As it happenedended1578508113

Boris Johnson news: PM backs Trump over killing of Iran military chief in first PMQs clash after luxury holiday, amid fresh Brexit threat to EU citizens

See how we covered the day’s events live

Adam Forrest
Wednesday 08 January 2020 16:00
Boris Johnson says Qasem Soleimani had British blood on his hands

Boris Johnson condemned Iran’s missile strikes on coalition bases and urged Tehran to hold back from further “reckless and dangerous” attacks during his first public appearance since his 12-day holiday.

The prime minister said there were no British casualties from the attack, and clashed with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as he defended the right of the US to “protect its bases and its personnel”.

Mr Johnson discussed Brexit with new European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen at a meeting at No 10, as Brussels raised “concern” about a fresh threat to the status of EU citizens in the UK.

Ms von der Leyen had earlier told an audience at the London School of Economics they should not accept "isolation" as a result of Brexit.

On Tuesday afternoon Donald Trump said he would impose additional sanctions on Iran following the missile strikes, and urged the UK to ditch the 2015 nuclear deal.

It put him at odds with Mr Johnson, who said the agreement was the best way to rein in Tehran's atomic ambitions. The pair held a phone call on Wednesday afternoon, Downing Street said.

Dominic Raab's meeting with Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, was brought forward to Wednesday instead of Thursday.


Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of events at Westminster, as Boris Johnson prepares for PMQs, a No 10 meeting with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, and further scrutiny of his Brexit bill in the Commons.

Adam Forrest8 January 2020 08:32

Long Bailey gives Corbyn ‘10 out of 10’ as Labour leader

Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long Bailey has spent the past 24 hours insisting she was not the “continuity Corbyn” candidate – but also said she would give Jeremy Corbyn “10 out of 10” for his record in the job.

The current Labour leader – who said he wouldn’t be endorsing anyone – was later asked about the 10 out of 10 thing. “I never mark my own homework,” he replied.

More details here:

Adam Forrest8 January 2020 08:32

Raab condemns ‘reckless’ Iran strikes on coalition bases in Iraq

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has condemned the missile strikes on Iraqi military bases hosting coalition - including British - forces and urged Tehran "not to repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks”

After Tehran fired missiles at military bases in Iraq hosting British and US troops, Raab said: “We condemn this attack on Iraqi military bases hosting coalition - including British - forces.

“We are concerned by reports of casualties and use of ballistic missiles. We urge Iran not to repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks, and instead to pursue urgent de-escalation.

“A war in the Middle East would only benefit Daesh (Isis) and other terrorist groups.”

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said there have been no British casualties in the Iranian missile strikes on Iraqi military bases.

Dominic Raab outside Downing Street (AFP) 

Adam Forrest8 January 2020 08:38

Iran strikes ‘not surprising’, says top Tory MP

Tom Tugenhat, the chairman of the defence committee during the last parliament, said the Iran attack on US and coalition military bases in Iraq was “not hugely surprising”.

The Conservative MP said it would be “extremely welcome” if the action marked the end of the tensions and both sides could “get back to talking”.

Tugenhat told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “As far as I’m aware, it is the first time Iranian ballistic missiles have been fired directly at US bases.

“That is slightly caveating it, because of course the Iranians have been firing missiles via proxy for many, many years.”

He added: “If both sides can declare victory and get back to talking, then that would be extremely welcome.”

Adam Forrest8 January 2020 08:38

Labour leadership candidates make opening pitch to MPs

MPs vying to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader made their opening pitches to the parliamentary party last night.

Six candidates - Rebecca Long-Bailey, Sir Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Clive Lewis - set out their stalls at a hustings event.

Long-Bailey said that in losing the election, the party had “let down the people who rely on us … Our number one duty as Labour MPs is to learn the lessons of defeat and make sure we don’t repeat them.”

Starmer reportedly got a good reception after telling MPs: “We have got the talent in this room ... I do believe we can force a way to victory.”

Nandy was said to have won a round of applause after her call for change. She made the pointed warning: “Now is not the time to steady the ship. If we do not change course we will die and we will deserve to.”

Phillips said: “I want to be prime minister to change people’s lives.”

Adam Forrest8 January 2020 08:46

Violence ‘must stop now’, says new European Commission chief ahead of No 10 talks

The European Commission has called for an immediate end to the use of weapons in the Middle East conflict between Iran and the United States, urging efforts to restart dialogue.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told a news briefing before departing to London that she would discuss the situation with Boris Johnson at No 10 today.

“The use of weapons must stop now to give space for dialogue,” she told reporters after a meeting of her commissioners.

“We are called upon to do everything possible to rekindle talks. There cannot be enough of that. We have established and time-tested relations with many actors in the region and beyond to de-escalate the situation,” she added.

Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels (AP) 

Adam Forrest8 January 2020 08:51

Tory MPs urged to take moral stance over ‘appalling’ removal of child refugee protections from Brexit bill

MPs will scrutinise Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill again today, and attention turns to a Labour amendment urging the government to guarantee unaccompanied child refugees are reunited with family in the UK.

Labour’s Lord Dubs – who came to this country as a child to escape the Nazis – said the government’s decision to remove a pledge on child refugees from the withdrawal bill was “appalling and deeply distressing”.

The peer and Keir Starmer have written to Conservative MPs pleading with them to take a “moral stance” on the issue.

Laboru leadership hopeful Keir Starmer (PA) 

Adam Forrest8 January 2020 08:58

Six arrests related to Labour antisemitism, says Met Police chief

Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick said the force had made six arrests related to investigations into antisemitism in the Labour party.

She also told LBC that five files had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to decide whether to bring charges.

It follows an investigation internal Labour dossier obtained by the broadcaster in 2018 detailing cases of alleged antisemitism in the party.

Adam Forrest8 January 2020 09:18

Barnier urges PM not to dilute protections for EU citizens

The EU has protested at a fresh threat to EU citizens in the UK after Brexit, as the European Commission’s new president Ursula von der Leyen arrives in London for talks with Boris Johnson.

The PM is under fire over plans to allow the powers of an independent watchdog – the independent monitoring authority (IMA) – meant to protect their rights to be switched to other bodies.

A letter sent by chief negotiator Michel Barnier to Brexit secretary Steve Barclay raises “concern” that EU citizens may not have a fully-independent organisation through which to make complaints.

Urging the government not to dilute protections for EU citizens in the UK after our exit, Barnier wants a “generous interpretation” of the rules for people applying for settled status here.

More details here:

Adam Forrest8 January 2020 09:53

Uri Geller applies for No 10 job with Dominic Cummings

Amid anger, fear and uncertainty, is there anyone out there coming to save us? How about spoon-bending guru Uri Geller?

Apparently the weirdo-misfit has taken Dominic Cummings call for “weirdos and misfits” to apply for No 10 jobs seriously. According to The Telegraph, Geller has sent Cummings his CV.

The formerly-famous Israeli said his work for Boris Johnson had “already begun” – since the Tory leader’s election triumph was of course down to Geller’s gift of a spoon “energised with mind positivity”.

A source close to the attention-seeking psychic told the newspaper: “He concedes that his application might be one of the more unusual received by Dominic Cummings, but hopes that he can see the potential value of having Uri on board.”

Well Dom, what are you waiting for?

Spoon-whisperer Uri Geller (PA) 

Adam Forrest8 January 2020 09:57

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