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Boris Johnson news – live: No 10 fails to deny PM discussed two top jobs for Carrie

Latest claim follows reports prime minister tried to hire Carrie as his chief of staff when he was foreign secretary in 2018

Nadine Dorries says she doesn't 'fancy' Boris Johnson

Downing Street has not refuted claims that Boris Johnson spoke with aides about getting wife Carrie Johnson two top jobs while prime minister.

Mr Johnson discussed environmental roles for his wife in autumn 2020, either for the Cop26 summit or with the Royal Family, sources told the Daily Mirror.

The latest claim follows reports Mr Johnson tried to hire her as his chief of staff when he was foreign secretary in 2018.

The PM allegedly went on to suggest securing her a role as green ambassador in the run-up to Cop26 or as communications director for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Earthshot Prize.

Downing Street said he had never recommended Ms Johnson for a government role, but stopped short of denying that he considered or discussed the move.

The PMs’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has never recommended Mrs Johnson for a government role, or one as part of the Earthshot Prize.

“Beyond that I wouldn’t get into any conversations the Prime Minister may or may not have had in private.”

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Blog closed

Thank you for following The Independent’s politics blog today. It is now closed, but we will be back on Wednesday with more of the latest news, opinion and analysis from the heart of Wesminster.

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Nicola Sturgeon to lay out Scottish referendum plans next week

Nicola Sturgeon is set to lay out her government’s plan for holding another referendum on Scottish independence.

Ms Sturgeon launched the latest campaign for another vote to leave the UK last week, publishing a “scene-setting” paper - the first in a series that will make up a new prospectus for an independent Scotland.

Despite expected policy announcements in the coming months for a post-referendum Scotland, the path to the vote looks less clear.

The UK Government has repeatedly rejected a section 30 order - a clause in the Scotland Act that would allow for a legal referendum to be held - with little indication of any change in mindset from Westminster.

The SNP made clear last year it would seek to pass legislation for another referendum and would fight any legal challenge from the UK Government to strike it down.

During her speech from Bute House last week, the First Minister said she would deliver a “significant update” to Parliament before summer recess, and it is understood an announcement is due next Tuesday afternoon, provided it is agreed to by the cross-party group which sets the parliamentary timetable.

In her speech, the First Minister acknowledged there were legal “challenges” stemming from her plans to hold a referendum in October next year.

“What would be unfair to independence supporters, in fact unfair to the country, would be for me to stand here and pretend that there’s not challenges to navigate through,” she said.

She added that her party had been given a “mandate”, along with the Scottish Greens, for another vote.

The announcement drew the ire of Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Donald Cameron, who said Scots were “sick and tired of the SNP’s obsession with independence”.

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Tory elections key to Boris Johnson’s hopes of avoiding fresh no-confidence vote to be held next month

Tory party elections which could decide whether Boris Johnson faces another no-confidence vote this year will be staged next month, The Independent has learned.

The new 18-strong executive of the powerful 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers will be chosen on 13 July – sparking a battle between supporters and opponents of the prime minister.

It will decide whether to change the rules currently preventing a fresh no-confidence vote for 12 months, which No 10 is hoping will avert another challenge until next year.

Rob Merrick reports.

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RMT chief Mick Lynch tells Baroness Chapman 'I don't even know who you are'

RMT chief Mick Lynch tells Baroness Chapman 'I don't even know who you are'
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Majority of voters back rail strikes and think Boris Johnson not doing enough to prevent them

A majority of voters think this week’s rail strikes are justified and two-thirds (66 per cent) think the government has not done enough to prevent them happening, according to a new poll.

The survey, by Savanta, found that 58 per cent of those questioned thought the strikes were justified, against just one-third (34 per cent) who say they are not.

Andrew Woodcock reports.

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Rail union boss slams Tory MP for ‘talking nonsense’ in live TV clash over train strike

The head of the RMT union accused a Tory MP for “talking nonsense” about the rail network amid the train strikes happening this week.

Mick Lynch, secretary-general of National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) clashed with Stoke-on-Trent MP Jonathan Gullis on BBC Politics Live after the latter accused the rail network of being afraid of adopting modern technology.

It comes as half of Britain’s rail lines were closed on Tuesday as members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and Unite stage action over pay, jobs and conditions.

Mr Gullis suggested the payrise the trade union is asking for “will add more cost to the rail network, making it more unaffordable for working class people.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain reports.

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Ukraine visa scheme ‘problematic’, says engineer who fled war-torn nation to UK

Ukraine visa scheme ‘problematic’, says engineer who fled war-torn nation to UK
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Inflation set to draw extra 35,000 families into benefit cap, charity warns

Rishi Sunak is facing growing pressure to act amid warnings spiralling inflation means an extra 35,000 of Britain’s poorest families will lose out on a massive boost to their income.

Already 120,000 households are missing out on an average of £2,600 a year because of the benefit cap, new official figures show.

Analysis by the leading charity Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) shows that figure could rise to more than 150,000 unless the limit on how much help they can receive from the state is increased for the first time in six years.

Kate Devlin reports.

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John Rentoul Keir Starmer’s EU speech will contradict what everyone knows about him

The Labour leader is planning to explain that he is not ‘backsliding on Brexit’, writes John Rentoul.

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Royal Mail workers to be balloted for strike action

More than 115,000 Royal Mail workers are to be balloted for industrial action in a row over pay.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will vote in the coming weeks on whether to mount a campaign of industrial action. Ballot papers will go out on June 28 and the result will be known next month.

CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said in a video posted on Twitter: “Today we will be serving a notice on Royal Mail Group over a pay claim - our claim for an inflation-based, no-strings pay award.

“The company has imposed a 2% pay award, miles away from where inflation is, totally inadequate.”

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