Tuesday evening news briefing: Boris Johnson denies 'intentionally' misleading MPs over partygate

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Evening Briefing logo

Good evening. Boris Johnson has said that he did not "intentionally" mislead Parliament over partygate and insisted Downing Street advisers had told him Covid rules were not broken.

And counter-terrorism police are investigating after an elderly man was set on fire when leaving a mosque.

Johnson insists advisers told him Covid rules were not broken

Boris Johnson has cited assurances given by senior Downing Street advisers that Covid rules were not broken at partygate events, as he denied deliberately misleading Parliament.

In a 52-page document outlining his defence ahead of Wednesday’s hearing before the Commons privileges committee, Mr Johnson quotes previously unseen evidence, our Political Editor Ben Riley-Smith writes.

The former prime minister references a number of remarks made by Jack Doyle, his former director of communications.

Mr Johnson said that when The Mirror approached Number 10 before its first report about alleged rule-breaking, Mr Doyle said of one of the events: "It was within the rules."

He also quotes Mr Doyle later writing in a WhatsApp message when fresh claims about the event emerged: "I think you can say 'I've been assured there was no party and no rules were broken'."

Both remarks were about a press office event on Dec 18, 2020, at which alcohol was drunk and gifts handed out in a "Secret Santa".

It was later deemed to have broken Covid laws by police.

Putin and Xi agree 'strategic cooperation' at Kremlin

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping have signed a number of "strategic cooperation" documents during talks at the Kremlin, cementing China's position as Russia's most important economic partner.

The Russian president said the talks had been "successful and constructive", and added: "I am convinced that our multi-faceted cooperation will continue to develop for the good of the peoples of our countries."

Putin said that Russia, China and Mongolia had completed nearly all the agreements on a planned pipeline between the nations, and that Moscow was ready to increase oil exports to Beijing.

Putin also said that Moscow was ready to help Chinese businesses replace Western firms that have left Russia over the war in Ukraine.

You can follow the latest developments on our live blog.

Second elderly Muslim set on fire leaving mosque

Counter-terrorism police are investigating after a second man in the space of a few weeks was set alight after leaving a mosque.

West Midlands Police said the victim, who had just left Dudley Road mosque in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham, was targeted just after 7pm yesterday.

He was said to have been approached by a man who spoke to him briefly before spraying him with "an unknown substance" and setting his jacket alight.

The victim suffered burns to his face and was taken to hospital with serious injuries, which the force said were not life-threatening.

Our Crime Correspondent Jack Hardy has the full report.

Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines

Politics | Tory Eurosceptics have panned Rishi Sunak’s new Brexit deal ahead of a crunch vote on Wednesday, warning that its central plank is "likely to be useless in practice".

The European Research Group delivered a withering assessment of the agreement struck with the EU, saying it fails to restore Northern Ireland's place in the union.

You can read the full report here.

Comment and analysis

World news: Striking French tram drivers refuse to transport King Charles

Tram drivers will refuse to take King Charles III on a tour through Bordeaux during his state visit, striking workers have warned, amid violent protests rocking the country.

"Charles III, we are going to welcome him with a good old general strike," warned Olivier Besancenot of the far-Left New Anti-Capitalist Party.

The King and Queen are expected to arrive in Paris on Sunday for the start of their first official state visit to France, which takes place against a backdrop of angry anti-Macron protests.

Authorities have reportedly warned the King to avoid large crowds.

You can read the full report here.

Interview of the day

Jonathan Van-Tam - Simon Townsley
Jonathan Van-Tam - Simon Townsley

Jonathan Van-Tam: 'I've struggled getting used to ordinary life again'

The former Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and other leading pandemic experts, advisors and scientists, reflect on post-Covid life in our special report.

Read our special report here.

Business news: 'Contagious bank runs' blamed for market turmoil

The turmoil affecting the world's financial system was caused by "contagious bank runs", the US Treasury Secretary has said.

Janet Yellen insisted that the recent banking turbulence, which has seen the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the rescue of Credit Suisse, is "different from 2008".

Ms Yellen also emphasised that the US banking system is "sound even as it has come under some pressure", but added the US Federal Reserve stands ready to intervene in the event of a smaller bank collapse.

You can follow the latest developments on our live blog.

Meanwhile, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes that "Swiss regulators have tossed nitroglycerin onto the global financial fire", and warns that we should brace ourselves for a "hot summer of financial accidents".

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Sport news: Inside Old Trafford - the crumbling edifice that should scare any new owners

Pesky rodents, overflowing toilets and a leaky roof: the contenders for the keys to Old Trafford face a litany of challenges.

While many other Premier League clubs have modernised their facilities in recent years, Manchester United's decay mirrors the stagnation of the team’s post-Ferguson era.

Alex Shaw takes a look under the Stretford End’s rusting roof, and listens to the views of supporters.

Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur are expected to agree to Antonio Conte’s departure from the club this week.

But Daniel Levy has difficult questions to answer over the running and direction of the club. Matt Levy has the full report.

Today's Matt cartoon

Turmoil in bank stocks inspired Matt's cartoon today. Click here to see more from Matt.

And you can find today's political cartoon here.

Three things for you

And finally... for this evening's downtime

The faded Scottish seaside resort that’s regaining its mojo | Portobello was Scotland’s most popular seaside resort before its post-war decline – but things are looking up