Boris Johnson says review into David Cameron’s lobbying efforts under way
The government’s LGBT+ panel of independent advisers has been disbanded by ministers. It comes after three members quit in protest earlier this year over the government’s delay in introducing a ban on conversion therapy in Britain.
It comes as Boris Johnson has said he has given Nigel Boardman “pretty much carte blanche” to speak to anybody he needs to as part of his inquiry into David Cameron’s lobbying activities on behalf of collapsed finance firm Greensill.
Meanwhile, No 10 has said significant differences remain between the UK government and the European Union over the operation of the Brexit deal in Northern Ireland. Downing Street said there were still major hurdles to be crossed in order to resolve the issues around the protocol.
Labour to force vote on Greensill-Cameron lobbying scandal
Labour has announced it will attempt to force a vote on the Greensill lobbying scandal on Wednesday, calling for a “full, transparent” parliamentary inquiry into the controversy.
After Boris Johnson unveiled an investigation into the issue, the party said the government cannot be allowed to simply “mark its own homework”, as it demanded a cross-party committee to investigate existing lobbying laws.
Given the prime minister’s considerable Commons majority, however, the motion is unlikely to pass if the government whips Conservative MPs against.
“The Boardman investigation has all the hallmarks of a Conservative cover up – the British public, especially those with their jobs on the line as a result of Greensill’s collapse, deserve answers,” said the shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves.
“Any Conservative who wants to stop the cronyism rampant in their party and in government must vote with Labour this week to uncover once and for all the truth behind this scandal.
“The Greensill scandal is just the tip of the iceberg in Conservative cronyism, which has been endemic during the pandemic and long before – laced through billions of pounds of contracts paid for by taxpayers and a slew of troubling senior appointments.
“The Conservatives cannot be trusted to mark their own homework on this.”
Matt Mathers13 April 2021 13:46
Labour: Workers and taxypayers deserve answers on Cameron-Greensill lobbying scandal
Workers whose jobs have been put at risk and taxpayers right across the country deserve answers on the David Cameron lobbying scandal, Labour has said.
Shadow chancellor Annaliese Dodds said Rishi Sunak was “running scared” of levelling with the public.
Delivering her urgent question in the House of Commons, Ms Dodds said of her opposite number: “Hundreds of millions of pounds of public money were put at risk by giving Greensill access to this scheme.
“With Greensill’s collapse, thousands of jobs in Rotherham, Hartlepool – right across the country have been put at risk.
“Those workers and taxpayers across the country deserve answers.
“The chancellor said he would level with the public. Why is he running scared of levelling with them on the Greensill scandal?”
Mr Sunak, who sent a minister to parliament today in his place, insists the Treasury was not responsible for running the scheme Greensill’s company accessed.
Matt Mathers13 April 2021 13:36
Cameron inquiry has no legal powers, No 10 confirms
No 10 has reiterated Boris Johnson’s remarks on the Cameron-lobbying investigation – promising Nigel Boardman would have “carte blanche” in his review of the activities of the former PM and his work with Greensill Capital.
But the review will not have legal powers or be able to rule on potential breaches of the ministerial code, Downing Street has confirmed.
The PM’s official spokesman said Boris Johnson had been “very clear about the review having pretty much carte blanche in this area”.
The spokesman added: “It won’t have legal powers but the reviewer will have access to all the necessary information required and engage with those involved at the time.”
Adam Forrest13 April 2021 12:52
Salmond denied TV opportunity to boost support
The second live TV debate of Scotland’s Holyrood election takes place at 7.30pm Tuesday, as campaigning resumes after a brief pause to mark the death of Prince Philip.
However, Alex Salmond, who has muscled his way into headlines ever since he launched his own, pro-independence Alba party last month – has been denied a platform on tonight’s STV clash.
Salmond has argued he would provide necessary balance, joining Nicola Sturgeon and the Greens’ Patrick Harvie on the pro-independence side against the Tory, Labour and Lib Dem leaders.
However, the broadcaster has made clear it is satisfied its debate will be balanced – featuring the five parties which have had seats in the Holyrood parliament.
Adam Forrest13 April 2021 12:28
Head of Cameron inquiry given ‘pretty much carte blanche’, says Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson has said he has given Nigel Boardman “pretty much carte blanche” to speak to anybody he needs to as part of the inquiry into David Cameron’s lobbying activities on behalf of collapsed financial firm Greensill Capital.
Speaking to the BBC, the prime minister said: “I’ve asked Nigel Boardman to have a look at this whole issue of supply chain finance and given him pretty much carte blanche to ask anybody whatever he needs to find out.
“I would like it to be done quickly but I want him to have the maximum possible access so we can all understand exactly what’s happened and that will of course be presented to parliament in due course.”
Asked why he hasn’t committed to a full independent inquiry, Mr Johnson said: “Well, I’ve got every confidence in Nigel Boardman. I think he’ll do an outstanding job. He’s done a very good job on PPE.
“I think we need to understand exactly what’s been going on with this supply chain finance question and we’ll make sure everybody gives him their time.”
Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 12:05
Watch live as Matt Hancock takes questions in parliament
Health minister Matt Hancock is answering questions from MPs in parliament a day after England eased restrictions to curb Covid-19 infections.
Watch live as Matt Hancock takes questions in parliament
Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 11:47
Head of David Cameron lobbying inquiry ‘opposed his curbs to lobbying rules’
The head of the inquiry into the David Cameron lobbying scandal opposed his limited curbs to lobbying rules, it has emerged, triggering criticism of his appointment.
Labour hit out at what it called the “cronyism” of picking Nigel Boardman – a high-flying City lawyer and an adviser to a government department – to lead the “independent” probe.
Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has more details:
Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 11:25
Calls to give Scottish Labour both votes to let Holyrood focus on ‘national recovery’
Anas Sarwar has urged Scots to give Scottish Labour both votes at the upcoming election to deprive the SNP a majority and to provide a “better opposition” than the Tories.
The Scottish Labour leader is launching an advertising campaign urging voters to back his party on both the constituency and regional list ballots.
Mr Sarwar has warned that if the Scottish Conservatives remain as the largest opposition party after May’s election, then the next five years of the Scottish parliament would focus on “old arguments”.
Describing the Tories as “game-playing and incompetent”, Mr Sarwar has instead pledged to focus on a “national recovery” from the coronavirus pandemic in the next parliament.
Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 10:57
Government disbands LGBT+ panel of advisers
The government’s LGBT+ panel of independent advisers has been disbanded by ministers, with a new panel to be appointed in “due course”.
It comes after three members of the panel quit in protest earlier this year, criticising the government’s delay at introducing a ban on conversion therapy in Britain — three years after it was promised.
Follow our breaking news story for more updates:
Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 10:33
EU exports and imports rebound after record slump in January
Official figures show exports to the EU increased by £3.7 billion – or 46.6 per cent – in February, following a record slump of £5.7 billion in January.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the export increases were driven by machinery, transport equipment and chemicals.
It added that the import of goods from the EU also rebounded, increasing by £1.2 billion – or 7.3 per cent – in February.
An ONS spokeswoman said: “Exports to the EU recovered significantly from their January fall, though still remain below 2020 levels.
“However, imports from the EU are yet to significantly rebound, with a number of issues hampering trade.”
Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 10:25