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Johnson 1) The Prime Minister is accused of ‘leading the celebrations’ at rule-breaking leaving do…

“The event expected to create the biggest headache was on November 13, 2020, to mark the exit of Lee Cain, the No 10 director of communications, which insiders say was instigated by Johnson. “This wasn’t a leaving drinks,” said one source — until the prime minister arrived. “This was the usual press office Friday evening wash-up drinks. Boris came fumbling over, red box in tow, and he gathered the staff around the press office table, which did have bottles of alcohol on it. “He said he wanted to say a few words for Lee and started pouring drinks for people and drinking himself. He toasted him.” A photographer is said to have been present throughout and is thought to have captured pictures of Johnson.” – The Sunday Times 

>Today:

Johnson 2) …and he prepares to visit India to discuss closer economic and defence co-operation…

“UK prime minister Boris Johnson will next week meet with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, where he will reiterate the need for democracies to “stick together” and aim to bolster economic and defence co-operation between the UK and India. During the two day visit, Johnson will hold talks with Modi in New Delhi focusing on strengthening security co-operation between India and the UK in the Indo-Pacific region as well as strategic defence in light of increasing Russian aggression. Throughout the Ukraine conflict, India has maintained a strategically neutral stance on Russia. President Modi has expressed concern over the use of violence against civilians such as that recorded in Bucha, but India has opted to abstain on key UN votes condemning Russia.” – The Financial Times

Johnson 3) …whilst Welby criticises his ‘ungodly’ Rwandan migrants plan.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury is set to slam the government’s Rwanda plan for asylum seekers as the the ‘opposite of the nature of God’ tomorrow.In his Easter sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, Justin Welby will say that Christ’s resurrection should be a time for ‘repentance and renewal’, not for ‘sub-contracting our responsibilities’. The Government announced this week it plans to provide failed asylum seekers, including those crossing the Channel in small boats, with a one-way ticket to Rwanda, where they will have the right to apply to live in the African country.” – The Mail on Sunday 

Patel could face ‘Home Office mutiny’ over new approach to asylum seekers

“Priti Patel could face a Home Office mutiny over plans to process migrants 5,000 miles away in Rwanda after overruling officials to push through the scheme. The home secretary issued a rare ministerial direction to overrule concerns of civil servants about whether the scheme would deliver value for money. It is only the second ministerial direction – an order enforced by a minister despite objection from a permanent secretary – the Home Office has received in 30 years. The first was to speed up the Windrush compensation scheme before legislation. Civil servants could stage mass walk-outs in protest against the new plans, unions have warned.” – The Observer

Lawson: Putin’s war is evil, but it’s not genocide

“I prefer not to believe that the Kyiv MP truly thinks Russia’s attempt to capture a city vital to its strategic aim of controlling a land bridge from Russia to Crimea is indistinguishable from the murder of a million Jews by gassing, forced labour and grotesque medical experimentation. Instead I suppose this was a rhetorical device to put further pressure on Germany: Olaf Scholz is resisting Ukraine’s demand that it immediately abandon its purchases of Russian gas, and there is no better way to shame a German chancellor than to draw parallels between Ukraine’s plight and that of Jews under Nazi rule.” – The Sunday Times

  • Zelensky warns of the need to prepare for a nuclear attack – The Mail on Sunday
  • Johnson, Truss, Patel, and Raab are amongst ministers banned from visiting Russia by Putin – The Sunday Times
  • EU and Germany are mired in the blood of Ukrainians – Paul Baldwin, Daily Express
  • Putin, Ukraine, and the revival of the west – Gideon Rachman, The Financial Times
  • The Russian President is praying for Johnson’s removal – Tony Parsons, The Sun
  • New horrors from Ukraine should stiffen Europe’s resolve – Editorial, The Sunday Times

Ministers 1 Gove paves way for council housing expansion

“Michael Gove is poised to hit property developers with a £7bn levy that could pave the way for a massive expansion of new council housing. The Levelling Up Secretary is preparing to axe rules which force companies to build a set number of “affordable” homes on their developments themselves, and will order them to pay into an infrastructure fund instead that can be used by councils for their own projects. Mr Gove has held talks with industry about the proposals, and executives are preparing for them to be included in the Queen’s Speech next month if approved by Cabinet. A formal consultation could be launched within weeks.” – The Sunday Telegraph

Ministers 2) Dorries suggests the UK will be the ‘safest place to surf the net’

“New safety laws to crack down on fake news on the internet will leave no hiding place for online criminals, Ministers said last night. They sought to calm fears about the proposed rules by insisting they will protect young internet users and target online crooks. Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said the ‘ground-breaking’ Bill ‘will make the UK the safest place to surf the web’. The Online Safety Bill, to be debated by MPs this week, has sparked concerns that it could damage Press freedom and lead to legitimate online content being censored. Senior Tory MP David Davis said the ‘seriously flawed’ Bill would still allow a Minister ‘and a few MPs’ to decide what could be published online in some cases.” – The Mail on Sunday

Ministers 3) The Environment Secretary pledges that British farmers will fill British fridges

“I have already set out measures to support farmers and growers in England ahead of the coming growing season, including introducing a new Sustainable Farming Incentive that will support farmers in improving the health and fertility of their soil, which is essential for sustainable food production. They are not a silver bullet, but they will help. The turbulence on the market has brought into focus, once again, the importance of a resilient global supply chain. Here in the UK, we have a high degree of food security.” – The Sunday Telegraph

Brady: Government staff who insist on working from home are ruining Britain

“Doubtless, by necessity, much of that noble work was done by people working from home. But now that the restrictions have been lifted, they should be returning to the office. After all, that is what much of the country has done. It is simply unacceptable for so many of our public servants to continue sitting at home. Mail on Sunday readers enjoying a well-earned Easter break from their factories and offices this weekend will be shocked to learn that in many parts of government only one in five officials bother to turn up. I am told that some Whitehall departments still look like the Mary Celeste.” – The Mail on Sunday

  •    Two-thirds of staff at the Foreign Office are still working from home – The Mail on Sunday

UK households face millions of pounds of administration costs for the Government’s energy scheme, according to consultation documents

“British households face paying tens of millions of pounds in administration costs for the government’s controversial scheme to reduce energy bills by £200 in October. The energy bills support scheme has been widely criticised by opposition parties and consumer groups because the £200 discount will have to be repaid by consumers in annual instalments of £40 starting in 2023, when electricity and gas prices are forecast to still be at elevated levels. A government consultation document about the scheme suggests the costs of administering the scheme will be recovered separately via Britain’s energy price cap, which dictates bills for 22mn households.” – The Financial Times

Two Olympians amongst the forty arrested in London’s Extinction Rebellion protests

“Six people have been arrested after Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists, including two Olympians, scaled an oil tanker in west London. The Metropolitan police said that 40 people were arrested in total on Saturday in a number of protests across the capital. The gold medal-winning canoeist Etienne Stott, along with two others, climbed on to the Shell tanker on Bayswater Road with a banner reading “End fossil filth”. Later on Saturday, two XR demonstrators scaled Marble Arch in central London to hang a banner as protests against fossil fuels continued for a seventh day. A man and a woman climbed up two pillars to hoist a green banner, which was about 10 metres wide and read “End fossil fuels now”, shortly before 6pm.” – The Observer

  • Peers have blocked moves to clamp down on protests that bring town centres to a standstill – The Sun on Sunday 

Ivers: The British left are tearing themselves apart over Ukraine

“Lunatic fringe aside, where does this instinct come from, which opposes Nato and, its critics say, gives succour to Putin? “For older socialists, there is often a sense that they are fighting the last war,” says Ball. In their eyes, Russia still means the Soviet Union, and the urge towards a viable alternative to capitalism moves them towards support for the only alternative that has been tried. For younger people on the left, who grew up in the shadow of the Iraq War, the case is simpler. In their eyes, the US is the world’s imperial power and, since imperialism is bad, US-backed Nato must be bad too. Seen through this lens, the fact that eastern European countries wish to join Nato is seen not as a voluntary embrace of western values but as an expansion of the US empire.” – The Sunday Times 

News in Brief

  • Why are elite Russian musicians  backing Putin? – Christopher Booth, The Spectator 
  • Have I abandoned my flock? – Giles Fraser, UnHerd 
  • The victorious sign – Sebastian Milbank, The Critic
  • Why Marine Le Pen’s nationalism would be disastrous for climate action – Philippa Nuttall, The New Statesman