Campaigners have called on Boris Johnson’s government to ditch the planned “Festival of Brexit” and redirect the money to Covid recovery efforts.
Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone said it was “sick” to spend £120m on the cultural celebration during a public health crisis.
It comes as former prime minister Gordon Brown warned Mr Johnson that the UK risks becoming a “failed state” unless the government makes major reforms.
Mr Brown urged No 10 to move further on devolution and replace the House of Lords with a “senate of the regions”.
Meanwhile, the government has faced a revolt from its own MPs who are frustrated by Matt Hancock’s failure to guarantee schools will reopen before Easter.
The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, is expected to confirm this week that children will not be returning to class after the February half-term break.
Elsewhere, Downing Street did not deny reports a £1,000 one-off payment was being considered as a one-off replacement for the £20 weekly universal credit uplift.
“I’m sorry Piers … I’m going to go,” the minister said before hanging up.
What could scrapping EU labour rights mean for UK workers?