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Boris Johnson news - live: Fresh Partygate fines ‘issued’ as PM warned no-confidence vote ‘inevitable’

Polling expert says party MPs will have say within months

Boris Johnson claims people are more interested in India trade deal than Partygate

At least two Downing Street staffers have received police fines for attending a ‘bring your own booze’ event on 20 May, 2020, sources told The Independent.

This is the second event that Boris Johnson is known to have attended at which revellers have been given fixed penalty notices.

It comes as senior Conservatives have warned the prime minister that a no-confidence vote on him is now inevitable over the Partygate scandal, with one warning the mood had “turned against him”.

Tory peer Lord Hayward, the party’s influential polling expert, predicted a vote within months, and former defence minister Tobias Ellwood said a ballot on Boris Johnson’s future was a matter of “when not if”.

Polling guru Sir John Curtice says Partygate is set to be a major problem for the Tories at the May local elections, after MPs voted for the Privileges Committee to investigate whether the prime minister misled Parliament.


UK considers sending tanks to Poland so ally can give armoured vehicles to Ukraine

The UK is considering a plan to sending tanks to Poland in a “backfilling” operation so the European ally can pass on its own tanks to Ukraine, Boris Johnson has announced.

“We are looking more at what we can do to backfill in countries such as Poland, who may want to send heavier weaponry to help defend the Ukrainians,” he told a press conference in India.

“We are looking at sending tanks to Poland to help them as they send some of their T72s to Ukraine.”

“We’ve got to look at what more we can do military, we’ve got to keep intensifying the economic sanctions – we want to make sure there is wave after wave of intensifying pressure on Putin.”

Adam Forrest has the story:

UK could backfill Polish tanks being sent to Ukraine, says Boris Johnson

Britain looking seriously at ‘backfilling’ operation, says Boris Johnson

Emily Atkinson22 April 2022 12:22

Public more interested in India trade agreements than Partygate, Boris Johnson claims

The public is more interested in UK trade agreements with India than in the scandal of the No 10 parties, Boris Johnson has suggested.

On a trade trip to the country, the prime minister refused to answer questions about the unprecedented Commons inquiry into whether he lied to MPs about illegal gatherings.

Instead, Mr Johnson referred to a “memorandum of understanding” he has signed, as a stepping stone to a possible trade deal by the autumn.

“What people want in our country is for the government to get on and focus on issues on which we were elected and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has more:

Public more interested in India trade agreements than Partygate, PM claims

Prime minister ducks questions about humiliating Commons inquiry into whether he lied to MPs

Emily Atkinson22 April 2022 12:32

UK ambassador to Ukraine to return to Kyiv

The UK’s ambassador to Ukraine will make a return to Kyiv ahead of the re-opening of the British embassy in the capital.

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy said: “Very good to see the British ambassador @melsimmonsFCDO returning to Kyiv and the re-opening of the British embassy.

“Grateful for the continued work of all the Embassy team in such difficult circumstances.”

Emily Atkinson22 April 2022 12:45

Boris Johnson claims people are more interested in India trade deal than Partygate

Boris Johnson claims people are more interested in India trade deal than Partygate
Emily Atkinson22 April 2022 12:57

Russian victory 'realistic possibility', acknowledges Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson conceded that it was a “realistic possibility” that Russia could win its war in Ukraine by the end of next year, as western officials have briefed.

“The situation is unpredictable at this stage, but we’ve also seen the incredible heroism of the Ukrainian people,” the PM said in India.

“[Putin] will not be able to conquer the spirit of the Ukrainian people.”

He added: “We’ve got to look at what more we can do militarily, we’ve got to keep intensifying the economic sanctions – we want to make sure there is wave after wave of intensifying pressure on Putin.”

Adam Forrest22 April 2022 13:07

Allies set to give Ukraine security guarantees, Johnson announces

Western allies are preparing to offer Ukraine a series of “security guarantees” that should make the country impregnable to a future Russian invasion, Boris Johnson says.

A long-term vision for Ukraine’s place in the future “security architecture” of Europe also needed to be developed, the PM stated.

While he said it will not be the same as the Nato Article 5 guarantee - in which an attack on one member state is considered to an attack on all - he hoped it would offer “deterrence by denial”.

“What the Ukrainians want - and I think are now going to get - is a collection of guarantees from like-minded countries about what we can do to back them up with weaponry, with training and with intelligence-sharing,” he said.

“It will, I hope, enable the Ukrainians to offer deterrence by denial and make sure their territory is so fortified as to be impregnable to further attack from Russia. That is what we need to do.”

President Zelensky has been calling for security guarantees for his country.

Jane Dalton22 April 2022 14:00

I’ll still be PM in October, insists Johnson

Mr Johnson has insisted he will still be in office by Diwali in October, as he largely sidestepped questions about whether he would quit over Partygate.

The PM has set Diwali as the target date for a post-Brexit free-trade deal with India.

Asked whether he is a “cat with nine lives” following calls from MPs including Steve Baker for him to step down, Mr Johnson replied: “We had a pretty good kick of the cat yesterday.”

Boris Johnson scattered flower petals at Gandhi’s memorial (AP)
Jane Dalton22 April 2022 14:11

EU says Brexit deal is ‘legal obligation which binds UK’ after Jacob Rees-Mogg comments

The European Commission has reminded the UK government that the Brexit deal is a “binding” legal obligation, after a senior Conservative minister said there was no need to stand by the agreement.

Jacob Rees-Mogg on Wednesday told a committee of MPs that it was “nonsense” that the UK had to stick to the terms of the Northern Ireland protocol, which the government negotiated and ratified as part of exiting the European Union.

On Friday a a spokesperson for the EU’s executive hit back and told reporters in Brussels on Friday that “the withdrawal agreement, the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, are legal obligations to which the UK is bound”.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone reports:

EU says Brexit deal is ‘legal obligation which binds UK’ after Jacob Rees-Mogg threat

Brexit opportunities minister said UK could break agreement if it wanted

Emily Atkinson22 April 2022 14:26

Sturgeon defends campaigns for independence alongside local election bids

Scotland’s first minister has defended the SNP’s decision to campaign for Scottish independence in tandem with local election campaigning.

When asked if it was appropriate for local councillors to campaign for independence during an election where local issues such as cleansing services and schools should be the priority, Nicola Sturgeon said: “The manifesto is very clear that the priority for SNP councillors will be the cost-of-living crisis and local services.

“But I don’t think it is going to surprise anybody that SNP councillors will support the Scottish Government’s proposals for a referendum in the first half of this parliament.

“And of course, that is a mandate that was won at the election last year and one that therefore democratically I have not just a determination to but arguably a duty to proceed with because that’s what I put to people in the election last year.”

Emily Atkinson22 April 2022 14:46

Time is running out for Boris Johnson, says Nicola Sturgeon

“Time is running out” for Boris Johnson, his Scottish counterpart has said, calling the referral of the PM to the Privileges Committee “quite a significant turning point”.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said while Mr Johnson may “try to cling on” to power at Downing Street, the forthcoming investigation could be a pivotal moment.

She said: “I think time is running out for him. It feels to me that the events of yesterday turned things into a question of when and not if.”

“The fact that the Tories had to U-turn at the last minute in terms of their instruction to their own MPs, I think, is very telling and is a sign that support appears at long last - and it’s overdue - to be ebbing away from the Prime Minister within his own ranks.”

The SNP leader continued: “I think the Tories in Westminster have got a big question to ask themselves because every day they allow Boris Johnson to remain in office right now they become complicit in all of the wrongdoing that he stands accused of.”

She insisted: “Yesterday felt to me like quite a significant turning point. He will try to cling on, there is no doubt about it.

“He will try to wriggle off the multiple hooks that I think he is on. He clearly has no shame. He clearly has no respect for parliament, for democracy, for the institutions that our democracy depends on.”

Emily Atkinson22 April 2022 14:59

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