Channel boat migrants will be sent to Rwanda

“Male migrants who cross the Channel in small boats will be sent to Rwanda in a multimillion-pound deal to be announced by Priti Patel today. The Rwandan government will be given an initial £120 million under a trial scheme. The migrants will be flown to the small African country while their claim for asylum in the UK is processed, The Times understands. The cost will be funded by the British taxpayer and is likely to reach thousands of pounds per person. Patel, the home secretary, will sign the “migration and economic development partnership” in Kigali, the capital, today.” – The Times

  • Johnson vows to ‘control borders, not close them’ – Daily Mail
  • He faces backlash over ‘chilling’ Rwanda asylum seeker plan – Daily Telegraph
  • Patel prepares for legal challenge from human rights lawyers – Daily Mail
  • Military to take charge of tackling illegal crossings – Daily Telegraph
  • Kagame: Despot who turned Rwanda into the Switzerland of Africa – The Times

Johnson loses justice minister over ‘partygate’ scandal…

“Boris Johnson suffered a fresh blow over the “partygate” scandal on Wednesday when his justice minister quit over “repeated rule-breaking and breaches of the criminal law” in Downing Street. Lord David Wolfson said he could not remain a minister following the revelations about Number 10 parties held during coronavirus lockdowns. Wolfson’s resignation came as senior Tories expressed concern the scandal has much further to run, with the prime minister facing the possibility of more fines over Downing Street parties and the risk of photographs of gatherings being leaked to the media.” – FT

  • Met’s Partygate probe slammed as allies rally around the Prime Minister – The Sun
  • How his damage-limitation operation works – The Guardian
  • Is your MP supporting Boris? – Daily Express
  • Patel and law officers advised not to publicly support Johnson – Daily Telegraph

…and facing second fine over aide’s leaving event

“Boris Johnson faces a further “partygate” police fine after giving a speech at a Downing Street leaving party for a long-standing aide, The Telegraph can disclose. The Prime Minister is facing another punishment after attending and giving a speech at the party for Lee Cain, his outgoing director of communications, on Nov 13, 2020, according to sources close to the investigation. Alcohol was consumed by some at the event, but it is not known whether Mr Johnson had a drink. However it is understood that he remained at the gathering for some time…” – Daily Telegraph

  • Government official who drafted Covid laws fined – Daily Telegraph
  • Former leader of the Scottish Tories calls for Prime Minister to resign – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The circumstances in which Johnson would have to go

David Frost: What Johnson must do if he is ever to recover from Partygate

“My view is that at the moment the case for the Prime Minister’s resignation is not made. One fixed penalty notice simply does not justify it. But the issue is not closed down. I am a supporter of the Prime Minister. I want his government to succeed. He has got some huge things right. He can connect with people and take them with him like few others. But our constitutional rules must be observed and the political consequences must be assessed clearly. Partygate seems capable of changing perceptions fundamentally. The Government’s success in handling Ukraine does not seem to have changed Labour’s lead in the polls.” – Daily Telegraph

  • MPs are defending their leader. But what if Johnson is fined again – and again? – Katy Balls, The Guardian
  • Tories must learn from Trump and call time on Johnson’s lawbreaking – Robert Shrimsley, FT

Developers face ban on building if they refuse to pay to remove Grenfell-style cladding

“Developers face a ban on building any more homes if they refuse to pay to remove cladding from Grenfell-style death traps. In all, 36 firms including giants Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey have pledged £5billion to strip away the flammable material still on high rises. But around 16 companies have yet to cough up any cash and are running out of time to do so. Housing Secretary Michael Gove has vowed to punish those failing to commit to his funding agreement and threatened to refuse them future planning permission.” – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: You haven’t been bullied because you think you have

Estonia asks for more British troops to deter possible Russian attack

“Hundreds more British soldiers could be sent to the Russian border after Estonia appealed to Nato to double the number stationed in the Baltics. There are 1,650 British soldiers in Estonia, a country of 1.3 million people, with 850 of those deployed since Russia invaded Ukraine. Estonia, which joined Nato in 2004, is asking for further reinforcements to bolster its defensive capabilities. It is more than doubling the size of its territorial army and procuring rocket launchers capable of hitting targets in St Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city.” – The Times

  • Mariupol on the brink of falling into Russian hands – Daily Mail

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: Imran Khan’s fall shows how far Pakistan’s democracy has revived. But will the recovery last?


Hancock CCTV leak probe axed by watchdog

“Government goons today abandoned their leak probe into The Sun’s Matt Hancock story in a huge victory for the free press. The Information Commissioner’s Office admitted there was “insufficient evidence” to continue its aggressive witch-hunt. Last summer The Sun published CCTV footage of the then Health Secretary breaking Covid rules by snogging his married lover. Despite the clear public interest – Mr Hancock was forced to resign – the ICO launched a chilling investigation to snuff out the whistleblower. Heavies from the ICO raided homes and seized a staggering six phones in an inquiry bankrolled by the taxpayer. ” – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • This government is starting to show its age – Henry Hill, CapX
  • The shameful silence surrounding Amess’s murder – Sam Ashworth-Hayes, The Spectator
  • The rise of the liberal groomer – Mary Harrington, UnHerd
  • New development will ruin the National Theatre – Charles Saumarez Smith, The Critic