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Boris Johnson news – live: PM says there ‘wasn’t a cake’ at party as alarm grows over Sue Gray report delay



‘I really don’t know’: MP Thérèse Coffey unaware of when Sue Gray report will be published

Boris Johnson has insisted he could not have been “ambushed with cake” at a birthday party in Downing Street, reportedly telling allies there was no cake present at the time.

In the latest development in the Partygate saga, Tory MP Colin Burns, a close ally to the prime minister, has now suggested there was not a cake after all.

Mr Burns told The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast: “I’m told under some authority indeed from him that there actually wasn’t a cake.”

Meanwhile, rebel Tory MPs are expressing concerns that delays to Sue Gray’s partygate report may give the prime minister time to spin the findings in his favour.

One told The Independent: “If they have it in their hands for three days before Boris has to make his statement to the House, there’s no doubt it’ll leak like a sieve and there’ll be an effort to control the narrative and suggest he’s in the clear.”

It comes as No 10 yesterday announced they still haven’t been sent the hotly anticipated report.

Follow the latest updates

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Everything we know about Boris Johnson’s alleged Downing Street lockdown parties

Boris Johnson remains trapped in a fight for his political life amid public anger over reports of a series of rule-breaking Downing Street parties.

The prime minister’s fate may hang on the outcome of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry into the affair.

Here is a roundup of everything we know so far:

Stuti Mishra28 January 2022 04:59

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Everything we know about Boris Johnson’s alleged Downing Street lockdown parties

Boris Johnson remains trapped in a fight for his political life amid public anger over reports of a series of rule-breaking Downing Street parties.

The prime minister’s fate may hang on the outcome of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry into the affair.

Here is a roundup of everything we know so far:

Stuti Mishra28 January 2022 04:59

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Ministers are ‘cowards’ for not acting faster on air pollution, says Labour MP

Ministers are being slow to act on potentially deadly air pollution because they are “cowards”, an MP has said

Geraint Davies, the Labour chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution, told The Independent the government had a “duty” to clean up its air for its citizens — and that this was not happening fast enough.

Stuti Mishra28 January 2022 04:20

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What Sue Gray’s Partygate report could look like?

The Independent’s associate editor Sean O’Grady explains what Sue Gray’s Partygate report could look like and what explains the current delay?

Stuti Mishra28 January 2022 03:53

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‘There wasn’t actually a cake’

Boris Johnson has insisted he could not have been “ambushed with cake” at a birthday party in Downing Street, reportedly telling allies there was no cake present at the time.

Earlier this week, it was reported Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie organised a surprise gathering for his birthday on 19 June with more than 30 people there.

Tory MP Colin Burns went on to defended Mr Johnson, telling Channel 4 News in comments he was later ridiculed for on social media: “As far as I can see, he was in a sense, ambushed with a cake. It was not a premeditated, organised party.”

But in the latest development in the Partygate saga, the close ally to the prime minister has now suggested there was not a cake after all.

Mr Burns told The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast: “I’m told under some authority indeed from him that there actually wasn’t a cake.”

Katy Clifton27 January 2022 21:49

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Watch: Liz Truss says government gets ‘value for money’ with flights

Foreign secretary Liz Truss has defended chartering a private jet to Australia after The Independent reported that the trip’s flights would have cost taxpayers around £500,00, writes Adam Forrest.

Truss said the private government plane was available “precisely so that government ministers can travel”.

Pressed on whether it would have been better to have used commercial flights instead, the minister said: “Every government decision is based on value for money.“We have a government plane specifically so ministers, like me in my role as foreign secretary, can go and do the work overseas, which is ultimately delivering for the British people.”

Liz Truss calls £500,000 Australia trip made on government plane ‘good use’ of public money

Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 20:45

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‘There wasn’t actually cake’ at PM’s lockdown birthday party, claims close Tory ally

Suggestions the prime minister may have been “ambushed” with cake at his lockdown-breaking birthday party have been opposed by one of his close allies – who has instead alleged there was no cake present.

NI minister Conor Burns told The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics Podcast: “I’m told under some authority indeed from him that there actually wasn’t a cake.”

He said: “I must be the first government minister in history who stands accused of cake-ism without an actual cake.”

Mr Burns then went on to describe the No 10 gathering as “a meeting.”

His comment made to Channel 4 News that Mr Johnson was instead subjected to a “cake ambush” – since met with ridicule on social media – was “not part of a strategy” to defend the PM, he said. “That was definitely a lone operation, for which I have paid a price,” he added.

“A colleague said to me this morning: ‘You do realise, Conor, that’s going to be in your obituary. That will stay with me for some time.’

“But listen, when you make a bit of an a— of yourself, the key is to own it and not to be pompous about it.”

Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 20:20

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Partygate ‘twist’ expected this evening, says The Telegraph’s political editor

Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 19:51

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Rebels fear delays to partygate report will give Boris Johnson time to spin it in his favour

Rebel Tory MPs are voicing concern that delays to Sue Gray’s crucial report on Downing Street parties may give Boris Johnson the chance to spin her findings in his favour.

They are worried that if she hands her report to No 10 on Friday – when Parliament is all but deserted as MPs visit their constituencies – the PM could delay publication to Monday while allies use the intervening time to plant stories in the weekend press putting the best possible gloss on its contents.

One told our political editor, Andrew Woodcock: “If they have it in their hands for three days before Boris has to make his statement to the House, there’s no doubt it’ll leak like a sieve and there’ll be an effort to control the narrative and suggest he’s in the clear.”

Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 19:45

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Nadhim Zahawi ‘instrumental’ in securing controversial Greensill loans, says steel magnate

Steel magnate Sanjeev Gupta wrote to senior minister Nadhim Zahawi to thank him for his “instrumental” role in helping secure controversial loans from Greensill Capital, newly-published details have revealed.

The Gupta Family Group Alliance (GFG) obtained the emergency, government-backed Covid loans during from Greensill – the failed finance firm at the centre of a political scandal about David Cameron’s lobbying activities.

In October 2020 Mr Gupta sent a letter to Mr Zahawi, who was then a minister in the business department, to thank him for his “support” in obtaining the Greensill loans through the British Business Bank, according to a report in the Financial Times.

Adam Forrest has the story:

Emily Atkinson27 January 2022 19:30



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