Good morning. Boris Johnson has now been fined for breaking the Covid lockdown guidelines that he drew up and ordered the nation to obey, however Conservative MPs are pleased for him to stay as prime minister – at least for now. Although nobody would declare this can be a triumph, his survival prospects now look a lot better than his colleagues thought they’d be at this level. Crucially, the Tory press, which got here near giving up on him when the Partygate scandal first erupted, is broadly supportive, as my colleague Warren Murray exhibits right here.
Here is our in a single day story about Johnson, his spouse Carrie and Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, all being fined for lockdown breaches – and paying them – yesterday.
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, and probably the greatest media performers within the cupboard, has had the awkward job of defending Johnson on the media this morning. His argument has been that Johnson made a mistake, however that he’s solely human, it wasn’t intentional, and that he’s really sorry. He instructed Sky News:
The one factor I do know – and I spoke to the prime minister – is he’s utterly mortified by this occurring …
He didn’t knowingly break the regulation. He didn’t do it intentionally. He didn’t come to parliament and having knowingly performed this. He thought actually that the identical individuals who wished him pleased birthday, who he had already been meeting with earlier that day, was not breaking the regulation.
The police take a unique view. He completely accepts that and has paid the positive …
The question I suppose, your question goes to the center of, you recognize, did he set out to do that? Was it one thing that was performed with malice, with intent?
And the answer after all, isn’t any. It’s one thing that occurred in error, and as I’ve mentioned, I’ve spoken to him, he’s extremely embarrassed by the entire thing.
He is aware of that it was silly, indefensible. But he didn’t got down to break the regulation, and he has paid the mounted penalty discover positive, and has a really large job to do.
I’ll submit extra from the Shapps interviews shortly.
Yesterday Tory MPs weren’t calling for Johnson’s resignation. Today we’ll see whether or not that modifications. Parliament just isn’t sitting, and plenty of MPs are on vacation, however there’s a marketing campaign occasion in Scotland the place Ruth Davidson, the previous Scottish Tory chief, and Douglas Ross, the present one, are showing collectively. Davidson needs Johnson to resign, however Ross doesn’t, and so message self-discipline may get tough.
Otherwise the one factor we expect is an replace from Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary, on his plans to get the housing trade to fund the removing of unsafe cladding from flats.
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