Boris Johnson says he is ‘not worried’ by MPs plotting against him while at G7
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has set a date for the second proposed Scottish independence referendum.
She told MSPs it will be held on October 19 2023, with the question to be asked the same as in the 2014 vote “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Ms Sturgeon said she would be writing to Boris Johnson to inform him of her plans.
She added she would make clear she is “ready and willing” to negotiate the terms of a Section 30 order with him, which would give Holyrood the power to hold a referendum. Mr Johnson has previously refused her calls for another referendum to be held.
The serial rebel described the prime minister’s position as “intolerable” if he is found to have lied to parliament over the scandal of the No 10 parties, many of which he attended.
Metropolitan Police placed in special measures by watchdog
The Metropolitan Police has been placed in special measures by a watchdog.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary said the force was now being monitored through a process that “provides additional scrutiny and support to help it make improvements”.
The full report detailing the watchdog’s reason for the rare step has not been published, but it follows several scandals over crimes committed by officers, including the murder of Sarah Everard.
PM will ‘take time to carefully consider’ how to fill Lord Geidt’s ethics adviser role
Boris Johnson believes it is “right to take time to carefully consider” how to fill the role of ethics adviser after Lord Geidt’s resignation, Downing Street has said.
A No 10 spokesman said there was no update on the recruitment process.
“We’re aware of the issues that Lord Geidt himself raised, as did Pacac (Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee) with regard to that role, and the PM continues to try to take time to look at those issues carefully before any final decision’s made, but to emphasise that we remain fully committed to making sure all ministers including the Prime Minister are held to account for maintaining high standards,” the official said.
“We think it’s right to take time to carefully consider how best to fulfil the role, given what I’ve said about the Prime Minister’s emphasis to ensure that high standards of behaviour are maintained”.
Sturgeon says she will not allow Scottish democracy to be a ‘prisoner’ of Johnson
Civil service chief says PM’s decision on Partygate inquiry put Sue Gray in ‘genuinely difficult’ position
The head of the civil service has said that putting officials like Sue Gray in a position of judging on the behaviour of ministers including Boris Johnson is a “challenge” and should be “avoided whenever possible”.
Simon Case told a Commons committee that Ms Gray was put “in a genuinely difficult position” when Mr Johnson chose her to head the Partygate inquiry.
He said that the post of independent adviser to the prime minister – held by Christopher Geidt until his resignation this month – was created precisely to avoid the “tension” which saw the career civil servant put under intense pressure ahead of the publication of her bombshell report in May.
Andrew Woodcock reports.
Nicola Sturgeon sets date for proposed Scottish independence referendum
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs the Bill will set out for a referendum to be held on October 19 2023, with the question to be asked the same as in the 2014 vote “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
Ms Sturgeon said she would be writing to Boris Johnson to inform him of her plans.
She added she would make clear she is “ready and willing” to negotiate the terms of a Section 30 order with him, which would give Holyrood the power to hold a referendum.
But with the prime minister having repeatedly refused her calls for another referendum to be held, Ms Sturgeon added “What I am not willing to do, what I will never do is allow Scottish democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any prime minister.”
The First Minister stated: “My determination is to secure a process that allows the people of Scotland, whether yes, no or yet to be decided, to express their views in a legal, constitutional referendum so the majority view can be established fairly and democratically.
“The steps I am setting out today seek to achieve that.”
Boris Johnson says he does not expect direct war with Russia
Government under investigation over ‘appalling’ handling of sewage dumped in rivers
An environmental watchdog has announced it is to carry out an investigation into the enforcement of rules on untreated sewage being pumped into rivers and seas in England.
The recently formed Office for Environmental Protection will investigate the environment secretary George Eustice, as well as the Environment Agency and Ofwat – the water services regulation authority – in how they regulate the use of combined sewer overflows (CSOs), as concerns about deteriorating water quality mount.
The investigation will seek “to determine whether these authorities have failed to comply with their respective duties in relation to the regulation, including the monitoring and enforcement, of water companies’ own duties to manage sewage”, the OEP said in a statement.
Harry Cockburn reports.
Liz Truss can’t name single occasion she has raised human rights with a Gulf state
Sunak will consider calls for ‘more substantial’ fuel duty cut
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has insisted he will carefully consider calls for a “more substantial” fuel duty cut.
Tory MP Philip Davies, who is married to party colleague Esther McVey, who represents Tatton, said: “Further to the question from my right honourable friend, the member for Tatton, can I urge the chancellor to think again about the cut in fuel duty?
“Although the one he introduced was welcome, it hasn’t really been noticed by many people and therefore can I urge him to think again about a much more substantial cut in fuel duty, on a temporary basis, just as they’ve done in Germany?”
Mr Sunak replied in the Commons: “I thank my honourable friend for supporting the right honourable member for Tatton, and I’m glad he did.
“What I will say to him is of course I will take all his recommendations under advisement. It is, as my honourable friend pointed out, a £5 billion cut to go with the freeze in fuel duty so it is significant, but we appreciate it is not being felt at the pumps because of the rise in wholesale prices.
“I want to reassure him that the Energy Secretary is in dialogue with the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) to make sure that fuel duty cut is being passed on as well.”
Boris Johnson set to ditch Tory manifesto promise on increased defence spending
Boris Johnson is set to ditch a manifesto promise to increase the annual defence budget above inflation, putting the PM on a collision course with his defence secretary Ben Wallace.
A senior government source admitted that the Conservative commitment to hike annual military spending by 0.5 per cent above inflation could no longer be met because of the Covid pandemic.
In their 2019 Tory manifesto, the party pledged to exceed the Nato target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence, and increase the budget by at least 0.5 per cent above inflation every year.
Adam Forrest reports.