Boris Johnson seen for first time since Partygate defence dossier published
Boris Johnson’s double parliamentary humiliation this week marked the “death throes” of the former prime minister’s “cult”, Tory MPs say.
The ex-prime minister’s political star is seen to be waning after his appearance before MPs investigating whether he intentionally misled the House of Commons over his understanding of parties in Downing Street during Covid lockdowns.
And Mr Johnson suffered a separate political embarassment yesterday as his attempted Commons revolt against Rishi Sunak’s new Brexit deal failed to garner significant support.
One senior Tory MP told The Independent that the Partygate inquiry and the Brexit vote were the “death throes of Boris cult”, saying the “dying rump” of around 20 to 30 loyalists left would not be able to rebuild support for him in the parliamentary party.
Separately, Lord Hayward, a Conservative pollster, told The Independent there was “no question the party would face defeat to Labour” if the Tories’ former leader was forced to fight for his Uxbridge constituency in the event that he were suspended.
After yesterday’s three-hour grilling of Mr Johnson, the seven-member privileges committee is now considering whether he deserves punishment.
‘Cult’ of Boris Johnson ‘in death throes’ as Tory support fades
The former prime minister was forced to plead “hand on heart” that he had not lied to MPs over the Partygate scandal.
Our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin and political correspondent Adam Forrest have more:
Emily Atkinson23 March 2023 17:26
Watch: Parliament blocks TikTok in latest ban on Chinese-owned app over security fears
Parliament blocks TikTok in latest ban on Chinese-owned app over security fears
Emily Atkinson24 March 2023 04:00
Tom Peck: Boris Johnson looked more prime suspect than prime minister at his Partygate hearing
At 2pm, into a de facto courtroom in Westminster, walked the world’s worst liar, writes Tom Peck.
Rather unluckily for him, he was on trial for lying, and had very little choice but to spend the next three-and-a-half hours trying to lie his way out of it. And though the consequences were predictable, they were no less spectacular for it.
Emily Atkinson24 March 2023 03:00
Keir Starmer’s tax return reveals he paid higher rate than Rishi Sunak last year
Sir Keir Starmer was effectively taxed at a rate of nearly 32 per cent in the past financial year, while the prime minister, a multimillionaire, paid tax in effect at just over 22 per cent, analysis by The Independent shows.
The Labour leader earned £126,154 in salary as an MP and leader of the opposition, on which he paid £43,103 in income tax, according to his newly published tax return for 2021-22.
He also earned nearly £85,000 in capital gains from the sale of a house that he helped his sister to buy. On that, he paid £23,930 in tax.
More from Jane Dalton and Kate Devlin here:
Emily Atkinson24 March 2023 02:00
Watch: Tearful Nicola Sturgeon receives standing ovation after final First Minister speech
Tearful Nicola Sturgeon receives standing ovation after final First Minister speech
Emily Atkinson24 March 2023 01:00
Rishi Sunak saved over £300,000 due to capital gains tax cut he voted for
Rishi Sunak has been able to save more than £300,000 on his tax bill in recent years because of a cut to the capital gains rate he voted for back in 2016.
The prime minister has raked in more than £4.7m over the past three years and paid £1m in tax, a summary statement published on Thursday revealed.
But his tax bill would have been £308,000 higher if the Tories hadn’t cut the top rate of capital gains tax from 28 per cent to 20 per cent under David Cameron.
More from our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin and political correspondent Adam Forrest here:
Emily Atkinson24 March 2023 00:00
Sunak-Rama joint statement continued…
The joint statement by Rishi Sunak and Edi Rama went on: “On criminal justice co-operation, the leaders welcomed ongoing joint work on extraditions, prosecutions and forensics capabilities, and the removal of hundreds of prisoners under existing agreements.
“They agreed that a joint UK-Albanian team will conduct an assessment of Albania’s prison capacity – to be concluded by the end of April – with a view to returning all eligible Albanian nationals in the UK prison system.
“Finally, the prime ministers welcomed progress on business and university cooperation, including the launch of the new British Chamber of Commerce in Albania, a doubling of the market risk appetite for UK export finance support for Albania to £4 billion to facilitate investment, and the deepening of links between UK and Albanian universities.”
Emily Atkinson23 March 2023 23:00
Sunak and Rama promise to work together on illegal migration
Rishi Sunak and Albanian prime minister Edi Rama promised to work together to tackle illegal migration and people-smuggling gangs, according to a joint statement after they met.
Here’s the statement in full:
“The leaders set out their shared ambition to broaden and deepen the UK-Albania relationship, co-operating on addressing global and regional threats and strengthening our bilateral partnership.
“They noted significant opportunities to grow trade, investment and technology links, and Prime Minister Sunak again welcomed the significant contribution of the long-standing Albanian community in the UK to British life,” the statement said.
“As Nato allies, fellow members of the UN Security Council and close partners, the leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to working together to protect the security of our citizens, defend democracy and promote human rights, including through a robust international response to aggression by Russia. This will include assisting Albanian cyber defence to protect against online threats.
“Prime Minister Sunak and Prime Minister Rama committed to deepen work under the Joint Communique and Taskforce agreed in December, to take forward our shared priority on tackling illegal migration and criminal people-smuggling gangs.
“They discussed increased operational co-operation, including joint upstream communications to deter people from travelling in the first place, and further agreements on data sharing and passports. The leaders welcomed progress to date, with around 800 illegal migrants returning to Albania since December, action on organised crime and new UK guidance designating Albania a safe country.”
Emily Atkinson23 March 2023 22:00
Boris Johnson should quit as MP, says daughter of woman who died from Covid during Downing Street party
A woman whose mother died of coronavirus just days before one of the Downing Street parties has called for Boris Johnson to quit as an MP after he denied “hand on heart” lying to MPs over rule-breaking.
Naomi Fulop, who was prevented by restrictions from being with her siblings to grieve properly or have a full funeral, said it was clear the former prime minister had not been honest with the Privileges Committee investigating his statements.
Prof Fulop told The Independent: “It’s totally clear to me and I think to most of the population that he was telling people to do one thing and doing something else himself because he thinks the rules don’t apply to him.
My colleague Jane Dalton has more:
Emily Atkinson23 March 2023 21:00
Watch: Starmer criticises ‘Boris Johnson circus’ as he lays out Labour’s crime and policing agenda
Starmer criticises ‘Boris Johnson circus’ as he lays out Labour’s crime and policing agenda
Emily Atkinson23 March 2023 20:00