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Boris Johnson says he ‘makes no apology’ after Labour accuses him of ‘stench of sleaze’ over texts to James Dyson – live


Latest updates: PM says he was trying to ‘shift heaven and earth’ to secure ventilators as Starmer says Dyson was lobbying

4.42pm BST

Medical research charities lost nearly £300m in the past year as the Covid crisis cancelled fundraising events, wiped out street donations and closed charity shops, MPs have been told.

Hilary Reynolds, chief executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities, told the Commons science and technology committee on Wednesday the pandemic had caused a “catastrophic loss of fundraised income” which amounted to a “real and present emergency.”

Our charities have seen a drop in income of at least £292m pounds since the start of pandemic. Two out of three of our charities have seen a huge drop in income, which of course translates into the funding they can put into research. It’s a real and present emergency.

We know that funding will bounce back, but we are looking for temporary financial support to protect existing research and to enable new research to get going so that the long term impact on careers and research talent and projects that can bring new treatments and hope are not damaged irreversibly.

4.27pm BST

Downing Street has announced that the Havant MP Alan Mak is being made a government whip, replacing Leo Docherty, who has been promoted to defence minister. (See 11.01am.) Mak will be unpaid.

By law, there is a limit on the number of paid ministers or whips allowed in government, and so it is not unusual for governments to insist on some of the most junior members taking posts that are unpaid.

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