Gray report 1) Johnson rejects calls to resign after scathing Gray report

“The prime minister’s stumbling response to the report into the “partygate” affair by Sue Gray, a senior civil servant, rekindled talk of a potential leadership challenge and sparked alarm in Downing Street. Theresa May, former prime minister, led the criticism of Johnson, former chief whip Andrew Mitchell withdrew his support, and ministerial aide Angela Richardson quit, citing “deep disappointment” over the scandal. “It was awful,” said one normally loyal, long-serving Tory MP, referring to Johnson’s House of Commons response to the report, which was in turns remorseful, bullish and combative. “I’m considering my position overnight. Johnson appealed to Tory MPs at a private meeting on Monday to stick with him, promising that there would no new revelations”. – FT

  • Police investigate Johnson’s four lockdown parties – The Times
  • Months of trouble still ahead for No 10 – The Times
  • PM defies demands for heads to roll among Downing Street team – The Times
  • And Johnson fails to impress Tory MPs with ‘train wreck’ Commons performance – FT
  • PM and Carrie face police quiz over lockdown party within days – The Sun
  • May waited two years to go for his jugular – Daily Mail
  • PM to ask Gray for new report – Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson clings on – Daily Mail
  • Ross says Gray report proves Johnson must quit – The Times
  • Blackford ‘kicked out’ of Commons for calling PM a liar – Daily Mail
Report in detail
  • Key findings of Sue Gray’s interim report – The Times
  • The five things you need to know about the partygate report – FT
  • ‘Carrie wants a clique, Boris is a loner. In both cases it’s about self-preservation’ – The Times
  • ‘They didn’t read the rules or just didn’t think they applied to them’ – The Times
  • A year of fun, games, and farewells (plus a few parties) – The Times

Gray report 2) William Hague: Johnson has promised the bare minimum

“A mixture of good luck and urgent organising had already ameliorated Boris Johnson’s perilous situation before Sue Gray’s “update” report emerged. The luck came in an unusual combination: the defection of an MP to Labour that looked nakedly opportunistic; the grand declaration of David Davis, a senior colleague who is always interesting but a political loner, that Boris had to go; and the ham-fisted intervention of the Metropolitan Police in a way that must have extracted some of the sting of the report and made the process interminable. The urgent organising was the canvassing of MPs by an experienced team under Grant Shapps, resurrected from the last leadership election to save their hero.” – The Times

Gray report 3) Charles Moore: Johnson’s luck is in as his enemies’ tactics backfire

“Gosh, Boris Johnson is a lucky man. If only his opponents both inside and outside his party were more disciplined and less self-righteous, they would be much deadlier. Yesterday in Parliament, the Prime Minister benefited greatly from the double apparatus of civil service and police inquiries which his enemies had called for because they believed it would discredit him. Sue Gray’s masterly report made disapproving noises – “serious failure”, the need for “significant learning”, “excessive consumption of alcohol” – but announced it could not go into any specifics “without detriment to the overall balance of the findings”. She just had to wait for the police, she said. This made it easy for Boris to say he was very sorry without having to say what for”. – Daily Telegraph

Gray report 4) Minister resigns over partygate

“Angela Richardson, the Conservative MP for Guildford, resigned as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Michael Gove yesterday, due to her “deep disappointment” in Mr Johnson. She said: “Sue Gray’s report published today clearly states that there were failings at No 10 that let us all down… there could have been an early acknowledgement and apology”. The blow comes after the Prime Minister faced a two-hour session in the Commons on Monday to answer questions about the findings of Sue Gray’s report. Former Prime Minister Theresa May asked Mr Johnson whether he had misunderstood the Covid rules, not read them or simply ignored them.” – Daily Express

Johnson forced to cancel call with Putin before going to Ukraine

“Boris Johnson had to cancel a scheduled call with President Putin to discuss the Ukraine crisis after the release of the Gray report yesterday compelled him to give a statement to parliament. The prime minister had said he would warn Putin to “step back from the brink” during a call before he travels to Ukraine today to show solidarity with President Zelensky. Almost 130,000 Russian troops are massed near the Ukrainian border. “What I will say to President Putin, as I have said before, is that I think we really all need to step back from the brink,” Johnson told reporters in Essex yesterday morning. An invasion would be “an absolute disaster for the world”, he added, and be “bitterly and bloodily resisted” by the Ukrainian people.” – The Times

  • Truss tests positive on eve of Ukraine visit – Politico
  • Macron seizes initiative on Ukraine – Daily Telegraph
  • UK faces calls to tackle ‘dirty money’ as it targets Kremlin-linked oligarchs – FT
  • Johnson accused of manifesto ‘breach’ over EU regional funding – FT

Move to improve education outcomes under levelling-up plans

“Ministers are to unveil measures to raise educational standards in 55 English target areas with persistently poor outcomes, including the promise of elite sixth-form colleges for talented children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The new “education investment areas” will form part of the government’s levelling-up white paper and will see resources focused on schools in the north, the Midlands, the east of England and the south-west for the next decade. Ninety-five per cent of the areas that have been identified for “intensive support” are outside London and the south-east, and will include Rochdale, the Isle of Wight, Hartlepool, Walsall, Knowsley, Bury, Leeds, Luton, Norfolk and Sunderland.” – The Guardian

Starmer struggles to keep Duffield onboard

“Labour MP Rosie Duffield has said she is considering leaving the party due to “obsessive harassment” from current and former members. Ms Duffield, who has represented the seat of Canterbury in Kent since 2017, said the party under both Jeremy Corbyn and successor Sir Keir Starmer has “offered me no support at all since I unexpectedly became an MP 5 years ago”. Ms Duffield made the comments in a series of tweets, which she said had been prompted by “yet more personal, libellous, nasty and fictional crap being published about me again today”. Ms Duffield, who said she cannot afford to take libel action against those making the comments, hit out at the party’s leadership, claiming: “Neither the Labour Party or either the former or current Leader or the Whips’ Office have done anything at all to stop it, to offer me any support, help or legal assistance.” – Sky News

News in Brief