Latest London politics news: Second Cabinet Secretary suggests general election needed if Prime Minister is ousted
Sue Gray’s report has “no standing,” says the former Met Police chief
Former Metropolitan Police Superintendent Dal Babu said Sue Gray’s report had “no standing” and was “no different” from a staff report.
Mr Babu said he was concerned by the delay in a police inquiry into whether there had been parties in No 10 and Whitehall during the 2020 coronavirus lockdown.
The penalty for breaching the lockdown rules is a fixed criminal charge, which Mr Babu said is an “entry crime” that’s as “simple as possible” in terms of police investigations.
He told Sky News: “I think the delay issue is a worrying one. I’m not entirely sure why there is a delay.
“Ever since I left the police force I’ve been investigating and if I were investigating … as soon as there was evidence of crime you would stand back and give priority to the police.
“Sue Gray’s report does not stand. She’s a very important person, very capable, but essentially it’s just a report.
“It’s not a judicial inquiry, it has no special powers to call people to testify. So your report will be no different from an HR report.”
Pictured: PM leaves Downing Street on Thursday
Boris Johnson was pictured leaving his Downing Street home on Thursday as he heads to an official engagement.
It comes as reports suggest a new collection of Tory MPs is poised to force a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.
“The pandemic is not over yet – everyone should remain cautious,” says PM
Boris Johnson has urged millions of people to “stay cautious” about Covid as Plan B restrictions were lifted on Thursday.
The Prime Minister hailed the “success of our booster rollout, the tireless work of the NHS and the amazing public response” which he stressed meant the measures in England would end at midnight on January 27.
However, amid signs that the sharp decline in Omicron cases in London and elsewhere may have slowed, he also stressed: “The pandemic is not over – everyone should remain cautious and I urge everyone who is still taking their vaccine.” have not received forward.”
Emails about dog rescue in Kabul “speak for themselves,” says top Tory MP
Foreign affairs committee chairman Tom Tugendhat said Thursday that the defense minister had never ordered animals to be evacuated from Kabul because of people.
However, he added that emails suggesting the prime minister had personally authorized the evacuation of nearly 200 cats and dogs from Afghanistan as thousands of people struggled to escape. “speak for yourself”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I can’t really comment in more detail than what has been released. The emails really speak for themselves and must be read in conjunction with other evidence.
“The Secretary of Defense made it very clear before the committee this Tuesday that there is no such order.
“I have to say that the secretary of defense has always spoken honestly about this. You need to read the emails and see if you think others have been tweaking the system. I can’t answer that, but it’s certainly true that the secretary of defense made that very clear and I take him at his word.”
Second cabinet minister suggests general election will be needed if prime minister is ousted
A second cabinet minister has suggested a general election may need to be called if Boris Johnson is ousted, reports our political editor Nicholas Cecil.
Mr Johnson’s allies tried to pressure Tory MPs not to crack down on him over the ‘Partygate’ scandal.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries joined Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg to raise the prospect of the nation having to go to the polls again and Conservative MPs potentially losing their seats.
Mr Rees-Mogg told BBC Newsnight on Tuesday that the modern precedent is for a new incumbent to go to the polls at Downing Street to seek a new mandate.
He said: “In my opinion, for better or for worse, we have evolved towards a presidential system and the mandate is therefore personal rather than fully partisan and any prime minister would be very well advised to seek a new mandate.”
His view was slammed by Secretary of State Liz Truss, who said talk of the need for a general election should Mr Johnson be ousted was “complete hypothetical speculation”.
Parliamentarians also pointed out that there was no general election when Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair in June 2007.
But Ms Dorries tweeted on Thursday: “Blair as an example of why we won’t need GE is wrong. It’s been ages since Blair’s handover to Brown was smoothly pre-announced, no leadership choice.
“Brown was still being pressured to bottle it and then lost. V different times before 24 hour news / social media.”
Lord Barwell, Theresa May’s former chief of staff, dismissed Ms Dorries’ argument, tweeting: “How about May to Johnson as a more recent example?
“None of you said there needed to be a general election back then – we only found one when the Prime Minister concluded it was the only way to break the Brexit impasse.”
The prime minister has not made any “individual decisions” about evacuations from Afghanistan, the minister says
Cabinet minister Therese Coffey insisted Boris Johnson had not made “individual decisions” on Afghan evacuations, despite a leaked email suggesting he had “authorized” the removal of animals from Kabul.
Therese Coffey: PM ‘did not make individual decisions about evacuations’ from Afghanistan
The Work and Pensions Secretary told Sky News: “The Prime Minister has not taken individual decisions on evacuations.
“Many people will claim that the PM is involved in supporting their particular pet projects, but the PM said he is not involved in individual decisions.
“That’s what the Defense Secretary, who was responsible for Operation Pitting as a whole, said.”
PM has pledged to publish ‘full findings’ of Sue Gray report, minister says
Boris Johnson has committed to publishing the “full findings” of the Sue Gray report, a Cabinet minister said on Thursday.
However, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey paused to say the full report from the chief official would be published in the ‘parties’ row at Downing Street.
Speaking on Sky News, she said: “The government has committed to publishing the full findings of the report but I have no idea when.”
Final Plan B restrictions lifted
Face masks and Covid passports are no longer a legal requirement in England following the recent rollback of Plan B rules.
The changes went into effect at midnight on Thursday.
The Government has insisted restrictions can be lifted due to the success of the vaccine rollout and a better understanding of Covid as we ‘learn to live with the virus’.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said wearing masks was now “a matter of personal judgement”.
Restrictions in care homes in England will be eased from January 31.
The Government has announced there will be no limit on the number of visitors allowed into care homes, self-isolation times will be reduced and care homes will only have to follow outbreak management rules for 14 days rather than 28 days.
Read more about the rule changes here.
Undoubtedly another busy day in politics as the Prime Minister nervously awaits the release of Sue Gray’s Partygate report.
All day long, we bring you the latest updates from the heart of Westminster and beyond.
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