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Boris Johnson news – live: PM refuses to apologise for archbishop Rwanda ‘slur’

Watch live as Boris Johnson faces MPs after Partygate fines apology

Boris Johnson has refused to withdraw his attack on the Church of England, following the Archbishop of Canterbury’s criticism of the government’s new immigration policy.

At a private meeting with Tory MPs on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Johnson said the plans to send lone male asylum-seekers to Rwanda was a “good policy” despite some “criticism on the BBC and from senior members of the clergy”.

He added that they both “had been less vociferous in their condemnation on Easter Sunday of Putin than they were on our policy of illegal immigrants”.

The comments drew a swift risposte from John Bingham, head of media at the Church of England, who said in a post on social media that if the reports from the meeting were true they were “a disgraceful slur”.

At PMQs on Wednesday, Labour leader Keir Starmer asked the prime minister whether he would “take this opportunity to apologise for slandering the Archbishop and the Church of England”.

However, Mr Johnson declined, saying he was surprised the government had been attacked for the new agreement with Rwanda.

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Boris Johnson boards plane for two-day visit to India – pictures

Boris Johnson has boarded a plane to Gujarat, where he will begin his two-day visit in India.

Pictures show the PM, dressed in full business attire, clutching a small red suitcase as he gets out of a Range Rover at Stansted airport.

(PA)

His tie is blowing in the wind as he ascends the stairs – a few metres away from the 4×4 vehicle – to the aircraft. He is expected to land in India tomorrow.

(PA)

Mr Johnson is to meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. He is expected to urge him to support Ukraine, and reduce India’s reliance on Russian energy.

The pair will also discuss a possible UK-India trade deal that they hope to strike by the end of this year.

Lamiat Sabin20 April 2022 17:00

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Rees-Mogg hints UK could disregard EU car speed limit device rule

The government could ditch plans to require all new cars in the UK to have speed limiters installed, Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested.

The safety devices were reportedly set to be made mandatory to follow a European Union safety standards ruling.

But Mr Rees-Mogg said this regulation could be ignored as ministers do not wish to follow rules from Brussels.

He told MPs: “I don’t care what the EU does anymore … Because the EU’s doing it is no argument for doing anything anymore. We want to get away from this mentality.”

Read the full story here by Adam Forrest

Lamiat Sabin20 April 2022 16:40

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Corbyn says his continued expulsion from Labour is ‘wrong and unfair’

Jeremy Corbyn has reportedly demanded that Sir Keir Starmer reinstate him into the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) by refusing to rule out standing as an independent in the next general election.

The socialist MP for Islington North, since 1983, told the Evening Standard: “What I hope is that the Parliamentary Labour Party will recognise that they are in an untenable position.”

Sir Keir Starmer [L] and Jeremy Corbyn

(Getty)

“I think it’s wrong, it’s unfair, and I should be reinstated. And indeed, an awful lot of people in Islington think exactly the same,” he also said.

He urged Sir Keir, his Labour leadership successor, to restore the party whip to him shortly after the local elections on 5 May.

Sir Keir has said that Mr Corbyn would need to apologise over comments he made, in response to a report on anti-semitism in the party in October 2020, before he would consider reinstating him.

Lamiat Sabin20 April 2022 16:20

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Tory MP asks for ‘minister for men’ to combat mental health crisis

Tory MP asks for ‘minister for men’ to combat mental health crisis

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 15:56

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Boris Johnson ‘not here to lecture us on Ukraine’: What India hopes to get from UK PM’s visit

Russia, trade and respect are high on Delhi’s list as the British leader visits, writes Maroosha Muzaffar.

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 15:47

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Labour MP will recuse himself from prospective investigation into whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament

Labour MP Chris Bryant, who chairs the Commons’ Committee of Privileges, has said he will recuse himself from a prospective investigation into whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament over partygate claims.

In a letter to members of the committee, he said: “I understand that some Honourable and Right Honourable Members have questioned whether I should chair such an inquiry into the Prime Minister, given that I have made several statements in the media on this matter.

“I am certain that if the House were to refer this matter to the committee, all of us would be entirely diligent in setting aside our personal feelings and allegiances, and discharging our duty to protect the reputation of the House without fear or favour.”

Mr Bryant continued: “However, it is also important that the House be seen to proceed fairly without any imputation of unfairness and that the whole House have confidence in the Committee of Privileges’ proceedings. I have therefore decided that if the motion to refer is carried tomorrow, I will recuse myself from any consideration of the matter.

“I will still chair the Committee of Privileges and the Committee on Standards for all our other business, but it will be for the rest of the committee to decide who should chair proceedings on this inquiry and how it should proceed.”

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 15:35

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I’ve never seen Boris Johnson look quite so lost at the despatch box

The prime minister was like a boxer saying it must be time for the bell, writes John Rentoul.

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 15:18

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Senior Tory will abstain on Labour motion

Senior Conservative backbencher Sir Charles Walker said he expects he will abstain in Thursday’s vote on a Labour motion to refer Boris Johnson to the privileges committee.

Sir Charles, who is vice-chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, said he did not believe there were sufficient Tory MPs prepared to call for a vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson to force a vote in the “foreseeable future”.

But he also told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One programme: “If the fines keep racking up there is only so long that the prime minister will be able to lean on his party for support.”

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 15:10

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‘You’re a parasite’: Tory MP launches angry tirade against Brexit protester outside parliament

A Conservative MP has launched a verbal tirade against an anti-Brexit protester outside parliament, telling him: “You’re nothing but a parasite”.

Lee Anderson, who was elected MP for Ashfield in 2019, was asked by activist Steve Bray whether he would still be supporting “liar” Boris Johnson to stay as prime minister, writes Jon Stone.

Mr Anderson, who was accompanied by guests and two police officers at the time, appeared angered by the question, stating: “At least I’ve got a job to lose, you haven’t got one.”

The activist, who is regularly seen outside parliament urging the government to reverse Brexit, said: “My job’s annoying and holding people like you to account.”

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 15:00

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Should Boris Johnson be investigated further over Partygate? Have your say

MPs will get the opportunity to debate, and vote on, whether Boris Johnson should be referred to the Commons privileges committee over potentially false statements he made to parliament about Partygate, Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has announced. And we want to know what you think should happen next.

Have your say. Click the link below to take part in our reader poll.

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 14:45

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