Metropolitan Police conclude Partygate inquiry with 126 people fined
Boris Johnson was drinking at a Downing Street party held during a coronavirus lockdown, newly-released photos show.
The four pictures, obtained by ITV News, appear to show the PM raising a glass at a leaving party for his then director of communications Lee Cain on 13 November 2020.
A number of people can be seen standing together around a table of party food and booze, despite – at the time – the rest of the country being banned from socialising during the height of the pandemic.
Earlier, Dominic Cummings – Mr Johnson’s former senior adviser – had claimed that photos would emerge within the next 24 to 48 hours that would show the PM “obviously lied” to police and the House of Commons about Downing Street parties.
Mr Cummings predicted pictures would be released by warring factions within No 10, before the official partygate report by senior civil servant Sue Gray is finally published this week.
After the pictures were released, deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said Mr Johnson “demeaned his office” and that “there’s no doubt now [that] he lied.”
‘No doubt’ PM lied – Rayner as new partygate photo emerges
Angela Rayner has accused Boris Johnson of undoubtedly lying about the lockdown-busting parties held in Downing Street.
Her comments came as new photos emerged showing the prime minister raising a glass at one of the gatherings.
The deputy Labour leader said: “While the British public were making huge sacrifices, Boris Johnson was breaking the law.
“Boris Johnson said repeatedly that he knew nothing about law-breaking – there’s no doubt now, he lied. Boris Johnson made the rules, and then broke them.
“The Prime Minister has demeaned his office. The British people deserve better. While Labour has a plan for tackling the cost-of-living crisis, Tory MPs are too busy defending the indefensible actions of Boris Johnson.”
Lamiat Sabin23 May 2022 17:40
Education secretary condemns ‘identity politics’ in schools
Children should be taught how to think, not what to think, education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said.
His comments came as Tory MP Julian Lewis pressed him to agree that “vicious identity politics and decolonisation of subjects” are comparable to subjects banned from classrooms for being politically partisan.
In the Commons, Mr Lewis said: “Does the Secretary of State accept that the concepts of anti-nuclear education and anti-imperialist education that led to that ban equally are to be compared with the concepts of vicious identity politics and decolonisation of subjects, which rightly fall foul of the legislation he cited?”
In response, Mr Zahawi said: “My honourable friend raises a very powerful point. He is quite right. Children should be taught how to think, not what to think.”
He also said that no-one should fear “expressing lawful views whatsoever” at universities, as he gave his backing to the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill – which is aimed at protecting expression on campuses.
“Universities and students must balance their legal duties, including freedom of speech and tackling harassment,” Mr Zahawi told MPs.
Lamiat Sabin23 May 2022 17:21
PM to address MPs ‘in full’ over new partygate photo
Boris Johnson will address parliament “in full”, Downing Street said in response to the photographs that show the PM raising a glass during a lockdown-busting party at No 10.
A No 10 spokesperson said: “The Cabinet Office and the Met Police have had access to all information relevant to their investigations, including photographs.
“The Met have concluded their investigation and Sue Gray will publish her report in the coming days, at which point the Prime Minister will address Parliament in full.”
Lamiat Sabin23 May 2022 16:50
Labour to oppose Troubles amnesty legislation
The government has failed to secure cross-party support for its flagship proposals on the Northern Ireland peace process.
Labour sources said the party would oppose the plans, which include a controversial amnesty for those accused of atrocities during the Troubles, at the second reading of the Bill on Tuesday.
Our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin has the full story:
Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 16:30
Photo emerges of Boris Johnson raising glass at No 10 party
Images have emerged showing Boris Johnson drinking at a Downing Street party during coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
The four pictures, obtained by ITV News, allegedly show the prime minister raising a glass at a leaving party for then director of sommunications Lee Cain on 13 November 2020.
A number of people can be standing close together around a table filled with party food and alcohol.
Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 16:19
No plans for Cobra meeting or travel bans amid monkeypox outbreak, says Downing Street
Downing Street said there are no plans to hold a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee over monkeypox, or to impose any travel bans.
Asked about travel restrictions from affected countries, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “No, no considerations of that kind. What we’re seeing at the moment is community transmission not linked to travel.”
He said vaccines are being offered to close contacts but no plans for an “at scale” vaccination programme.
“We do have vaccines procured at significant numbers but given the nature of this and how we know it’s spreading, it’s thought to be no clinical requirement for that sort of at scale campaign,” he said.
Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 16:05
Dominic Cummings claims photos will prove Boris Johnson lied over Partygate
Photos will emerge within the next two days which show that Boris Johnson “obviously lied” to police and the House of Commons about Downing Street parties, the prime minister’s former top aide Dominic Cummings has claimed.
Mr Cummings predicted that pictures would be released by factions involved in in-fighting within No 10 as the official report by senior civil servant Sue Gray is finally published.
Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has the full story:
Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 15:25
UK agrees joint declaration with Lithuania to deepen defence and trade ties
The UK and Lithuania have signed a joint declaration that will look to build on bilateral defence and trade ties, the Foreign Office has announced.
Ministers from the Nato allies penned the accord today to mark 100 years of bilateral relations between Britain and the eastern European nation in a move sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Lithuania shares a border with Belarus, a country whose president, Alexander Lukashenko, has forged a close relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The foreign secretary, speaking at the signing of the joint declaration, praised Lithuania for standing up to Russia – comments that follow on from her singling Vilnius out for resisting China’s “coercion”.
Liz Truss highlighted Lithuania in a speech at Mansion House last month as a country which Beijing had tried to bully economically.
The cabinet minister said: “The UK and Lithuania are two countries which believe in freedom and sovereignty, and who stand up to authoritarian regimes in Europe and across the world.
“We stand together with Ukraine in the face of Russia’s illegal, barbaric war.
“I have immense admiration and respect for Lithuania and I am delighted that today we are deepening our defence and security relationship, and forging greater opportunities for trade and investment through this joint declaration.”
Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 15:10
US delegation warns British government unilaterally removing Northern Ireland Protocol ‘will not work’
A delegation of politicians from the United States has warned the British government unilaterally removing the Northern Ireland Protocol “will not work”.
Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee urged Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to engage in face-to-face negotiations with Brussels to resolve the outstanding issues.
It comes as the bipartisan US congressional delegation is due to meet Irish premier Micheal Martin on Monday in Dublin.
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald will also meet the group.
Mr Kildee met with Ms Truss over the weekend.
“It’s important, and we stress this, that the (British Government) negotiate and that they not take unilateral action,” he told RTE Morning Ireland.
“I think that was the very first point that was pressed by our delegation, most particularly Richie Neal.
“The only way we can come to agreement, the only way we protect the incredible progress that’s represented with the Good Friday Agreement, is face-to-face negotiation.
“It is disappointing to see unilateral action being considered, we stressed that that was not the approach that we recommend, but again, difficult to determine their motivation.
“We don’t believe that is the proper path. We think unilateral solutions will not work, face-to-face negotiation to work out some of these technical questions can be achieved and that’s what we currently recommend.”
Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 14:54
Everything we know about Boris Johnson’s alleged Downing Street lockdown parties
My colleague Joe Sommerlad has put together this explainer on everything we know about Boris Johnson’s alleged Downing Street lockdown parties following the conclusion of the Metropolitan Police’s investigation, which saw 126 fines handed out.
Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 14:34