Rishi Sunak news – live: PM backs Raab amid new bullying allegations

Rishi Sunak still has full confidence in Dominic Raab as the deputy prime minister faces further complaints about his conduct, No 10 said.

Mr Raab faced fresh allegations from a “raft” of senior civil servants across different government departments.

Asked whether the latest allegations would be investigated by a senior lawyer appointed to look at claims made about Mr Raab, the prime minister's official spokesman said: “The investigation is ongoing, I don't intend to provide a running commentary on what is an independent and - rightly - confidential process.”

Downing Street rejected suggestions the investigation could be a whitewash despite Mr Sunak's ability to reject its findings.

“It’s a long-standing convention that the prime minister of the day is the arbiter of the (ministerial) code and the final decision-maker on these sorts of issues,” the spokesman said.

Senior lawyer Adam Tolley KC was appointed by Rishi Sunak to look into two formal complaints of bullying by the deputy prime minister.

Key Points

  • Asylum system needs ‘complete overhaul,’ charities warn

  • Net migration to the UK reaches record high of half a million

  • Energy price cap rises to record level as support bill soars

  • Tens of thousands of homes ‘unsafe,’ Michael Gove says

  • Jeremy Hunt urges Britons to slash energy use to stop Putin’s ‘blackmail’

  • Raab reportedly facing fresh bullying complaints from ‘raft’ of civil servants

Thursday 24 November 2022 04:07 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s UK politics blog for 24 November 2022.

Jeremy Hunt urges Britons to slash energy use to stop Putin’s ‘blackmail’

Thursday 24 November 2022 04:35 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Britain must cut energy usage by 15 per cent to defeat the Russian president, Jeremy Hunt has said.

The UK Chancellor said: “For most people we need you to play your part in reducing our energy dependency on what Putin chooses to do in Ukraine. And that’s why we’ve got this national ambition to reduce energy consumption by 15 per cent.

Mr Hunt said "in the end everyone is going to have to take responsibility for their energy bills” and consider how to cut their consumption.

He urged that it was important to stop the UK being “blackmailed” by Mr Putin.

Dominic Raab faces coordinated bullying complaints from a dozen ex-staffers, report says

Thursday 24 November 2022 04:50 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Dominic Raab faces bullying complaints from around one dozen more former staffers, according to reports, as an investigation begins into claims the deputy prime minister left government workers afraid to approach him.

Questions have also been raised over Mr Raab’s alleged use of personal email accounts for government business at two different departments including the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), which he currently leads, BBC Newsnight reported.

Rishi Sunak has appointed a leading barrister to investigate two formal complaints made last week about Mr Raab’s conduct while running the MoJ and Foreign Office. Mr Raab denies allegations of bullying and Mr Sunak said he supports his deputy.

Read the full story here:

Raab faces coordinated bullying complaints from a dozen ex-staffers, report says

ICYMI: Former Tory MP Owen Paterson claims ‘unfair’ lobbying investigation breached his human rights

Thursday 24 November 2022 05:10 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Former Conservative MP Owen Paterson has claimed that the lobbying investigation that sparked a government scandal ending with his resignation breached his human rights.

The Brexiteer has lodged a formal complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which formally asked the British government to respond to his allegations on Tuesday.

Mr Paterson has complained to the Strasbourg court that his Article 8 rights under the UK Human Rights Act, relating to respecting his private and family life, had been infringed.

Read the full story here:

Owen Paterson claims ‘unfair’ lobbying investigation breached his human rights

ICYMI: Surge in private gifts to parties gives ‘super-donors’ growing influence on UK politics, report finds

Thursday 24 November 2022 05:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A surge in private donations to political parties has put a small number of super-rich individuals in a position to wield “substantial influence” over the UK’s political process, a new report has warned.

Almost half of political donations in the UK – and 60 per cent in the run-up to the 2019 general election – now come from wealthy individuals, compared to around 40 per cent in the early 2000s, found academics from the University of Warwick’s CAGE Research Centre.

Read the full story here:

Surge in private money gives ‘super-donors’ growing political influence, report finds

Raab reportedly facing fresh bullying complaints from ‘raft’ of civil servants

Thursday 24 November 2022 05:50 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Dominic Raab is facing fresh questions over his conduct as several of his former staff are said to be preparing to file formal bullying complaints against him.

The move is a co-ordinated effort by “a raft of senior civil servants in multiple government departments” to lodge concerns over Mr Raab’s behaviour, including a number of private secretaries, BBC Newsnight reported.

Meanwhile, the programme said it had heard allegations that the Cabinet minister used his personal email account for Government business at two different departments, as recently as last year.

Read the full story by Amy Gibbons here:

Raab reportedly facing fresh bullying complaints from ‘raft’ of civil servants

Boris Johnson compares Liz Truss' mini budget to 'badly played piano sketch'

Thursday 24 November 2022 06:10 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Former prime minister Boris Johnson compared Liz Truss’s mini-budget to a badly played piano. In his first comments on the mini-budget, Mr Johnson told CNN: “It’s kind of like when I play the piano. The notes individually sound perfectly OK, but they’re not in the right order, or occurring at the right time.”

Mr Johnson also rejected suggestions he could return as prime minister. He said: “I’ve always said for about 20 years that my chances of becoming PM were about as good as my chances of becoming decapitated by a frisbee, or blinded by a champagne cork or locked in a disused fridge.

“I then did become PM so my chances of becoming PM again I think are those impossibilia cubed or squared.”

ICYMI: Minister defends Rishi Sunak’s use of private GP because NHS given ‘a lot of money’

Thursday 24 November 2022 06:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A cabinet minister has defended Rishi Sunak’s use of a private GP promising “on the day” appointments, insisting he has shown his commitment to the NHS by giving it more cash.

The prime minister is under fire over his registration with a west London clinic charging a reported £250 for a half-hour consultation, with appointments in the evenings and at weekends.

It has been revealed as NHS patients wait ever longer to see a GP – with just 41.5 per cent of appointments in September taking place on the same day, official figures show.

Read the full story by Rob Merrick here:

Minister defends Rishi Sunak’s use of private GP because NHS given ‘a lot of money’

Sunak warned Tories face existential threat over housebuilding failures

Thursday 24 November 2022 06:50 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Rishi Sunak was warned by a senior Tory that failing to build new homes is an existential threat for the Conservatives after rebels forced him to delay planning reforms.

Former Cabinet minister Simon Clarke said the party’s vote could collapse if the Government does not help people onto the housing ladder with a building spree.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt acknowledged the difficulties faced by people trying to buy their first home and said planning rules often set “local communities against the national need to build more houses”.

Read the full story here:

Sunak warned Tories face existential threat over housebuilding failures

Sunak appoints leading KC to investigate bullying claims against Raab

Thursday 24 November 2022 07:10 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A senior lawyer has been appointed by Rishi Sunak to look into complaints of bullying behaviour by Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab.

Commercial and employment law specialist Adam Tolley KC will look into the claims made against Mr Raab after two formal complaints were submitted about his conduct.

Downing Street has indicated Mr Tolley’s remit could extend to other allegations about Mr Raab after a series of claims related to his time as foreign secretary and his first stint in the Ministry of Justice.

Read the full story here:

Sunak appoints leading KC to investigate bullying claims against Raab

ICYMI: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt insists he does not back rejoining EU’s single market

Thursday 24 November 2022 07:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has insisted he does not support Britain rejoining the European Union’s single market after facing a backlash from Tory Brexiteers.

He issued a carefully worded denial that he was the source of suggestions that the Government was considering a Swiss-style relationship with the EU.

Conservative Eurosceptics were up in arms after the Sunday Times reported that senior Government figures were working towards regaining access to the single market.

Read the full story here:

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt insists he does not back rejoining EU’s single market

Thursday 24 November 2022 07:52 , Thomas Kingsley

In the latest cost of living news, the price that government will have to pay to support households with their energy bills is set to increase from January as Ofgem increased its energy price cap to 67p per unit for electricity and 17p for gas.

The decision will not impact the amount households pay for their energy because the government has said electricity will cost 34p per unit and gas will be 10.3p until April.

Without the government support the average household would be paying around £4,279 for its energy under the new cap. The support will ensure that average households pay £2,500.

Energy is charged per unit, so those who use more can spend more.

Read the developing story here:

Energy price cap rises to record level hiking government bill for support

There must be no ‘whitewash’ in Raab bullying probe, Angela Rayner says

Thursday 24 November 2022 08:15 , Thomas Kingsley

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “There must be no hint of a whitewash when it comes to the slew of serious allegations the deputy prime Minister now faces.

“The scope of this investigation must immediately be expanded to enable proactive investigation of Dominic Raab‘s behaviour during his time as a minister, including so-called expressions of concern, informal complaints and the concerning testimony of his own former permanent secretary.

“This Conservative government has a troubling track record of brushing serious misconduct under the carpet. Their refusal to act on findings against Priti Patel previously led their former ethics chief to quit in disgust.

“A temporary stop-gap investigator, appointed in a panic, with an absurdly narrow remit is not a solution to dealing with the flood of allegations of ministerial misconduct now requiring investigation.”


Negotiations ‘key’ to resolve rail strikes, Michael Gove urges

Thursday 24 November 2022 08:35 , Thomas Kingsley

Levelling-Up secretary Michael Gove stressed that negotiations are key to avert strikes after transport secretary Mark Harper said he would not negotiate with the rail union boss.

Mr Gove told TalkTV: “The way to resolve some of these disputes is through talking, through negotiation, through listening.

“And it will be the case the transport secretary, my friend Mark Harper, will be meeting Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the RMT, later today to talk about this.

“I hope the two of them and others can hep set the framework so the people who are actually the key negotiators, the railway bosses, can find a way through with Mr Lynch.”

Tens of thousands of homes ‘unsafe,’ Michael Gove says

Thursday 24 November 2022 08:50 , Thomas Kingsley

Housing secretary Michael Gove said “at least” tens of thousands of homes are unsafe.

He told BBC Breakfast: “I fear it's the case that there are tens of thousands of properties that are not in the state that they should be.”

Pressed if tens of thousands was correct, he said: “Yes, at least.

“We know there are a significant number of properties - some of which were built in the 60s and 70s and are in poor conditions, but some of which have been poorly maintained - that simply need to be properly repaired and properly maintained.”

Housing secretary in talks with Rochdale Boroughwide Housing

Thursday 24 November 2022 09:18 , Thomas Kingsley

Housing secretary Michael Gove said he would be holding talks with Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, which owned the flat linked to Awaab Ishak's death.

He told BBC Breakfast: “The chief executive after this tragic case has resigned, I'm going to Rochdale later today in order to talk to them and talk to others about the situation there. But my view at the moment is this organisation does not deserve to get this additional funding.”

Asked if the organisation should still be operating at all, he said: “I'm going to talk to them later today. I've had conversations already with the chair of the organisation and conversations with the outgoing chief executive and I want to see the situation on the ground.

“If the penny has dropped, if the organisation is ready to learn appropriate lessons to improve and there are signs they fully appreciate the need to improve, we will work with them, and indeed with Rochdale council, in order to make improvements.”

Awaab Ishak who died in December 2020 (Family handout/PA)
Awaab Ishak who died in December 2020 (Family handout/PA)

Government energy saving advice ‘not nannying,’ Gove says

Thursday 24 November 2022 09:40 , Thomas Kingsley

A public information campaign to encourage people to save energy will not be “nannying or patronising”, a senior minister said.

The scheme could show households how to knock up to £420 off their bills, while at the same time delivering potentially huge savings for taxpayers by reducing the cost of the energy price guarantee.

Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove said the government would be pointing people towards “authoritative sources of advice” on managing energy usage.

The Times reported that ministers are preparing a £25 million public information campaign including advice such as switching off radiators in empty rooms and taking showers instead of baths.

Officials have identified eight changes to save up to £420 a year including reducing the flow temperature from boilers, switching electrical devices off rather than leaving them on standby and changing from baths to showers.

B&Q sales boosted by sales of energy efficiency products

Thursday 24 November 2022 10:00 , Thomas Kingsley

B&Q parent firm Kingfisher has revealed that sales of loft insulation materials have more than doubled as customers seeking to improve energy efficiency in their homes helped to boost the retail group.

The company, which also owns Screwfix, recorded higher revenues over the past quarter as the DIY market also benefited from the continued shift towards home working.

Chief executive Thierry Garnier said: “While the market backdrop remains challenging, DIY sales continue to be supported by new industry trends such as more working from home and a clear step-up in customer investment in energy saving and efficiency.”

B&Q reported that sales of loft insulation roll increased by 108 per cent for the three months to 31 October, compared with the same period last year, as customers sought to offset rocketing energy prices.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Thursday 24 November 2022 10:30 , Thomas Kingsley

Energy consultancy Cornwall Insight said the price cap is likely to remain high from April, at a little over £3,900 for the average household.

It means the government could end up paying around £42 bn over the 18 months it has promised to support households with their energy bills, despite the support becoming less generous from April.

Principal consultant Craig Lowrey said: “This highlights the nature of the wholesale market risk that the government is taking on by deciding to extend the EPG for longer than the March 2023 date announced by the chancellor in October, with the consequence that the full costs may be potentially higher than currently budgeted for.

“Extending the EPG, even at an elevated level, has resulted in the government being exposed to variables and factors over which they crucially have no control. The risk is reduced by changing the level of support but remains acute.

“With Cornwall Insight predicting energy prices will remain above historic levels for many years to come, one thing is clear: more targeted support for the most vulnerable is likely to be needed on an enduring basis if the Government wants to protect consumers while also stabilising its finances.”

NEW: Net migration to the UK reaches record high of half a million, ONS estimates show

Thursday 24 November 2022 10:47 , Thomas Kingsley

Net migration to the UK has reached a record high, with an estimated 504,000 more people arriving into the UK than departing in the past year, new ONS estimates show.

It is also the first time since 1991 that more EU nationals have left the UK than arrived. Net migration of EU nationals is minus 51,000 for the year up to June 2022, new estimates show.

Total immigration to the UK is at its highest level since ONS started recording the statistics in 1964 - with 1.1million people arriving in the past year.

Read the full story below from our reporter, Holly Bancroft:

Net migration to the UK reaches record high of half a million, ONS estimates show

Large increase in people arriving for ‘humanitarian protection,’ ONS says

Thursday 24 November 2022 11:12 , Thomas Kingsley

Jay Lindop, ONS deputy director of the centre for international migration, said: “A series of world events have impacted international migration patterns in the 12 months to June 2022. Taken together these were unprecedented.

“These include the end of lockdown restrictions in the UK, the first full period following transition from the EU, the war in Ukraine, the resettlement of Afghans and the new visa route for Hong Kong British nationals, which have all contributed to the record levels of long-term immigration we have seen.

“Migration from non-EU countries, specifically students, is driving this rise. With the lifting of travel restrictions in 2021, more students arrived in the UK after studying remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“However, there has also been a large increase in the number of people migrating for a range of other reasons. This includes people arriving for humanitarian protection, such as those coming from Ukraine, as well as for family reasons.

“The many factors independent of each other contributing to migration at this time mean it is too early to say whether this picture will be sustained.”

British support for immigration ‘high as it’s ever been,’ think tank says

Thursday 24 November 2022 11:32 , Thomas Kingsley

Sunder Katwala, director of think tank British Future, said: “Despite these exceptionally high numbers, inflated by new arrivals from Ukraine and Hong Kong, our research finds public support for immigration as high as it's ever been.

“Neither Rishi Sunak nor Keir Starmer plans to make significant cuts to immigration because of the social and economic benefits it brings to Britain.

“So political leaders should now be setting out a vision for how we make this work well for all of us in the UK, focusing on integration, citizenship and training up the UK workforce to fill skills gaps.

“Making vague promises to reduce numbers, without any plan or policy to make it happen, will only damage public trust.”

Migration figures highlight government’s ‘neglect and mismanagement’ of asylum system

Thursday 24 November 2022 11:54 , Thomas Kingsley

Commenting on the quarterly immigration statistics released this morning by the government, Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said:

“These statistics underline yet again the government’s neglect and mismanagement of the asylum system due to a failure to invest in creating an orderly, efficient and effective system.

“The number of men, women and children now living in limbo has risen by 20,000 in just three months, meaning 143,000 are now waiting for an initial decision on their case with just under 98,000 waiting more than six months.

“Given the number of asylum applications which are agreed is at its highest level for 32 years – reflecting the global refugee crisis with millions of people fleeing their homes because of war, conflict and persecution – these new Home Office statistics underline why urgent action from government is so important.

“Ministers must set up a dedicated and well-resourced task force to improve the processing of asylum claims, both to reduce the human misery caused by the long delay for a decision but also the spiralling costs of accommodating those on the waiting list, which has reached more than £2bn a year.

“We at the Refugee Council stand ready to work with ministers and others to address this crisis: without further steps to build on those taken so far by the Home Secretary, this issue will continue to seriously harm the asylum system into 2023.”

Tory MPs mount pressure on Rishi Sunak as net migration hits record levels

Thursday 24 November 2022 12:15 , Thomas Kingsley

Rishi Sunak is under intense pressure from Tory MPs over a huge leap in net migration, which has climbed to a record half a million, according to official figures.

Some 504,000 more people are estimated to have moved to the UK than left in the 12 months to June 2022 – up sharply from 173,000 in the year to June 2021.

Unsurprisingly, Downing Street is keen to leap on the conclusion of the Office for National Statistics that “unprecedented world events” lie behind the sudden increase.

The prime minister’s spokesman said they “naturally reflect” the UK’s decision to open its doors to large numbers of refugees from Ukraine, Hong Kong and Afghanistan.

He said Mr Sunak “is fully committed to bringing overall numbers down”. However, asked when that will happen, he added: “He has not put a specific timeframe on that.”

The answer may not be good enough for Conservatives worried that rising immigration – and the small boats crisis in the Channel – are an opening for Nigel Farage to prise away Tory voters at the next general election.


Thursday 24 November 2022 12:31 , Thomas Kingsley

The British Red Cross issued an appeal for ministers to accelerate the processing of asylum claims after today’s figures showed a 74 per cent increase in the backlog to more than 120,000.

Of those, 117,400 had received no initial decision, including 79,314 who had been waiting for more than six months.

The British Red Cross said the Home Office should speed up handling of cases from five countries - Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Eritrea and Sudan – where asylum is granted in the vast majority of cases. The 39,408 nationals of these countries make up one-third of the total backlog.

The charity’s Jon Featonby said priority should also be given to those who have been waiting longest, in some cases more than two years.

“The backlog in asylum decisions is increasing at an alarming rate,” said Mr Featonby. “This means more men, women and children are waiting for years for a response to their asylum claim.

“The longer people wait for an asylum decision the longer they are living in unsuitable accommodation without certainty – no work, no permanent place to live and no way to start the process of reuniting with family members. This is having a devastating impact on people’s mental and physical health.

“The people that we support here in the UK have already experienced unimaginable suffering. They have been forced to flee their homes and they need stability, security and to feel safe.

“Urgent steps are needed to address the backlog in asylum decisions, so people are not forced to live in limbo.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Thursday 24 November 2022 12:50 , Thomas Kingsley

Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said while there are unique circumstances behind the latest migration figures, the Conservative Party has failed to stop dangerous Channel crossings and tackle criminal gangs.

“Despite their promises to stop dangerous Channel crossings, they’ve failed to tackle the criminal gangs, and asylum decision making has collapsed - with only 2 per cent of people who arrived in small boats over the last year having had their cases decided,” Ms Cooper said.

“Work visas have also substantially increased as a result of major skills shortages in the UK - yet the Conservatives are not taking any serious action to address skills shortages here at home.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper (PA)
Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper (PA)

The migration system is in ‘crisis,’ charities warn

Thursday 24 November 2022 13:15 , Thomas Kingsley

Steve Crawshaw, director of policy and advocacy at Freedom from Torture, said: “Today’s immigration statistics paint a picture of a system in crisis – insufficient decisions being made, a bigger backlog and more refugees held in limbo. This government has run the asylum system into the ground and is using their failure to justify more and more extreme policies.

“A year on from the disaster that claimed 32 lives in the Channel, this government’s abrogation of responsibility for those seeking safety in this country is unconscionable. The government must end their deliberate neglect of the asylum system, repeal their and urgently expand safe routes to prevent further tragedies.”

Maria Stephens, head of campaigns at refugee action, said: “Snowballing delays in processing asylum claims are destroying lives.

“Waiting in limbo for a decision is catastrophic for the mental health of people seeking asylum, who must live in poverty and isolation.

“It’s time ministers stopped blowing taxpayers money on cruel and ineffective deterrence policies such as its awful deal with Rwanda and fix the asylum system they’ve broken.“And the Government must give people the right to work – which would improve the wellbeing of people in the system, allow businesses to hire staff, and save the taxpayer £330 million a year.”

Asylum system in ‘serious peril,’ charities warn

Thursday 24 November 2022 13:35 , Thomas Kingsley

Marley Morris, IPPR associate director for migration, trade and communities, said the asylum system is in “serious peril.”

“The new migration statistics today tell two stories about immigration to the UK. On the one hand, higher net migration is driven in large part by rising student numbers and the new Ukraine humanitarian routes – reflecting the generosity of the British public in opening their homes in exceptional numbers to welcome Ukrainians escaping the Russian invasion.

“On the other hand, the figures also show an asylum system in serious peril, with the backlog of claims growing further. Urgent action is needed to tackle the backlog and to work with local authorities to find suitable accommodation for asylum applicants.

“Today also marks one year on from the tragic deaths of 32 people in the Channel. With numbers of small boats crossing the Channel continuing to rise, the government must work closely with France and the EU to stop the dangerous crossings and provide safe and legal alternatives.”

Rishi Sunak wants to reduce immigration levels, Downing Street insists

Thursday 24 November 2022 13:50 , Thomas Kingsley

Downing Street insisted Rishi Sunak wants to bring overall immigration levels down after net migration to the UK climbed to a record half a million.

The prime minister's official spokesman said “unprecedented and unique circumstances” had caused the rise.

He said home office statistics show the UK helped to safety more than 144,000 people from Hong Kong, 144,600 from Ukraine and 22,000 from Afghanistan.

“The prime minister is fully committed to bringing overall numbers down,” the spokesman said.

“There are some unprecedented and unique circumstances which are having a significant impact on these statistics.

“The prime minister has said he wants net migration to reduce, he has not put a specific timeframe on that.”

 (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)
(PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

Asylum system needs ‘complete overhaul,’ charities warn

Thursday 24 November 2022 14:00 , Thomas Kingsley

Amnesty International called for a “complete overhaul” of the asylum and immigration system, providing safe routes for people seeking to come to Britain, faster processing of claims and an end to the plan to send migrants to Rwanda.

The organisation's refugee and migrant rights director, Steve Valdez-Symonds, said: “On the anniversary of the tragic mass drownings in the Channel, these figures show the UK’s system for processing asylum claims remains in complete disarray.

“The totally unacceptable asylum backlog is the inevitable result of government policy that has expended huge resources and money on the disastrous Rwanda deal and other damaging distractions from the main job at hand – simply dealing with people’s claims as fairly and efficiently as possible.”

Thursday 24 November 2022 14:19 , Thomas Kingsley

Asked when the government would get control of the borders back, the prime minister's official spokesman acknowledged the system was “broken”.

“The prime minister has emphasised that this is a priority of which he is spending a substantial amount of his time,” the spokesman told reporters.

“He has been clear that he wants to further grip the issue, particularly of illegal immigration, which is the main source of the fact that, whilst we have such substantive numbers making these routes, we cannot truly have control over those numbers that come in every day.”

There had been “some progress” after talks with France's Emmanuel Macron but “there is much more to do in this area”.

The UK and other countries also faced “global migrations across Europe at the moment caused by the war” in Ukraine and “some unusual patterns following the end of the global pandemic”, the spokesman added.

Jeremy Hunt says Boris Johnson’s £840-a-roll ‘gold’ wallpaper already peeling

Thursday 24 November 2022 14:37 , Thomas Kingsley

The eye-wateringly expensive ‘gold’ wallpaper used by Boris Johnson in an infamous makeover of his Downing Street flat when he was prime minister is already peeling off, says Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Johnson hit the headlines in April last year when it emerged that he and his wife Carrie spent tens of thousands of pounds on a luxury revamp of the flat above No 11 Downing Street.

It later came to light that the work, inspired by upmarket interior eco designer Lulu Lytle, had been paid in part by Lord Brownlow, a Conservative Party peer, sparking claims that Mr Johnson broke spending rules, although he was eventually cleared by his “independent” adviser.

Read the full story from our reporter, Matt Mathers:

Jeremy Hunt says Boris Johnson’s £840-a-roll ‘gold’ wallpaper already peeling

Watch: Strikes across UK as inflation leads to industrial action

Thursday 24 November 2022 14:53 , Thomas Kingsley

Rishi Sunak still has ‘full confidence’ with Dominic Raab as deputy prime minister

Thursday 24 November 2022 15:21 , Thomas Kingsley

Rishi Sunak still has full confidence in Dominic Raab despite allegations about the deputy prime minister's personal email use added to fresh bullying allegations

Downing Street said on Thursday the prime minister continues to back him as a number of Mr Raab's former private secretaries were expected to lodge formal complaints against his conduct.

The allegations, if lodged, could be included in the investigation into Mr Raab being carried out in to two formal complaints of bullying by senior lawyer Adam Tolley KC.

A source confirmed multiple senior officials who worked closely with Mr Raab, who denies bullying, were preparing to submit the complaints, as first reported by Newsnight.

Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain demanded an investigation after it also emerged Mr Raab had used his personal email account for government business.

Allies of the justice secretary insisted there were no breaches of the ministerial code because he copied in an appropriate government email address when required by the guidance.

They also argued he was using his personal account just to approve tweets and quotes with his team at short notice, and for political material.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab (House of Commons/PA) (PA Media)
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab (House of Commons/PA) (PA Media)

PM defends Raab over alleged private email misuse

Thursday 24 November 2022 15:42 , Thomas Kingsley

Downing Street said ministers were allowed to use private emails within the terms of existing guidance, following allegations about Dominic Raab's use of a personal account for government business.

BBC Newsnight said it was aware of allegations that the cabinet minister used his personal email account for government business at two different departments, as recently as last year.

The prime minister's official spokesman said: “Ministers are able to use various forms of communication.

“As long as they take heed of that guidance, there is not a binary restriction on use of personal email addresses.”

Michael Gove fails to name single change that has ‘made business easier’

Thursday 24 November 2022 16:04 , Thomas Kingsley

Michael Gove has failed to name a single change from Brexit that has “made business easier”, as criticism of the economic harm from the trade deal grows.

The leading campaigner for EU withdrawal was asked six times to set out how the promised “transformation of our economy” has been achieved – six years after the Leave vote.

Mr Gove pointed to reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and gene-editing, as well as freedom for the UK to “make our rivers cleaner, our air purer, our soil more resilient” as benefits of Brexit.

Read the full story below:

Brexit: Michael Gove fails to name single change that has ‘made business easier’


Thursday 24 November 2022 16:16 , Thomas Kingsley

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