy — was first reported in 2017. But it was spotlighted on Thursday when Ms Lee was accused by MI5 of secret “political interference”.
So, how damaging is the couple’s friendship to the Brent North MP? We take a look.
Sam HancockJanuary 14, 2022 10:01 am
Security Secretary Announces Investigation into ‘Chinese Agent’ Westminster Activity
Let’s take a break from Partygate for a moment. A government security minister has said it will be investigated how suspected Chinese spy Christine Lee got “so close” to senior British politicians.
Damian Hinds was asked how Ms. Lee gained access to former Prime Ministers Theresa May and David Cameron, to which he told LBC: “You have operators who specialize in trying, you know, to find ways to get positions of influence and in all sorts of ways. work. different ways.”
He said the security services “had been aware of this person for some time”.
When asked if there would now be an evaluation of how she operated for so long, he said: “Yeah, I mean we learn all the time, all the implications of course have to be taken into account. ”
It comes after MI5 issued a warning to MPs yesterday about Ms Lee, a Chinese lawyer accused of working for her country’s government to seek covert influence over British lawmakers and lobby UK parliamentary figures on Chinese investment interests in nuclear energy and battery technology.
China has since denied any involvement in meddling in British politics.
Sam HancockJanuary 14, 2022 09:54
Problems with Prime Minister’s leadership ‘go back to Barnard Castle’ – Tory MP
Now more from senior Tory MP Sir Roger Gale, who this morning said the Prime Minister’s judgment is “flawed” and has called on him to resign since the Barnard Castle debacle involving former No. 10 aide Dominic Cummings used to be.
When asked how damaging more recent revelations of rule-breaking will be for the Tories, Sir Roger told Sky News: “I don’t think the image of Downing Street brunch with the majestic winery does us any good, there must clearly come to an end.”
He insisted on the future of the Prime Minister’s position, saying: “I have been described as a serial critic of the Prime Minister and in a sense that is true. My letter calling for leadership elections goes back to the event at Barnard Castle when the Prime Minister failed to take what I believe to be the appropriate decisions and actions to remove Mr Cummings from office because what happened then was utterly was wrong.
“I decided then that if the Prime Minister was not able to make the right kind of judgment, we should have another Prime Minister.”
Sir Roger concluded his interview praising Boris Johnson’s delivery of the vaccine and for “getting Brexit done”, but added: “The problem is the man’s judgment is flawed.”
Sam HancockJanuary 14, 2022 09:47
Watch: Everything You Need to Know About the Downing Street Party Investigation
Everything you need to know about the Downing Street party survey
Sam HancockJanuary 14, 2022 09:41
‘He needs to toast now’: Critics react to Telegraph ‘turning’ on PM
Many wonder which media still support Boris Johnson after his former employer The Telegraph became the first to publish reports of two parties, allegedly taking place at No. 10 the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.
Novara Medias Ash Sarkar reports:
In the meantime, Bryan Rossi-Anderson, a digital project manager in Sussex, claimed the newspaper had “knives for their boy”:
A mother of two boys, who bears the name of CD Scott on Twitter, added:
Sam HancockJanuary 14, 2022 09:40
Will Boris Johnson resign?
The prime minister faces one of the most politically dangerous moments of his premiership as he comes under constant scrutiny over his own involvement in a number 10 get-together held in the midst of England’s first national lockdown.
At PMQs this week, Boris Johnson finally spoke up about the matter, confirming that he had attended the garden meeting for about 25 minutes with the intention of thanking his staff for their efforts during the pandemic, claiming, somewhat improbably, “I implicitly believed that it’s a work event.”
The insistence that he should go has only been compounded by the two-party fallout, which reportedly took place at No. 10 on the night before Prince Philip’s funeral last April.
But will Boris Johnson go? Joe Sommerlad and our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn take a look.
Will Boris Johnson resign?
Prime Minister is under pressure over claims of a series of rule-breaking Downing Street parties that allegedly took place during the lockdown
Sam HancockJanuary 14, 2022 09:01
Latest Tory urges PM to stop no stranger from submitting letters of no confidence
The latest Tory MP to publicly press for Boris Johnson to resign is one who has filed letters of no confidence against the party’s last three leaders.
as the Daily mail‘s John Stevens reports:
Andrew Bridgen, who backed the prime minister in taking over Britain’s leadership in 2019, said Johnson must be out of office within three months. After Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, Sir Roger Gale, William Wragg and Caroline Nokes, he is the fifth Conservative MP to publicly call for the Prime Minister’s departure this week.
To write for The TelegraphBridgen warned of “a moral vacuum at the heart of our government” in the wake of the “partygate” revelations.
“Unfortunately, the prime minister’s position has become untenable,” he said. “Leadership isn’t just about the job title, or even making big decisions — it’s equally about having a moral compass, to discern not only right from the left, but right from wrong.”
Mr Bridgen and Sir Roger Gale are so far the only Conservatives to have admitted to submitting letters to the 1922 chairman of the committee, Sir Graham Brady.
Sam HancockJanuary 14, 2022 08:54
Local Tory Association withdraws support for PM
Councilor Simon Ward, of the Sutton Coldfield Conservatives Association, an association in a safe Tory seat that voted unanimously last night to withdraw its support of Boris Johnson over allegations by the No. 10 lockdown party, said: “The culture is starting at the top”.
He also said the group’s decision to stop supporting the prime minister reflects “local views at the very lowest level”.
Speaking with BBC Radio 4’s Today program earlier, Mr Ward said: “The talk we had last night… was really about what I think we should expect from our leaders and the standards of leadership we expect from them, and the trust we place in them .
“This is about what’s right for politics, what’s right for our leaders, however this is reflected in our country, and it’s just hugely disappointing and it also reflects very, very badly on us as a nation. ”
As for Mr Johnson’s leadership, the councilor said the prime minister was propagating a “culture” [that] starts at the top… and that’s the really disappointing point”.
“We’ve asked people across the country to make huge sacrifices over the past two years,” he said. “I think we have a right to expect everyone in government and in those leadership positions to follow the same rules and guidelines.”
Sam HancockJanuary 14, 2022 08:43
Watch: Minister of Security says ‘action can be taken’ if 10 parties are not held by April
Security Minister: ‘Action can be taken’ if illegal parties are detained
Sam HancockJanuary 14, 2022 08:35
Prime Minister ‘not responsible’ for parties – but sign of poor leadership, says Tory MP
A high-ranking Tory MP has described parties held in Downing Street during periods of Covid restrictions as “completely unacceptable”.
And while Sir Roger Gale said he doesn’t hold Boris Johnson “personally responsible” for some of the events, because he wasn’t at all, he also said breaking the rules represented “a culture” of bending the rules in the government.
“I think the events that happened that night… [in April 202] were completely unacceptable and completely insensitive, and should never have happened,” he told Sky News this morning.
“That said, I don’t personally hold the Prime Minister responsible because he wasn’t there, but it reveals, I think, a culture within Downing Street that clearly comes from the top and shouldn’t be allowed.”
He added: “It’s just another event in a chapter of incidents that shouldn’t have happened.”
Sir Roger insisted on what this means for the Prime Minister, saying he “clearly cannot and must not” know how many of his colleagues submitted letters to the 1922 backbench committee to initiate a Tory leadership challenge, but that he believes “there is a momentum that is growing”.
Sam HancockJanuary 14, 2022 08:31