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Johnson 1) The Prime Minister pledges Commons watchdog vote after dozens of MPs threatened to abstain…

“Boris Johnson told his MPs they can have a vote on referring him to the Commons watchdog over Partygate but only if they wait until the police have concluded their investigations. No 10 was forced to abandon efforts to kill off Labour plans for an inquiry into whether the Prime Minister deliberately misled parliament over the extent of lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street. Tory whips warned that dozens of their MPs were threatening to abstain on today’s vote on the issue after Labour said it would use election literature to ‘name and shame’ those who tried to block an inquiry.  In a compromise move, ministers instead tabled an amendment that would defer a decision on whether to hold another inquiry until the police have completed their investigations and Whitehall ethics chief Sue Gray has delivered her verdict.” – The Daily Mail

  • Johnson vows to lead the Conservatives into the next election – The Financial Times
  • Polling suggests the public believe he is failing on almost every major issue – The Times
  • Johnson doubles down on Welby row, and clams the new Rwanda policy is ‘morally right’ – The Sun
  • Full list of MPs who have called for him to resign – The I
  • The Prime Minister claims it is time to focus on the issues that matter for voters – The Sun
  • Endless inquiries are a waste of time – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson’s berating critics are guilty of appalling double standards – Andrew Pierce, The Daily Mail
  • PMQs was a sketchwriter’s dream – Quentin Letts, The Times
  • Why Sunak’s fall from grace is a disaster for the Conservatives – Robert Shrimsley, The Financial Times
  • Tory rebels should stop squabbling, or they’ll end up with a clown even bigger than Johnson – The Sun

>Today:

Johnson 2) …as he hints at easier visas amid hopes of an Indian trade deal…

“Boris Johnson yesterday opened the door to relaxing visa restrictions for Indians as part of a free trade agreement that he hopes to secure by the end of the year. Speaking on his first trip to the country as prime minister, Johnson said that the UK had “massive shortages” of skilled labourers including “experts in IT and programmers”. He said that while immigration needed to be controlled he was “in favour of having people coming to this country” and that the UK needed to have a “professional” approach. Johnson faces a delicate balancing act in Delhi — attempting to woo the Indian government while encouraging it to move away from its traditional support for Russia.” – The Times

  • Modi and Johnson set to avoid Ukraine in talks – The Financial Times
  • The Prime Minister is warned the visit is ‘heading for disaster’ – The Sun
  • India’s Prime Minister has a clear choice over Ukraine – Editorial, The Times

Johnson 3) …and he claims Ukrainian peace talks with “crocodile” Putin are doomed.

““Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine are pointless and doomed, Boris Johnson declared last night. Slamming Putin as an untrustworthy “crocodile”, the PM said President Zelensky would not climb down until he had rid the invaders from all of his land. Boris said as such any talks were “very difficult” as Ukraine wanted to drive Putin all the way back to pre-2014 borders. And he hit out: “I just don’t see how Putin can be taken to be a valid interlocutor.” “It’s for the Ukrainians to decide their future, but I think it’s very hard to see how the Ukrainians can negotiate with Putin now given his manifest lack of good faith and his strategy which is evident, which is to try to engulf and capture as much of Ukraine as he can and then perhaps to have some sort of negotiation from a position of strength.”” – The Sun

  • Johnson set to have a street named after him in a Ukrainian town – Daily Express
  • Rees-Mogg claims the Prime Minister’s ‘extraordinary leadership’ over Ukraine would not have been possible had we still been EU members – The Daily Mail

Russia tests Satan II ICBM capable of ‘destroying the UK’

“Vladimir Putin sent a chilling warning to the West yesterday by test-launching his fearsome ‘Satan II’ missile. Capable of striking a target 11,200 miles away, the nuclear-capable Sarmat RS-28 is said to be the world’s longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile. Putin described the launch as a ‘big, significant event’ for Russia’s military and claimed the weapon can overcome all modern defence systems. Launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome facility in northern Russia, the missile’s practice warheads hit targets 3,600 miles away at the Kura firing range in the Kamchatka peninsula. If fully armed, it can deliver a payload big enough to destroy an area the size of France.” – The Daily Mail

  • Ukraine’s access to weapons could determine the fate of the Donbas offensive – The Guardian
  • Corbyn still wants NATO to disband – The Daily Mail
  • Russia arms northern fleet as Scandinavian countries look to NATO – The Times
  • For as long as Europe pays for Russian energy, Putin is winning – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph

>Today:

Ministers 1) McKinstry: Patel’s critics hate that she has the grit to fix the asylum system

“It was one of the most electric moments of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership…”You turn if you want to; the Lady’s not for turning.” With those words, she confirmed that she was a leader of unusual resolution. This week, the House of Commons provided the setting for another stirring display of toughness by a senior female politician, as the Home Secretary Priti Patel valiantly defended her controversial new plan to send some illegal migrants to the African republic of Rwanda, particularly those who have reached Britain by the criminal trafficking route across the Channel.” – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express

  • Former borders chief predicts 100,000 migrants will attempt to reach UK shores this year – The Daily Mail
  • The Met must address ‘wider issue’ of culture, acting head suggests – The Financial Times

Ministers 2) Zahawi: NUS is antisemitic and not trusted by Jewish students

“There is “systemic” antisemitism in the National Union of Students, the education secretary has said. Robert Halfon, chairman of the education select committee, asked Nadhim Zahawi whether he believed the NUS was “institutionally antisemitic”, after a string of scandals resulted in the union beginning an internal investigation. Zahawi told the committee: “I am deeply concerned about the NUS. It feels to me that there is systemic antisemitism.” He added that the NUS must “regain the trust of Jewish students because at the moment that trust has collapsed”. The latest row over began when the union invited the rapper Lowkey, who has been accused of making antisemitic remarks, to its annual conference.” – The Times

  • Schools warn lack of ‘catch-up’ funding is hitting lost learning – The Financial Times
  • Natural history GCSE isn’t hot air, according to the exam board – The Times
  • Nearly 1,000 Scottish schools haven’t been inspected in a decade – The Scotsman

Ministers 3) Rees-Mogg claims the UK is prepared to ‘unilaterally’ tear up Northern Ireland post-Brexit trade deal

“The UK government is prepared to tear up the post-Brexit deal governing trade in Northern Ireland, a senior minister in Boris Johnson’s government has warned. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Brexit opportunities minister, told a committee of MPs that if the EU did not reform the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol then the UK government was within its rights to take unilateral action. “We signed it [the protocol] on the basis that it would be reformed,” Rees-Mogg said, “And there comes a point where we say, ‘You haven’t reformed it and therefore we are reforming it ourselves’.”” – The Financial Times

  • The Brexit Opportunities Minister hints at a Whitehall row over EU speed-limiters – The Daily Mail

>Yesterday:

Ministers 4) Raab bids to keep Baby P’s mother in prison after she was deemed at ‘low risk’ of reoffending

“Dominic Raab launched a bid yesterday to block the release of Baby P’s mother after the Parole Board ruled she could go free in weeks. Tracey Connelly, 40, was jailed indefinitely in 2009 for causing or allowing the death of her tortured 17-month-old son Peter in a horrific case. The Parole Board said last month that she posed a low risk of reoffending, but Mr Raab has now triggered a mechanism to reconsider the decision to release her. A source said the Deputy Prime Minister was ‘deeply concerned’ by the prospect of Connelly being freed.” – The Daily Mail

Macron and Le Pen go head-to-head in French presidential debate

Macron and Le Pen

“It was billed as a match between two presidential candidates – one who inspired fear and the other loathing. In the much-anticipated debate on Wednesday night, Marine Le Pen set out to show the French should not be afraid to give her a chance to run the country, while Emmanuel Macron was determined to fix his image of the man the French love to hate. Above all, both were anxious to show they understood the daily lives and worries of their compatriots over a range of subjects including the effects of the war in Ukraine, healthcare, pensions, Covid, Europe, taxes, immigration, ecology and the cost of living. The two-and-a-half hour exchange, screened on television, radio and online from 9pm local time, began civilly with a smiling Le Pen saying she would be the president of “respect and common sense”.” – The Guardian

Children’s tsar de Souza calls for a ban on smacking

“The children’s commissioner has said she would back a ban on smacking in England and urged ministers to consider following Scotland and Wales in changing the law. Dame Rachel de Souza declared that she was “supportive” of extending the law, which exists in Scotland and was introduced in Wales last month. The children’s commissioner, whose role is independent, urged ministers to “watch” how the Welsh assembly’s move unfolded as it became “embedded” in law, and said she would back the Westminster government in following suit. “I absolutely abhor, and I’m against violence of any kind against children,” she told Times Radio. “Because children are more vulnerable than adults, I think we do need to ensure that their rights are supported.”” – The Times

Britain threatened with summer of rail chaos, as RMT calls strike ballot

“British rail travellers were threatened with a summer of potential travel disruption after the RMT transport union announced it would ballot its members over a nationwide strike in a dispute over jobs and pay. The RMT said on Wednesday that more than 40,000 workers at infrastructure operator Network Rail and 15 train operating companies would be asked to vote in favour of industrial action. If approved it would be “potentially the biggest rail strike in modern history”, the union said. The dispute centres on plans by Network Rail to cut at least 2,500 “safety-critical” maintenance jobs, according to the RMT. Moreover, staff at train operating companies have faced pay freezes, threats to jobs and “attacks on their terms on conditions”, the union added.” – The Financial Times

>Yesterday:

Starmer told to retract claims Johnson criticised the BBC’s Ukraine coverage

“Sir Keir Starmer must formally retract allegations that Boris Johnson criticised the BBC over its Ukraine coverage, the Conservative Party chairman demanded on Wednesday night. The Labour leader was urged to correct the record and apologise after telling the Commons the Prime Minister had accused the broadcaster of “not being critical enough of Vladimir Putin”. The intervention by Oliver Dowden came amid a day of fallout from Mr Johnson’s alleged remarks at a private meeting of backbench MPs on Tuesday evening. At the meeting, behind closed doors, Mr Johnson is said to have attacked the BBC and senior members of the clergy, claiming they had been “less vociferous” in   their criticism of Putin’s invasion than of Government plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.” – The Daily Telegraph

  • The Labour leader is trapped in a sanctimonious time warp – Henry Deedes, The Daily Mail

>Yesterday:

News in Brief:

  • Do we need Caesar Elon Musk? – Mary Harrington, UnHerd
  • Le Pen drives Paris mad. That’s why her voters love her – Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, The Spectator  
  • Channel 4 is not worth conserving – Sam Ashworth-Hayes, The Critic 
  • In praise of the ellipsis – Henry Oliver, Engelsberg Ideas 
  • The people must decide Boris Johnson’s fate – Andrew Marr, The New Statesman