As it happenedended1649095211

Boris Johnson news - live: PM ‘misled public’, says Starmer as ethics chief apologises for Partygate fine

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says prime minister presided over ‘widespread criminality’

Jacob Rees-Mogg defends calling Partygate row 'fluff'

A former government ethics chief has said she is “sorry for the error of judgement I have shown” after being fined as part of a police investigation into No 10 parties.

Helen MacNamara said she has paid the fine she was handed reportedly in connection with a leaving do held in the Cabinet Office on June 18 2020 to mark the departure of a private secretary.

Downing Street has confirmed that Boris Johnson has not yet been informed whether he is to be fined over lockdown-breaking parties he allegedly attended.

Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer said Boris Johnson has “misled the public” and presided over “widespread criminality” at No 10 – saying again that PM is “unfit for office”.

He also called for the names of all senior officials fined for Downing Street parties to be made public.

However, Downing Street continues to refuse to accept the law had been broken, despite the Met issuing 20 FPNs.

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Kwarteng: Community consent must lead any decision on fracking or onshore wind

Any decision on the role of fracking and onshore wind in the Government’s energy strategy will be made with a “large measure of local consent”, the Business Secretary has said.

Speaking ahead of the expected release of the strategy on Thursday, Kwasi Kwarteng told the Sunday Telegraph that local opposition to either option will be taken into account.

“The thing with onshore wind and with fracking is that it has to be community consent,” he said.

“We don’t live in a totalitarian country where the Government, the man or woman in Whitehall, can say ‘Right, we’re going to do this’, without some large measure of consent from local communities. And in both of those technologies, frankly, there has been considerable local opposition.

“That doesn’t mean to say we’re shutting the door on both, but it does mean that any movement has to have a large measure of local consent.”

He added that, while he would be comfortable living next to a set of wind turbines, that would not overrule any local dissent.

“It’s not up to me, it doesn’t matter what I think,” he said.

“If there’s a plan in a particular community, it’s what they think that matters. It’s not my aesthetic preference that’s going to determine it.”

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Dominic Cummings accuses PM of encouraging media attacks on junior staff over ‘partygate’

Days after officials at Downing Street were issued fines in relation to the “Partygate” scandal, Dominic Cummings has claimed that the prime minister encouraged media attacks on junior staff to protect him and his wife, Carrie’s, reputation.

In an excerpt of his latest blog post shared on Twitter, Mr Cummings said: “It is deeply, deeply contemptible that not just the PM but senior civil servants have allowed such people to have their reputations attacked in order to protect the sociopathic narcissist squatting in the No 10 flat.

“Not just ‘allowed’ – everybody at the centre of events also knows that the PM encouraged the media attacks on junior officials in order to divert the lobby’s attention from him and Carrie breaking the law. Some very senior officials have turned a blind eye.”

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Kwarteng: UK could build seven new nuclear power stations amid energy crisis

“There is a world where we have six or seven sites in the UK” by 2050, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told The Sunday Telegraph.

The UK could build up to seven new nuclear power stations in an effort to increase homegrown energy supply after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This is a part of the government’s aims to expand its existing commitment to back one large-scale nuclear power station by 2024, which is yet to be announced by the PM.

Previous reports have suggested that Boris Johnson and Mr Kwarteng have clashed with Rishi Sunak over funding for new plants.

Emily Atkinson has more here:

UK could build seven new nuclear power stations amid energy crisis, Kwarteng says

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MP calls on Rishi Sunak to introduce emergency budget due to cost of living crisis

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is being urged to set out an emergency budget to help millions across the UK who face being “plunged into poverty and hardship” as a result of the cost of living crisis.

SNP MP Alison Thewliss demanded action from the UK government, as people across the country saw both energy bills and national insurance payments rise.

Ms Thewliss, the SNP’s Treasury spokeswoman at Westminster, insisted the recent spring statement from Chancellor had been a “deliberate choice” by the government to “ignore the Tory cost-of-living crisis brewing under its watch”.

She added that people could not wait until the budget in the autumn for help from ministers. She called on Mr Sunak to bring forward an emergency budget, saying this should convert the recent £200 loan announced to help people with rising energy bills into a “more generous grant”.

The SNP also demanded the increase in national insurance contributions should be scrapped, and said the £20 uplift to Universal Credit should be reinstated.

VAT on energy bills should either be reduced or removed altogether, with the SNP also calling on the UK Government to follow the example of Scottish ministers and uprate benefit payments by 6 per cent.

PA

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Tory MP David Warburton suspended amid claims about his conduct

Tory MP, David Warburton has been suspended after allegations relating to sexual harassment.

The MP for Somerton and From has had the Tory whip removed after receiving formal complaints from two women, who accused him of unwanted sexual comments and sexual touching.

Mr Warburton denies any wrongdoing and told the Sunday Telegraph: “I have enormous amounts of defence, but unfortunately the way that things work means that doesn’t come out first.

“I have heard nothing whatsoever from the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme. I’m sorry, I can’t comment any further.”

Chiara Giordano has more here:

Tory MP David Warburton suspended amid harassment allegations

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Shadow business secretary says Government 'hasn’t done enough' to tackle rising energy bills

Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said the Government “hasn’t done enough” to tackle rising energy bills and the wider cost-of-living crisis.

Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday about proposals for investing in nuclear energy, he said: “I think none of that should be used as a smokescreen to get away from the real issue, which is, right now, the cost of living is absolutely extreme.

“Energy bills are a huge part of that, and the government hasn’t done enough. There’s no way they can say they have done enough – the scheme they put forward, I think, where the Chancellor has offered to lend us our own money and pay it back over five years, is completely unrealistic and doesn’t meet the scale of the challenge.

“What we want to do of course is that windfall tax, offer people real support – £600 for over one-third of households off their energy bills – because that’s the scale of what is required.

“Whatever the long-term energy strategy the Government will unveil, it can’t get away from the fact they’ve got to take some action now to help people.”

Jonathan Reynolds said he supports investment in more nuclear energy to help abate the rising cost of household bills.

Shadow business secretary says Government 'hasn’t done enough' to tackle rising energy bills

The shadow business secretary told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “We do support more nuclear in the system alongside that development of renewables.

“I think the danger is that, frankly the individual commissioning decisions on nuclear reactors all depend on the price you can achieve – they can be very expensive if you haven’t been able to get the right deal and the right private sector partners to do that.”

PA

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he does not “favour a vast increase in onshore wind farms”

Asked if planning laws should be relaxed to allow for more onshore wind farms, Mr Shapps told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “I don’t favour a vast increase in onshore wind farms, for pretty obvious reasons – they sit on the hills there and can create something of an eyesore for communities as well as actual problems of noise as well.

“So I think for reasons of environmental protection, the way to go with this is largely, not entirely, but largely off-sea.”

Grant Shapps attacks new onshore wind turbines as ‘eyesore on the hills’

Pressed on whether that means the idea of a “big increase in the number of onshore wind farms” is “effectively off the table for now”, he said: “I’d urge you to wait for the energy strategy later in the week. But my thinking is what you really want to do is develop in other ways – nuclear, we will have offshore wind. I don’t think you want a huge expansion of onshore wind.

“There may be cases where it makes sense, but I think by and large we’ve established... that offshore works very well. And by the way, it’s providing quite a lot of our electricity already.”

PA

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Shadow business secretary says he ‘feels angry’ at the scale of the living crisis

Speaking on BBC One’s Sunday Morning programme with Clive Myrie, he said: “I sit here this morning and I feel angry at the scale of the crisis people in this country are facing and the lack of response from Government in the spring statement – and promises on things and announcements in the future just won’t cut it.

“We have set out that windfall tax that would give households a huge amount of help, relative to what the Government are doing – up to £600 for households who are most affected by energy prices.

“But we put in that a contingency fund for businesses, a £600 million contingency fund for businesses which is necessary because all businesses are exposed to these higher energy prices, but for energy intensives the situation is so extreme that some of them are even considering – are they competitive, can they continue production?

“Of course when you add that to the national insurance rise that the Government went ahead with in the spring statement, this is a really serious situation.

“The energy statement will deal with long-term issues of supply as I understand it, it will not be about help now, and the Government has to understand the scale of this crisis.”

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Jonathan Reynolds: Government should consider plans to ration energy supplies in the UK

When asked whether the UK should be prepared to ration oil and gas, the shadow business secretary told Clive Myrie on BBC One’s Sunday Morning programme: “We should be making those plans and the government should be preparing, not necessarily in public, for that situation.

“There’s a lot of complacency in this country about the relative lower exposure to Russian gas that we have.

“But we should bear in mind that part of the supply that comes to this country from, for instance, Norway or from the liquefied natural gas that goes into the terminals and wells, that is partly because Russian gas is fulfilling the demands of central Europe.

“I think what the Government should announce is a plan which is not simply shopping from one authoritarian regime to the next for fossil fuels, but that long-term plan on renewables or nuclear and energy efficiency that would make the difference.

“But let’s be clear, we’re looking at the images coming out of Ukraine right now, I don’t think we should be talking about going back to business as usual where we just buy large quantities of fossil fuels.”

Prepare to ration oil and gas says Labour's Jonathan Reynolds
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Reynolds: Everyone fined over lockdown parties should be identified

When asked specifically whether Ms Johnson should be named if she has been fined due to the “Partygate” scandal, Jonathan Reynolds told Clive Myrie on BBC One: “Yes, I think anyone who’s been in Downing Street should be named if they have been part of this.

Despite the fact that Ms Johnson isn’t a politician and is a private citizen, Mr Reynolds stated: “All people want is some transparency as to what really went on in Downing Street. We were told in Parliament, the Prime Minister told us in Parliament, he was not aware of any parties.

“What we’ve seen so far with the fixed-penalty notices that have come out to relatively junior civil servants – the culture here was set from the top.

“All people want to know is, has the Prime Minister been truthful and has Downing Street as an institution been following the same rules as everyone else?”

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