Prime minister says new measures will focus on rail links and pub closures. Boris Johnson has announced another election package costing hundreds of millions of pounds for neglected towns, some of which will be spent in marginal constituencies. Concentrating on rundown high streets, the closures of pubs and post offices and the restoration of rail links, the prime minister has claimed that the measures will build upon the £3.6bn towns fund first announced in July. Towns that have been singled out in the new measures include Cleveleys, near Blackpool, where the Conservatives are defending a majority of 2,023, and Willenhall in Walsall North, where they hope to improve on a 2,601 majority. Labour said last night the Conservatives were responsible for the destruction of the high streets they are now claiming they will help. Andrew Gwynne, the shadow communities secretary, said: “The Tories are destroying our high streets and towns. A decade of vicious cuts to the services that people in our communities rely on has taken 60p in every £1 from council budgets.” Johnson said a future Conservative government would extend the retail discount on business rates to 50% next year. For businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000, this will mean an increase on the current retail discount of 33% in 2020-21. This would amount to “an effective £280m tax cut” for small businesses, the party claimed. A new £1,000 business rates relief for pubs would also be introduced under a Johnson majority government – an £18m tax cut for next year, it is claimed. The Conservatives said they would also introduce a £150m fund that will help groups trying to take over and run pubs and post offices threatened with closure. Following on from previous pledges to reverse rail cuts recommended by Dr Richard Beeching in the 1960s, Johnson has also pledged to set up a £500m Beeching Reversal fund. Towns such as Ashington, Seaton Delaval and Blyth, with a combined population of 100,000, will receive cash following a request from Northumberland council for £99m to reinstate stations, the Tories claimed. Willenhall and Darlaston in the West Midlands will receive £18m to reopen stations – a further £10m has already been provided by the government, the party said. Investment will also be provided to connect Skelmersdale to Liverpool and Manchester. A disused railway line will be funded to improve transport connections for Thornton-Cleveleys and Fleetwood. In a statement last night, Johnson said: “For too long, too many towns and villages across Britain have been overlooked and left behind. When the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, many communities felt their voices had been heard for the first time in decades and that their lives would improve. “We will invest in these communities and help people put the heart back into the places they call home.” One organisation representing retailers said Johnson’s plans did not go far enough to revive the UK’s troubled shopping districts. Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation at the British Retail Consortium, said the majority of the UK’s 3 million retail workers were employed in businesses that would not benefit from today’s announcement. “It is essential that the next government scraps ‘downwards transition’, which costs retailers £1.3bn, freezes next year’s rates increase, and introduces an improvement relief to encourage investment in our high streets. “To ensure the long-term vitality of our town and city centres, the next government should follow the recommendations of the treasury select committee and commit to wholesale reform of our broken business rates system,” he said. The Conservatives have been accused of using public money to boost their election prospects after it emerged that funding from the towns fund was going to wealthier Tory marginals. An analysis by the Times found this week that a third of the 100 towns due to receive some of the £3.6bn pot were not among the 300 most deprived towns. These included Loughborough, which was won by Nicky Morgan, the culture secretary, at the last election, with a majority of around 4,000. Kirby was not on the list.
Boris Johnson will be grilled over Dominic Cumming’s 260-mile lockdown trip to Durham on Wednesday, as a group of senior MPs question the prime minister on all aspects of his response to the coronavirus crisis.The prime minister will be quizzed by MPs on the Commons’ Liaison Committee – the only committee with the power to question the prime minister – around 4pm, and the long-delayed meeting is expected to last around 90 minutes.
Boris Johnson must take responsibility over the scandal surrounding his adviser Dominic Cummings and explain why the trip made to Durham was “so unique”, Labour has said.Shadow foreign and commonwealth affairs secretary Lisa Nandy said "action" was needed "to restore public confidence" if the Prime Minister cannot account "for why that situation was so unique that the rules had to be broken".
On Sunday 10 May, Boris Johnson announced the implementation of new measures to ease lockdown in England.Among the new guidelines, the prime minister unveiled a change to the advice being given to workers across the nation.
The Government’s defence of Dominic Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle “doesn’t stack up”, a Tory MP has said.Sir Bob Neill, chair of the Justice Select Committee, has called on Mr Cummings to go, saying his actions during lockdown “undermined the collective effort”.
In one sense, it was refreshing to hear the prime minister talk about his chief adviser’s “very severe childcare difficulties” at the Downing Street press conference on Sunday. The excuses for Dominic Cummings’ trips to Durham and Barnard Castle are far from convincing, but what is certainly true is that Covid-19 has caused huge problems for those who need childcare.Boris Johnson and all his cronies are emphasising the “exceptional circumstances” that Cummings supposedly faced when he feared that both he and his wife would get sick and there would be no one to care for their four-year-old child. I can tell you from experience that these are very challenging circumstances indeed – but they are far from exceptional. I would invite the prime minister to log on to any of the Facebook groups for parents and read about the everyday dilemma that we – and particularly mothers – have of falling ill and not being able to look after our children.
Boris Johnson will be questioned by senior MPs today over the government's response to the coronavirus crisis as calls for his adviser Dominic Cummings to resign continue to grow inside and outside his party.The prime minister’s first appearance at the Commons Liaison Committee since taking office comes amid a growing revolt within the Conservative Party, with at least 30 Tory MPs having called publicly for Mr Cummings to be sacked or to resign.
The row over the government’s defence of lockdown breaches by Boris Johnson‘s chief adviser shows little sign of abating.A growing number of Conservative MPs are calling for prime minister to sack Dominic Cummings amid fears the government’s denial of wrongdoing will undermine willingness to comply with restrictions designed to slow the spread of Covid-19.
The Conservative Party's lead over Labour has plunged by nine points in a week according to a new poll which lays bare the scale of the political damage caused by the Dominic Cummings' controversy.The YouGov voting intention survey, commissioned by the Times, recorded the biggest drop in a lead in a decade and is likely to sharpen criticism that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is wasting political capital on his top aide over the row surrounding his alleged breach of coronavirus lockdown rules.
Boris Johnson will today be challenged face to face by Conservative MPs on the actions of his senior aide Dominic Cummings during the lockdown.Mr Cummings is at the centre of a political firestorm after it was revealed he travelled to Durham from London despite the coronavirus measures.
Boris Johnson’s government is failing on all the rules for handling a crisis, including the way it is protecting embattled Dominic Cummings, a former Downing Street media chief claims.Cabinet “muppets” lead the daily press conferences on coronavirus, and scientific experts are being used as “political cover”, according to Alastair Campbell.
Boris Johnson has said an independent inquiry must take place into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak, as he spoke with the World Health Organisation’s director-general.The Prime Minister’s call for a probe came as she spoke to Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the telephone on Tuesday. The WHO chief agreed with Mr Johnson, Number 10 said following the conversation.
Boris Johnson will today be questioned by senior MPs over the coronavirus crisis on Wednesday as calls for his key adviser to resign over his travel continue to grow.The Prime Minister is set to face questions on the decision of his top aide, Dominic Cummings, to travel from London to Durham during the shutdown.
Public anger swells ranks of Tory MPs turning on Dominic Cummings. At least 32 publicly call for PM’s aide to go as their postbags and inboxes bulge with complaints
The Queen has given permission for the Prime Minister to exercise in the grounds of Buckingham Palace as he continues his recovery from Covid-19. Boris Johnson has been allowed to make use of the grounds, amid security concerns over his habit of running in public spaces. He was photographed arriving at a side entrance to the palace in an armoured Range Rover yesterday (tues), returning to Downing Street in a red t-shirt, blue shorts and trainers. As well as a large garden, the palace also has an outdoor tennis court, with Mr Johnson known to be a fan of the sport. A royal source confirmed that Mr Johnson had been granted permission to use the garden for exercise, adding that “from time to time” the Queen had offered the facilities to previous Prime Ministers. A Government source said: "The Prime Minister has been exercising in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. It's obviously important that the Prime Minister is able to take exercise."
Conservative MPs will challenge Boris Johnson face to face over his refusal to sack Dominic Cummings, as public anger about the No 10 adviser’s apparent lockdown breaches threaten to engulf the government.More than 30 Tories – including prominent former ministers – swelled the revolt against the chief aide, some warning his failure to quit undermined support for continuing restrictions on people’s freedoms.
Boris Johnson was today hit by an open revolt over his decision not to sack Dominic Cummings over his trip to Durham at the height of the Covid-19 lockdown.A growing number of Tory backbenchers were calling for the Prime Minister’s top aide to be axed as:
The leader of the Scottish Conservative Party Jackson Carlaw has called on Boris Johnson’s under-pressure advisor Dominic Cummings to resign.The MSP said the scandal over the strategist’s trip from London to Durham during the lockdown is proving too much of a political distraction.
The British Grand Prix double header has been given backing to go ahead by Prime Minister Boris Johnson but Silverstone have accepted they could be forced to shift to a later August date.An announcement last week that sport would not be exempt from the 14-day travel quarantine when it comes into play on June 8 threw the race’s 70th anniversary into doubt.
Downing Street doubled down on its support for Dominic Cummings this afternoon, despite Boris Johnson’s popularity plummeting in the polls .The Prime Minister’s spokesman faced further questions from the press over Mr Cummings’ alleged breach of the coronavirus lockdown rules.
Boris Johnson to face minimal questions on Cummings’ conduct. At first appearance before Commons liaison committee PM will face 20 minutes on coronavirus topic
The British public overwhelmingly believe Dominic Cummings broke coronavirus lockdown rules and should resign, a new poll has found.The latest survey by YouGov released on Tuesday found 71 per cent think Boris Johnson’s top aide disregarded government regulations when he travelled more than 200 miles from London to his parents’ estate in Durham.