Boris Johnson calls European Super League ‘a cartel’
Boris Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings has been blamed by No 10 for the leaking of the prime minister’s damaging text message exchange with Sir James Dyson about tax changes.
A Downing Street source has told several newspapers that Mr Cummings was “engaged in systematic leaking” and was still “bitter” about being forced out of No 10 last year.
It comes as The Independent reveals that Mr Johnson met Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward at No 10 in the days before the launch of the despised European Super League.
Labour is demanding details of the meeting to show that the PM had no advanced warning of the ill-fated breakaway league. “Downing Street should release the minutes,” said Jo Stevens, shadow culture secretary.
Meanwhile, new documents show how David Cameron and Lex Greensill made a barrage of desperate appeals to the Bank of England and Treasury officials for financial support as Greensill Capital’s income dried up.
Starmer: ‘Government by WhatsApp – they’re all at it’
Keir Starmer criticised the “quarrelling at the centre of government” when asked about reports that Boris Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings has been blamed for leaking text messages.
“Now we’re getting arguments and quarrelling at the centre of government about who is leaking information about privileged access,” he told reporters during a campaign visit to Hartlepool.
“Boris Johnson is desperate to try to put this at arm’s length, but it’s obvious that he can’t. This is government by WhatsApp, they’re all at it.”
Adam Forrest23 April 2021 11:50
Did Cummings think Dyson texts would be ‘embarrassing’?
“If Dominic Cummings did leak this stuff, that means Dominic Cummings thinks that it matters. That means Dominic Cummings thinks that it’s a big deal,” said LBC’s James O’Brien on the textual exchange between Boris Johnson and James Dyson.
“That means Dominic ‘Barnard Castle’ Cummings thinks that this should be – and is – deeply embarrassing and deeply troubling for the prime minister.”
Adam Forrest23 April 2021 11:36
Cabinet secretary to be grilled by MPs
The nation’s top civil servant will be grilled by MPs over the propriety of government links to Greensill Capital on Monday, it has been announced.
Cabinet secretary Simon Case (and the head of the Cabinet Office propriety and ethics team Darren Tierney) will face questions from the public administration and constitutional affairs committee.
The hearing will kick off the committee’s inquiry into the effectiveness of codes of conduct for ministers and officials in the light of the scandal over David Cameron’s lobbying efforts for Greensill.
Expect more top officials to be answering questions on lobbying. The public administration and constitutional affairs committee is one of several to have launched inquiries into the multi-faceted scandal.
Adam Forrest23 April 2021 11:23
Is ‘chatty rat’ probe now over?
Downing Street officials have, in theory, been investigating who leaked the plans for a second Covid lockdown, which prompted faster action from No 10.
Whitehall insiders believes Dominic Cummings was the “chatty rat”, according to The Telegraph.
It may mean that the internal inquiry being carried out to get to the bottom of the James Dyson texts leak – which shouldn’t take long, if this morning’s comments by a No 10 source are anything to go by – will make the previous probe redundant.
Adam Forrest23 April 2021 10:57
‘Rishi Sunak can’t keep ducking this,’ says Labour
Labour’s shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds has been through last night’s Treasury document dump. She says emails confirm that Treasury officials knew Greensill Capital was in financial trouble as early as 21 March last year.
“We need to understand why the chancellor and the Treasury did nothing when they were aware Greensill was deep in the red,” said Dodds.
“The chancellor can’t keep ducking this. He must come out of hiding and explain his role in the return of Conservative sleaze.”
Adam Forrest23 April 2021 10:31
Labour narrows big poll gap
Labour are up five point in the latest YouGov, but still languish 10 points behind the Tories. It follows last week’s terrible poll for Keir Starmer, showing the party on only 29 per cent.
Adam Forrest23 April 2021 10:21
‘I’m very keen on bunnies,’ says PM’s dad
Stanley Johnson has been asked if “bunny hugger” – the term used so dismissively by Boris Johnson at the climate summit – is an affectionate or offensive term.
“I don’t think I would mind being seen as a greenie,” he told LBC’s Nick Ferrari, questioning his son’s suggestion there was something to be embarrassed about. “I can tell you Nick, I’ve been a Conservative environmentalist for a very long time.”
He added: “I’m very keen on bunnies. As I sit here on Exmoor, looking out of window … there used to be hundreds, thousands of them down here … Bunny hugging is a good term.”
Adam Forrest23 April 2021 10:18
Government’s football review will look at German model
A wholesale review of the way English football is run will consider creating a new regulator, changing the “fit and proper person test” for owners – and examine how to give fans a greater say in how their clubs are run.
The review will look the way the game is run overseas, such as Germany’s Bundesliga where teams are only allowed to take part if commercial investors hold no more than a 49 per cent stake in their ownership.
Former sports minister Tracey Crouch, leading the review, said: “It will look closely at the issues of governance, ownership and finance and take the necessary steps to retain the game’s integrity.”
Adam Forrest23 April 2021 10:01
PM’s mobile? ‘I don’t have it,’ admits minister
Culture minister Caroline Dinenage admitted during a live interview that she does not have Boris Johnson’s phone number, when quizzed about his matey text exchanges with Sir James Dyson.
Asked why certain people have access to Johnson’s number, she told Good Morning Britain: “Of course they don’t hand them out willy-nilly, and I’m not even sure I have got the prime minister’s number, to be honest with you.”
Dinenage then looked through her phone contacts to see if she does have the PM’s digits, before saying: “No … I don’t have it.”
Adam Forrest23 April 2021 09:42
Scottish election results will take 48 hours
Looks like the nail-biting Scottish parliament election will keep exhausted political types up for days.
The outcome of the 6 May vote won’t be known for up to 48 hours afterwards, election chiefs have confirmed. Only a third of the results will be declared the next day because of extra Covid precautions.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will set out her plan for women today, while Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross will be campaigning in Fife.
Ross has said Scotland’s future is on a “knife edge” as he asked pro-UK voters to “unite behind us” to stop another referendum.
Strangely, the SNP is using exactly the same rhetoric to get its voters out. Keith Brown, deputy leader, said: “These polls show this election, the most important in Scotland’s history, on a knife-edge.”
Adam Forrest23 April 2021 09:38