Boris Johnson news – live: PM faces grilling at PMQs over Partygate scandal

Watch live as Boris Johnson faces MPs after Partygate fines apology

The Church of England has accused Boris Johnson of a “disgraceful slur” against the Archbishop of Canterbury, following his criticism of the government’s immigration policy on Easter Sunday.

According to sources close to the prime minister he said at a private meeting with Tory MPs that the plans to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda was a “good policy” despite some “criticism on the BBC and from senior members of the clergy”.

He added that they “had been less vociferous in their condemnation on Easter Sunday of Putin than they were on our policy of illegal immigrants”.

The comments drew a swift risposte from John Bingham, head of media at the Church of England, who said in a post on social media that if the reports from the meeting were true they were “a disgraceful slur”.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry branded Mr Johnson’s comments a “filthy lie” and said it was “the church’s job to call out immorality.”

It comes as Mr Johnson prepares to leave later on Wednesday for his long-delayed trip to India, as MPs are getting ready for a crucial vote on Thursday over the Partygate scandal.


Partygate: The Tory MPs who have refused to back Boris Johnson to lead them into general election

Boris Johnson is under renewed pressure over Partygate, despite apologising dozens of times in the Commons for the Covid law-breaking birthday bash which saw him fined by police.

Mark Harper became the latest Conservative MP to break ranks this week – calling for the prime minister’s resignation and accusing him of being “no longer worthy” of the office.

The Independent took a closer look at the Tory MPs who have either called on Mr Johnson to quit, or refused to back him to lead the party into the next general election.

Adam Forrest has the details below:

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 11:40


‘No pressure’ exerted to appoint Lord Lebedev to House of Lords, Lord Bew tells MPs

Lord Bew, chairman of the House of Lords Appointments Commission (Holac), has told MPs there was “no pressure” exerted on them when it came to appointing Lord Lebedev.

Questions have been raised over whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked anyone in the security services to revise, reconsider or withdraw their assessment of the media mogul, whose father was a KGB officer, ahead of his appointment in November 2020.

Crossbencher Lord Bew told the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (Pacac) that, while Lord Lebedev was a “unique” case that involved security checks, the committee had approved his peerage without interference.

“There was no pressure on this candidate – that I think is probably worth saying,” said the historian.

He said the committee had asked for more information from the security services to understand the information they shared, but denied there was any “warning” issued to Mr Johnson about the appointment.

“We did what we often do: we said ‘You told us “x”, you really need to tell us more’,” said Lord Bew.

“They didn’t say, ‘What we said in the first instance was wrong’. They said, ‘Here is a bit more, here is a bit more still’. That’s how it goes, it is an elaborative process, a process of clarification, we need to know as much as we can.”

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 11:26


Order issued for Wikileaks founder’s extradition to the United States to face spying charges

Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States moved one step closer today with a London court issuing an order for his transfer to the country to face charges of espionage.

The WikiLeak’s founder is wanted in America over the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Mr Assange has been trying to halt the extradition through the courts for years and a district judge banned the handover in January 2021, saying that he was at real risk of suicide if he went to America.

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 11:10


Yvette Cooper tears into Priti Patel over Rwanda scheme

Yvette Cooper tears into Priti Patel over Rwanda scheme

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 10:53


SNP MP brands PM ‘contemptible’ after BBC and Church of England comments

An SNP MP has branded Boris Johnson “contemptible”, after reports the prime minister said that the BBC and senior members of the clergy had been “less vociferous” in their condemnation of Vladimir Putin than they had about plans to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Sources close to the prime minister said he told Tory MPs in a private meeting it was a “good policy” despite some “criticism on the BBC and from senior members of the clergy” who he said “had been less vociferous in their condemnation on Easter Sunday of Putin than they were on our policy of illegal immigrants”.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry said on Twitter: “What a contemptible man @BorisJohnson is attacking the Church & the BBC saying they have been more critical of him than they have of Putin.

“It’s a filthy lie. The BBC’s coverage of #Ukraine has been outstanding & it’s the church’s job to call out immorality.”

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 10:31


Stay in France if you don’t want to go to Rwanda, minister tells asylum seekers

Asylum seekers in France should stay there if they want to avoid being sent to Rwanda by the UK, a government minister has warned.

Home secretary Priti Patel’s plan to fly migrants arriving on small boats to east Africa has sparked outrage from opposition parties, migrant groups, senior bishops and some senior Tories.

Business minister Paul Scully defended the controversial move by suggesting it would help discourage people in Calais from making the crossing across the English Channel.

“Where they are in France, they are in a safe country. They can – if they don’t want to go to Rwanda – can claim [asylum] in France,” he told LBC.

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 10:13


Exclusive: Boris Johnson faces call for law against lying in politics

Boris Johnson will today face calls for a law requiring politicians to tell the truth, as a new poll shows trust in the political system has plummeted in the past 12 months.

The survey for think tank Compassion in Politics found that almost half of voters (47 per cent) said their trust in politicians to tell the truth had decreased in the past year, compared to just 3 per cent who said it had increased. A further 32 per cent said they did not trust politicians previously and still do not now.

An overwhelming 73 per cent said they would back a new law requiring all politicians to ensure that all public statements they make are, to the best of their knowledge, truthful and accurate – with penalties who are repeatedly shown to have lied.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has the details.

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 10:03


Angela Rayner calls Boris Johnson’s Partygate behaviour ‘reckless and dangerous’

Angela Rayner calls Boris Johnson’s Partygate behaviour ‘reckless and dangerous’

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 09:50


Asylum seekers should stay in France ‘if they don’t want to go to Rwanda’, says minister

Business minister Paul Scully has said asylum seekers in Calais should make a claim in France if they don’t want to be sent by the British authorities to Rwanda.

“Where they are in France, they are in a safe country. They can – if they don’t want to go to Rwanda – can claim [asylum] in France,” he told LBC.

Mr Scully said: “We’re not splitting up families, we’re not sending unaccompanied children for processing anywhere in a third country. There will be routes for people coming from places of conflict zones, like Afghanistan, like Syria, like Ukraine.

He added: “But it’s not right that people should be feeding on this misery – the human traffickers, that is. We do not want to see people drowning in the Channel.”

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 09:28


‘Real buzz’ over idea of former Labour MP Ed Balls standing in Wakefield by-election

There is a “real buzz” in the Labour leader’s office at the idea of Ed Balls standing in the Wakefield, a senior party source has told Politico’s Playbook.

Labour figures think Mr Balls will bring a “big beast factor” to the West Yorkshire by-election and that if he’s successful a “big brain” would return to the Labour benches.

Joe Middleton20 April 2022 09:18


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