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By Ben Guerin
Press releases

Top Stories: Boris Johnson To Publish Defence Ahead Of Partygate Probe, Met Police Could Be Broken Up

Boris Johnson will be grilled by a privileges committee on Wednesday (Alamy)

5 min read

Boris Johnson’s lawyers will publish a dossier of evidence on Monday to argue he did not knowingly mislead Parliament over ‘partygate’, ahead of Wednesday’s privileges committee, which will question him on the matter.

The lawyers will reportedly argue the process has been “unfair” and that the evidence “is totally in [Johnson’s] favour”.

However, the committee said in an interim report that evidence strongly suggests Johnson was fully aware that the gatherings held would have breached Covid-19 lockdown rules. 

“The lawyers will say a lot about how unfair the process has been,” a source close to Johnson’s defence team told The Telegraph. 

“We think the committee moved the goalposts on the definition of contempt, by bringing in a new idea of recklessly misleading Parliament rather than deliberately misleading Parliament. 

“We think there is absolutely no precedent for that. We think they have changed the definition because they discovered there was no evidence that Boris acted wrongly in any way.”

Tory peer Lord Greenhalgh, a close ally of Johnson, told Times Radio the probe "should not go ahead" if there's no "fairness", accusing it of being a “witchhunt”.

Johnson is likely to claim the evidence used by the committee is tainted due to being partially based on the report into ‘partygate’ by senior civil servant Sue Gray, who has been hired as Labour leader Keir Starmer’s next chief of staff. However, in a statement the committee said it would be based on evidence submitted to it by the government in November.

Sixty seven per cent of voters think Johnson should quit his seat if he is found by the committee to have lied, according to a survey by Savanta published by the Independent.

Met Police could be broken up following new report into failings

The Met Police force has been hit with a series of misconduct scandals in recent years (Alamy)

Crossbench peer Louise Casey will publish an independent report into failings at the Metropolitan Police on Tuesday.

The review was ordered following the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens, who worked for the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command.

If policing in Greater London is not radically transformed, The Times reports that Casey could recommend dismantling the force. 

Whitehall sources have revealed that the report will include details of the culture of bullying in the force and a failure to effectively handle multiple misconduct scandals.

It will set out multiple recommendations for improvements and a possible restructuring of the Met, all of which would be monitored by a new board led by the mayor of London. 

Home Secretary Suella Braverman could make it easier for police forces to sack officers who are corrupt, misogynistic or racist, according to the Daily Mail, after she said on her trip to Rwanda at the weekend that she would change the law if needed.

DUP to decide joint position on Northern Ireland deal

Ian Paisley
DUP MP Ian Paisley is among those who have already publicly rejected the deal (Alamy)

The DUP’s Westminster MPs are meeting on Monday to reach a joint position on Rishi Sunak’s Windsor framework deal with the European Union. 

Sunak will put the deal to a House of Commons vote on Wednesday in a bid to get MPs' seal of approval on his work to bring the long-running dispute over Northern Ireland to an end.

The DUP is a vital player in this saga as the party is refusing to allow the formation of a government in Stormont until its issues with Northern Ireland's post-Brexit status are addressed.

After their meeting today, the DUP are expected to vote against the government on Wednesday, though Downing Street hopes they can be persuaded to at least abstain.

DUP MPs Ian Paisley and Sammy Wilson have already publicly rejected the deal, and it is believed that Jim Shannon, Gregory Campbell and Paul Girvan are all privately leaning towards voting against it, PoliticsHome understands.

However, it is all but guaranteed that the vote will go in the Prime Minister's favour with Keir Starmer's Labour preparing to back the deal, which seeks to improve the original post-Brexit protocol for trade across the Irish Sea.

UK finance sector "safe and sound", says Bank of England

bank of england
The Bank of England vows that the UK financial sector can weather the storm (Alamy)

The Bank of England has tried to reassure the public that the UK's banking system is “safe and sound” after Swiss officials forced the takeover of the Credit Suisse bank by its rival UBS.

The takeover was to avert the collapse of Credit Suisse, which would have caused a global financial crisis and damaged the City of London, as the bank employs more than 11,000 staff in the City and Canary Wharf.

The merger with UBS is expected to cause heavy job losses in London.

The Bank of England has promised the UK financial market should remain stable despite the issues with Credit Suisse, and confirmed it had been 'engaging closely with international counterparts' before the takeover.

In a bid to keep cash flowing internationally, the Bank of England and five other central banks have announced they will boost the flow of US dollars through the global financial system.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said “The UK government welcomes the steps taken today by the Swiss authorities in relation to Credit Suisse to support financial stability.”

Head of the Swiss Federal Department of Finance Karin Keller-Sutter said at the weekend that she was “in exchange” with Hunt to come up with solutions to the financial troubles. 

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