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Boris Johnson news: MPs approve government plan to change second job rules after Labour motion defeated

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Boris Johnson’s proposals to stop MPs taking paid jobs as parliamentary consultants or advisers have been passed by a Commons vote.

It comes after politicians initially defeated a Labour motion to outlaw the jobs, by 282 votes to 231, after hours of debate. But, in a second vote, the PM’s alternative plan – which Labour said on Tuesday was merely a “watered down”version of theirs – was passed by 297-0, with Keir Starmer’s party abstaining.

“Two weeks after voting to protect their mate who was found guilty of corruption, tonight they’ve voted to protect their £1,000 dodgy second jobs,” the party’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said in a tweet.

Earlier, Sir Keir accused the PM of being a “coward not a leader” and “giving the green light to corruption”, after Mr Johnson again refused to apologise for his part in the Owen Paterson controversy.

In a heated Commons session, Sir Lindsay Hoyle repeatedly told Mr Johnson to stop turning questions onto his opponent. However, after multiple instances of the PM doing so, the speaker intervened to remind Mr Johnson he might be “the prime minister of this country” but that he is not “in charge” when in the House.

Read More

Sleaze: Boris Johnson bows to pressure over MPs’ second jobs

Boris Johnson ‘walked past and ignored’ Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s hunger-striking husband

Theresa May condemns Boris Johnson’s ‘ill-judged and wrong’ handling of Owen Paterson sleaze scandal

Key Points

  • Tory MPs vote down Labour bid to ban consultancy job...

  • ...before pushing through government’s amendment to motion

  • Boris Johnson admits friend Owen Paterson broke parliamentary rules

  • Four Conservative MPs rebelled to vote in favour of Labour motion

  • PM strayed from ‘meaning’ of bullying to back Patel, court told

  • Seven Tory politicians helped firms access PPE contracts via VIP lane, leak reveals

07:44 , Rory Sullivan

Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the sleaze scandal engulfing the government.

Seven Tory politicians helped firms access PPE contracts via VIP lane, leak reveals

07:46 , Rory Sullivan

Michael Gove is among seven Tory MPs who helped firms access lucrative PPE contracts through a “VIP lane”, leak documents have revealed.

His friend David Meller’s company Meller Designs won more than £160 million in government contracts.

The issue is likely to add more pressure on the government, which has been accused of cronyism by Labour.

My colleague Adam Forrest has this report:

Seven Tory politicians helped firms access PPE contracts, leak reveals

Boris Johnson bows to pressure on MPs’ second jobs

08:04 , Rory Sullivan

Boris Johnson has bowed to political pressure by backing a motion to ban MPs from doing consultancy work.

The decision comes after the government was beset by a string of sleaze allegations, including its attempts to prevent the suspension of Owen Paterson MP for lobbying.

The Commons will vote on the potential ban on outside consultancy jobs this afternoon.

Our political editors Andrew Woodcock and Rob Merrick look at the latest developments:

Boris Johnson bows to pressure over MPs’ second jobs

Patel blames Liverpool bombing on ‘dysfunctional’ asylum system

08:20 , Rory Sullivan

Home secretary Priti Patel appeared to make political mileage out of the terror attack in Liverpool on Sunday, claiming it would not have happened without Britain’s “dysfunctional” asylum system.

The suspect, Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, who was the only person to die in the blast, reportedly arrived from the Middle East in 2014 and had an application for asylum rejected the following year. However, he remained in the UK.

“The case in Liverpool was a complete reflection of how dysfunctional, how broken, the system has been in the past, and why I want to bring changes forward,” Ms Patel was quoted as saying.

Priti Patel links Liverpool bombing to ‘dysfunctional’ asylum system

PM ‘ignored’ Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s hunger-striking husband

08:44 , Rory Sullivan

Boris Johnson has been accused of walking past and ignoring the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe while he was on hunger strike to protest against his wife’s detention in Iran.

In the statement on Tuesday, Richard Ratcliffe said: “Today marks day 2,054 of Nazanin’s detention. We are approaching our sixth Christmas apart. A little girl has been without her mother for five and a half years now. It did not have to be like this.

“The prime minister did not visit me on hunger strike, though he did pass me one day without coming over. His government continues to put British citizens in harm’s way, Nazanin’s story shames this country.”

Boris Johnson ‘walked past and ignored’ Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s starving husband

Triggering Article 16 ‘very real option’, warns Lord Frost

09:02 , Rory Sullivan

Brexit minister Lord David Frost has warned that triggering Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol is a “very real option”, ahead of meetings with politicians and business leaders in the territory.

His comment to BBC Radio Ulster on Wednesday comes the week after he rowed back on the threat amid negotiations with the EU over post-Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland.

He added that he “very much” hopes that talks with the EU come to a successful conclusion soon.

“If we can’t, if there can’t be an agreement, then obviously the famous Article 16 is a very real option for us,” he said.

Minister in muddle over ‘reasonable’ hours spent on second jobs

09:20 , Rory Sullivan

The government’s mixed messaging on MPs doing outside works continues...

It is “reasonable” that politicians be allowed to complete 20 hours of non-parliamentary work each week, a Tory minister has claimed.

International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Are we saying 10 to 20 hours a week outside your work as an MP and a parliamentarian? If that’s what you chose to do as your choice, that’s fine.”

However, she confusingly suggested on BBC Breakfast that up to 15 hours each week would be reasonable.

Her remarks come after the vagueness of Boris Johnson’s proposal to limit the amount of time spent on second jobs has been criticised.

Tory minister says she would have ‘slapped’ Stanley Johnson if he touched her inappropriately

09:40 , Rory Sullivan

A Conservative minister has said she would have “slapped” Stanley Johnson if he inappropriately touched her, amid allegations he hit a female Tory MP on the backside and groped a female journalist.

The prime minister’s father reportedly smacked Caroline Nokes, the chair of the parliamentary women and equalities committee, at the Tory party conference in 2003.

This prompted the political journalist Ailbhe Rea to say she was “groped” by the former MEP at the party conference in 2019.

Speaking about his reported behaviour, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said she hopes her colleague, Ms Nokes, can “work” with the Tory party on the allegation.

Labour has called for an investigation into his alleged actions, while Mr Johnson, 81, has said he has “no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all”.

Minister says she would have ‘slapped’ Stanley Johnson if he had touched her

Inside Politics

09:54 , Rory Sullivan

Labour has claimed victory after Boris Johnson said he would back its motion to stop MPs from holding consultancy roles, writes Matt Mathers.

In our daily politics newsletter, he also takes a closer look at the wider sleaze row.

Inside Politics: Labour claims win as PM forced into crackdown on MPs’ second jobs

Government won’t cap earnings from MPs’ second jobs, trade secretary says

10:11 , Rory Sullivan

Following on from my earlier post on Anne-Marie Trevelyan’s comments this morning...

Here’s my colleague Adam Forrest on the latest Tory anti-sleaze plans:

MPs can work up to 20 hours a week on second jobs under PM’s plan, minister says

Tory MP warns PM about ‘dissatisfaction’ among Conservatives

10:26 , Rory Sullivan

Boris Johnson has been warned about “dissatisfaction” among Tory backbenchers over his handling of the sleaze row.

After what is set to a busy Wednesday in the Commons, the prime minister will attend a meeting of his party’s 1922 Committee later in the day.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the committee, spoke of “dissatisfaction” among Tory MPs.

He told the BBC that “a whole class of people” could be deterred from entering politics if Mr Johnson banned second jobs.

“I think we all need to take a long, deep breath on this and get it right,” he said.

“Because if we ban all second jobs, I think you are going to deter a whole class of people who represent the business opportunities in this country,” Sir Geoffrey added.

Tory councillor suspended over ‘inappropriate’ Corbyn tweet

10:45 , Rory Sullivan

A Conservative councillor has been suspended for tweeting a doctored photo of the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn beside the Liverpool taxi bombing.

Paul Nickerson shared the image on Monday, a day after the blast outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

Explaining the suspension decision, Jonathan Owen, the Tory leader in East Riding, said Mr Nickerson’s message was “inappropriate and offensive”.

Tim Wyatt reports:

Tory councillor suspended over fake photo of Corbyn at Liverpool hospital bombing

Government accused of ‘hypocrisy’ over ‘support’ for oil drilling in Surrey Hills

10:52 , Rory Sullivan

#icymi

The government has been accused of “hypocrisy” over claims it supports the drilling of new oil reserves in the Surrey Hills, just days after it encouraged other nations to ditch fossils fuels.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is appearing as a party of interest in a judicial review brought by environmental campaigner Sarah Finch against Surrey County Council (SCC).

“I think it’s wrong legally and morally that they [SCC] allowed 20 years of oil drilling in Surrey in a climate emergency,” she said.

The second and final day of the hearing is being held today.

Government accused of ‘absolute hypocrisy’ over ‘support’ for Surrey oil drilling

Politicians should not be involved in lobbying, says Javid

11:02 , Rory Sullivan

Health secretary Sajid Javid has said that no MP should be involved in political lobbying.

He told Sky News that he spent three or four hours each week on external meetings as a backbencher, adding that this work “didn’t involve any lobbying”.

In between his ministerial posts, Mr Javid had lucrative gigs with the AI company C3.ai and the bank J.P. Morgan.

Nine Insulate Britain protesters jailed

11:06 , Rory Sullivan

Nine Insulate Britain protesters have been jailed for breaching an injunction banning them from blockading roads as part of their climate protests.

Zoe Tidman has more on this breaking story:

Insulate Britain activists jailed after breaching road blockade injunction

Northern Irish public do not want protocol changed, minister told

11:24 , Rory Sullivan

Brexit minister Lord Frost has been told that the Northern Irish public do not want him to tear up the Brexit deal.

This comes after the latest Queen’s University Belfast poll indicated that support for the protocol was increasing, with 52 per cent of respondents in the territory in favour of it.

Despite the result of this survey, Lord Frost told BBC Radio Ulster: “I don’t think it’s true from the polls I’ve seen that there’s widespread support for the way the protocol is working.”

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has the details:

Northern Ireland public don’t back you over Brexit talks, Lord Frost told

Tory environmental group investigates groping claims against Stanley Johnson

11:40 , Rory Sullivan

A Tory environmental group has said it is investigating claims that former MEP Stanley Johnson groped two women.

The Conservative Environment Network (CEN), which is made up of campaigners connected to the party, condemned the alleged behaviour.

The group said in a statement: “We take all allegations of inappropriate behaviour very seriously. We have clear internal processes for managing allegations of this nature, and these are currently being followed.”

Tory environment group investigates groping allegations against Stanley Johnson

British pies could be banned in EU, warns trade expert

11:55 , Rory Sullivan

From next March, it is possible that British pies will no longer be exported to the EU due to a new Brussels food safety regulation, a trade expert has warned.

The policy requires meat products entering the bloc to “come from EU-approved establishments”.

Emily Rees, of the analysts Trade Strategies, said pies will not be accepted in Northern Ireland and the EU because they will lack the “necessary” origin certificate.

British pies to be banned from EU unless from Brussels-approved farms

PMQs kicks off

12:01 , Rory Sullivan

Watch Keir Starmer take on prime minister Boris Johnson at this week’s PMQs:

Starmer tells PM ‘trust matters'

12:06 , Rory Sullivan

Keir Starmer has warned Boris Johnson that “trust matters”.

The Labour leader said that the prime minister had a “lot of work to do” after the sleaze allegations of the past fortnight.

Mr Starmer narrowed in on rumours that the HS2 link between Manchester and Leeds will be scrapped, saying that this would be a breach of the government’s levelling-up agenda.

Boris Johnson (Reuters TV)
Boris Johnson (Reuters TV)

Labour leader asks Johnson to apologise for Owen Paterson debacle

12:11 , Rory Sullivan

Keir Starmer has urged the prime minister to apologise for his role in the Owen Paterson debacle.

The Holborn and St Pancras MP said that other ministers had said sorry for supporting a motion to stop Mr Paterson’s suspension for lobbying.

The Labour leader accused Boris Johnson of “giving the green light to corruption”.

After Mr Johnson refused to apologised but admitted he made a mistake, Mr Starmer said he was “a coward and not a leader”.

Speaker tells PM off for asking Starmer questions

12:13 , Rory Sullivan

In a heated PMQs, the Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle has interrupted Boris Johnson three times to tell him to stop asking Keir Starmer questions.

“It’s not Leader of the Opposition’s Questions,” he said.

Boris Johnson had attempted to ask Mr Starmer about his work as an MP for the law firm Mischon de Reya.

Hoyle urges Commons to be ‘respectful’

12:22 , Rory Sullivan

At a boisterous PMQs, the speaker has told MPs “to gain respect” for the chamber.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle said that he - and not the prime minister - was in charge of the House.

Describing the mood in the Commons as “ill-tempered”, he also told the prime minister to retract an allegation of misconduct against Keir Starmer.

Mr Johnson appeared to ignore Mr Hoyle, instead levelling the pun “Misch-conduct” (based on Mr Starmer’s work for Mischon de Reya) at the Labour leader.

PM ‘up to his neck in corruption’, says Rayner

12:24 , Rory Sullivan

Angela Rayner has accused Boris Johnson of being “up to his neck in corruption”, after not apologising for his role in the Owen Paterson scandal.

Here’s a tweet from the Labour deputy leader:

Three quarters of public concerned about corruption in government, poll suggests

12:34 , Rory Sullivan

Boris Johnson has said Britain is not a corrupt country, insisting that such accusations do a disservice to people living in corrupt societies.

But it seems the British public do not agree, with a recent poll finding that three quarters of Britons are concerned by corruption in government.

Ashley Cowburn has more details:

Three quarters of public concerned about corruption in government, poll shows

PM finally agrees to release Randox contracts linked to Paterson

12:57 , Sam Hancock

Boris Johnson has bowed to pressure to release the Randox contracts at the heart of the Owen Paterson lobbying scandal, in a second sleaze U-turn in 24 hours.

The concession came ahead of a Commons debate and vote on releasing details of the work secured by the firm which employed the disgraced former cabinet minister as a consultant, reports our deputy political editor Rob Merrick.

Keir Starmer, who is pushing for the lid to be lifted, told the prime minister: “We’ll take that.”

Boris Johnson bows to pressure to release Randox contracts

Starmer praised for linking PM trust issues to botched HS2 project

13:15 , Sam Hancock

Lots of good reporting and observations going on amid that tense PMQs session.

LBC’s Ben Kentish wrote:

Meanwhile, Sky’s Beth Rigby said:

Watch moment Hoyle tells PM: ‘In this House, I’m in charge!’

13:16 , Sam Hancock

Sleaze debate begins in Commons

13:20 , Sam Hancock

The debate on Randox contracts at the heart of the Owen Paterson scandal, and standards relating to MPs’ second jobs, has begun in the Commons.

Health and social care minister Gillian Keegan is at the despatch box for the Conservatives, whose benches are largely empty.

Rayner tells Tories to ‘vote now for a clean-up’

13:23 , Sam Hancock

Angela Rayner kicks off proceedings by questioning whether Conservative MPs will “now vote for a clean-up or a cover-up” over the Randox Covid contracts.

Opening the opposition day Commons debate, Labour’s deputy leader told MPs:

“At the heart of this debate today there are two very simple questions: does the government have anything to hide and will members opposite ... now vote for a clean up or a cover up?

“The prime minister just minutes ago said in answer to ... the leader of the opposition, ‘I’m very happy to publish all the details of the Randox contracts’. If that is the case, then he should vote for our motion today and publish all of the documents and correspondence related to the Randox contracts and the dodgy lobbying that went on around them.”

Labour MPs harangue Tories for ‘inaccurate’ facts and ‘dodgy’ dealings

13:43 , Sam Hancock

The situation is very tense in the Commons, as Tory minister Gillian Keegan attempts to defend her party’s decision to award Randox £600m worth of work.

Amid various interventions from cross-party MPs, Labour’s Dawn Butler compared ex-health minister Lord Bethell’s use of his personal phone to conduct official business to that of a drug dealer.

Her comments came as Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner provided an account of Lord Bethell’s recent claims in regards to his phone: that he first claimed his work phone had been lost, then he said it was broken and then he said he had given away to a family member.

Ms Keegan goes on to defend the actions of the Conservatives, referring to various official documents including a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) into the Randox contracts.

Ms Butler, again, intervenes to say she “now feels sorry” for Ms Keegan because “it is clear she has been given a script, filled with inaccuracies”. However, she does also berates the Tory minister for “continuing” when it is “clear” those inaccuracies are there.

Watch: PM says he is ‘very happy’ to publish Randox contracts

13:50 , Sam Hancock

PM will break promise if northern rail line not built, warns senior Tory

13:56 , Rory Sullivan

Boris Johnson will breach the trust of “red wall” voters if a promised new rail link in northern England does not materialise, a senior Tory has warned.

Referring to the line between Manchester and Leeds, Jake Berry, chair of the Northern Research Group, said: “It was a firm commitment reaffirmed in our manifesto in November 2019, and last month reaffirmed in the prime minister’s conference speech in Manchester.

“Were the voters in the north right to take the prime minister at his word?”

Mr Johnson replied “yes”, adding that Mr Berry would have to wait until tomorrow to hear more details.

Boris Johnson will break promise if northern rail line not built, senior Tory warns

Minutes of important Randox call lost, says minister

14:03 , Rory Sullivan

A minister has admitted that minutes of a key conference call about a contract awarded to Randox after it employed Owen Paterson as a consultant have been lost, writes Rob Merrick.

The revelation came just one hour after the prime minister promised to release the details about the contracts won by the firm.

The Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said he was “very concerned” by the news, while Labour’s Angela Eagle called the development an “astonishing revelation”.

Minutes of call with Owen Paterson about Randox contract lost, minister says

PM says UK ‘one of cleanest democracies’ amid sleaze crisis

14:10 , Rory Sullivan

Returning to PMQs for a second...

The prime minister hit out at his detractors this afternoon, suggesting that allegations of sleaze are overblown.

The UK is “one of the cleanest democracies in the world”, Boris Johnson insisted.

Labour accuses government of ministerial code breach

14:17 , Rory Sullivan

Labour has accused the government of breaching the ministerial code by not taking minutes at any important meeting.

The party’s deputy leader Angela Rayner made the suggestion after it emerged there was no record of a crucial call between Lord Bethell, Owen Paterson and Randox as part of the firm being awarded £600 million in Covid-19 contracts.

“When a minister meets an organisation or company an official must be present to keep a record of that meeting,” Ms Rayner wrote.

Church disputes claims of asylum seekers ‘abusing' system by converting to Christianity

14:30 , Rory Sullivan

The Church of England has strenuously denied allegations that a large number of asylum seekers have been converting to Christianity to “game the asylum system”.

The claims, reportedly made by Home Office sources, said the phenomenon was “standard practice”.

Responding to this suggestion, a Church of England spokesperson said it was “not aware of any evidence to suggest a widespread correlation between conversion to Christianity, or any other faith, and abuse of the asylum system”.

Our social affairs correspondent May Bulman reports:

Church disputes claims of widespread ‘abuse’ by asylum-seeking Christian converts

Home Office ‘blocking’ MPs from visiting Napier Barracks

14:55 , Rory Sullivan

The Home Office is preventing MPs from visiting the controversial Napier Barracks, where asylum seekers are being housed, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats has complained.

Tim Farron said an earlier request to visit was rejected and that a more recent submission has gone unanswered. A separate request by the home affairs committee was also turned down, he said.

The former military site has failed to provide “a standard of living which was adequate for the health of” asylum seekers, the High Court ruled in June.

Home Office blocking Napier Barracks visit by cross-party MPs

indy100: Who won this week’s PMQs?

14:57 , Rory Sullivan

Today’s PMQs were certainly heated.

But who fared better out of Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer?

Here’s the indy100 team with their analysis:

Who won PMQs? We’ve scored Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer as they debate ‘sleaze’

Liaison committee questions PM

15:05 , Rory Sullivan

The liaison committee is now questioning the prime minister on “propriety and ethics in government”.

The session on Wednesday afternoon began with Bernard Jenkin, the committee’s chair, telling Boris Johnson to keep his answers to short, saying it might help him rest his “hoarse” voice.

Johnson questioned over register of ministerial interests

15:17 , Rory Sullivan

Labour’s Chris Bryant has accused the government of “tucking” away the details of ministerial interests in more than 200 documents.

He also questioned the prime minister about why the register of ministerial interests is only updated twice a year, unlike the one for MPs, which is amended every fortnight. The Labour politician said this seemed unfair.

Boris Johnson disagreed that there is a problem with the issue, but said he would listen to recommendations about how to improve the process.

Watch live: Liaison committee grills PM

15:18 , Rory Sullivan

Owen Paterson broke the rules, PM says

15:26 , Rory Sullivan

The disgraced Owen Paterson broke Commons rules by lobbying government on behalf of two companies he worked for, Boris Johnson has said.

Answering a question from Labour’s Yvette Cooper, the prime minister said Mr Paterson’s actions “deserved punishment”.

He added that it is “extraordinary” that some MPs fall foul of the rules in the way that the MP for North Shropshire did.

Mr Johnson’s comments come just weeks after he attempted to help his friend avoid suspension.

“Do I regret it? Yes I certainly do,” he said on Wednesday.

Randox call minutes not ‘lost’, government insists

15:33 , Rory Sullivan

The government has attempted to row back on its remarks about “losing” the minutes of a crucial call about Covid-19 contracts.

Referring to a discussion about Randox, health minister Gillian Keegan said: “I just want to make it clear what I said: we have been unable to locate a formal note of the meeting. That is what I have been told so far.

“That doesn’t mean there isn’t one. It has been unable to locate one. But of course everything we have will be put in the House of Commons Library.”

Ministers should not resign for ‘small breaches’ of ministerial code, PM says

15:50 , Rory Sullivan

Ministers should not need to resign for “small breaches” of the ministerial code, the prime minister has said.

Boris Johnson told MPs on the liaison committee that he agreed with his independent adviser on the code, Lord Geidt, who suggests there should be lesser punishments for more minor infringements.

“It is the view of Lord Geidt - and I think that it is reasonable - that there should be gradations and there should be other sanctions, and small breach of the ministerial code should not necessarily lead to resignations,” he said.

Patel criticised over Liverpool bombing comments

16:00 , Rory Sullivan

Turning away from the liaison committee momentarily, Priti Patel has been criticised for stoking anger against lawyers with comments on the Liverpool bombing.

The home secretary blamed the “dysfunctional” asylum system and took aim at a “whole professional legal services industry that has based itself on rights of appeal”.

In response, Adam Wagner, a human rights lawyer, called Ms Patel’s remarks “horrifying” and raised fears that lawyers would be “targeted by angry members of the public”.

“It is pure political opportunism to say the asylum system was somehow to blame for someone deciding to blow themselves up outside of a hospital without knowing the full facts and motivations - it’s grotesque,” he added.

Lizzie Dearden and May Bulman report:

Priti Patel accused of stoking anger against lawyers with ‘grotesque’ comments

PM accuses CPS of ‘passing buck’ on failed rape cases

16:23 , Sam Hancock

Boris Johnson continues to be grilled by the Commons liaison committee.

The PM says the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) need to stop “constantly passing the buck” over failings to deal with rape cases.

“What needs to happen is the CPS - the prosecutors - and the police need to work absolutely hand in glove from the outset rather than constantly passing the buck between each other over who has failed to assemble the requisite evidence or who has left the file in the wrong condition,” Mr Johnson tells MPs.

“That’s basically been one of the problems, so we’re beefing up the CPS but also trying to have much greater integration and grip by the police and the CPS together.”

Justice Committee chairman Sir Bob Neill asks the PM about delays caused by suspects being released under investigation for long periods of time, rather than being on bail, to which Mr Johnson says he is “very attracted to setting benchmarks ... for the whole system, and that should include timings, actually include deadlines”.

‘Con artist’: Johnson criticised during committee appearance

16:39 , Sam Hancock

A slew of politicians and political commentators are going after Boris Johnson for statements he has made during questioning before the Commons liaison committee.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner says:

Here’s the Daily Mirror’s Kevin Maguire:

Also from the Mirror, Lizzy Buchan reports:

Watch: PM apologises for failing to wear mask on hospital visit

16:40 , Sam Hancock

SNP demands govt rule our ‘cash for honours’ scheme

16:53 , Sam Hancock

Over in the Commons, where a standards in public life debate is raging on, the SNP is calling on the government to rule out “cash for honours” in the future, describing it as a “corrupt practice”.

“I have tried with Labour and now I will try with the Conservatives - will the Tories rule out the practice of cash for honours?” MPA Angus Brendan MacNeil asks Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg.

“A very corrupt practice where high-value cash donors find themselves up in the House of Lords buying their place in a parliament, in what is meant to be a Western democracy for goodness sake.”

Mr Rees-Mogg responds: “Cash for honours is illegal and has been for the best part of 100 years. It is something that is quite rightly illegal and is wholly improper, and I think he has been right in his campaigns to ensure that that never tarnishes our way of life.”

Rees-Mogg defends Tories’ position on second jobs

16:59 , Sam Hancock

Sticking with the Commons debate, Jacob Rees-Mogg tells MPs that their expertise should “not be for sale” but defended the government’s belief that parliamentarians benefit from having outside careers.

“I have already emphasised the supremacy of an MP’s parliamentary and constituency work, but we also recognise there are certain external roles that seem at odds with the jobs of an MP, namely those that would capitalise on an insiders knowledge of parliament and government,” he says.

“I can confirm to the House that we believe this experience and expertise that we accrue as part of our work as MPs should not be for sale. We are elected to parliament on a promise to work for the greater good, not ourselves.”

PM wraps up intense liaison committee questioning

17:10 , Sam Hancock

Boris Johnson has just finished up at the Commons liaison committee, where he encountered some tough questioning from MPs.

He finished up by correcting chair, Tory MP Sir Bernard Jenkin, who thanked the PM for his time and for conducting his “third session” before MPs.

“I think you’ll find it’s been four,” Mr Johnson quipped, before rushing off.

Here’s perhaps one of the session’s more awkward moments for the PM, when one of the women accusing his father, Stanley Johnson, of inappropriately touching her spoke about the need for women to feel safe when coming forward to make such allegations.

BREAKING: Poorer to miss out as plans to cap care costs watered down

17:21 , Sam Hancock

Government plans to cap social care costs have been quietly watered down, triggering criticism that many poorer people will now miss out on help.

It was expected that any costs run up would count towards a new £86,000 limit, at which point the state will step in – the recommendation made a decade ago in a long-shelved report.

But legislation will now be changed so that only costs actually paid by a person qualifies – not any means-tested help received – which makes it likely that only wealthier people will reach the £86,000 figure, reports our deputy political editor Rob Merrick.

Poorer people to miss out as plans to cap care costs quietly watered down

PM arrives at meeting of 1922 committee

17:23 , Sam Hancock

The day isn’t over for Boris Johnson, who is now attending a meeting of the 1922 committee of backbench Conservatives.

He received the usual banging on tables as he arrived by his MPs.

Watch: Tory defends second jobs because MPs have ‘families and responsibilities’

17:46 , Sam Hancock

Tory MP questions how govt will scrutinise second job hours

18:05 , Sam Hancock

Back to the Commons now. Tory former minister Sir Edward Leigh has questioned how it will be determined if an MP is spending too much time on outside interests, or a second job, adding: “It should be common-sense and it should be left to the judgment of the electorate.”

“If it’s left to the Commissioner for Standards, however distinguished, that will give that official a degree of power never enjoyed by any official ever before over Members of Parliament,” he told MPs during a debate on the issue.

“We are accountable not to officials but to our electorate.”

Chris Bryant, Labour chairman of the committee on standards, told the Commons: “I think it’ll be very, very difficult for the commissioner to start investigating whether an MP was devoting enough of their time to their constituents.”

He added he is “very hesitant about going down this route of timesheets”, noting he would urge his committee to “think very carefully about this”.

Rayner’s language criticised amid mounting tensions in Westminster

18:24 , Sam Hancock

Angela Rayner is receiving criticism for calling Boris Johnson “a fraud, a con artist, a charlatan and a liar” in a tweet today (see post from 4.39pm) - three weeks after she issued an apology for calling Conservatives “Tory scum”.

The deputy Labour leader’s heated words came after hours of debate in the Commons, as well as an appearance by the PM before the liaison committee, amid ongoing accusations of sleaze and corruption against his party.

Clearly enraged by the day’s events, during which Mr Johnson was rebuked by the Commons speaker at PMQs for trying to turn questions from Labour leader Keir Starmer around on his opponent, Ms Rayner appeared to be pointing out that the PM’s defence of the ministerial code comes at an odd time.

“That is - of course - why he refused to sack or take any action against Priti Patel after she broke the ministerial code,” Ms Rayner added in her tweet, before name-calling Mr Johnson a “con artist”, among others.

Tensions remain high in Westminster, with the BBC branding today’s PMQs “the most heated since Johnson took office”.

Johnson admits errors in Paterson scandal to Tory MPs

18:28 , Sam Hancock

Bloomberg’s Kitty Donaldson reports from the 1922 committee meeting:

Labour accused of showing no ‘leadership’ during sleaze row

19:01 , Sam Hancock

A Conservative MP has accused the Labour Party of being opportunistic in its attacks on the Tories in recent weeks, rather than showing any “leadership or principle”.

Mark Fletcher, a member of the standards committee, said MPs are “all tarred with the same broad strokes of being corrupt liars on the take, useless and lazy” after events in recent weeks.

“If they seriously want to help improve trust in our politics they would be working across this House, they would be working with the standards committee rather than instructing it, and looking for substantial improvements,” Mr Fletcher said of Labour.

“They would dial down the mud-slinging because some of the things that I have heard both in this House and elsewhere in recent days are unsubstantiated.”

On whether MPs should be allowed to have second jobs, Mr Fletcher said “instinctively” he believed most people would say “absolutely not” but then highlighted the need of people to work in the medical profession and also pointed to media work and other outside work.

Tory MPs vote down Labour bid to ban consultancy job

19:12 , Sam Hancock

A Labour motion calling for a ban on MPs taking jobs as paid consultants has been defeated by Conservatives in the House of Commons.

The proposal was voted down by 282 votes to 231 after a day dominated by fallout from the sleaze row sparked by Boris Johnson’s botched attempt to defend a former Tory MP from punishment for lobbying, writes our political editor Andrew Woodcock.

MPs are now voting on an alternative plan, tabled by Mr Johnson, which calls for a ban not only on parliamentary consultancy, strategy and advice work, but also jobs which take up too much of MPs’ time for them to serve their constituents properly.

Tory MPs vote down Labour bid to ban consultancy jobs

PM’s amendment to Labour motion voted through

19:18 , Sam Hancock

The government’s amendment on standards was approved by 297 votes to zero, majority 297.

Labour MPs still in the Commons were seen shaking their heads as the result was announced, after clearly opting to abstain from voting for Boris Johnson’s change to Keir Starmer’s motion.

Tories ‘voted to protect their dodgy second jobs’ - Rayner

19:43 , Sam Hancock

Labour’s deputy leader had the following to say, in light of the Commons votes tonight:

Four Tory MPs rebelled to vote in favour of Labour motion

19:50 , Sam Hancock

Amid fallout from the votes on MPs’ second jobs, a list published by the Commons shows four Tory MPs rebelled to support Labour’s motion calling for a total ban on “any paid work to provide services as a parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant”.

They were: Peter Bone (Wellingborough), Philip Hollobone (Kettering), Nigel Mills (Amber Valley), and Dan Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich).

The rest of the party either abstained or voted against it, in favour of supporting the prime minister’s amendment.

‘Worth considering’ sending cash to free Zaghari-Ratcliffe, says PM

20:01 , Sam Hancock

In some none sleaze-related news, Boris Johnson said earlier it is “worth [the government] considering” sending cratefuls of cash to settle a historic £400m debt to Iran in the hope of helping to free jailed Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

The UK government has always rejected the link drawn by authorities in Tehran between the money - owed for an order of tanks from Britain which were never delivered - and the continued detention of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other UK-Iranian dual nationals.

But the detained mother-of-one’s husband Richard Ratcliffe, who recently completed a 21-day hunger strike to raise awareness of Nazanin’s plight, has demanded answers from ministers on the cash.

Read our political editor Andrew Woodcock’s full report:

‘Worth considering’ sending crates of cash to Iran to free Nazanin, says Johnson

Watch: British pies to be banned from EU ‘unless ingredients from Brussels-approved farms’

20:11 , Sam Hancock

Starmer accuses PM of working against plan to ‘clean up politics’

20:27 , Sam Hancock

Back to reactions to the Commons vote now. Sir Keir Starmer says Labour “put forward a plan of action to clean up politics and strengthen standards in politics” which was scuppered by the PM.

“If you can believe it, after two weeks of Tory sleaze and corruption, the prime minister whipped his MPs against that plan of action and, frankly, he just doesn’t get it,” the leader of the opposition said, adding he was not going to back down from these proposals.

“We’re not prepared to have them watered down, so we will press on with them. But it is unbelievable,” Sir Keir added.

Labour leader ‘struck’ by number of Tories losing faith in PM

20:31 , Sam Hancock

Let’s stay with Sir Keir. Asked how significant he felt the vote tonight was, the Labour leader said he has been “struck by how many Tory MPs seem to have lost faith and confidence” in their leader.

“It was noticeable at prime minister’s questions today that their benches were with many gaps, many MPs hadn’t turned up to support him,” he told Sky News.

No 10 defends vote: ‘Strengthens our parliamentary system’

20:34 , Sam Hancock

Defending tonight’s vote, Downing Street insisted new rules on MPs’ second jobs would ensure politicians were prioritising their constituents.

“The House of Commons has tonight voted to update the Code of Conduct for MPs,” a government spokesperson said. “This means that MPs will be banned from acting as paid political consultants or lobbyists and that MPs are always prioritising their constituents.”

“This will strengthen our parliamentary system and we will work on a cross-party basis to achieve this,” they added.

PM strayed from ‘meaning’ of bullying to back Patel, court told

20:53 , Sam Hancock

Boris Johnson deviated from the “objective meaning” of bullying to back Priti Patel over her alleged behaviour towards civil servants, the High Court has been told.

The PM found that the home secretary had not breached a code that sets standards of behaviour for government ministers last November, leading to Sir Alex Allan, an independent adviser who found Ms Patel had in fact breached the ministerial code, resigning.

As a result, the FDA union, which represents senior public servants, has launched a legal challenge asking the High Court to “declare that the prime minister misinterpreted the term bullying in the ministerial code”.

Lizzie Dearden, our home affairs correspondent, reports:

PM strayed from ‘objective meaning’ of bullying to back Patel, High Court told

Watch: Minutes of Paterson-Randox call lost, Tory minister claims

20:59 , Sam Hancock

That’s it for today...

21:07 , Sam Hancock

That’s it from us on the politics blog for today, thanks for following along.

Be sure to check back tomorrow morning for all the latest updates from inside Westminster and beyond.

In the meantime, get all your political news and other updates over at The Independent’s homepage.

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