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Boris Johnson news – live: Met Police set to issue first fines for No 10 Covid lockdown breaches

Sunak ‘making economy worse’, says senior Tory in cost of living row

The first fines for officials attending Covid-19 lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street and the Cabinet Office are set to be issued fines by the Metropolitan Police soon, reports say.

Multiple media reports suggests the fines were about to be issued and sources told The Guardian they were “imminent”. Around 20 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) will be handed out at first, with more expected to follow.

Boris Johnson is not expected to be among those named in the first wave of fines, according to The Times.

The Met Police are investigating 12 events, including as many as six which Mr Johnson is said to have attended.

Last week it emerged that detectives investigating alleged lockdown-busting parties held in Downing Street and the Cabinet Office had begun interviewing key witnesses.

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Former Met Police Chief Superintendent says partygate fines may lead to more evidence

Former Met Police Chief Superintendent, Dal Babu, told Good Morning Britain that people may start revealing a little more once the first fines for attending lockdown parties are issued later today.

He said: “People will reflect on whether it’s fair that they’ve been given a fixed penalty noticed and colleagues of theirs haven’t.

“I suspect some people may actually start telling the police the names of other individuals who were there or even pointing to other evidence or perhaps sharing footage.

“So I don’t think this is over by a long stretch.”

See the full clip from GMB here:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain29 March 2022 08:07

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What parties are being investigated by the Met Police?

As the first fines for attending parties during lockdown are set to be issued today, here is a refresher of the infamous parties that took place at Downing Street.

The Met Police is investigating 12 parties from May 2020 to April 2021 which include several Christmas bashes and the notorious cheese and wine gathering in the No10 garden.

Read the full list of the parties under investigation here:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain29 March 2022 07:50

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Fuel bills set to soar for businesses from Friday

Ahead of Friday’s fuel price hike, BBC Breakfast’s Nina Warhurst explains why the government is reducing the number of businesses allowed to use red diesel, what effect that will have and what businesses are exempt.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain29 March 2022 07:35

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No more help with energy bills before autumn, signals Rishi Sunak

There will be no further help for households struggling with energy bills before the autumn, chancellor Rishi Sunak has signalled.

But on Monday, he told MPs that it would not be “appropriate” to take further action until it was clear how far the energy price cap will rise in the autumn, and said that even then he would only act “if necessary”.

Rishi Sunak accused by Angela Eagle of plunging 1.3m people into poverty

Appearing before the House of Commons Treasury Committee to answer questions on last week’s mini-budget, the chancellor was accused by Labour’s Angela Eagle of “making a political choice to plunge 1.3 million people – including half a million children – into absolute poverty” by failing to upgrade welfare benefits in line with fast-rising inflation.

But he insisted that the tax and benefit changes he has imposed as chancellor have been “progressive”, and said that any spare cash available to him in future will go on tax cuts not additional spending.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports.

Namita Singh29 March 2022 07:14

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Patients will suffer due to shortfall in the number of health care professionals, warn NHS leaders

Patients are likely to suffer due to the shortage in the number of NHS doctors and nurses, health leaders warned.

The health service is “flying blind” over future staffing needs, the leading medics said, adding that the lack of planning will mean that waiting times increase and standards of care slip.

A poll of NHS leaders in England found that 98 per cent believe staff shortages will slow down the speed at which the health service can treat the 6.1 million people waiting for hospital care.

About 97 per cent of respondents believe that the current workforce shortage will have a “serious and detrimental” impact on services.

An NHS walk in vaccination sign at Gunwharf Quays on 29 January 2022 in Portsmouth, England

(Getty Images)

Namita Singh29 March 2022 06:45

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Brexit legal status leaves two million at deportation risk

More than two million EU citizens and their families hold a temporary immigration status that could see them lose their UK residence rights and be removed from the country, Oxford academics have warned.

A new report from Oxford University’s Migration Observatory has sounded the alarm on “pre-settled status”, which requires people to reapply within five years or become irregular migrants.

The status was given to people who were resident in the UK before the end of free movement in December 2020, but who could not produce evidence that they had been in the country for more than five years by that point.

People who do not reapply in time will lose their right to live, work, access housing and claim benefits – and they could be removed by the Home Office.

The researchers say many people are likely to be unaware of their situation and that the design of the scheme presents challenges for stopping people falling under the radar.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone reports.

Namita Singh29 March 2022 06:32

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Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan to stand trial in groping case

Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan is due to go on trial after being accused of groping a 15-year-old boy. Mr Khan, 48, who represents Wakefield in West Yorkshire, denied sexually assaulting the then-teenager in Staffordshire in January 2008.

The politician, now suspended by the Conservative Party, will stand trial at Southwark Crown Court from Tuesday.

The case is expected to last around two weeks and would be heard by High Court judge Justice Baker.

Namita Singh29 March 2022 06:30

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Putin ‘not serious’ about peace talks, suggests Liz Truss

Vladimir Putin is “not serious” about peace talks as the Russian president continues to “wantonly” bomb Ukrainian citizens, Liz Truss has told MPs.

With the Kremlin’s brutal invasion now in its 33rd day, the foreign secretary also suggested sanctions imposed by the UK and western allies were “pushing back” the Russian economy by years.

“We know that Putin is not serious about talks, he is still wantonly bombing innocent citizens across Ukraine and that is why we need to do more to ensure that he loses and we force him to think again,” said Ms Truss.

“We need to ensure that any future talks don’t end up selling Ukraine out or repeating the mistakes of the past.”

Our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn reports.

Namita Singh29 March 2022 06:05

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More than 1,000 Russian mercenaries ‘to be deployed to eastern Ukraine’

British defence intelligence analysts say more than 1,000 Russian mercenaries are expected to deploy to eastern Ukraine to undertake combat operations.

In an intelligence update on Twitter, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Russia is “expected to deploy more than 1,000 mercenaries, including senior leaders” of the Russian Private Military Company, the Wagner Group, “to undertake combat operations.”

“Due to heavy losses and a largely stalled invasion, Russia has high likely been forced to reprioritise Wagner personnel for Ukraine at the expense of operation in Africa and Syria,” said the MoD.

The Wagner Group, described as Mr Putin’s private army, was among the latest tranche of entities sanctioned by the UK government over the Russian invasion last week.

Namita Singh29 March 2022 05:53

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Suspected poisoning claims of Roman Abramovich ‘very concerning’

The reports of suspected poisoning of Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich during attempts to aid peace talks in Ukraine are “very concerning”, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has said.

It added that UK will “continue to assist” the war-torn country through implementation of tough sanction on Russian president Vladimir Putin as well as by providing military and humanitarian support to Ukraine to put it “in the strongest possible negotiating position.”

The suspected poisoning of the billionaire was not intended to kill him, said Christo Grozev, lead Russia investigator for Bellingcat. He told Times Radio the “most plausible” explanation for the alleged poisoning was that it was a warning to Mr Abramovich.

“The dosage was not high enough to kill any of the three, the most likely target would have been Abramovich. And it kind of makes sense. I mean, he volunteered to play… this role of (an) honest broker, but other oligarchs had… declared certain independence from the Kremlin position and criticise(d) the war,” the journalist said.

“So it could well be seen as a warning sign to them to not join the ranks of those who dissent, and to not be too much of an honest broker.”

Namita Singh29 March 2022 05:34

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