As it happenedended1654226860

Boris Johnson news – live: PM denies he is ‘habitual liar’ in Mumsnet interview

‘People throw all sorts of accusations at me,’ Johnson says in his defence

Liam James,Stuti Mishra
Friday 03 June 2022 04:27
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Mumsnet user asks why public should believe 'habitual liar' Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson today denied he was a “habitual liar” when asked why the public should believe anything he says.

In an interview with the prime minister, Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet, said users of the online forum asked about his “trust and integrity”.

One user asked: “Why should we believe anything you say when it’s been proven you’re a habitual liar?”

Mr Johnson said he did not accept the description or the premise of the question. “People throw all sorts of accusations at me about all sorts of things ... you’ve just got to look at the record of what I deliver,” he said.

The prime minister went on to be asked if he would resign over the Partygate scandal. “I cannot see how it would be responsible right now, with everything that’s going on, simply to abandon … the project on which I embarked,” he said.

Earlier, Dominic Raab dismissed the idea that his boss could face a confidence vote as early as next week – describing the speculation as “Westminster froth”.

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‘Brexit could spark potato shortage in Ireland’

Brexit could lead to a significant shortage of potatoes for Irish consumers by 2023, experts have warned.

Prior to the UK’s departure from the EU, the majority of potato seed used by Irish farmers for varieties such as Kerr Pinks, Golden Wonders and British Queens had been imported from Scotland.

But under post-Brexit rules and following the UK’s departure from the single market, exports of seed potatoes – those not consumed but used to plant other potatoes – from Scotland to Ireland are no longer allowed.

Andy Gregory reports:

Brexit could spark potato shortage in Ireland, experts warn

‘It will be a big issue unless something is done with the seed industry,’ grower warns

Namita Singh1 June 2022 06:29
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Starmer and Rayner receive police questionnaire over Beergate

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner have both received police questionnaires about the so-called “Beergate” event at a party office in Durham last year.

The party confirmed that both senior figures had been asked by Durham Constabulary to explain their attendance at the 30 April gathering, at which beer and curry was consumed.

The Durham force announced earlier this month that it would investigate potential breaches of Covid laws by Starmer and his staff, despite initially deciding against action when images of the meeting first appeared.

My colleague Adam Forrest reporting the detail:

Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner receive police questionnaire about Beergate

Labour leader has pledged to resign if fined by Durham Constabulary

Namita Singh1 June 2022 06:45
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Minister unable to convert ‘universally understood’ imperial measurements

A government minister on Tuesday struggled to convert from metric measures into what Downing Street has called “universally understood” imperial units.

Lord Parkinson appeared perplexed when quizzed on the conversions amid reports the government will open a consultation on reviving imperial measures.

Appearing on Sky News, the arts minister was first asked how many ounces are in a pound - to which he incorrectly said 14. Host Kay Burley continued: “If you are ordering a pound of sausages, approximately how many grams of sausages are you getting? 250, 350, 450, or 550?”

Cambridge University-educated Lord Parkinson hesitantly chose the first answer - again, incorrect.

The moment came amid reports that the UK may switch back to imperial units, reports Zaina Alibhai:

Minister unable to convert ‘universally understood’ imperial measurements

Moment comes amid reports UK may make switch back to imperial units

Namita Singh1 June 2022 06:56
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Raab on Lord Geidt

Dominic Raab has said he was “not privy to the conversation” following reports that Lord Geidt was about to resign.

“He’s made clear a number of concerns but the prime minister has addressed them in his response and in particular made clear the explanation that he didn’t believe he’d broken the ministerial code,” he told Times Radio.

“In relation to the single fixed penalty notice, it had been an unintentional breach of the law and inadvertent in the sense that he turned up to the gathering without having realised it would be in breach of the relevant regulations.

“Of course, more broadly... No 10 have been working with Lord Geidt over a number of months now to strengthen and reinforce the independent office and I’m glad that those changes have been agreed. It’s an important role.”

PA

Zoe Tidman1 June 2022 07:28
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‘She hasn’t put a letter in as far as I understand,’ Raab on Leadsom

Dominic Raab has said he does not believe former Cabinet minister Dame Andrea Leadsom has submitted a letter to the 1922 Committee.

Outlining his thoughts on her letter to her constituents shared on social media, which criticised prime minister Boris Johnson following the Sue Gray report, the deputy PM told Times Radio: “I’ve known Andrea a long time, we came in as MPs, I hold her in high esteem.

“I think it’s clear that she’s expressing her frustration, she hasn’t put a letter in as far as I understand, she hasn’t said that.

“The most important thing is the fact that the Prime Minister has addressed all of these points [and] overhauled the No 10 operation.”

PA

Zoe Tidman1 June 2022 07:40
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Sir Graham Brady letters ‘pretty far off’ threshold, Raab says

The deputy prime minister has said he believes the number of letters which have been submitted to Sir Graham Brady is “pretty far off” the required amount needed to trigger a confidence vote.

Dominic Raab told Times Radio: “First of all, you said that there were 30 MPs who have been public [in their criticism of the prime minister]. There’s of course well over 350-odd Conservative MPs.”

Presenter Aasmah Mir responded: “Well you need to get to 54, so it’s not that far off, is it?”

Mr Raab said: “Well, if you’re at 30, which is what you’ve just said, I think you’re pretty far off, but my point is even then, in terms of the support for the PM, the overwhelming majority have not been public about these kind of criticisms.

“Although in fairness, I want to say I understand the frustrations and the concerns.”

MPs being publicly vocal in their criticism of Boris Johnson does not mean they have submitted a letter.

PA

Zoe Tidman1 June 2022 08:04
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Boris Johnson will not face any leadership vote, Dominic Raab says

Dominic Raab has dismissed the idea that Boris Johnson could face a confidence vote as early as next week – dismissing the speculation as “Westminster froth”.

The deputy prime minister said the mood at the top of government was “fine” despite a growing number of Conservative MPs calling on the PM to resign, Adam Forrest reports:

‘Westminster froth’ – Boris Johnson won’t face leadership vote, insists Dominic Raab

Deputy PM also plays down speculation about early general election

Zoe Tidman1 June 2022 08:32
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Tories need to consider which ‘crimes’ PM has committed, says 1922 committee treasurer

The treasurer of the 1922 Committee has warned Tory MPs that ousting Mr Johnson would mean a leadership vacuum during a “really serious situation”.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown claimed a leadership contest would take at least eight weeks because of the lack of an obvious successor.“

I think at the moment for me, we should leave matters as they are,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He also said Conservative MPs need to consider which “crimes” Mr Johnson has “actually committed” before launching a leadership coup.

Zoe Tidman1 June 2022 08:42
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‘It’s not that simple'

Dominic Raab has been out defending Boris Johson this morning after the prime minister was criticised by his own ethics advisor over Partyagte.

In his annual report published yesterday, Lord Geidt said that the fact Boris Johnson had been fined by the police could constitute a breach of the ministerial code in itself.

But Raab, the justice secretary and deputy PM, said he thinks it is “not that simple”.

"There have been examples in the past where similarly, I think Baroness Scotland, I think in 2009, she was a minister (and was fined),” he told Sky News.

"The point was, she hadn't acted deliberately or intentionally, and therefore Gordon Brown took the view that the code hadn't been broken.”

He added: "So I'm just saying there are precedents for this... I think it's clear from the circumstances of this particular gathering, where he turned up, was there for 10 minutes, was unaware that it was a surprise birthday cake for him, that wasn't a deliberate breach of the rules, and that's the key point."

He also claimed there won’t be a no confidence vote in Johnson next week. More comments from Raab below:

Matt Mathers1 June 2022 09:00
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‘The numbers are definitely rising’

The number of no confidence letters going in to the 1922 Committee is "definitely rising", a Tory peer has said.

Lord Hayward said he knew of at least one MP who had been in touch with Sir Graham Brady, chair of the Committee, but had not gone public.

He suggested a vote would take place but said it was hard to say when the line would be crossed.

Matt Mathers1 June 2022 09:22

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