It comes as the Mr Johnson faces a cronyism row by preparing to give a peerage to billionaire Brexit backer and Tory party donor Peter Cruddas. One of the City’s richest people, he is reportedly on No 10’s list of nominees for the controversial dissolution honours.
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of events at Westminster and beyond.
Trump turned ‘apoplectic’ in call with Johnson over Huawei
Donald Trump was reportedly “apoplectic” with Boris Johnson during a phone call to discuss the PM’s decision to allow Chinese firm Huawei a role in the UK’s 5G mobile phone network.
Citing unnamed officials in London and Washington, the Financial Times said the president was livid during the exchange last week
The paper said one individual who was briefed on the contents of the call said Trump was “apoplectic” and “livid”. It cited another who said the call was “very difficult” and the president’s tone had taken British officials aback.
When asked about the FT report, Johnson’s office said they had nothing to add to a statement released soon after the leaders’ call to discuss the Huawei decision.
Overhaul ‘deeply flawed’ universal credit, Keir Starmer demands
The Labour leadership hopeful has urged ministers to use the upcoming domestic abuse legislation to overhaul universal credit to protect survivors from controlling partners.
Starmer warned that joint payments of the benefit risk trapping women in abusive relationships, as the current system allows abusers to take control of a household’s finances.
He has appealed to ministers to split universal credit payments between couples by default, rather than automatically requiring couples who live together to make a single claim.
All the details here:
Jeremy Hunt calls for national inquiry into NHS maternity safety
The new chair of the health and social care select committee has made clear he is not going to take a back seat in the role.
In an interview with The Independent, the Tory MP called for an independent inquiry into maternity safety across the NHS in the wake of a string of hospital scandals and backed our campaign to reinstate the maternity safety fund.
“The case is becoming unanswerable,” Hunt said of a potential investigation.
In November we revealed Britain’s largest maternity scandal at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust – where dozens of babies and mothers died due to poor care.
Our health correspondent Shaun Lintern has the story:
PM set to hand peerage to billionaire Tory Brexiteer donor
Boris Johnson is poised to trigger a cronyism row by handing a peerage to a billionaire Conservative party donor and Brexit backer.
Peter Cruddas, one of the City’s richest men, is on a list of No 10 nominees for the controversial dissolution honours to be handed out this month, Sky News revealed.
Cruddas – one of the founders of the Vote Leave campaign who has also donated more than £3.5m to the Conservative Party – quit as Tory treasurer after cash-for-access allegations in.
More details here:
New details in Mackay texting scandal emerge
The SNP’s Derek Mackay was a party favourite and tipped as possible successor to Nicola Sturgeon. But his career is now in jeopardy after details of hundreds of texts sent to a 16-year-old boy – he called the teenager “cute” and invited him to dinner – were revealed by The Scottish Sun.
He quit as Scotland’s finance secretary, was suspended by his party, and faced calls to resign as MSP for Renfrewshire North and West.
It has emerged this morning that Mackay had enthusiastically backed a campaign to protect teenagers from harassment, and reportedly wrote to head teachers to say how keen he was to meet school pupils.
According to The Times, Mackay last year wrote on Facebook: “One of the things I enjoy most about being an MSP is visiting schools in the constituency to speak to youngsters of all ages. I hope to be able to visit as many local schools as possible.
“I have written to all head teachers in the constituency to let them know I am happy to visit and am available and ready to face some enjoyable grillings from our leaders of tomorrow.”
SNP MSP Derek Mackay (Reuters)
‘I missed all the drama and just found the poo’: Panic in parliament as fox runs free
A fox was found running loose in parliament last night – leading staff on a merry chase through the halls at the heart of British democracy.
The animal managed to infiltrate the highest level of Portcullis House and left excrement outside the office of a Labour MP.
“So apparently there was a fox running around in Portcullis House atrium about half an hour ago, and now I’ve just found this outside my office (two floors up!),” wrote Kerry McCarthy, Labour’s former shadow environment minister, on Twitter.
“I can’t believe I missed all the drama and just found the poo.”
Police eventually captured the fox, escorting it out of the building under a box.
Rebecca Long-Bailey wants workers to be able switch off phones out of hours
The Labour leadership candidate has pledged to give workers the legal right to switch off their phones outside of the office in a bid to end 24/7 work culture.
“We can work hard, be paid for the work we do and keep that precious time with our friends and family, uninterrupted by emails or demands,” said Long-Bailey.
It comes after France passed laws to give workers the “right to disconnect”, forcing companies with more than 50 workers the right to ignore their mobile.
Tracy Brabin auctions off ‘shouldergate’ dress for Girl Guides
The Labour MP is selling the off-the-shoulder dress that has caused such a stir after she wore it in the Commons.
Her eBay listing claims that the ASOS dress has been selling fast online as a result of the coverage and that any money raised will be donated to Girlguiding UK.
“Black dress worn by Tracy Brabin MP in ‘shouldergate’ as widely covered across the media,” the listing reads.
“This is an ASOS dress which has been flying off the shelves as a result of the coverage – and is now sold out!”
Commentator storms off GMB during debate about austerity
Radio presenter and broadcaster Iain stormed off ITV’s Good Morning Britain earlier after accusing the show’s hosts and fellow guests of speaking over him.
Dale appeared with Nihal Arthanayake and Grace Blakeley to discuss Jonty Bravery, the teenager who threw a young child from the balcony of the Tate Modern last year.
Clearly getting frustrated as the debate veered into discussion of Tory cuts to care services and austerity measures, Dale said: “I won’t speak” – before taking off his mic and walking out live on air.
“No, no – Iain don’t go,” said host Ben Shephard.
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