Boris Johnson news – live: Rees-Mogg accused of Brexit ‘gimmick’ and ‘vanity project’

Boris Johnson fails to deny he offered Carrie Symonds top job

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been accused of unveiling a Brexit “gimmick” – a quarterly dashboard of reformed EU laws – which will “do nothing to address the real challenges that the public face today”.

The Brexit opportunities minister sought to claim the new digital publication would usher in a “British-style revolution”, pointing to regulations on vacuum cleaners as he spoke of the need to “ultimately grow the economy and cut the cost of living”.

Labour frontbencher Stephen Doughty called it “quite extraordinary” for the government to introduce what “simply appears to be a vanity project” on the day that inflation topped a 40-year high of 9.1 per cent.

Earlier at PMQs, Boris Johnson failed to deny he offered his then-lover Carrie Symonds a top job while foreign secretary, ducking the question when challenged in the Commons.

Shortly afterwards, justice secretary Dominic Raab proposed a new Bill of Rights which will allow the government to ignore interim rulings from a European court and potentially make it easier to deport foreign offenders.


Stanley Johnson calls for parliament ban on ‘agreeable’ Chinese ambassador to be lifted

Boris Johnson’s father has called on the UK parliament to lift a ban on the Chinese ambassador ahead of his own visit to China to retrace the steps of Marco Polo, our political correspondent Adam Forrest reports.

Stanley Johnson is planning a summer trip to Xinjiang province, home to the Uighur minority persecuted by Beijing, for a TV programme on the famous explorer.

China’s ambassador to Britain Zheng Zeguan was banned from the parliamentary estate last year – a move which sparked retaliatory sanctions on nine Britons, including senior Conservative MPs.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Mr Johnson Snr described Mr Zheng as a “very agreeable, capable and intelligent man” following talks with him about his travel plans for television.

The 81-year-old added: “I would very much hope that by the time parliament returns [after the summer break], these bans will no longer be in place.”

Andy Gregory22 June 2022 15:24

Government claims Rishi Sunak’s £1.9bn subsidy for fossil fuels is ‘not technically a subsidy’

The government has claimed Rishi Sunak’s new £1.9 billion tax break for fossil fuel companies is not technically a subsidy and so compatible with its climate plan, our policy correspondent Jon Stone reports.

Green groups lambasted ministers for playing “semantics” with the planet over the new incentives to invest and oil and gas production – announced just months after the UK’s own climate summit promised to put an end to them.

The chancellor’s doubled the rate of tax relief for oil and gas projects in his Budget, a measure that is expected to cost taxpayers nearly £2 billion and produce 899 million tons of extra CO2.

But responding to criticism of the measure from green groups, Treasury minister Helen Whately claimed that the policy was compatible with the UK’s international commitment, because of a technicality.

Andy Gregory22 June 2022 15:13

Labour dismisses Rees Mogg’s Brexit dashboard ‘gimmick’

Responding to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s new Brexit dashboard (see post below), Labour has warned that gimmicks do nothing to address the “real challenges” that the public face today.

Shadow foreign office minister Stephen Doughty told MPs the Brexit opportunities’ minister’s new quarterly list of reformed of EU laws “simply appears to be a vanity project”.

“It’s quite extraordinary that on the day that inflation tops 9 per cent, the cost of energy is soaring, families facing massive pressures wondering how they will put food on the table, prices rising at the fastest rate of increase for 40 years, the government’s offer today to the British people is a digital filing cabinet of existing legislation, which the gentleman describes, in his own words, as marginal,” he said.

“And while the government plans to cut 20 per cent of civil servants, the minister for so-called government efficiency is running his own make-work scheme in the Cabinet Office, creating tasks for them to satisfy his own obsessions.”

He added: “For all the government’s talk about changes we can make outside the EU, they still refuse to make the one concrete change that the Labour Party has been demanding for months with the overwhelming support of the British people as promised by the prime minister himself, which is the removal of VAT on home energy bills.”

Andy Gregory22 June 2022 14:58

Rees-Mogg touts ‘revolution’ with new government dashboard

Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed that a new dashboard showing how many EU laws have been reformed will usher in a “British-style revolution”.

“With inflation running high we need to search everywhere and under every stone and sofa cushion for supply side reforms that make products and services cheaper, make things easier for business and ultimately grow the economy and cut the cost of living,” the Brexit opportunities minister told MPs.

“This dashboard therefore is the supply side reformers’ El Dorado and naturally I am pointing to the treasure trove of opportunity this publication represents. It highlights unnecessary and disproportionate EU regulations on consumer goods such as those regulating the power of vacuum cleaners, why should that trouble Her Majesty’s Government?”

Mr Rees-Mogg added: “We will continue working with departments to cut at least a billion pounds of business costs from EU red tape, to ensure greater freedoms and productivity.

“Ensuring we have the right regulation is crucial, excessive and unnecessary regulations which burden business or distort market outcomes, reduce productivity, pushing up prices and negatively affecting everyone’s cost of living.”

Andy Gregory22 June 2022 14:45

Government to create public dashboard showing EU law reforms, Rees-Mogg says

A dashboard will be made available to the public to show on a quarterly basis how much EU law has been reformed, Jacob Rees-Mogg has announced.

In a Commons statement, the minister for Brexit opportunities and government efficiency said: “As we maximise the benefits of Brexit and transform the UK into the most sensibly regulated economy in the world we must reform the EU law we have retained on our statute book.

“Only through reform of this retained EU law will we finally be able to untangle ourselves of nearly 50 years of EU membership.”

He went on: “I am pleased to announce that today we publish an authoritative catalogue of over 2,400 pieces of legislation spanning over 300 individual policy areas.

“This catalogue will be available on through an interactive dashboard. It will be updated on a quarterly basis so that the public can count down retained EU law as the government reforms it.”

He added: “The publication of this dashboard offers the public a real opportunity. Everything on it we can now change.”

Andy Gregory22 June 2022 14:31

Julian Assange extradition part of government’s ‘increasingly totalitarian bent’, his wife warns

As Dominic Raab speaks in the Commons on reducing the power of European human rights legislation in the UK, Julian Assange’s wife Stella Morris has warned that Priti Patel’s decision to send the Wikileaks founder to the US to face espionage charges is part of the government’s “increasingly totalitarian bent”.

Writing for The Independent, she condemned the home secretary for “flouting” calls from the Europe’s leading human rights organisation, doctors and journalists to stop his extradition to the US.

Ms Morris, a lawyer and campaigner, said the home secretary had “flouted calls from representatives of the Council of Europe, the OSCE [Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe], almost two thousand journalists and three hundred doctors for the extradition to be halted”.

She added: “Priti Patel’s decision comes amidst sweeping government reforms of an increasingly totalitarian bent – the plans to weaken the influence of the European Court of Human Rights and the decision to extradite Julian are the coup de grace.”

Andy Gregory22 June 2022 14:18

Lib Dem MP asks whether Bill of Rights is ‘unilateral repudiation’ of Belfast Agreement

The Liberal Democrats’ Northern Ireland spokesperson Alistair Carmichael has asked whether Dominic Raab’s proposed new Bill of Rights constitutes a “unilateral repudiation” of the Belfast Agreement.

“Paragraph 2 of the Human Rights Charter of the Good Friday Agreement provides that the British government will complete incorporation into Northern Ireland law of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), with direct access to the courts and remedies for breach of the convention.

“So will the justice secretary tell the House whether his Bill constitutes a unilateral repudiation of that, or is this something that he’s negotiated with the government of Ireland?”

Mr Raab said Mr Carmichael was “wrong” because the UK will “remain a state party to the Convention”, adding that the “ECHR remains incorporated into UK law through the schedule”.

Amid some disagreement from the opposite bench, the justice secretary then accused the Lib Dem MP of “chuntering from a sedentary position”, adding: “Read the bill and I’m very happy to address any other questions he’s got.”

Andy Gregory22 June 2022 14:08

Raab’s predecessor ‘welcomes’ statement on Bill of Rights

Former justice secretary Robert Buckland has said that he “welcomes” his successor Dominic Raab’s statement on the government’s proposed Bill of Rights.

Mr Buckland said that it “builds upon the work” that he and Sir Peter Gross did during the review of the Human Rights Act, adding – contrary to earlier comments in the Commons – that “Sir Peter’s balanced committee did not say that all was well with the Human Rights Act”.

He added: “There were issues to be dealt with and according to our manifesto commitment to update the Act, this Bill is timely.”

Mr Buckland asked whether Mr Raab agreed that “over and above domestic action that we can take to reform and improve legislation, there is a strong case for international work to be done on the same basis that we did in Brighton 10 years ago, to deal with issues such as extraterritorial jurisdiction, which is a common concern, not just of this country, but of our judges and many member states on the Council of Europe”.

Andy Gregory22 June 2022 13:52

Who is RMT leader Mick Lynch?

Away from the Commons for a moment, my colleague Joe Sommerlad has this piece on the RMT union’s general-secretary Mick Lynch, whose uncompromising interviewing style has seen him go viral multiple times since the rail strikes began this week:

Who is RMT leader Mick Lynch?

Union’s general-secretary goes viral for uncompromising interview style as industrial action leaves nation’s train stations deserted and commuters stranded

Andy Gregory22 June 2022 13:45

Raab insists ‘absolutely nothing’ in Bill of Rights will weaken protection of victims

Dominic Raab told the shadow justice minister he disagrees with “everything she said” and that there is “absolutely nothing” in the Bill of Rights that will weaken the protection of victims.

Responding to Ellie Reeves’ claim of governmental “hypocrisy” in relation to its condemnation of Vladimir Putin (see post below), the justice secretary told MPs: “I have to say, the comparison with what Russia or Putin does, I’m afraid, shows a lack of moral compass on the side of those benches and not these.

“And then she diverted into a monologue on a very serious subject, which is in relation to rape.

“Let us be absolutely crystal clear. There is absolutely nothing in this Bill of Rights that will do anything to weaken the protections of victims. Far from it, in relation to deportation of foreign national criminals, in relation to the release of dangerous rapists, in relation to what we do inside our prisons, this will strengthen our protection of victims and public protection.

“Again, for the record, on such a serious issue on which I agree with her the importance, she might get her facts straight. The volume of rape convictions has increased by two thirds in the last year alone.”

Andy Gregory22 June 2022 13:34

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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