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Sue Gray report: minister says ‘extraordinary pressure’ on No 10 staff in pandemic helps explain Partygate – UK politics live | Politics

This is from the creator Michael Rosen, who spent 48 days in intensive care with Covid, on Simon Clarke’s remarks this morning about Downing Street staff being beneath intense stress in the course of the pandemic. (See 9.24am.)

Dear Simon Clarke
Heard your int. on radio. Your level concerning the No 10 events taking place due to the acute stress we had been beneath is effectively made. Compared to us politicos, all of the nurses, medical doctors or households who lost relations don't know what stress is.
Vino glorioso
Boris

— Michael Rosen 💙💙🎓🎓 (@MichaelRosenSure) May 23, 2022

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Dear Simon Clarke
Heard your int. on radio. Your level concerning the No 10 events taking place due to the acute stress we had been beneath is effectively made. Compared to us politicos, all of the nurses, medical doctors or households who lost relations do not know what stress is.
Vino glorioso
Boris

— Michael Rosen 💙💙🎓🎓 (@MichaelRosenSure) May 23, 2022

Boris Johnson has spoken to the brand new Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, to congratulate him on his election victory, No 10 says. Here is an extract from the readout of the decision.

The prime minister informed the brand new Australian chief that he needed to congratulate him fulsomely on the large second and mentioned he seemed ahead to strengthening the UK – Australia relationship even additional.

Prime Minister Albanese thanked the prime minister and famous that the UK and Australia had a powerful and historic friendship, stemming from their shut Commonwealth ties. The pair agreed that there was extra that could possibly be finished collectively.

Both leaders agreed that there was sturdy alignment between their governments’ joint agendas, spanning throughout world safety, local weather change and commerce.

As all newspaper sub-editors know, and Adam Bienkov from Byline Times has reminded Twitter, though “fulsomely” is routinely used to imply lavishly, technically it means excessively complimentarily (implying insincerity).

Boris Johnson’s spokesperson says that the PM referred to as Australia’s new Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese this morning to “congratulate him fulsomely” on his victory. pic.twitter.com/W48r6LwLCB

— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) May 23, 2022

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Boris Johnson’s spokesperson says that the PM referred to as Australia’s new Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese this morning to “congratulate him fulsomely” on his victory. pic.twitter.com/W48r6LwLCB

— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) May 23, 2022

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has a foul dose of Covid, she says. She revealed on Friday that she had examined constructive. This morning she posted these on Twitter.

1. Thanks for all of the effectively needs. The virus has actually knocked me for six the previous couple of days. So whereas I hope to be again preventing match v quickly, I’m having to remain at residence for now… https://t.co/4XgDuWPGgY

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) May 23, 2022

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1. Thanks for all of the effectively needs. The virus has actually knocked me for six the previous couple of days. So whereas I hope to be again preventing match v quickly, I’m having to remain at residence for now… https://t.co/4XgDuWPGgY

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) May 23, 2022

2. Once once more – this time from personal expertise – please do get all doses of vaccine for those who haven’t already. COVID may be nasty and vaccination protects towards rather more severe sickness. Right now, I’m feeling extraordinarily grateful for that 💉

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) May 23, 2022

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2. Once once more – this time from personal expertise – please do get all doses of vaccine for those who haven’t already. COVID may be nasty and vaccination protects towards rather more severe sickness. Right now, I’m feeling extraordinarily grateful for that 💉

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) May 23, 2022

Sunak’s wealth mustn’t cease him being chancellor, says Treasury minister Simon Clarke

And here’s a full abstract of the traces from Simon Clarke’s morning interviews.

  • Clarke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, mentioned publication of the Sue Gray report was being held up by a debate about who to call, and whether or not pictures could be included. He informed Times Radio:

It’s clearly a really difficult one in phrases of what can or can’t be mentioned about, for instance, naming junior civil servants, inclusion of questions, like photographs. These are issues which should be bottomed out as a technical problem earlier than publication, and rightly so as a result of there are very appreciable authorized and personal sensitivities to that data probably being disclosed. And it’s that which, as I perceive, it lies on the coronary heart of the remaining discussions earlier than publication.

  • He mentioned the “extraordinary pressure” that No 10 staff had been beneath in the course of the pandemic helped to explain why the Partygate lockdown breaches occurred. (See 9.24am.)
  • He mentioned his understanding was that it was Sue Gray who instigated the meeting at which she met Boris Johnson. There was nothing incorrect with this taking place, he mentioned:

I don’t assume it will have been in any approach improper – certainly, it will have been considerably churlish [for Johnson] to have declined to have met.

  • He hinted that the common credit score taper rate could possibly be lower – however dominated out restoring the £20 per week uplift launched in the course of the pandemic. (See 10.06am.)
  • He confirmed the federal government had not dominated out imposing a windfall tax on vitality firms. (See 9.52am.)
  • He mentioned the federal government trusted the Bank of England to sort out inflation. Some Tories have been important of the Bank in non-public, claiming it has let inflation get uncontrolled. Asked about this, Clarke mentioned:

We completely believe in the unbiased Bank of England to get this proper and it’s vitally necessary that we don’t compromise that their independence. They have a mandate, which could be very clear, to ship 2% inflation. We are going to ship that by the tip of subsequent year on the central forecast.

I don’t assume that any politician must be outlined by their personal circumstances, they need to be outlined by their efficiency in their job. And I do know that’s the spirit in which Rishi approaches this.

Ultimately, I don’t assume we’d disqualify anybody on the premise that they’d too little money in the financial institution. And I don’t assume we should always disqualify Rishi on the premise that he’s clearly very lucky.

He brings an actual sense of public service to this position. Ultimately, he could possibly be doing nearly something together with his life and he chooses to serve this nation and he works ferociously laborious and I feel he does an excellent job.

(*10*)Simon Clarke.
Simon Clarke. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Minister says £20 per week UC uplift will not be restored – however hints taper rate could possibly be additional lower

When Simon Clarke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, mentioned this morning that every one choices had been on the desk as the federal government thought of its response to the price of dwelling disaster (see 9.52am), he didn’t imply that actually. As he made clear in a subsequent interview, on the Today programme, one choice has been swept off the desk; the federal government won’t be restoring the £20 per week common credit score uplift paid in the course of the pandemic. He mentioned:

On that question [restoring the uplift], we had been at all times explicitly clear that was a short lived response to the pandemic. That shouldn’t be going to return. The question is how we finest now take a look at the subsequent vary of options to cope with the challenges we’re going through.

But Clarke did prompt {that a} additional lower to the common credit score taper rate was being thought of. He mentioned:

We took decisive motion again in December with the change to the taper rate, that’s to say the rate at which advantages are withdrawn as folks’s earnings rise, and we lower that from 63p in the pound to 55p in the pound. That’s a tax lower price a mean of £1,000 to 2 million of the bottom earners in society.

I do know that was one thing Iain [Duncan Smith, the Tory former work and pensions secretary] warmly welcomed on the time and which is exactly the type of genuine Conservative answer to this question that we need to see.

Minister says ‘all choices on desk’ as stress grows in Tory get together for windfall tax

Over the previous few weeks now we have been in a position to witness the talk in the Conservative get together on the deserves of a windfall tax on vitality firms evolve to a exceptional extent in public. At one level most Tory MPs had been pleased to stay to what was then the Treasury line – that it was a foul thought that may discourage funding. But now increasingly senior get together figures are popping out to say they’re in favour. Last night time George Osborne, the previous chancellor, informed Channel 4’s Andrew Neil Show he was “sure” there could be a windfall tax (though he additionally mentioned he didn’t assume it will “massively help”). And Jesse Norman, the Conservative MP and former Treasury minister, has backed the thought. He informed the Today programme:

We have a scenario in which tens of millions of individuals, due to the large improve in world oil and gasoline costs, are going through gas poverty and a severe cost-of-living disaster in the subsequent few months.

And so the question is, how ought to authorities reply to that? And, after all, one factor to notice is that these oil and gasoline costs have additionally resulted in a large spike in the income of the oil majors.

Now that could be a spike in income that nobody anticipated even three or 4 months in the past.

They’re not factored into any funding plans and the response of the sector, by and enormous, has been to acknowledge that, and to do what many giant firms do which is to have interaction in share buy-backs and different types of dividending again money to shareholders.

And all a windfall tax says is ‘look this is actually inequitable because these people were not expecting that money and these are extraordinary times and we should be thinking about the wider public interest’.

Norman has set out his argument in extra element in a Twitter thread beginning right here.

I don’t know the Treasury’s thoughts concerning a windfall tax on the oil and gasoline sector. Few would embrace the thought with enthusiasm in regular occasions. But these are extraordinary occasions, and the arguments towards it at current are very weak. 1/

— Jesse Norman (@Jesse_Norman) May 22, 2022

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I don’t know the Treasury’s thoughts concerning a windfall tax on the oil and gasoline sector. Few would embrace the thought with enthusiasm in regular occasions. But these are extraordinary occasions, and the arguments towards it at current are very weak. 1/

— Jesse Norman (@Jesse_Norman) May 22, 2022

In his interviews this morning, Simon Clarke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, caught to what’s (for now) the federal government’s line – that whereas in common it doesn’t like windfall taxes, it’s not ruling one out. He informed LBC:

The [oil and gas] sector is realising huge income in the meanwhile.

If these income are usually not directed in a approach in which is productive for the actual financial system, then clearly all choices are on the desk.

And that’s what we’re speaking to the sector, that we clearly need to see this funding, we have to see this funding.

If it doesn’t occur, then we are able to’t rule out a windfall tax.

Minister says ‘extraordinary pressure’ on No 10 staff throughout pandemic helps explain Partygate

Good morning. Westminster is – but once more – ready for the Sue Gray report. The first wait was terminated by the announcement of the Metropolitan police investigation, and the Met’s ruling that publication of the Gray findings in full would compromise the inquiry. There was then a watch for Gray’s interim report – or “update”, as she referred to as it, as a result of the police veto made it so skinny it couldn’t be referred to as a correct report. But this week we’re lastly anticipating the entire thing. Very few folks assume will probably be damning sufficient to set off a Tory management contest, however it ought to present the general public with by far the most effective account of precisely who intensive lockdown rule-breaking was in Downing Street. Until now all we’ve had are information experiences, primarily based on proof from unidentified whistleblowers, and restricted data from the Met concerning the fines issued – which is many respects has begged extra questions than it has answered.

Gray is a long-serving and really senior civil servant and he or she could have observed that, when an independent-minded determine is about to ship a verdict hostile to No 10, it’s not uncommon for Downing Street’s allies in the media to launch successful job in advance. Right on cue, at present’s Daily Mail carries a report accusing her of enjoying politics and grandstanding. It says:

“Sue Gray is supposed to be neutral but she’s been busy playing politics and enjoying the limelight a little too much,” mentioned one insider.

The Mail claims Gray’s crew incorrectly mentioned Downing Street was accountable for scheduling a meeting some weeks in the past between Gray and Boris Johnson – which prompted claims Johnson was attempting to pressurise her when it was reported on Friday night time. The Mail says:

Downing Street insiders are livid on the refusal of Miss Gray’s crew to set the report straight. A supply mentioned: “It is infuriating. They have let this impression run that the PM has someway tried to nobble the report when nothing could possibly be farther from the reality.

“He wants it all out there, however uncomfortable so we can all move on. He even wants the photos published.”

Allies of the PM have been shocked by media briefings from Miss Gray’s crew.

Monday’s Daily MAIL: PM Allies Accuse Sue Gray Of ‘Playing Politics’ “. # TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/qP71QSpFjo

— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) May 22, 2022

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Simon Clarke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, needed to reply on the morning interview spherical this morning on behalf of the federal government. He made three details on Partygate.

I’d [condemn it]. I feel the one factor I’d say about Sue Gray, and I’ve by no means met her however I’ve heard an excellent deal about her, is that by reputation she is among the most fiercely unbiased {and professional} civil servants in the entire of presidency and brings an enormous vary of expertise to bear, so I don’t assume there’s any politics.

In no approach do I feel there’s something apart from a sensible dimension to the question of when it comes out, now that the police have concluded their investigation.

  • He mentioned his understanding was that it was Gray who instigated the meeting at which she met Johnson.
  • He mentioned mentioned the “extraordinary pressure” that No 10 staff had been beneath in the course of the pandemic helped to explain why the Partygate lockdown breaches occurred. He mentioned:

I feel we additionally want to recollect, with out excusing what occurred, however by the use of context, the extraordinary stress that group of individuals had been beneath in the course of the course of the pandemic.

They had been working the longest possible hours beneath essentially the most huge quantity of stress. That in no approach diminishes the seriousness of what occurred, however it does present some context.

As my colleague Peter Walker argues, this appears like a preview of the case for the defence we’ll hear from No 10 when the total report comes out.

Full Simon Clarke quote on Sky searching for to mitigate the seriousness of 126 No 10/Whitehall fines is attention-grabbing in that it’d point out a rehearsal of the post-Sue Gray traces to return from ministers. pic.twitter.com/Eu9ERbvHcT

— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) May 23, 2022

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Full Simon Clarke quote on Sky searching for to mitigate the seriousness of 126 No 10/Whitehall fines is attention-grabbing in that it’d point out a rehearsal of the post-Sue Gray traces to return from ministers. pic.twitter.com/Eu9ERbvHcT

— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) May 23, 2022

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: The ONS publishes a report on hybrid working.

Morning: Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer are doing separate visits in or close to London. They are each resulting from report clips for broadcasters.

11.30am: Downing Street holds a foyer briefing.

1pm: Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, offers proof to the Lords science and expertise committee on the UK science technique.

2.30pm: Tim Davie, the BBC director common, offers proof to the Lords communications and digital committee on the way forward for the BBC licence payment.

After 3.30pm: MPs start the second studying debate on the general public order invoice.

I attempt to monitor the feedback beneath the road (BTL) however it’s inconceivable to learn all of them. If you could have a direct question, do embody “Andrew” in it someplace and I’m extra prone to discover it. I do attempt to answer questions, and if they’re of common curiosity, I’ll submit the question and reply above the road (ATL), though I can’t promise to do that for everybody.

If you need to entice my consideration rapidly, it’s in all probability higher to make use of Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you’ll be able to electronic mail me at [email protected]

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