May 19, 2022

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The Passionate Pursuit of Law

Boris Johnson says sanctions should be intensified until every single one of Putin’s troops is out of Ukraine

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Boris Johnson has insisted the West should instead “intensify” sanctions against Russia until every single one of Vladimir Putin’s troops leave Ukraine.

During a select committee hearing, Mr Johnson said the West must maintain pressure on Russia and its economy following the invasion.

He added that sanctions must be increased until every “single one of Russia’s troops” have left Ukraine.

“I certainly don’t think you should expect the Wets to lift sanctions simply because there’s a ceasefire,” he added.

“In my view we should intesify sanction with a rolling programme until every single one of his troops is out of Ukraine.”

The Prime Minister also faced questions over the 20 fixed penalty notices issued by the Met Police.

Despite persistent questioning from MPs, Mr Johnson refused to comment on the investigation, and said he would not do so until it is concluded.

Prime Minister now asked about impacts of Brexit

16:41 , Bill Mcloughlin

Tory MP Mel Stride asks if he is concerned the UK will become a closed economy due to Brexit.

Mr Johnson said he believes the UK is not a closed economy and says companies should be able to sell more overseas.

The session then closes.

We must get over-50s back into works says PM

16:28 , Bill Mcloughlin

Mr Johnson said the UK must fill job vacancies and one the challenges must “be to get those in their 50s back into work”.

Asked on rising energy costs, he said the the Government is trying to get people back into work and is “doing all sorts of things to help people”.

Work and Pensions chair Stephen Timms then asks why something hasn’t been done for universal credit.

Mr Johnson said the Government wants to support “people into work” and hasn’t lost support for universal credit.

Boris Johnson: Why have we left nuclear power behind?

16:18 , Bill Mcloughlin

Commenting on the number of nuclear reactors in France in comparison to the UK, Mr Johnsons asks: “Whose fault was it?”

He then insisted it was Labour’s following a brief pause.

Mr Johnson then says the UK can “do some things fast” in response to questions on the development of nuclear power in the UK, as proven by the vaccine rollout.

The Prime Minister also claims the “hydrogen route” must not be closed down as it could be very beneficial.

‘Farming is a great future’ says PM

16:12 , Bill Mcloughlin

Asked on the UK’s food security, Mr Johnson said the Government must encourage younger people to join the farming industry.

Tory MP Neil Parish then asks the Prime Minister on fertiliser stores and asks if the UK can continue to run two plants in the country, one of which is closed.

Mr Johnson said the UK must protect its hydrocarbon industry in order to maintain the use of fertilisers in the UK.

The Prime minister also says “you have to provide short-term relief” to help against the rise in energy prices.

Boris Johnson: I would like refugees to be taken in across the entire country

16:05 , Bill Mcloughlin

In order to help refugees, Mr Johnson said he hopes refugees will be taken in on a more “equitable” way across the UK.

Asked by Labour MP, Clive Betts if the data concerning information for councils looking to house refugees with volunteers, Mr Johnson said he sees “no reason” why they should not be able to access the required data.

The sessions then moves onto the cost of living crisis.

‘I am concerned about what’s happening to refugees’ says PM

15:54 , Bill Mcloughlin

Asked on the abuse of the Homes for Ukrainian scheme, he said it should not be abused by “people who have bad motives”.

He concluded the scheme must maintain confidence of the British people and the Ukrainians.

Asked by Tory Sir Bill Wiggin: “Why aren’t you getting what you want from visa scheme?”

Mr Johnson said: “We are opening are homes and doors to refugees, and the numbers are going up and will continue to do so for a while to come.”

Boris Johnson: I wanted a light touch visa system

15:48 , Bill Mcloughlin

Asked on the UK’s visa programme, Mr Johnson said: “What I wanted was a system as light touch as possible. We are outside of the Schengen and we have the advantage to clarify the status of those entering the country.”

He added that the visas approved by the Government are “not bad” and there will be “no caps on numbers”.

The Prime Minister did claim he was unsure of the total number of Ukrainian refugees who have entered the country.

Boris Johnson said he wanted a light touch visa system to enter the UK (Parliament TV)

Boris Johnson said he wanted a light touch visa system to enter the UK (Parliament TV)

Boris Johnson: News publications must have a UK address

15:43 , Bill Mcloughlin

Commenting on Russian media outlets, he said they must have a UK address, a standards code and the Online Safety Bill will force such companies to do so.

He said: “We need to make sure anyone publishing online in a systematic way, should be classified as a news publisher and it should be subject to the controls of the bill.”

‘We should intensify sanctions’, says PM

15:26 , Bill Mcloughlin

The Prime Minister also said it is not wise to stop sanctions on Russia and should continue to “intensify” measures.

He adds the West is changing the “security architecture” and says it should be the goal to stop the Russian president from attempting a similar invasion ever again.

Mr Tugendhat then asks the Prime Minister on the integrated review and the troop cuts.

Mr Johnson said the review was “pretty spot on”.

Boris Johnson: Not on us to create Ukraine’s future

15:18 , Bill Mcloughlin

Asked on whether Emmanuel Macron has talked for too long with Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister said it is not down for the West to decide the country’s future.

He also says it is not the “objective of the UK Government” to remove Mr Putin and is focused on stopping violence.

Foreign Affairs select committee chair, Tom Tugendhat then asks the Prime Minister on whether he agrees on the attempt to by Greece, Turkey and France to provide aid to the city of Mariupol.

Mr Johnson admits his caution over Russia’s attempt to open humanitarian corridor.

‘This Government has done everything we can to protect the public’, says PM

15:13 , Bill Mcloughlin

Asked if he cares about public perception, Mr Johnson said he does “deeply”.

He also claims the Government has done “everything it can” for the public throughout the pandemic.

Concluding the matter, he said he will return for questions when the Met Police finishes its investigation.

Boris Johnson: We must wait for the end of the investigation

15:09 , Bill Mcloughlin

The Prime Minister also refused further questions from SNP MP Pete Wishart on whether he accepts criminality has taken place.

Asked he if will resign, Mr Johnson told the SNP MP to “wait for the conclusion of the investigation”.

Mr Johnson concluded there is not much he can say on the matter and rejected the accusation that the party held for Tory MPs on Tuesday, had been poorly timed.

Boris Johnson faces questions over No10 parties (Parliament TV)

Boris Johnson faces questions over No10 parties (Parliament TV)

Boris Johnson’s select committee appearance begins

15:03 , Bill Mcloughlin

The Prime Minister is taking questions regarding the situation in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis.

Prior to those topics, the chair of the committee has asked Mr Johnson regarding the fixed penalty notices issued by the Met Police.

The Prime Minister said he has been “several times to the House of Commons” to change the way things are run in No10.

He said, however, he will not “give a running commentary” on the investigation.

British ports ‘should refuse access to ferry companies who don’t pay a fair wage’

14:51 , Daniel Keane

Mr Shapps said the Government wants to bring forward the legislation to allow British ports to refuse access to ferry services that do not pay their crew the minimum wage “as quickly as possible”.

He added: “Legislative changes will not be possible overnight.”

“But in the meantime instructing them not to wait. I want to see British ports refusing access to ferry companies who don’t pay a fair wage as soon as practicable.

“This will have the full backing of the Government and I’ve instructed the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to get behind this action too, and they’ve indicated that they will.”

The Transport Secretary added of the proposals: “It’ll send a clear message that if you are using British waters and British ports to ply your trade then you must accept British laws.”

Ministers to take action against fire and rehire

14:34 , Daniel Keane

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has told the House of Common that ministers will “take action to prevent employers who have not made reasonable efforts to reach agreement through consultation from using fire and rehire tactics” after the sacking of P&O workers.

He added: “New statutory code will allow a court or employment tribunal to take the manner of dismissal into account, and if an employer fails to comply with the code, impose a 25 per cent uplift to a worker’s compensation.”

Earlier in his statement, he described the sacking of 800 seafarers as “shameful” and said “no British workers should be treated in this way, devoid of dignity and respect”.

He said maritime workers “deserve far better than to be dismissed via a pre-recorded Zoom in favour of cheaper overseas labour”.

Mr Shapps added: “In response, we urged P&O Ferries to reconsider. These calls have fallen on deaf ears.”

Ministers implicated in partygate ‘should be named’

14:13 , Daniel Keane

Labour said Government ministers should be named if fined by police over alleged lockdown-busting parties in Whitehall.

Asked if it is right for people receiving fixed-penalty notices to remain anonymous, a spokesman for the party said: “I mean, I think people are entitled to that, and that’s the position.

“As I say, it is clearly different, I think, when it comes to people who are in leadership roles, whether that is, for example, the Cabinet Secretary or Government ministers.”

On whether Boris Johnson’s wife, Carrie, should remain anonymous in the event she receives a fine, he said: “I would have thought that that would be one that would be in the public interest, given that the events involve the Prime Minister.”

Labour ‘not calling for civil servants to lose their jobs’

13:56 , Daniel Keane

Labour said it was not “in the business of calling for individual civil servants to lose their jobs” over the partygate scandal.

Asked if people who receive fines should be sacked by the Prime Minister, a spokesman for Labour said: “I think that’s a matter for Downing Street. But I’d make a general observation that, look, this is about the culture there is set at the top.

“Our focus is on the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Secretary, you know, those who are in leadership roles – and that’s our focus.”

He added: “We’re not in the business of calling for individual civil servants to lose their jobs.”

No10 comments on Downing Street party fines

13:40 , Bill Mcloughlin

Sajid Javid: Those responsible will be held to account

13:20 , Bill Mcloughlin

In further comments to MPs regarding the report from Donna Ockenden, Mr Javid said those responsible for the failures at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, will be held to account.

He added: “I’m sure the House will understand that it’s not appropriate for me to name individuals at this stage.

“However, I’d like to reassure MPs that a number of people who were working at the trust at the time of the incidents have been suspended or struck off from the professional register, and members of senior management have also been removed from their posts.

“There is also an active police investigation, Operation Lincoln, which is looking at around 600 cases.

“Given that this is a live investigation I’m sure MPs will recognise I’m not able to comment further on that.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid makes a statement to MPs in the House of Commons, London, following the publication of the Ockenden report in the catastrophic failings within the maternity unit at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust. (PA)

Health Secretary Sajid Javid makes a statement to MPs in the House of Commons, London, following the publication of the Ockenden report in the catastrophic failings within the maternity unit at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust. (PA)

Sajid Javid offers apology following Ockenden report

13:02 , Bill Mcloughlin

Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: “We entrust the NHS with our care, often when we’re at our most vulnerable. In return we expect the highest standards.

“I have seen with my own family the brilliant care the NHS maternity services can offer. But when those standards are not met, we must act firmly and the failures of care and compassion that are set out in this report have absolutely no place in the NHS.

“To all the families that have suffered so gravely, I am sorry.

“The report clearly shows that you were failed by a service that was there to help you and your loved ones to bring life into this world.

“We will make the changes that the report says are needed at both a local and national level.”

PM quizzed on visas for Ukrainian refugees

12:47 , Daniel Keane

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has accused the Home Office of putting “paperwork ahead of people” after it emerged just 25,000 visas had been given to Ukrainian refugees.

He asked why a “traumatised Ukrainian mother and child must first fill out a visa form”.

Mr Johnson replied by claiming the number of Britons offering a home to Ukrainian refugees was “incredible” and said the UK had been “generous” in taking people fleeing Afghanistan and Hong Kong.

Watch: Boris Johnson avoids questions on partygate

12:32 , Daniel Keane

PM appears to mock Blackford’s weight

12:23 , Daniel Keane

Mr Johnson appears to mock Mr Blackford’s weight for the second time in the Commons.

Just two months after mocking his weight at the despatch box, Mr Johnson describes him as “a living testament to the benefits of moderation.”

Sunak got ‘Spring statement badly wrong’, says Blackford

12:19 , Daniel Keane

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, says that families across the country will be worrying about paying their energy bills.

“At the same time last night, Tory MPs were gathering across the street for a champagne bash.

“We know that the Tories partied during lockdown. And now they are partying through the cost of living emergency.

“Last week the Chancellor got his Spring statement badly wrong. Since, the PM has been busy briefing against him that more needs to be done.”

‘Why haven’t you resigned’, Sir Keir asks PM

12:13 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir asks the PM why he has not resigned after the Met Police fined 20 government officials over partygate.

He notes that Mr Johnson had previously told the Commons that no rules had been broken during lockdown – a possible contravention of the ministerial code.

“Either he’s trashing the ministerial code… or he’s claiming he was lied to by his own advisers and didn’t know what was happening in his own office,” he says.

“He really does think that it’s one rule for him and one for everyone else.”

Responding, Mr Johnson claims Sir Keir “wants to take the country back into the EU” and repeats his familiar line that the UK wouldn’t have left lockdown under a Labour government.

Starmer presses PM

12:10 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir asks why the government has not chosen to tax energy companies amid the cost of living crisis.

The PM claims the party is “having to make good on historic mistakes of the Labour party by investing in sustainable energy supply.”

“They are the party of excess oil and gas profits. We are the party of working people,” Sir Keir responds.

Starmer brands Sunak ‘utterly cynical’

12:07 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir says the Chancellor is “utterly cynical” for choosing to slash tax by one per cent ahead of the next election despite raising taxes amid the cost of living crisis.

Responding, the PM says Sunak took “tough decisions” throughout the pandemic and “protected” British people.

“If we’d listened to Captain Hindsight we wouldn’t have come out of lockdown, with the result that the UK economy wouldn’t be growing the way it is,” he adds.

Starmer attacks PM over taxes

12:05 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir asks whether Mr Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are “tax cutting Conservatives”.

Mr Johnson responds: “Yes I do. This is the govt that has introduced the biggest cut in fuel duty ever… but also the biggest cut in tax for working people in years.”

He adds that “Labour love putting up taxes”.

Sir Keir responds: “Cut the nonsense and treat the British people with some respect.

“Fifteen tax rises and the highest tax burden in 70 years.

“Is that cutting taxes? Or is that raising taxes”.

The PM in turn accuses Sir Keir of “obliterating” the pandemic from his memory.

PMQs kicks off

12:03 , Daniel Keane

Prime minister’s questions has begun.

Pressed on what the UK will do to help protect Baltic states, the PM says: ““The Joint Expeditionary Force is an increasingly important grouping of Nordic countries. They have committed to working together to counter Russian aggression.

“We had a successful meetings and will have more in the coming weeks.”

Labour MP calls for windfall tax on energy companies

11:52 , Daniel Keane

Stephen Kinnock, Labour MP for Aberavon, has called for a windfall tax for energy companies to combat the cost of living crisis.

He told Sky News: “It fell well short of what the country needs.

“We are facing a tremendous cost of living crisis… what we need is a windfall tax on energy companies.

“That would be used to reduce everybody’s bills. Instead we have a high-tax, low-growth Chancellor.”

Wallis’ statement hailed in Commons

11:45 , Daniel Keane

Equalities minister Mike Freer started business in the House of Commons by acknowledging the “enormously personal” statement by his Conservative colleague Jamie Wallis, telling MPs: “I hope I speak for the whole House in sending our support.

“It is so important that people are free and safe to be themselves, whoever they are and whoever they love.”

Other MPs echoed their support for Mr Wallis during women and equalities questions.

‘Woeful’ 2,700 visas granted to Ukrainian refugees

11:29 , Daniel Keane

Just 2,700 visas have been granted to people wanting to come to the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, latest figures show.

This is despite applications from Ukraine reaching 28,300.

Sonya Sceats, chief executive of the Freedom from Torture charity, described the sponsorship scheme numbers as “woeful”, and called on the Government to “cut the red tape”.

“In a month where people across the country signed up to welcome more refugees than the Government has in 10 years, these woeful numbers prove why visa-based schemes are an unsuitable gateway for refugees fleeing Ukraine to reach safety here in the UK,” she said.

PM praises Tory MP after coming out as trans

11:15 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson has praised a Tory MP who came out as trans and revealed in a highly personal statement he was raped and blackmailed.

Jamie Wallis, 37, was praised for his bravery after revealing he is “not OK” and opened up about having gender dysphoria.

The Bridgend MP said: “I have never lived my truth and I’m not sure how”, adding: “Perhaps it starts with telling everyone.”

The message was posted online shortly before 3am, after a gathering for Tory MPs at which Mr Johnson reportedly made a joke about trans issues.

At the dinner, Politico reported the Prime Minister said: “Good evening, ladies and gentleman, or as (Labour leader Sir) Keir Starmer would put it, people who are assigned female or male at birth.”

In his statement, Mr Wallis said: “I’m trans. Or to be more accurate, I want to be.

“I’ve been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and I’ve felt this way since I was a very young child. I had no intention of ever sharing this with you. I always imagined I would leave politics well before I ever said this out loud.”

Good morning

11:10 , Daniel Keane

Good morning and welcome to the Standard’s live coverage of prime minister’s questions.

We’ll have all the latest coverage from the House of Commons as PMQs kicks off at midday.



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