Watch live as Boris Johnson faces Keir Starmer at PMQs
The prime minister is taking questions from Keir Starmer at PMQs, with issues expected to range from sanctions on Moscow and a clarification expected from Boris Johnson about an erroneous claim he made yesterday about a Russian oligarch.
Mr Johnson has admitted that he “misspoke” after he told MPs that Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire and Chelsea FC owner, was “already facing sanctions”. He is due to provide a written clarification later today.
Elsewhere, the PM faces rebuke after a leak suggested he and all No 10 staff being questioned about lockdown-busting parties were doing so under police caution. It makes him the first UK prime minister to be questioned in this way, with the newly-surfaced copy of Scotland Yard’s questionnaire showing recipients were asked if they have a “reasonable excuse” for attending any of the 12 gatherings under investigation.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said of the development: “This is an embarrassment that for the first time in UK history we have a prime minister interviewed under police caution.”
PM says UK ‘out in front’ with sanctions on Russia
Over to Keir Starmer, and the Labor leader starts by saying everyone wants to stop aggression in Europe.
A sovereign country has been invaded, he says plainly. The PM said he would unleash a full package of sanctions following an invasion. “If not now, when?”
Johnson says people do not realize that the UK is “out in front” in terms of sanctions. He says 275 people are subject to sanctions. (Though, it’s important to note only three of those were added to the UK’s sanctions lists yesterday.)
The PM also says bank assets have been frozen. There’s more to come, he pledges.
Sam Hancock23 February 2022 12:10
PMQs begin with promise of further arms to Ukraine
Boris Johnson is up on his feet as this week’s PMQs get going.
He starts by saying that, in light of the “increasingly threatening behavior from Russia”, the UK will soon be providing a further package of military support to Ukraine.
This will include lethal aid and non-lethal aid, he says.
Sam Hancock23 February 2022 12:06
Govt to launch study on benefits of reintroducing Imperial units
Before PMQs, let’s get this Brexit update. The government is to launch a study of the economic benefits of reintroducing Imperial units of measurement, to quantify a supposed advantage of Brexit.
Ministers provoked mockery from opposition politicians with the “ludicrous” move, which will be overseen by the business department this year, reports our corresponding policy Jon Stone.
Imperial-only labeling fell out of business use when Britain joined the European common market in the early 1970s, but some people who remember the esoteric counting system remain attached to it.
Sam Hancock23 February 2022 12:00
PM faces grilling by Starmer at PMQs
There are just under 30 minutes to go until the weekly face off between Boris Johnson and Labor leader Keir Starmer ensues.
This week’s Commons session is likely to include questions on the UK’s sanctions against Russia – which Labor feels don’t go far enough – as well as the PM’s erroneous claim that the Russian oligarch and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has already been penalized.
There could also be some mention of the fact Mr Johnson has become the first PM of the UK to be questioned by police under caution, as part of the Met’s Partygate investigation.
We’ll bring you live updates as PMQs get underground at around 12pm.
Sam Hancock23 February 2022 11:36
Young Labor clash with party over Starmer ‘backing Nato aggression’ in Ukraine
In other news, young Labor activists have been rebuked by their party after attacking Keir Starmer for “backing Nato aggression” over the Ukraine crisis.
The Labor leader has been condemned for “celebrating” closer cooperation by the 30-country strong alliance while “attacking Stop The War and other pro-peace activists”. The party’s youth wing claimed in a series of tweets: “Stoking up tension, macho posturing & trying to ‘out do’ the Tories on hawkish foreign policy will only lead to further devastation, loss of life and displacement of people across the world.”
But David Lammy, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, condemned the “lazy knee-jerk” anti-Americanism of the group, as Russia threatens a wider invasion of Ukraine, writes our deputy political editor Rob Merrick.
Sam Hancock23 February 2022 11:16
PM to ‘clarify’ he was wrong to say Abramovich sanctioned
Today’s House of Commons order paper shows Boris Johnson will issue a written statement containing a formal clarification.
He did so while laying out the UK’s sanctions against Russia as a result of Moscow’s decision to send troops into two separatist regions of eastern Ukraine.
Sam Hancock23 February 2022 11:04
Following my last post, here’s our home affairs editor Lizzie Dearden with more on that story:
Sam Hancock23 February 2022 10:51
Deputy Met commissioner asks for review of Cressida Dick’s ousting
An update on the shock resignation of former Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick now.
The force’s deputy commissioner, Stephen House, has written to the home secretary to ask for a review of how the resignation of Dame Cressida was handled.
Giving evidence to the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, he claimed that due process had not been followed.
“I feel deeply disappointed, there’s a clear procedure in statute laid down to allow the removal of a police chief officer, it’s not been followed in this instance,” he said.
“It’s not even been initiated in this instance, due process has not been followed and instead we’ve seen matters played out in the media. Because of this, I’ve written to the Home Secretary to ask her to have a review carried out of the events that have taken place.”
He added he was surprised at the apparent U-turn by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who he said had been a “vocal supporter” of the commissioner “only a few weeks ago”.
Sam Hancock23 February 2022 10:51
Watch: PM ‘co-operating’ with police, says foreign secretary
Boris Johnson ‘completely co-operating’ with police, says Liz Truss
Sam Hancock23 February 2022 10:23
Truss: Ofcom must decide whether Russia Today ‘propaganda’ continues
Foreign secretary Liz Truss says it is up to regulator Ofcom to decide what kind of content the Russia-backed RT network continues to broadcast in the UK, following calls for a crackdown.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on the government to tackle the “propaganda” put out by the state-controlled channel, formerly known as Russia Today.
Responding, Ms Truss attacked the channel for disseminating “fake news” on behalf of the Kremlin – and suggested that Ofcom should “look” at what it broadcasts, writes adam forrest.
Sam Hancock23 February 2022 10:00