The important news you missed while Boris Johnson was being questioned

Rishi Sunak's tax returns, inflation, and a sizeable bonus for Centrica's boss were among the stories buried under Boris.

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves his house in London on March 22, 2023. - Britain's former prime minister Boris Johnson re-enters the bear pit of parliamentary inquisition on Wednesday for a grilling about
Former prime minister Boris Johnson leaving his house on Wednesday before being grilled over the Partygate scandal. (Getty Images)

What just happened? Boris Johnson received a grilling from a panel of MPs who are investigating whether the former prime minister misled parliament over lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street.

He sat before the privileges committee during a three-hour-session on Wednesday, insisting he "did not lie to the House" when he said no rules were broken during gatherings held during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He admitted he mislead parliament after the Partygate scandal emerged, but said his statements were "made in good faith" and on the basis of what he "honestly knew and believed at the time".

The former PM was accused of relying on "flimsy" assurances of officials who were wrong, and using the word of his advisers as a “deflection mechanism”. If he is found to have lied he could be suspended or even lose his seat.

It was one of the biggest stories of the day, but there were some other important developments worth keeping on top of. Here, Yahoo News recaps the news you missed while Johnson was being questioned:

Rishi Sunak's taxes

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak walks on Downing Street in London, Britain March 22, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Some suggested the date Rishi Sunak chose to release his tax returns was rather convenient. (Reuters)

Following months of political pressure, Rishi Sunak released his tax return details showing his income as chancellor and prime minister.

With his predecessor in the hot seat, you could call it a good day to bury bad news, which was picked up on by Lib Dem Cabinet Office spokeswoman Christine Jardine.

After long promising to release his tax returns, Jardine claimed Sunak "snuck them out whilst the world is distracted with Boris Johnson's Partygate grilling", burying them under other headlines.

His tax figures showed he paid £432,493 in tax in 2021/22. This included £325,826 in capital gains tax and £120,604 in UK income tax on a total of £1.9m in the last tax year.

He was shown to have earned £4.766m across 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22, paying a total of £1.053m in tax – an overall effective tax rate of 22%.

Inflation going up

A shopping trolley is seen at a supermarket in Manchester, Britain, March 22, 2023. The United Kingdom's UK consumer price index CPI rose to 10.4 percent in the 12 months to February 2023 from 10.1 percent in January, the Office for National Statistics ONS said on Wednesday. (Photo by Jon Super/Xinhua via Getty Images)
The surprise uptick in inflation was driven largely by rising food costs. (Getty Images)

In news that will make a difference to everyone's lives – prices were shown to have risen unexpectedly in February, with inflation jumping to 10.4%.

This was mainly driven by food and non-alcoholic drinks rising to their highest prices in nearly 45 years, as well as price hikes in pubs and restaurants, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Inflation was calculated at 10.4% from January's 10.1%, although it is still down from a 41-year high of 11.1% in October.

However, Alpesh Paleja, the lead economist at the Confederation of British Industry, added that there was some hope for the months ahead, as consumer energy prices are expected to decrease in line with a dip in wholesale energy prices.

British Gas boss gets huge bonus

Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss (L) listens as Centrica CEO Chris O'Shea (C) speaks during her visit to Centrica's British Gas academy in Dartford, east of London on September 30, 2022. (Photo by Ian Vogler / POOL / AFP) (Photo by IAN VOGLER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Chris O’Shea has been rewarded handsomely as gas companies profit during the energy crisis. (Getty Images)

The boss of British Gas owner Centrica may also have been grateful that Boris Johnson dominated the headlines on Wednesday.

Chris O’Shea was revealed to have been handed a £4.5m pay package for 2022, after being awarded a £1.4m bonus on top of his £790,000 salary and a £2.3m long-term share bonus.

It comes as Centrica enjoy huge profits during a global energy crisis, and amid an investigation into claims subcontractors for British Gas forced their way into vulnerable people's homes to install pre-payment meters.

Carol Vorderman 'disgusted' by two ministers at menopause hearing

Carol Voderman at Women and Equalities Committee hearing on menopause in the workplace on 22/03/23
Carol Vorderman was very unimpressed by Maria Caulfield and Kemi Badenoch. (Parliament TV)

Former Countdown host Carol Vorderman said she was "absolutely disgusted" by the words and actions of two female ministers as she appeared before a panel of MPs to discuss menopause in the workplace.

The frustrated TV personality noted that the women’s minister Maria Caulfield could not “be bothered to turn up” to the Women and Equalities Committee hearing.

She also said she'd been "horrified" by comments made by equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, who appeared before the committee at the beginning of the month.

Dismissing the idea that menopause should have legally protected status, Badenoch said women can already call on anti-discrimination measures based on age, sex and disability, likening menopause to "being short" or "having ginger hair".

In a passionate response, Vorderman said: “I could not, as a woman, a postmenopausal woman who is from a working- class background, get over the patronising statements that she made. I thought they were insulting, they were insulting to all women.”