‘I really don’t know’: MP Thérèse Coffey unaware of when Sue Gray report will be published
The force said in a statement that it wanted the Cabinet Office to include only “minimal reference” to events currently being investigated by the police.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is allegedly wavering on whether to go ahead with a planned rise in national insurance, amid pressure to appease Tory backbenchers over the partygate scandal.
The 2.5 per cent hike, which will be split equally between employers and employees, is unpopular with many Conservative MPs, who believe it will make the cost-of-living crisis worse. But the treasury has suggested it is necessary to balance the books.
With the prime minister eager not to displease his backbenchers amid the fallout from partygate, sources suggest he could halt the measure, which is due to come into effect in April.
“He’s wobbling, I think he would do anything to survive,” one government source told The Times.
Brexit: Liz Truss given February deadline by DUP to fix protocol
The DUP has said the British government must fix problems with the Northern Ireland protocol by 21 February.
First minister Paul Givan suggested unilateral action should be taken if the UK and the EU fail to reach an agreement on the movement of goods from Britain to the territory.
“I have emphasised the absolute critical nature of that progress being made, because the protocol is causing instability these institutions, it is damaging our economy and this is having a very real impact on Northern Ireland,” he said.
Rory Sullivan28 January 2022 08:36
BREAKER: Met Police asks Sue Gray to make ‘minimal reference’ to No 10 parties under investigation
The Metropolitan Police has told Whitehall mandarin Sue Gray to make “minimal reference” to potentially lawbreaking No 10 parties in her report, the force has confirmed.
In a statement released on Friday morning the Met said that “for the events the Met is investigating, we asked for minimal reference to be made in the Cabinet Office report”.
This is so that Gray’s findings, which are expected to be published soon, do not prejudice the police inquiry.
Rory Sullivan28 January 2022 08:07
Sue Gray report latest
The Met Police has asked the Cabinet Office to only include “minimal reference” in its partygate report to the the events the force is investigating.
In a statement, it added that it did not ask for other limitations but only sought to avoid prejudice to its own investigation.
The findings of the Sue Gray inquiry have yet to be published.
Here’s the BBC’s Nick Eardley with more:
Rory Sullivan28 January 2022 08:01
PM did not authorise animal evacuation from Kabul, insists minister
A minister has insisted that the prime minister did not authorise the evacuation of animals from Afghanistan in the summer after the Taliban seized power.
This comes after a Foreign Office email appeared to suggest that Boris Johnson had granted approval.
Digital minister Chris Philp claimed the email was “mistaken”.
“I think he wasn’t involved in making individual decisions,” Mr Philp told Sky News.
“And we should also be clear, by the way, that the plane in which those people and animals came out on was not a plane that was commissioned or chartered by the UK government – it was done privately by donors.
“But I think the prime minister has made his position on this very clear – it wasn’t something he was personally involved in.”
The rescue of Pen Farthing’s animals was controversial because they were airlifted to safety while many Afghans who had helped Britain were unable to flee the country.
Rory Sullivan28 January 2022 07:54
Johnson ‘wobbling’ over national insurance rise amid partygate scandal
As we mentioned earlier, there is speculation that the prime minister may delay a planned rise in national insurance to consolidate his position.
As the partygate scandal shows no sign of abating, he is under increasing pressure from his backbenchers to scrap the hike, which they think will make the cost-of-living crisis worse.
On the issue, one government source told The Times: “He’s wobbling, I think he would do anything to survive.”
Another added: “It looks like [Johnson] is back-sliding because of the pressure he’s under on partygate.
“It has never been popular among the right of the party and it’s that group Boris is most worried about. The treasury view is that Johnson should hold his nerve.”
Rory Sullivan28 January 2022 07:31
PM fuels speculation tax rise may be ditched
Boris Johnson has again fuelled speculation that he could scrap the National Insurance rise planned for April by refusing to guarantee it will go ahead.
The prime minister is coming under intense pressure to ditch or delay the…