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LIVE – Updated at 07:37

Sue Gray’s report into Covid breaching lockdown parties in Downing Street will be released by “the end of May,” at the earliest according to reports.

Sources told the Guardian that the senior civil servant is “working towards the end of May as the most likely timetable” for completing her report.

Ms Gray was forced to delay her Partygate report while the Metropolitan Police completes its investigation into the events in Downing Street, which Scotland Yard confirmed it would not update until the end of the local elections.

It comes as a separate report revealed Sue Gray’s “excoriating” findings could force Boris Johnson to resign.

According to The Times, the official said: “Sue’s report is excoriating. It will make things incredibly difficult for the Prime Minister.

“There’s an immense amount of pressure on her — her report could be enough to end him.”

Key Points

  • Punish sexist MPs with suspension from Commons, Harriet Harman says
  • Boris Johnson asked Trump not to appear in an interview with Piers Morgan in December 2019
  • Commons Speaker summons Mail on Sunday editor over Angel Rayner article
  • Sue Gray’s partygate review could ‘end’ Johnson’s premiership
  • Rebel factions working together to oust PM
  • Boris Johnson threatens to unleash ‘terrors of the earth’ on Tory who made Rayner remark

Sue Gray Partygate report ‘to be released by end of May’

07:37 , Thomas Kingsley

Sue Gray’s report into Covid breaching lockdown parties in Downing Street will be released by “the end of May,” at the earliest according to reports.

Sources told the Guardian that the senior civil servant is “working towards the end of May as the most likely timetable” for completing her report.

In an interim report published in January, the Cabinet Office official said there had been “failures of leadership and judgment” in No 10 over the so-called partygate saga.

The Times, citing an official it described as being familiar with the contents of the complete report, said Ms Gray’s full findings were even more personally critical of the prime minister and could end his premiership.

© Provided by The Independent Sue Gray took over the inquiry after Simon Case was forced to stand down (PA/Gov.uk) (PA Media)

Former PM says government should defend its counter-extremism programme

07:10 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Former prime minister David Cameron has warned the government to defend its flagship counter-extremism strategy — Prevent — from criticism or risk “enabling” terrorism.

In the foreword to a report from the Policy Exchange, Mr Cameron warns: “Just as we need to counter the Islamist extremist narrative, we need to counter the anti-Prevent narrative. We need to show that delegitimising counter-terrorism is, in essence, enabling terrorism.”

The report claims that Prevent is being undermined by “Islamist campaigners and their allies” and names organisations including CAGE and the Muslim Council of Britain.

The government’s flagship counter-extremism programme has been criticised by many for being Islamophobic.

Snobbery over Angela Rayner’s debating skills isn’t just vile, it’s plain wrong

06:50 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Labour’s deputy leader is combative and quick-witted enough to thwart Johnson on her own terms, Sean O’Grady writes:

© Provided by The Independent

Snobbery at Angela Rayner isn’t just vile, it’s plain wrong

EU trade relationships declined after Brexit, report finds

06:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

According to new research, the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU has caused a steep decline in the number of trading relationships Britain has with the European bloc.

The paper, by LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance, found the return to pre-Brexit levels of exports to the EU “masks a steep decline in the number of varieties [of goods] exported, driven by the exit of ‘small’ varieties that account for a low share of total exports.”

Thomas Sampson, a co-author of the study, was quoted as saying by Financial Times that the “research found that after the trade agreement came into force, the number of buyer-seller relationships between the UK and the EU fell by nearly one-third, with the vast majority of those being shed in the first quarter”.

ICYMI: Ukrainian town names street after ‘hero’ Boris Johnson

06:10 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A small town in southern Ukraine is renaming one of its roads after British prime minister Boris Johnson in recognition of the UK’s efforts to help the country in its war against Russia.

The street is in Fontanka, which sits on the outskirts of Odesa, where the Ukrainian military is currently still resisting Russian forces.

Read the full story by Sam Hancock here:

© Provided by The Independent

Ukrainian town names street after ‘hero’ Boris Johnson

UK believes 15,000 Russian troops killed in Ukraine as it pledges further help

05:50 , Maroosha Muzaffar

The defence secretary Ben Wallace told MPs on Monday that around 15,000 Russian troops have been killed since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

He also said that more than 2,000 of Russia’s armoured vehicles have either been destroyed or captured so far.

Mr Wallace said that “at the start of this conflict Russia had committed over 120 battalion tactical groups, approximately 65 per cent of its entire ground combat strength”.

As of now, he continued, “we assess around over 25 per cent of these have been rendered not combat effective”.

Read the full story by Richard Wheeler here:

© Provided by The Independent

UK believes 15,000 Russian troops killed in Ukraine as it pledges further help

Family of Briton captured in Mariupol appeal to Boris Johnson

05:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

The family of a British man who was captured in Ukraine has pleaded with the prime minister to help free him.

Aiden Aslin, originally from Nottinghamshire, was captured earlier this month while fighting to defend Mariupol from the invading Russian forces.

Another Briton, Shaun Pinner, was also captured during the siege.

Mr Aslin’s mother, Angela, and brother Nathan Wood made an emotional plea to the prime minister and said: “I would like to hope that Boris will help and that there can be something sorted out.”The duo also said that they appealed to Mr Johnson during a ​​phone call with him.

Mr Wood told Talk TV that “I would hope that, at some point, there will be a prisoner swap. However, it’s out of my hands. It is between Ukraine and Russia.”

Boris Johnson faces calls to make extra bank holiday permanent

05:10 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Boris Johnson is facing increasing calls from business leaders across the UK to make this year’s extra bank holiday — marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee — permanent.

Business leaders have said that a “thank holiday” would, besides honouring the monarch, also provide a much-needed boost to the economy after Covid.

In an open letter to Mr Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, signatories suggested that making the holiday permanent “would provide a moment every year for individuals and communities to come together, to thank those who have contributed in ways big and small to making our country a better place to live”.

This year’s extra day off is set to take place on 3 June.

Boris Johnson to plead with ministers for ideas on cost of living as Britons face £10bn fuel cost hike

04:50 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Boris Johnson will ask cabinet ministers to come up with ideas on easing the cost of living crisis as Britons were warned of a £10bn annual hike in petrol and diesel costs.

The prime minister wants his colleagues to develop “innovative” ways to reduce the pressure on households, saying moves to ease the burden from price rises and soaring bills must be “a team effort”.

Read the full story by Adam Forrest here:

© Provided by The Independent

Boris Johnson to plead with ministers for ideas on cost of living

Boris Johnson asked Trump not to appear in an interview with Piers Morgan in December 2019

04:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Donald Trump has claimed that UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, forced him to cancel an interview with Piers Morgan shortly before the general election.

The former US president said in an interview aired on Monday night that Mr Johnson had asked him not to appear in an interview on Good Morning Britain in December 2019.

Mr Trump said that the interview was cancelled at the last minute when the UK PM intervened. He added that he did not know why Mr Johnson asked him not to appear on the interview but said that he did what the PM asked him to do.

During the interview with Talk TV’s “Piers Morgan Uncensored”, the host suggested that it could be because the interview might have created “something that would cost him the election” — which was just a few days after the planned interview.

Sexist comments are ‘universal’ experience for female MPs, Mother of the House says

Monday 25 April 2022 21:05 , Andy Gregory

Parliament’s longest-serving female MP has said that sexist MPs are currently able to make with “impunity” comments which would lead to a charge of gross misconduct if made by a senior executive in a private company about a colleague.

Calling for misogyny among MPs to be made punishable by suspension from the Commons, Dame Harriet Harman told The Independent that comments such as those made about Angela Rayner in the Mail on Sunday were a “universal” experience for women in the Commons.

Dame Harriet warned that such behaviour had got worse since she arrived at Westminster in 1982 as one of just 21 female MPs and was regularly mocked as “Harriet Harperson”.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has the full report here:

© Provided by The Independent

Punish sexist MPs with suspension, says most senior woman in

Punish sexist MPs with suspension, says most senior woman in Commons

Monday 25 April 2022 20:58 , Andy Gregory

Parliament’s most senior female MP has demanded change to the Commons code of conduct to make misogyny an offence punishable by suspension from the House, our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports.

Dame Harriet said it was “not good enough” for Boris Johnson simply to disown the offensive remark, telling The Independent: “He shouldn’t just be commenting on it, he needs to be taking action.

“Prime ministers are judged on their actions not their words. He could very easily be taking action to find out who made these comments and removing the whip from them.”

Making misogynistic, homophobic and racist language a specific breach of the MPs’ code of conduct would allow an inquiry by Commons standards commissioner Kathryn Stone, potentially leading to a humiliating apology on the floor of the House or suspension. A suspension of more than 10 days could trigger a recall petition in the MP’s constituency to remove them from office.

You can read the full story here:

© Provided by The Independent

Punish sexist MPs with suspension, says most senior woman in

Northern Ireland Protocol legal challenge referred to Supreme Court

Monday 25 April 2022 20:11 , Andy Gregory

A legal challenge to the Northern Ireland Protocol has been referred to the UK’s highest court, in a move that has been welcomed by unionist politicians.

Last year, a case arguing that the post-Brexit trading agreement breaches the 1800 Acts of Union was rejected in both the High Court and Court of Appeal in Belfast.

But Northern Ireland’s Lady Chief Justice Dame Siobhan Keegan has now granted leave to appeal a ruling, and the case will now be considered by Supreme Court justices, although no date has yet been set.

TUV leader Jim Allister, one of several people behind the case, said he was “delighted” by the move, which he called “a clear indication and recognition of the fact that there are significant legal and constitutional issues to be resolved by the highest court in our land”.

He said he looked forward “to definitive rulings which go to the very heart of Northern Ireland’s position as a threatened integral part of the UK”, adding: “This is a battle which must be fought both legally and politically.”

Boris Johnson’s inconsistency ‘tends to undermine’ his support, William Hague suggests

Monday 25 April 2022 19:54 , Andy Gregory

Our chief political commentator John Rentoul has highlighted this snippet in The Times from former Tory leader William Hague, suggesting that Boris Johnson’s desire to please the audience in front of him “tends to undermine his support rather than secure it”.

In his analysis, Mr Hague writes: “Even if he has to go through the humblest apologies on the floor of the Commons, as he did last Tuesday, he will then go upstairs to the 1922 Committee of his own MPs and seek roars of approval for jokes and ripostes to the attacks of the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

David Lammy brands sexist claims against Angela Rayner ‘a disgrace’

Monday 25 April 2022 19:35 , Andy Gregory

David Lammy has described the sexist claims made against his Labour colleague Angela Rayner in the Mail on Sunday “a disgrace”.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary told Andrew Marr on LBC: “It’s an utter, utter disgrace. It puts women off politics, should never in my view have made the newspaper in the first place.

“The MPs around it should be identified and found, frankly. It was horrendous, absolutely horrendous, and I felt in total solidarity with Angela for finding herself in that situation.”

Opinion | It’s time to ditch Boris Johnson, the king of chaos

Monday 25 April 2022 19:20 , Andy Gregory

In his latest column, our associate editor Sean O’Grady responds to reports suggesting, in his words, “that Sue Gray’s report into the widespread criminality in Downing Street during lockdown is so dire in its details that it will finish off Boris Johnson for good, like a dose of Domestos down the loo”.

He writes: “Oliver Dowden, the over-promoted Conservative Party chairman who gives cynicism a bad name, says that removing Johnson from Downing Street would lead to “instability and uncertainty” in the country. Erm, what does Oliver think has been going on ever since Johnson became prime minister, indeed entered public life? He is the king of chaos, the crown prince of scandal, the president of peccadillos.

As Keir Starmer put it, dissembling on the grandest scale possible is the whole point of Johnson – not some glitch in the system. Getting shot of Johnson would help to end the uncertainty and unpredictability, because he, personally, is at the heart of it.

Breaching the lockdown rules wasn’t an aberration from a lifetime of probity and chastity. He isn’t Justin Welby. Johnson’s whole life has been “opposite of the nature of god”, not just his mad policy to transport innocent people to Rwanda.

You can read his thinking in full here:

© Provided by The Independent

It’s time to ditch Boris Johnson, the king of chaos | Sean O’Grady

New TalkTV channel set to go on-air at 7pm

Monday 25 April 2022 18:59 , Andy Gregory

The new TalkTV channel is set to go live imminently, a venture Rupert Murdoch surely hopes will shake up the orthodoxy of British television – if not the country’s political landscape.

Following hot on the heels of GB News, whose launch last June was plagued by technical difficulties, the channel is expected to go on-air at 7pm, with Piers Morgan’s interview with Donald Trump set to be broadcast an hour later.

You can find out more here:

© Provided by The Independent

How to watch TalkTV? The channel hosting Piers Morgan and Trump’s interview tonight

Questions raised over Boris Johnson’s attendance at Downing Street garden party

Monday 25 April 2022 18:37 , Andy Gregory

Journalists from ITV and The Mirror are reporting hearing claims that Boris Johnson has still not received a police questionnaire over the “BYOB” party in the Downing Street garden on 20 May 2020 – over which at least two officials have allegedly been fined by police.

Paul Brand and Pippa Crerar – both of whom have broken major Partygate revelations – said they had been told that the prime minister was yet to receive a questionnaire, despite his admission that he was present at the event.

However, barrister Adam Wagner suggests that Mr Johnson may have already been deemed to fall on the right side of his Covid laws in this instance, because the party took place at his own residence – and the rules referred to being outside of one’s own home.

“These were not well-thought through laws,” Mr Wagner said. “They appeared almost over-night and were very regularly iterated. Don’t be surprised that there were loopholes.”

‘Reckless in the extreme’: Outrage as government poised to green-light UK’s first new coal mine for decades

Monday 25 April 2022 18:03 , Andy Gregory

The UK government is said to be “on the cusp” of giving the go-ahead to a controversial new coal mine in Cumbria, sparking a furious response from concerned environmental groups and campaigners.

Following a report in the Sunday Telegraph claiming that Michael Gove could approve the contentious new mine as soon as next month, Carla Denyer, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, told The Independent that allowing the mine to go ahead meant Boris Johnson’s government was undermining a core message – to cut use of coal – agreed at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

She said: “The plan to give the green light to a new coal mine in Cumbria is reckless in the extreme and shows a Tory government abandoning any pretence of leadership on the climate crisis. As Cop26 president, the government is urging other countries to take climate action, while back home it agrees to investment in the most polluting of all fossil fuels.

“We need to be investing in renewables and a nationwide home insulation programme to address the cost of living crisis and cut carbon emissions, not shovelling more money into coal.”

Our environment correspondent Harry Cockburn has the full story here:

© Provided by The Independent

Outrage as government set to approve UK’s first new coal mine since 1980s

‘Men have to stop being misogynist’ to improve politics for women, Nicola Sturgeon says

Monday 25 April 2022 17:28 , Andy Gregory

Amid widespread criticism of sexist claims in the Mail on Sunday about Labour’s Angela Rayner, attributed to an anonymous Tory MP, Scotland’s first minister has said that it is up to men to make politics better for women by ending misogynistic behaviour.

Asked by the Press Association how politics can be made more welcoming to women, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Men have to stop being misogynist.”

She added: “Not all men are misogynist, but misogyny comes from men and that’s what needs to change. It’s not women that need to change, it’s the conduct and behaviour and attitudes of men.”

Speaking after the claim that Ms Rayner had crossed and uncrossed her legs to distract Boris Johnson in the Commons, Ms Sturgeon said that women are too often reduced “to their body parts”.

“I’ve been subject to that, all women in public life have been,” Ms Sturgeon said. “And, also, this suggestion that the failures of men can always be laid at the door of a woman.

“The fact that Boris Johnson performs poorly in the House of Commons, the fact that Angela Rayner manages to out-debate him on every occasion that they’re up against each other, is somehow Angela Rayner’s fault rather than the fact that Boris Johnson’s just not very good at his job.”

Asked what repercussions those who briefed the story to the press should face, the first minister said that was for the Conservative Party to decide, adding she hoped they would be dealt with “seriously”.

Labour lead remains unchanged at 8%, poll suggests

Monday 25 April 2022 17:12 , Andy Gregory

Labour’s poll lead over the Tories remains the same as it did a week earlier, according to Redfield and Wilton Strategies.

Polling of 2,000 people on Sunday found that 42 per cent said they would vote for Sir Keir Starmer’s party if there were to be a general election the following day – compared to 34 per cent for the Conservatives.

UK must ‘reboot’ defence spending or risk falling behind Nato allies, Labour warns

Monday 25 April 2022 17:02 , Andy Gregory

Following a statement to MPs by defence secretary Ben Wallace, his Labour counterpart John Healey told the Commons: “Our leadership in Nato could be at risk as Britain falls behind allies in responding to this Ukraine invasion.

“More than a dozen European countries are now rebooting security plans and defence spending but the UK has not yet done either.”

Warning that “we will be dealing with the consequences of Putin’s war for many years to come”, he urged Mr Wallace “to revisit the integrated review, review defence spending, reform military procurement and rethink his army cuts”.

Mr Wallace agreed that Nato needs “a long-term plan”, adding: “We need to know what will Nato look like and how will western Europe or Europe including many of its new members contain Putin after all this has passed.

“Because we have a man who has clearly been involved in an illegal invasion of a country, war crimes against the Ukrainian people, and how are we going to live with that neighbour in Europe should he still remain? And that is an important consideration for all of us.”

Defence secretary says he personally wants Russia to leave all occupied territory in Ukraine

Monday 25 April 2022 16:27 , Andy Gregory

Defence secretary Ben Wallace has said he personally wants Vladimir Putin to leave all occupied territory in Ukraine including Crimea – but that it is up to Ukraine what a resolution to the war would look like.

In the Commons, defence select committee chairman Tobias Ellwood asked him what he believed success in Ukraine would look like, and whether – if it is “in Europe’s wider security interest to see Putin humiliated in Ukraine” – it “must be our strategic end” for the entire mainland to be retaken from Moscow.

Mr Wallace replied that “our strategic aim is twofold”, adding: “One is that Putin must fail in Ukraine, he must fail in his invasion and I think he is on course to do that actually. He must fail in his occupation of Ukraine and I think he has definitely failed in achieving that.

“To the fine tuning of that, that is as much a matter of Ukraine’s choice as it is of anybody else – that Ukraine gets to choose where it wishes to settle for peace. We will do everything we can to support them.

“For my part, I want Putin not only beyond the pre-February boundaries. He invaded Crimea illegally, he invaded Donetsk illegally and he should comply with international law and in the long run leave Ukraine.”

You can watch live here:

A quarter of Russian battalion groups in Ukraine ‘rendered not combat effective’, minister suggests

Monday 25 April 2022 16:19 , Andy Gregory

Approximately 15,000 Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine, while Moscow has so far “failed in nearly every one of its objectives”, the defence secretary has told MPs.

In an update to the Common, Ben Wallace said the UK believes that more than 2,000 Russian armoured vehicles have been destroyed or captured, including at least 530 tanks, while Moscow has also lost more than 60 helicopters and fighter jets.

“At the start of this conflict Russia had committed over 120 battalion tactical groups – approximately 65 per cent of its entire ground combat strength. As of now we assess around over 25 per cent of these have been rendered not combat effective,” he told MPs.

“Ukraine is an inspiration to us all. Their brave people have never stopped fighting for their lands. They have endured indiscriminate bombardment, war crimes and overwhelming military aggression but they have stood firm, galvanised the international community and beaten back the army of Russia in the north and the north east.

“We anticipate this next phase of the invasion will be an attempt by Russia to occupy further the Donbas and connect via Mariupol the Crimea so it’s urgent that we in the international community ensure Ukraine gets the aid and weapons it so much needs.”

Misogynistic Rayner claims ‘can only deter’ women considering standing for election, Speaker says

Monday 25 April 2022 15:47 , Andy Gregory

Here is more detail from Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s announcement that he will be meeting with Mail on Sunday editor David Dillon to discuss its widely condemned article about Angela Rayner.

In statement at the start of Commons business on Monday, the Speaker told MPs: “I said to the House last week in response to a point of order about a different article that I took the issue of media freedom very seriously – it is one of the building blocks of our democracy.

“However, I share the views expressed by a wide range of members, including I believe the Prime Minister, that yesterday’s article was reporting unsubstantiated claims – and misogynistic and offensive.”

He added: “I express my sympathy to (Angela Rayner) for being the subject of this type of comment in being demeaning, offensive to women in Parliament and can only deter women who might be considering standing for election to the detriment of us all.

“That is why I have arranged a meeting with the chair of the press lobby, the editor of the Mail on Sunday to discuss the issue affecting our parliamentary community. I’m also arranging separately – and I believe we’ve now got a time – where I’ll be meeting with (Ms Rayner) this evening.”

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has more here:

© Provided by The Independent

Speaker summons newspaper editor to meeting after sexist article about Angela Rayner

Exclusive: Ministers targeted by Russian hoax callers pretending to be captured British citizens

Monday 25 April 2022 15:35 , Andy Gregory

Ministers are being targeted by hoax callers pretending to be British citizens captured by Russian forces in Ukraine, The Independent understands.

Russian information operations are believed to be behind the calls, which have been made to the private offices of Cabinet members.

To date, two British soldiers fighting with the Ukrainian army have been captured by Vladimir Putin’s troops, both of whom were paraded on Russian television last week.

In an email sent by Cabinet Office security last week, staff were urged not to engage with callers impersonating the soldiers and instead direct them to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Our senior news correspondent Samuel Lovett has the full exclusive report here:

© Provided by The Independent

Ministers targeted by Russia hoax callers pretending to be captured British citizens

Commons speaker to meet Mail on Sunday editor over Angela Rayner story

Monday 25 April 2022 15:00 , Matt Mathers

Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he would be meeting the Mail on Sunday editor to discuss an article which reported “misogynistic and offensive” claims that Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner tried to district Boris Johnson in the Commons by crossing and uncrossing her legs.

Misogyny should be banned under code of conduct, says Harriet Harman

Monday 25 April 2022 14:45 , Matt Mathers

Labour MP Harriet Harman has called for a change to the Commons rules to make misogynistic, homophobic and racist briefings a breach of the MPs’ code of conduct, writes our politics reporter Adam Forrest.

“Sexist briefings designed to undermine them is an age old way of trying to shut women up,” Ms Harman, who is the Mother of the House – the longest serving female MP – told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One programme.

“I don’t buy the argument that it was a casual remark. When an MP briefs a journalist they are doing something as part of their work. This is a deliberate way of undermining women MPs.”

Nigel Farage tried to sabotage my interview with Trump, Piers Morgan claims

Monday 25 April 2022 14:30 , Matt Mathers

Piers Morgan has claimed that Nigel Farage tried to sabotage his interview with Donald Trump.

Morgan said the former Brexit and UKIP party leader sent the ex-US president a three page document containing all the negative things he’d said about him just minutes before an interview due to air tonight.

More comments from Morgan below:

PM claims he remains electoral asset for Tories

Monday 25 April 2022 13:35 , Matt Mathers

Boris Johnson has claimed that he remains an electoral “asset” to the Tory party despite the ongoing scandal over lockdown parties in Downing Street, writes our political reporter Adam Forrest.

Asked if he was still an asset to the Tories in the forthcoming local council elections, he said: “I’m not denying that.”The PM said there was “absolutely no circumstance” in which he was going to comment on the final report of the senior civil servant Sue Gray.

A report in The Times, citing an official it described as being familiar with the contents of the complete report, said it is “excoriating” and could force Mr Johnson’s resignation.

Rishi Sunak falls to bottom of cabinet rankings in Tory faithful survey

Monday 25 April 2022 13:19 , Eleanor Sly

Rishi Sunak has fallen to the bottom of a regular survey charting the popularity of senior cabinet ministers among the Tory faithful.

It follows weeks of criticism of the chancellor’s handling of the cost-of-living crisis, and intense scrutiny over his wife’s tax affairs, after it was revealed by The Independent she was claiming non-dom status.

Alongside Boris Johnson, the chancellor was also fined earlier this month by the Metropolitan Police for attending a birthday gathering in the Cabinet Room of No 10 during England’s first national lockdown.

Ashley Cowburn has more:

© Provided by The Independent

Rishi Sunak falls to bottom of cabinet rankings in Tory faithful survey

Boris Johnson threatens to unleash ‘terrors of the earth’ on Tory who made Rayner remark

Monday 25 April 2022 13:00 , Matt Mathers

Boris Johnson has threatened to unleash “terrors of the earth” on the Conservative MP who made misogynistic claims about Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner.

An unnamed Tory MP told the Mail on Sunday that Ms Rayner crossed and uncrossed her legs on the Labour front bench during PMQs in an attempt to distract the prime minister.

Mr Johnson described the comments made about Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner in a newspaper article as “the most appalling load of sexist, misogynist tripe”.

Adam Forrest reports:

© Provided by The Independent

Boris Johnson threatens ‘terrors of the earth’ for Tory who made Rayner remark

Johnson: ‘I think it’s very important that we have in Paris, a president of the French Republic who can be relied upon’

Monday 25 April 2022 12:54 , Eleanor Sly

Boris Johnson said it was “very important” to have a French president “who can be relied upon” on international issues such as the war in Ukraine.

Emmanuel Macron defeated right-wing rival Marine Le Pen – who has previously had close ties to Vladimir Putin – to secure a second term in office

Mr Johnson told reporters in Bury: “I think it’s very important that we have in Paris, a president of the French Republic who can be relied upon when it comes to some of the most important international issues, and particularly when you look at what’s been going on in Ukraine.

“It’s not right for friendly governments to comment on elections in neighbouring countries but what I can certainly say is that it is very, very important that Emmanuel and I have been able to work closely together on Ukraine over the last few weeks and months.

“We share a very common, very similar perspective and the unity of the West, the unity of Nato, has been absolutely vital for the stance we’ve taken against Putin, and that will now continue and I’m very, very reassured by that.”

Priti Patel abandons ‘pushbacks’ in Channel days before legal challenge

Monday 25 April 2022 12:27 , Eleanor Sly

Priti Patel has abandoned her plan to use pushbacks in the Channel days before the policy was set to be challenged in the High Court.

Four organisations, including the civil service union, were due to argue that the policy – which would have authorised and encouraged Border Force officials to forcibly redirect vessels carrying migrants back to France – was unlawful at a three-day hearing on 3 May.

But correspondence from the government legal department on Sunday night stated that the Home Office had withdrawn the policy due to the fact that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is now taking over operations in the Channel.

May Bulman reports:

© Provided by The Independent

Priti Patel abandons ‘pushbacks’ in Channel days before legal challenge

PM had ‘nothing to hide’ so allowed Partygate vote – minister

Monday 25 April 2022 12:06 , Matt Mathers

Boris Johnson did not oppose a Labour plan to have him investigated for allegedly misleading parliament over the Partygate scandal because he has “nothing to hide”, a government minister has claimed.

A motion tabled by Labour and other opposition parties last week referring the prime minister to a parliamentary committee to be investigated passed through the Commons.

No 10 abadoned a plan to delay the vote at the eleventh hour over fears of a large-scale back bench rebellion.

But Chris Philp, the technology minister, insisted the prospect of a considerable back bench rebellion had nothing to do with the No 10’s move to allow the plan to go ahead.

He told Sky News: “The PM felt he had nothing to hide and didn’t mind even more scrutiny, so the vote went ahead.”

Reeves: Non-dom tax status ‘unjustifiable’

Monday 25 April 2022 11:49 , Matt Mathers

‘Non-dom’ tax rules are “outdated” and “unjustifiable”, Labour’s Rachel Reeves has said.

The shadow chancellor spoke to Sky News earlier after announcing Labour would scrap the scheme – which allows wealthy individuals to save on their UK tax bills – if it wins the next election.

More comments from Ms Reeves below:

Full report: Keir Starmer says ‘sexist’ culture in Parliament has to change after Angela Rayner story

Monday 25 April 2022 11:34 , Matt Mathers

Sir Keir Starmer has insisted the whole culture of Parliament must change after the treatment of Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, claiming: “It’s sexist, it’s misogynist”.

Our politics correspondent Ashley Cowburn has the full story:

© Provided by The Independent

Keir Starmer says ‘sexist’ culture in Parliament has to change

Tory MP who briefed Angela Rayner story could face ‘serious consequences’

Monday 25 April 2022 11:15 , Matt Mathers

The Tory MP who made misogynist comments about Angela Rayner could face “serious consequences” if they are identified, a government minister has said.

Chris Philp, the technology minister, spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier.

He said: “I think that if anyone is identified having views like those that were expressed, which are just outrageous and misogynistic, then I would expect serious consequences to follow.

“I expect efforts will be made to identify who is responsible for those views. But journalists fiercely guard their sources and I doubt Glen Owen will be volunteering that information.

“I think there is ongoing, active work to make sure anyone holding offensive views, including the misogyny we saw demonstrated over the weekend, is called out and action is taken.”

Fewer than 200 asylum seekers will be deported to Rwanda under existing rules, data analysis shows

Monday 25 April 2022 11:00 , Matt Mathers

Fewer than 200 asylum seekers would be deported to Rwanda under existing immigration rules, a new analysis shows, casting doubt over Boris Johnson’s claim that “tens of thousands” would be removed under the plan.

Our social affairs correspondent May Bulman has the story:

© Provided by The Independent

Fewer than 200 asylum seekers will be deported to Rwanda under existing rules

Starmer calls for end to ‘misogynist’ culture at Westminster

Monday 25 April 2022 10:47 , Matt Mathers

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for an end to the “misogynist” culture at Westminster after his deputy Angela Rayner was accused of trying to distract Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Sir Keir told ITV’s This Morning there would be “zero tolerance” for such attitudes in his own party.

“It is rank sexism, rank misogyny. She was really disgusted that all of her political attributes were put aside for this ridiculous, offensive story,” he said.

“She shouldn’t have to put up with it but all women in politics shouldn’t have to put up with it. Almost every woman in politics has had an element of this in some shape or form.

“We have got to change the culture. The culture in parliament, it is sexist, it is misogynist. We need to change it.

“That is what Angela said to me. She used this expression, she said ‘It triggered something in me about the way women are seen in politics.”

He added: “I need to look at it within my own party wherever we see it. We will be absolutely on it with zero tolerance. There shouldn’t be a party political divide on this.”

Reeves ‘pleased’ Corbyn not PM

Monday 25 April 2022 10:30 , Matt Mathers

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said she is “pleased” Jeremy Corbyn is not prime minister as she addressed criticism that Sir Keir Starmer is facing for being in the former Labour leader’s shadow cabinet.

Asked about whether it is a coincidence that she was never in Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, she told Times Radio: “No, I stood down when Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party.

“But I have huge respect for the work that that Keir did in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet on Brexit, and he also he consistently called out antisemitism. He always was a strong voice for Britain’s membership of Nato in the shadow cabinet.

“And some people called out Jeremy Corbyn from the back benches, like me, and some people from the front benches, like Keir.

“But Keir has suspended Jeremy Corbyn from the parliamentary Labour Party, and as you said yesterday, (he) just doesn’t see a way back for Mr Corbyn after not just the antisemitism, which is deplorable and which Keir is rooting out from our party, but also because of Mr Corbyn’s views and language on Nato on this programme just last week.”

Angela Rayner story is an example of ‘extreme misogyny’

Monday 25 April 2022 10:14 , Matt Mathers

Former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has said the idea that Angela Rayner is distracting Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions is “laughable”, but provided an example of the “extreme misogyny” women in politics face.

Ms Dugdale told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “I think this is definitely a particularly egregious example, and the idea that Angela Rayner is defeating Boris Johnson’s Oxford-based debating skills with the power of her legs alone is just a nonsense, and it’s laughable, but it’s an example of the extreme misogyny that women face in politics every single day.

“You’re just hearing about this particular example because Angela Rayner is senior enough to have power and agency to call it out and demand that there are consequences for what has happened.

“But for a lot of women, they just have to quietly put up with comments like this on a day-by-day basis.

“It’s really, really disappointing and kind of depressing that despite the increased levels of women’s representation we’ve got in politics across the United Kingdom, the culture hasn’t changed anywhere near to the extent that it should have.”

Former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has said the idea that Angela Rayner is distracting Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions is “laughable”, but provided an example of the “extreme misogyny” women in politics face.

Breaking: Four in 10 struggled to afford energy bills last month as cost-of-living crisis bites

Monday 25 April 2022 09:56 , Matt Mathers

Around four in ten people reported finding it hard to afford their energy bills last month, according to new ONS figures that document the rising cost of living crisis.

My colleague Holly Bancroft will have more on this story as it comes in:

© Provided by The Independent

Four in 10 struggled to afford energy bills last month as cost-of-living crisis bites

Rebel factions working together to oust PM

Monday 25 April 2022 09:48 , Matt Mathers

Tory rebels are working together to oust Boris Johnson after the local elections in May, according to a report.

The i says factions on the Conservative back benches are working in a more synchronised manner to remove the prime minister over the Partygate scandal.

“They are working together more now,” one source told the paper. “One Nation and 2019 Tory MPs are more coordinated.”

‘Nothing surprising’ about PM and Dorries using identical tweets to condemn Rayner story, minister says

Monday 25 April 2022 09:11 , Matt Mathers

A government minister has insisted there is “nothing surprising” about Boris Johnson and the culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, using identical words in tweets expressing support with Angela Rayner.

The comments from the culture minister, Chris Philp, came as politicians of all stripes condemned the misogynistic claims made about Labour’s deputy leader by an unidentified Conservative MP in the Mail on Sunday.

Our politics correspondent Ashley Cowburn reports:

© Provided by The Independent

‘Nothing surprising’ in cabinet ministers using identical tweets to support Rayner