Boris Johnson has suggested that his event planner friend stayed overnight at Chequers during Covid restrictions for childcare reasons as he denied the visit broke any rules.

Dixie Maloney, who helped Mr Johnson and wife Carrie plan their wedding, stayed at the prime minister’s grace and favour home on 7 May,  when indoor gatherings were banned except for “reasonably necessary” for reasons such as work or childcare.

Mr  Johnson’s spokesperson told The Guardian was “entirely lawful” and sources close to him said Ms Maloney was allowed to be there for childcare reasons at a time when Carrie was pregnant.

Elsewhere, current PM Rishi Sunak will hold talks with US president Joe Biden later in his first visit to the White House since taking office.

The leaders’ Oval Office talks are expected to cover the war in Ukraine, China, economic security, international cooperation on regulating the growing field of artificial intelligence, and more.


Tories raise £12m in three months

The Conservative Party raised more than £12 million in donations in the first three months of the year, according to figures from the Electoral Commission.

Donations to the Tories published on Thursday far outstripped those to other parties, with Labour raising only £4.4 million and the Liberal Democrats £1.3 million.

In total, the Conservatives received £12.3 million in the first quarter of 2023, with public funding taking Labour and the Liberal Democrats’ totals to £5.9 million and £1.7 million respectively.

Christopher McKeon reports:

Matt Mathers8 June 2023 11:56


Everything you need to know about Boris Johnson and the UK Covid-19 Inquiry

Headlines out of Westminster this week have been dominated by the back and forth between the government, Boris Johnson, and the UK Covid inquiry.

Here, Jon Stone reports on what you need to know about the story:

Matt Mathers8 June 2023 11:29


Lib Dems: Put Johnson’s honours list ‘through the shredder’

Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list should be “put through the shredder”, the Lib Dems have said.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper accused the prime minister of rewarding “failure” by allegedly giving the list the green light.

“The fact that one of the most scandal-ridden prime ministers is now allowed to stuff his cronies in the Lords after a failed premiership tells the British public everything they need to know about this Conservative Party,” she said.

“Boris Johnson caused crisis after crisis in this country – if Rishi Sunak rewards his failure it’s just proof it is one rule for the Conservatives and another for everyone else.

“The buck stops with Sunak – he must ensure that Johnson’s honours list is put through the shredder.”


Matt Mathers8 June 2023 11:00


China to be excluded from UK’s AI summit

China will be excluded from a conference on AI regulation hosted by the UK later this year, it has been reported.

Rishi Sunak, after his meeting with Joe Biden, will announce that Britain will host a global summit in the autumn.

Invitations will be sent out at the “appropriate time” to “like-minded countries”, but China will not be asked to attend, the Financial Times reports.

(PA Wire)

Matt Mathers8 June 2023 10:45


Sunak trying to draw a line under honours list saga, Tory MP says

Rishi Sunak has accepted Boris Johnson’s honours list because he doesn’t want to waste any more time fighting with his predecessor, a Tory MP has said.

Bob Seely said the PM wanted to draw a line under the year-long row over the controversial 50-strong list, saying “anything to do with Boris is frankly a distraction”.

More comments from the Isle of Wight MP below:

The row over Mr Johnson’s list intensified earlier this year following reports he had nominated his father Stanley for a knighthood.

Such gongs are typically awarded to people who have made outstanding contributions to charity, business, science, sport, the arts and other areas of public life.

Prime ministers can nominate people for awards and can make appointments to the House of Lords, parliament’s second chamber.

Matt Mathers8 June 2023 10:30


Call to act on ‘dangerous’ conditions around Westminster for disabled people

Disabled peers have spoken about being “harangued” on their way to Parliament as a report said not enough was being done to safeguard access to Westminster for the less abled.

A report by the Policy Exchange said protests had often blocked the passageway of disabled people as it called on the Metropolitan Police to do more to protect pedestrian walkways for those in wheelchairs and with other disabilities.

Lord Blencathra, in a testimony shared with the report writers, said he had missed hospital appointments due to his access being blocked.

Matt Mathers8 June 2023 10:15


Poll predicting Labour landslide is ‘rubbish’ – Kellner

A polling expert has dismissed as “rubbish” a new survey suggesting Labour is on course for landslide victory at the general election.

A survey carried out by FocalData and commissioned by Best for Britain, using the MRP method in new constituency boundaries, estimated Keir Starmer’s party could secure a majority of more than 140 seats.

Mr Kellner, who co-founded YouGov, said there were “fundamental flaws” in the data. More comments below:

Matt Mathers8 June 2023 10:00


Caroline Lucas to quit as Green Party MP to focus on climate campaigning

The Green Party’s only MP Caroline Lucas wil stand down at the next election to focus on fighting “nature and climate emergencies”, she has announced.

Ms Lucas, who had two spells as leader of her party, said her role in Parliament meant she had “struggled to spend the time I want” on the crises facing the environment.

Matt Mathers8 June 2023 09:45


Biden and Sunak to focus on Ukraine and economic security in PM’s first White House visit

President Joe Biden is welcoming prime minister Rishi Sunak for wide-ranging talks on Thursday as the British leader makes his first White House since taking office.

The leaders’ Oval Office talks are expected to cover the war in Ukraine, China, economic security, international cooperation on regulating the growing field of artificial intelligence, and more.

Biden and Sunak have already had four face-to-face meetings since Sunak became prime minister in October, but the talks in Washington will offer the two leaders a chance for their most sustained interaction to date.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the 15-month-old Russian invasion of Ukraine will be “top of mind.” The US and UK are the two biggest donors to the Ukraine war effort and play a central role in a long-term effort announced last month to train, and eventually equip, Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.

Matt Mathers8 June 2023 09:33


Sunak to wave through Johnson’s controversial honours list

Rishi Sunak is apparently ready to nod through Boris Johnson’s controversial honours list in a move set to spark at least two by-elections for the Tories.

The former prime minister’s list has already raised eyebrows after he reportedly nominated a series of close political allies, friends and associates – including several Tory MPs and his own father.

But Mr Sunak is poised to approve the list of some 50 names in the coming weeks in a bid to “clear the decks” of another row involving predecessor, according to The Times.


Matt Mathers8 June 2023 09:30

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