Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

As it happenedended1655506898

Boris Johnson news – live: Ex-ethics adviser quit over PM’s ‘readiness to break law’

Lord Geidt said he was not prepared to endorse the government’s openness to breaking international law

Boris Johnson considering not replacing ethics adviser after Lord Geidt quits

Boris Johnson‘s former ethics adviser Christopher Geidt has said his resignation was prompted by the PM’s willingness to breach international law.

In a second letter to explain his shock decision to quit on Wednesday, Lord Geidt said that the details of the row over steel tariffs which finally provoked his departure were a “distraction” from his real motivation to leave his position.

He said that he walked out because he was unready to endorse the government’s openness to breaking its international obligations.

His comments suggest he may be concerned over Mr Johnson’s attempt to override the Northern Ireland Protocol in a way which will breach the Brexit treaty that he signed less than three years ago.

Meanwhile, the government has faced a backlash over reports it will not appoint a new ethics adviser after Lord Geidt’s resignation.

John Penrose, who quit as the anti-corruption tsar earlier this month over the Partygate scandal, said: “You can’t just pretend it doesn’t matter, and that there’s no job to be done.”


Campaigners denounce UK block on move to improve access to Covid vaccine in developing world

The UK’s involvement in blocking a waiver on intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines is “utterly shameful”, campaigners have said.

A compromised deal was reached at the WTO in Geneva on Friday, but it fell short of giving developing countries the freedom to produce their own jabs.

The People’s Vaccine Alliance described it as “a technocratic fudge aimed at saving reputations, not lives”, while Oxfam’s Max Lawson said the behaviour of wealthy countries at the WTO was “utterly shameful”.

Our politics editor Andrew Woodcock reports:

UK denounced for blocking move to improve access to Covid vaccine in developing world

Compromise deal described as ‘technocratic fudge aimed at saving reputations not lives’

Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 15:00

UK among countries to sign first ever declaration imposing limits on bombing urban areas

The UK, the US, France, and Japan are among the signatories of a new political declaration to avoid bombing and shelling populated towns and cities.

The move will “lead to countless lives being saved”, Emily Tripp, director of Airwars, a UK-based monitoring group.

“We welcome the UK’s announcement that it intends to sign the Political Declaration, we urge the UK to stick to its commitment, for other states to follow suit and for clarity on how states expect to implement it,” Ms Tripps told The Independent.

Countries to sign first declaration imposing limits on bombing urban areas

MPs said the Ukraine war makes the declaration “an urgent priority”

Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 15:20

Ministers told to boost school meal funding as children ‘getting smaller portions’

Children are getting fed less at school as the cost of food soars, The Independent has learned.

Anne Longfield, the former children’s commissioner for England, called on the government to increase the amount spent on each meal.

Speaking to The Independent, she said: “Schools must receive the resources they need to meet the soaring demand for free school meals, so they don’t have to cut back on the quality or quantity of the food they provide.

“Children growing up in poverty should not be the victims of a failure to plan for the inevitable impact on school budgets of the cost of living crisis.”

Four chips on a plate: Call to boost funding as children get ‘smaller portions’

Caterers are switching to cheaper items and supplementing meals with lentils

Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 15:40

Boris Johnson on surprise visit to Ukraine for talks with Zelensky

It’s now clear why the PM cancelled his trip to Doncaster on Friday afternoon...

Boris Johnson is in Kyiv on an unannounced visit to Ukraine for talks with president Volodymyr Zelensky.

The prime minister’s second trip to the war-torn country comes a day after a joint visit by French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian PM Mario Draghi.

Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 16:20

‘Good to be in Kyiv again,’ Boris Johnson tweets

Boris Johnson, who is now in Ukraine, has tweeted a picture of himself with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

He added: “Mr President, Volodymyr, it is good to be in Kyiv again.” 

Mr Johnson is on his second visit to Ukraine since the Russia invasion was launched on 24 February.

His first visit was in April.

Lamiat Sabin17 June 2022 16:40

PM Boris Johnson pulls out of global climate meeting to visit Kyiv

Boris Johnson has pulled out of a virtual climate meeting with 15 other heads of state in order to visit Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine.

The prime minister, under fire over the departure of his ethics adviser, is facing criticism that he turns to the Ukrainian president at times his reputation is hit by another failure or scandal.

Read the full story here by Rob Merrick

Boris Johnson skips Biden climate summit attended by 16 world leaders

Prime minister opts for visit to war-torn Ukraine - amid criticism he turns to Volodymyr Zelensky at times of political danger

Mr Johnson’s latest trip also comes one day after French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian PM Mario Draghi visited Kyiv.

In order to make his second visit to see Mr Zelensky, Mr Johnson cancelled an appearance he had scheduled for this afternoon at a conference in Yorkshire held by Conservative MPs in the Northern Research Group.

Lamiat Sabin17 June 2022 17:00

Labour accuses PM of ‘absent leadership’ during his Ukraine visit

A Labour frontbencher has accused Boris Johnson of “absent leadership” after it was revealed that the PM cancelled meetings to visit Ukraine today.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: “Absent leadership pretty much sums up this Government's approach to the country’s problems.”

PM Mr Johnson is in Kyiv to visit his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, his second trip there during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Lamiat Sabin17 June 2022 17:20

Critics of PM’s visit to Ukraine ‘need to check priorities” – MP

A Tory MP has come to Boris Johnson’s defence after he visited Ukraine to meet Volodymyr Zelensky in an unexpected move.

The prime minister has been accused of fleeing to Kyiv to visit his Ukrainian counterpart at times his reputation takes a hit.

Mr Johnson last went to Kyiv in April, two months after Russia invaded Ukraine. He and Mr Zelensky have been in contact regularly.

Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “He is literally leading high level talks with the President of Ukraine, a nation still fighting for survival in large part thanks to the leadership Boris Johnson has shown.

“I think people seriously need to check their priorities.”

Lamiat Sabin17 June 2022 17:40

Boris Johnson accused of showing ‘total contempt’ for northern Tories

MPs were not impressed with the timing of the trip to Kyiv – with one senior Nothern Research Group figure saying that he had shown “total contempt” for colleagues by skipping their conference in Doncaster.

A senior NRG source told reporters: “Boris agreed to come and speak to the biggest caucus of Conservatives in the party. This group, who represent his majority, and came through for him in the leadership vote.”

The source added: “That goodwill is gone. His actions have shown a total contempt for colleagues, contempt for members and contempt for the north.”

Read the full story here

Boris Johnson accused of showing ‘contempt’ for northern Tories after skipping visit

‘We were all ready with an oven-ready set of policies,’ says senior MP Jake Berry

PA17 June 2022 18:10

Johnson pledges troop training for Ukrainian army during Kyiv visit

Boris Johnson made the surprise visit to Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine to offer a major training operation he believes could “change the equation” against the Russian invasion.

The Prime Minister visited Kyiv to pledge training to up to 10,000 soldiers every 120 days, as he vowed “we will be with you until you ultimately prevail”.

Downing Street said the British-led scheme would train and drill Ukrainian troops to accelerate their deployment, rebuild their forces and increase their resistance.

Arranged in secret in recent days, it was Mr Johnson’s second visit to Kyiv since Russian president Vladimir Putin began his offensive in February.

Boris Johnson and Volodymyr Zelensky during their meeting today (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/PA)

“My visit today, in the depths of this war, is to send a clear and simple message to the Ukrainian people: the UK is with you, and we will be with you until you ultimately prevail,” Mr Johnson said in a statement.

“As Ukrainian soldiers fire UK missiles in defence of your nation’s sovereignty, they do so also in defence of the very freedoms we take for granted.

“That is why I have offered president Zelensky a major new military training programme that could change the equation of this war - harnessing that most powerful of forces, the Ukrainian determination to win.

“Two months on from my last visit, the Ukrainian grit, determination and resilience is stronger than ever, and I know that unbreakable resolve will long outlive the vain ambitions of president Putin.”

The costs of the new operation were uncertain, with Downing Street noting that the training programme was just an offer for now.

Reporting by PA

PA17 June 2022 18:30

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in