Boris Johnson accused of lying to MPs over images showing him drinking at leaving do
Two-thirds (66 per cent) of voters think that Boris Johnson should quit if he is criticised in Sue Gray’s report on the Partygate scandal that has rocked Westminster.
The findings, in an exclusive Savanta poll for The Independent also reveal that more than a quarter of those who backed the Tories in 2019 said they were less likely to do so again if Mr Johnson stays on as leader.
The polling comes on the same day Downing Street insiders described chaotic mid-lockdown parties dubbed “Wine-Time Fridays” where bins would overflow with empty bottles of alcohol and No10 would be left a “mess”.
Speaking to BBC Panorama three individuals described gatherings they felt were condoned by the prime minister as he was “grabbing a glass for himself”.
The current and former staffers said the culture was set by Mr Johnson himself, claiming he “wanted to be liked” and for staff to be able to “let their hair down”.
Show latest update
Sue Gray: The cat-loving former pub landlady behind the No 10 parties inquiry
Sue Gray has gone from an influential but little-known arbiter of conduct in government to a household name in the space of five months.
She took on the civil service investigation into allegations of coronavirus rule-breaking at No 10 in December, and Downing Street is braced for the Cabinet Office official’s long-awaited report.
Before the Metropolitan Police completed its own inquiry into so-called partygate claims, which saw Boris Johnson fined for contravening Covid laws, Ms Gray was seen as holding the fate of the prime minister in her hands.
Thomas Kingsley25 May 2022 08:00
‘We shouldn’t question independence of police,’ minister says amid Partygate
Environment minister George Eustice said the independence of the police “should not be questioned.”
In response to a question from Kay Burley about the Mayor of London’s request for the Metropolitan Police to explain why the prime minister was not given a fixed penalty notice for a November 2020 party where he is seen raising a glass of drink.
“I don’t think we should question the operational independence of the police they showed very clearly by the fact that they issued a fixed penalty notice to the chancellor and prime minister that they’re doing their work without fear or favour and they also issued a large number of fixed penalty notices in respect to these events so I think we should trust and respect their independence in these matters.”
A photograph obtained by ITV News of the Prime Minister raising a glass at a leaving party on November 13 2020 (ITV/PA)
Thomas Kingsley25 May 2022 07:48
Covid bereaved families say PM ‘has treated us like dirt’
Bereaved families have accused Boris Johnson of treating them “like dirt” as they criticised behaviour at the heart of government during coronavirus lockdowns.
The campaign group Covid 19 Bereaved Families for Justice said the Partygate saga showed it was “clear there has been a culture at 10 Downing Street that said the law did not apply to those who worked and lived there”.
Stuti Mishra25 May 2022 07:45
Pressure rises on ministers to reveal details of free hospitality after Johnson’s stay at Goldsmith villa
Ministers would no longer be able to keep secret the full details of free holidays and free tickets to major events, under a crackdown demanded by MPs.
Concern has been growing after Boris Johnson was able to dodge fully declaring his stay at a luxury villa owned by Zac Goldsmith, while Priti Patel was late revealing her trip to a James Bond premiere.
Now the Commons standards committee wants “the ministerial exemption” – which allows hospitality to be declared separately from that enjoyed by other MPs – to be scrapped from the autumn.
Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has more on this:
Stuti Mishra25 May 2022 07:20
No 10 insiders describe being baffled at Boris Johnson’s denial of parties
Downing Street insiders have claimed they looked at each other in “disbelief” as Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that all rules were followed in No 10.
Our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn has more details here:
Stuti Mishra25 May 2022 07:00
Timeline of Downing Street parties as Sue Gray report comes out today
The full report into the lockdown-busting parties in No 10 and Whitehall is expected to be published in full today.
The highly-anticipated report, carried out by senior civil servant Sue Gray, comes nearly five months after a shortened version was published while the Metropolitan Police carried out its own investigation.
The Met’s probe concluded last week, with a total of 126 fines being issued to 83 people.
Here is a list of the gatherings Ms Gray is expected to have investigated:
Stuti Mishra25 May 2022 06:40
New photo showing boozy No 10 party
A photograph which has been claimed to show a new lockdown-busting Downing Street party has been published after insiders described chaotic gatherings inside No 10 during the coronavirus pandemic.
The picture that emerged late on Tuesday shows a man standing at a table with nine bottles of wine and prosecco as well as doughnuts and miniature cakes.
It came a day before Sue Gray’s full report into the Downing Street parties in Whitehall is expected to be published.
Stuti Mishra25 May 2022 06:20
No 10 prepares for Sue Gray report to be published
No 10 is bracing for the publication of Sue Gray’s full report into Downing Street parties in Whitehall during the coronavirus lockdown.
The senior civil servant’s report is expected to be heavily critical of the culture in No 10, which led to the repeated violations of Covid restrictions.
Potentially damaging further details, including the names of some of those who attended gatherings, are also due to be published.
Read here for more details:
Stuti Mishra25 May 2022 06:05
UK most likely to say government ignores rules – international study
People in the UK have a far more negative perception of government rule-following than other European countries, according to a six-country study published by King’s College London, amid ‘Partygate’.
The EU-funded study found that 62 per cent of people in the UK think their government ignores rules and procedures, compared with an average of 44 per cent.
The difference between the UK and the next highest, Poland, is also big, with only 50 per cent of people there believing the Polish government – which has been accused of authoritarianism – ignores rules.
The results, published on Wednesday, came as Boris Johnson is under fresh pressure to resign after a new photo shows him drinking fizz and toasting colleagues at a Downing Street gathering during the lockdown. Mr Johnson previously told the House of Commons that there was no party on the night in question.
Stuti Mishra25 May 2022 05:40
Government ‘planning windfall tax on energy companies to ease cost-of-living crisis’
The Treasury is understood to be finalising plans for a new windfall tax on energy firms that would be used to help those who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
Boris Johnson is reportedly poised to announce a multibillion-pound package of measures to alleviate some of the pressures facing households across the country, who are being hit with the soaring cost of energy and food.
Tom Batchelor has more details:
Stuti Mishra25 May 2022 05:15