Boris Johnson latest news: Covid laws broken, second minister admits as Britons ‘worse off’ under Tories

Keir Starmer says ‘cynical’ Tories are putting ‘re-election’ over helping British people pay bills

Boris Johnson’s government’s response to the cost of living crisis is to “take more than they give”, Keir Starmer has claimed.

The Labor leader criticized ministers’ decision to press ahead with a rise in national insurance contributions as the cost of fuel, food and energy increases.

Speaking at the launch of his party’s local elections campaign in Bury, Mr Starmer said: “Living standards are at their lowest since the 1950s while tax is at the highest level for 70 years.

“What’s their response? [ to the cost of living crisis]? To take more than they give.”

Earlier, a second cabinet minister admitted that government officials broke Covid laws at the height of lockdown.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the international trade secretary, said “that’s right” when asked if the rules had been breached.

Ms Trevelyan’s comments to Sky News on Wednesday morning came after Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, granted the law had been broken.

But the PM still refuses to accept that the Met Police’s decision to hand out 20 fines to staff showed that lawbreaking had taken place at the heart of his government.

1648733478

UK soldiers pitch in to pack helmets destiny for Ukraine

British soldiers have taken up the unusual challenge of sorting and packing 84,000 surplus helmets bound for the Ukrainian military.

Thirty members of the Rutland-based 2nd Battalion of The Royal Anglian Regiment are in the second week of a push to pack up all the helmets before the weekend at Shropshire’s MoD Donnington logistics hub.

Working from morning until night, the Cottesmore-based troops are toiling away in a huge warehouse, where the surplus kit has been sent to from other military stores around the UK.

The task includes physically stripping the helmets of any British Army webbing or identifying badges and packing them in crates each holding 100 pieces of headgear.

Sergeant Oliver Church, a platoon Sgt from the regiment’s A Company, who is co-ordinating the work at Donnington, said: “The lads are more than happy to help the cause.

“Hopefully what we are doing will be going to help our military counterparts in Ukraine, providing them with the vital protection they really need at the moment.”

Matt Mathers31 March 2022 14:31

1648732835

Rishi Sunak pledge to match Ukraine donations funded by cutting aid to other countries

The government’s pledge to match money donated to the Ukraine disaster appeal is being funded by taking cash from other parts of the aid budget, ministers have admitted.

Labor accused the government of feigning an “act of generosity” by moving money around and told Rishi Sunak to open his wallet instead of “balancing the books on the backs of the world’s most vulnerable”.

Our corresponding policy Jon Stone reports:

Matt Mathers31 March 2022 14:20

1648731935

Home Office ‘runs risk of another Windrush’ if it doesn’t transform culture, independent reviewer says

The Home Office runs the risk of another Windrush scandal if it doesn’t implement further “systemic and cultural” changes, an inspection report has found.

Independent expert Wendy Williams said that the department was at a “tipping point”, between making the necessary changes and losing focus.

Commenting on her findings, Ms Williams added: “It may only be a matter of time before it faces another difficult outcome.”

My colleague holly bancroft reports:

Matt Mathers31 March 2022 14:05

1648731027

PM can’t comment on Covid law breaking while Partygate probe ongoing, No 10 insists

The Prime Minister’s “position” in the so-called partygate investigation prevents him from commenting on whether coronavirus laws were broken in Whitehall, Downing Street has said.

Two Cabinet ministers have now said the fact the Metropolitan Police have issued fixed penalty notices (FPNs) in the probe indicated laws had been broken.

But Boris Johnson has so far dodged the question, refusing to be drawn into the discussion until the investigation has finished.

Boris Johnson leaving 10 Downing Street (Aaron Chown/PA)

(PA Wire)

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said on Thursday that “the facts are not in dispute” after International Trade Secretary Anne Marie Trevelyan agreed with Justice Secretary Dominic Raab that rules had been breached.

But “given the Prime Minister’s position, it is right that we do not comment in the middle of an investigation, we comment at the end of it”, he said.

Asked what he meant by the PM’s position, he added: “Clearly this is something that’s been centered on both No 10 and the Cabinet Office in the main – and we’ve confirmed that the Prime Minister has received a questionnaire – but I think it was simply the Prime Minister’s view that while there is an ongoing live investigation, it wouldn’t be right for him to give his response at that point.”

Matt Mathers31 March 2022 13:50

1648729352

Ministers told to delay new Brexit checks in July to prevent ‘collapse’ in trade

Boris Johnson’s government has been warned that some forms of UK trade will “collapse” if further post-Brexit checks are introduced in July.

The Independent revealed earlier this week that the government is exploring a delay to new controls on imports from the EU because of growing alarm over the cost of living crisis.

The Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks coming into force on 1 July will see inspections on imported agri-food and plant products, adding an estimated £1bn to the costs of trade.

Shane Brennan, chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation, said the checks would be a “nightmare” for small businesses – calling for the government to push them back.

Our politics reporter adam forrest have more below:

Matt Mathers31 March 2022 13:22

1648728935

Labor calls for EU security pact and end to ‘petty diplomatic spats’ after Ukraine war

Labor is calling for the UK to agree to a security pact with the EU following the wake-up call of the Ukraine invasion, as part of its drive to “make Brexit work”.

Our deputy politics editor Rob Merrick reports:

Matt Mathers31 March 2022 13:15

1648728035

‘Absolutely bizarre’: Dismay from climate campaigners as PM comes out against onshore wind farms

Boris Johnson has come down against onshore wind farms in the cabinet row which has delayed the publication of his energy security strategy.

His comments dismayed environmentalists who believe that the development of onshore wind power is a vital part of the UK’s move towards net zero carbon emissions by the 2050 target.

My colleagues Andrew Woodcock and Saphora Smith report:

Matt Mathers31 March 2022 13:00

1648727135

Children lifted out of poverty in pandemic to be thrust back by Sunak benefit decisions, charities warn

The £20 uplift to Universal Credit introduced during the Covid pandemic and abolished by chancellor Rishi Sunak last autumn played a part in lifting 400,000 children out of poverty, new figures released today have indicated.

Our politics editor Andrew Woodcock reports:

Matt Mathers31 March 2022 12:45

1648725326

Ukraine family ‘so grateful’ for warm UK welcome

A woman who fled to the UK from Ukraine with her family has praised the “overwhelming” kindness of the Cambridgeshire village where they are now living.

Valeriia Starkova, 37, escaped the war-torn city of Kharkiv and, after a 22-day journey, arrived in Caldecote, eight miles west of Cambridge, last week.

The family of 10, spanning four generations and ranging in age from 10 to 90, are living in a home that businessman Mick Swinhoe, 52, bought next to his own just before the war broke out and that he initially planned to use as a “ projecthouse”.

Valeriia Starkova takes a photo of her grandmother Ludmila, 90 and dog Florie as they settle into their new home

(PA)

Ms Starkova said Mr Swinhoe’s family “helped us a lot”, ordering new beds and mattresses, and putting carpet on the previously bare floors.

She said a local councilor got in touch to say that their neighbors also wanted to help, and within a week everything on their list had been provided.

“They donated some duvets, pillows, all bedding we need, all kitchen appliances, basically everything that we need, even some food,” said Ms Starkova.

Matt Mathers31 March 2022 12:15

1648724425

Starmer: Tories ‘taking more than they give’ during cost of living crisis

Boris Johnson’s government’s response to the cost of living crisis is to “take more than they give”, Keir Starmer has claimed.

The Labor leader criticized ministers’ decision to press ahead with a rise in national insurance contributions as the cost of fuel, food and energy increases.

Speaking at the launch of his party’s local elections campaign in Bury, Mr Starmer said: “Living standards are at their lowest since the 1950s while tax is the highest level for 70 years.

“What’s their response to the cost of living crisis? To take more than they give.”

Matt Mathers31 March 2022 12:00

Leave a Comment