Good morning. Partygate has now bought quite a bit, lot worse for Boris Johnson. It could be stunning if the variety of Conservative MPs coming to the conclusion that they’ll have a greater probability of reelection on the subsequent election beneath a special chief has not elevated in a single day, or if these Tories already inclined to that view should not feeling a bit extra sure this morning.

It was not as if partygate was not extremely damaging, and even probably career-threatening, within the first place. However the newest revelations – beginning with Dominic Cummings publishing a weblog on Friday saying that there had been a lockdown-busting party in Downing Street on 20 May final yr (“I and at the very least one different Spad [in writing so Sue Gray can dig up the original email and the warning] mentioned that this gave the impression to be in opposition to the foundations and mustn’t occur”), adopted by the Sunday Instances suggesting that Boris Johnson was there, and culminating in ITV’s Paul Model publishing the e-mail invitation despatched by Johnson’s principal non-public secretary, Martin Reynolds – have taken this to a brand new degree. Right here is our overnight story summarising the situation.

Why is that this a lot worse? There are at the very least three causes.

1) No 10 has been capable of half-defend earlier partygate allegations by claiming that they have been basically work conferences involving some drink late within the day. For some occasions, just like the 18 December Christmas party, this defence was extremely inconceivable. However it doesn’t perform in any respect within the mild of the e-mail invitation from Reynolds despatched to employees forward of the 20 Could do. Reynolds wrote:

Hello all, After what has been an extremely busy interval we thought it could be good to profit from the stunning climate and have some socially distanced drinks within the No 10 backyard this night. Please be a part of us from 6pm and convey your personal booze!

Even Lord Geidt must conclude that this was an invite to a celebration, not a piece invitation.

2) Boris Johnson was virtually actually there himself. Witnesses have advised journalists he attended, and he and No 10 have declined a number of invites to disclaim this. That signifies that one other key defence deployed till now in response to partygate – that Johnson didn’t know what employees may need been as much as in what’s a comparatively giant workplace complicated – is now not tenable.

3) The Metropolitan police, who’ve accomplished their finest to keep away from being dragged into earlier allegations, seem more likely to investigate this one.

Edward Argar, the well being minister, has been doing the morning interview spherical on behalf of No 10. He refused to elucidate what occurred, sticking to the No 10 line from Monday that these have been all issues for the partygate investigation being carried out by Sue Grey, a senior civil servant. However he mentioned that “applicable disciplinary motion” needs to be taken if Grey discovered the foundations had been damaged, and that he might perceive why folks have been “upset and indignant” in regards to the reviews.

However Labour mentioned that Johnson needed to clarify himself now as an alternative of simply ready for the Grey investigation to conclude. Angela Rayner, the get together’s deputy chief, mentioned:

Boris Johnson’s deflections and distractions are now not tenable.

Sue Grey is a extremely revered civil servant who can be finishing up an investigation to the very best customary.

However the fact is out now. Not solely did Boris Johnson know in regards to the events, he attended them and he lied.

It’s time for the prime minister to cease hiding behind Whitehall inquiries and at last come clear.

Rayner is referring to the various occasions Johnson advised MPs within the Commons that no guidelines have been damaged (though usually Johnson was speaking in response to questions on Christmas events, moderately than partying at any time).

Ed Miliband, the shadow local weather change minister, made the same argument on the Right now programme. He mentioned:

It’s all very properly that we’re having Sue Grey’s inquiry, however the prime minister can not run and he can not disguise. He’s bought to reply. If I went to a celebration, I do know I went to the get together. He’s bought to elucidate – was he on the get together?

How can he presumably justify all the issues he mentioned within the Home of Commons – that no guidelines have been damaged, that he did nothing flawed? He’s going to should reply.

It speaks to a rotten tradition on the coronary heart of this authorities and the rotten tradition begins with the individual in cost.

And that is from Wes Streeting, the shadow well being secretary.

Wes Streeting MP

Ministers shouldn’t be on the airwaves defending Boris Johnson, not to mention a minister within the Division of Well being.

Let the Prime Minister do his personal soiled work.

Johnson has accomplished incalculable injury to belief and confidence within the Authorities’s well being measures. Unforgivable.

January 11, 2022

Right here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: Boris Johnson chairs cupboard.

10am: Lord Evans, chair of the committee on requirements in public life, provides proof to the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee on governance requirements within the mild of the Greensill affair.

11.30am: Downing Road holds a foyer briefing.

12pm: The Division for Training publishes pupil attendance figures.

12pm: Eluned Morgan, the Welsh authorities’s well being minister, holds a Covid briefing.

After 12.45pm: MPs start debating a Labour movement calling for VAT on gasoline to be lower, and setting apart parliamentary time for a invoice implementing this to be debated.

2.20pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, provides an announcement to the Scottish parliament on Covid.

I attempt to monitor the feedback under the road (BTL) however it’s unattainable to learn all of them. When you’ve got a direct query, do embrace “Andrew” in it someplace and I’m extra prone to discover it. I do attempt to reply questions, and if they’re of basic curiosity, I’ll publish the query and reply above the road (ATL), though I can’t promise to do that for everybody.

If you wish to appeal to my consideration shortly, it’s most likely higher to make use of Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you may electronic mail me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com


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