Boris Johnson confident Tory MPs back him to survive as party leader and prime minister – as it happened

Last modified: 03: 55 PM GMT+0

According to today’s figures from the Office for National Statistics’ coronavirus infection survey, Covid rates continue to fall in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For the week ending last Saturday the rates were:

England - around one person in 60 infected

Wales - aroundone person in 55 infected

Northern Ireland - around one person in 80 infected

And in Scotland the trend was uncertain, the ONS says. It says one person in 40 was infected in Scotland last week.

Labour says ministerial code revisions show PM is 'debasing principles of public life before our very eyes'

As my colleague Rowena Mason writes in her story on the changes to the ministerial code, Boris Johnson has also rewritten the foreword to the code, removing all references to honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability. Rowena writes:

In his first foreword, published in 2019, he wrote: “There must be no bullying and no harassment; no leaking; no breach of collective responsibility. No misuse of taxpayer money and no actual or perceived conflicts of interest. T

“The precious principles of public life enshrined in this document – integrity, objectivity, accountability, transparency, honesty and leadership in the public interest – must be honoured at all times; as must the political impartiality of our much admired civil service.”

The 2022 foreword simply lists the government’s priorities, with only a brief mention of standards and behaviour of ministers, saying: “Thirty years after it was first published, the ministerial code continues to fulfil its purpose, guiding my ministers on how they should act and arrange their affairs. As the leader of Her Majesty’s government, my accountability is to parliament and, via the ballot box, to the British people.”

Commenting on the changes, Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said:

Boris Johnson has today rewritten his own foreword to the ministerial code, removing all references to integrity, objectivity, accountability, transparency, honesty and leadership in the public interest. This prime minister is downgrading and debasing the principles of public life before our very eyes.

In a week when Boris Johnson’s lies to parliament about industrial rule-breaking at the heart of government were finally exposed, he should be tendering his resignation but is instead watering down the rules to save his own skin.

Once again, Boris Johnson has demonstrated he is not serious about his pledge to address the scandal and sleaze engulfing his Government or the frequent and flagrant breaches of standards and rule-breaking that have taken place on his watch.

Labour’s independent integrity and ethics commission will stamp out Conservative corruption and restore the trust in public office this Prime Minister has eroded.

PM won't be able to block inquiry by No 10 standards adviser without publicly having to say why, revised code says

The updated ministerial code also strengthens the power of the independent adviser on ministerial standards (officially known as the independent adviser on ministerial interests), who is currently Lord Geidt.

The independent adviser investigates alleged breaches of the ministerial code by ministers, but in the past they have only been able to do this when the PM orders an inquiry. For years campaigners have been saying the system would be more robust if the adviser could initiate an inquiry without getting permission first.

Geidt was appointed after the previous adviser, Sir Alex Allan, resigned after Boris Johnson refused to sack Priti Patel after Allan published a report saying she broke the ministerial code. In a very minor concession to Geidt, his terms of reference said that if he thought an investigation was needed, he could confidentially suggest that to the PM. But the PM still had the final word as to whether one would go ahead.

Under the new code of conduct, the PM still has the final word over whether an inquiry happens. But the code says the adviser can now force the PM to release a public statement saying why he is not allowing an inquiry unless there are public interest reasons for keeping that confidential.

It says:

Where the independent adviser believes that an alleged breach of the code warrants further investigation and that matter has not already been referred to him, he may initiate an investigation. Before doing so, the independent adviser will consult the prime minister who will normally give his consent. However, where there are public interest reasons for doing so, the prime minister may raise concerns about a proposed investigation such that the independent adviser does not proceed. In such an event, the independent adviser may still require that the reasons for an investigation not proceeding be made public unless this would undermine the grounds that have led to the investigation not proceeding.


Ministers should not always have to resign for breaking ministerial code, revised version says

Ministers who are found to have broken the ministerial code will not automatically be expected to resign, the government said today.

The Cabinet Office has issued an updated version of the code and, in a document explaining revisions to it, it says the document now explicitly says that a breach of the code is not automatically a resignation offence. It says:

As both Lord Geidt [the independent adviser on ministerial standards] and the Committee on Standards in Public Life have recommended last year, it is disproportionate to expect that any breach, however minor, should lead automatically to resignation or dismissal. The sanction which the prime minister may decide to issue in a given case is for the prime minister to determine, but could include requiring some form of public apology, remedial action or removal of ministerial salary for a period. The ministerial code has been updated to reflect this.

In the past it has often been assumed that a breach of the code should automatically be a resignation offence but in practice this has not always been the case. Priti Patel was not forced to resign as home secretary despite an investigation finding she broke the code by bullying staff.

However the new version of the code, like the old one, still says that lying to parliament should be a resignation offence. “Ministers who knowingly mislead parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the prime minister,” it says.

Boris Johnson is currently facing an investigation by the Commons privileges committee into claims he misled MPs about Partygate.

Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser, disclosed in a post on his Substack account earlier this week that he had not been fined by the Metropolitan police over Partygate. Today he has said on Twitter that he did not even get a questionnaire from the police, or an email asking for evidence.

no, didnt even send a questionnaire or email asking for evidence

— Dominic Cummings (@Dominic2306) May 27, 2022

Cummings was one of the people who helped to trigger the police investigation by revealing in January that No 10 held a party for staff in the garden on 20 May 2020 despite Cummings warning that it would be against the rules.

But most of the events investigated by the police took place after Cummings left No 10 on 13 November 2020.

Johnson says he is confident he has enough backing from Tory MPs to survive as party leader and PM

And here is a full summary of what Boris Johnson said in his pooled TV interview in Stockton-on-Tees.

  • Johnson described the measures announced by Rishi Sunak yesterday as a “big bazooka” but conceded it would not “fix everything for everybody”. (See 12.47pm.)
  • He said he was confident Tory MPs would continue to back him. Asked if he was confident that he had enough backing in his party to survive, given that more MPs are calling for his resignation following the publication of the Sue Gray report, he replied:

Yes, but I think I gave some some pretty vintage and exhaustive answers on all that subject the other day in the House of Commons and then in a subsequent press conference .

  • He rejected claims that there was now no difference between Labour and the Tories on tax and spend. This has been a charge levelled by Tory commentators. (See 12.36pm.) Asked to explain the difference between the two parties, Johnson replied:

Very simple. When it comes to this particular policy, it’s much more generous [than Labour’s proposal]. This gives a £1,200 for every 8 million households.

But what it also does is, the levy is designed so that companies can offset investments that they’re making in new energy supply, or in green technology, to the tune of 91p in the pound.

Johnson was wrong on this point. The investment allowance is just for investment in oil and gas extraction.

  • He defended the decision to make the extra support for people time limited. It was designed to get people through the difficult period until inflation went down, he said. After that the economy would be in a strong position because of high employment, he said.

The reason we’re going to be a strong position is because we have so many people in work giving us the tax base we need to look after everybody else.

  • He said that he did not think the measures announced yesterday would add to inflation because they would not trigger more discretionary spending. This was slightly different from the answer Sunak gave when he was asked about this earlier; he said the impact would be “minimal”, adding to inflation by less than 1%.
  • He refused to follow Sunak in saying he would donate his £400 energy bills grant to charity, saying that because he lived in a government flat, his arrangements were different. Asked if he would do what Sunak was doing, he said: “I think my arrangements are different because I live in a government flat,” he said. It is understood that Johnson does make a contribution to the utility bills for his grace and favour flat at Downing Street, but he is not a conventional tenant. He also owns a home in Oxfordshire, which is understood to be rented out, and he is the joint owner, with his wife, of a house in London. These properties should benefit from the £400 grant too, but it would go to whoever pays the electricity bill.


A colleague who answered the phone at Paul Holmes’ constituency office said the MP had nothing further to add when asked if he was calling for Boris Johnson to resign, PA Media reports. Holmes has resigned as a PPS over Partygate. (See 1.01pm.)

Boris Johnson during a visit to CityFibre Training Academy in Stockton-on-Tees today.
Boris Johnson during a visit to CityFibre Training Academy in Stockton-on-Tees today. Photograph: WPA/Getty Images

In his Bloomberg interview, Boris Johnson said he did not accept that the UK was inevitably heading for a recession. My colleague Graeme Wearden has the details on his business live blog.

Tory MP Paul Holmes resigns as government PPS over 'unacceptable' Partygate revelations

The Conservative MP Paul Holmes, who represents Eastleigh, has announced that he is resigning as a parliamentary private secretary in response to the revelations in the Sue Gray report.

Holmes, who was elected in 2019, was PPS to Priti Patel, the home secretary. A PPS – an unpaid ministerial “bag carrier” – is not a member of the government, but is considered part of the “payroll vote” and obliged to support the government in all divisions. Being a PPS is normally a stepping stone towards becoming a minister.

Explaining his decision in a statement, Holmes says:

Revelations from the Sue Gray report that staff and cleaners were not treated properly is both disappointing and unacceptable. It is right that the prime minister apologised to staff. It clearly showed a culture in No 10 that was distasteful, and I am glad that there have been several reforms that Sue Gray has welcomed.

It is clear to me that a deep mistrust in both the government and the Conservative party has been created by these events, something that pains me personally as someone who always tries to represent Eastleigh and its people with integrity. Whether that is taking up your issues in parliament or helping people with their problems closer to home, since 2019 we have completed over 12,000 pieces of constituency casework. It is distressing to me that this work on your behalf has been tarnished by the toxic culture that seemed to have permeated No 10.

Over the last few weeks this distress has led me to conclude that I want to continue to focus solely on my efforts in being your member of parliament and the campaigns that are important to you. That is why I have now resigned from my governmental responsibilities as a parliamentary private secretary at the Home Office.

In his statement Holmes does not say whether or not he has written, or will be writing, to Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee, asking for a no confidence vote in Boris Johnson.

It was reported earlier this year that Holmes was very unhappy about Partygate, but as a PPS he was not meant to speak out against the PM in public.


Johnson admits 'big bazooka' £15bn cost of living measures won't 'fix everything for everybody'

Boris Johnson has recorded a pooled clip for broadcasters which has just been shown on Sky News. In it he described the measures announced by Rishi Sunak yesterday as a “big bazooka”, but he conceded that it would not “fix everything for everybody”. He said:

I’m not going to pretend that this is going to fix everything for everybody immediately. There are still going to be pressures. But it’s a very, very substantial commitment by the government to getting us through what will be, I’m afraid, still a bumpy time with the increase in energy prices around the world.

I will post more from the interview shortly.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson. Photograph: Sky News


How Tory papers and commentators have expressed concern or alarm about Sunak's cost of living measures

Earlier I pointed out that Rishi Sunak’s cost of living support package does not seem to have impressed the Tory-supporting papers whose approval the government normally craves the most. (See 9.34am.) This is what some of them are saying.

  • The Telegraph in its editorial says Conservatism is in a dark place following Rishi Sunak’s announcements yesterday. It says:

The party has no future as a “moderate” proponent of the social democracy and socialism also promoted by the other parties. The Tories will never be able to win a contest with the Left on who can spend the most. The billions Mr Sunak showered on households today were predictably dismissed as insufficient by his opponents. It seems likely that pressure will build on the Chancellor to come back with even more support later in the year. Worse, every time the Government surrenders to the Left in this way, it does so at the expense of Tory voters. Chasing popularity is a foolish endeavour, if the result is to legitimise the arguments of your political rivals while damaging your own core supporters.

The suspicion must be that the only real purpose to the Chancellor’s announcements was to distract attention from the partygate saga. If so, it was bought at a high price. Taxpayers and investors in energy firms will bear the immediate cost. But in the longer term, it may well be the Conservative Party that turns out to be the biggest loser.

  • The Daily Mail in its editorial is more positive, but it has concerns about the measures too. It says:

It is the sort of colossal redistributive programme more associated with socialism than conservatism, and there are very real fears it will push inflation even higher.

The Daily Mail would not normally support such massive giveaways and we have serious concerns about this one.

These are not normal times, however. Our poll last week showed how much families are suffering and how strongly they support the windfall levy. But tax and spend splurges like this cannot become a habit. They discourage investment, threaten jobs and restrict growth.

  • Fraser Nelson, the Spectator editor, says in his Telegraph column that Sunak has put the country on the road to recession. He says:

After years banging on about the moral case for low taxation – the quaint idea that societies are fairer and stronger when people are allowed to keep more of the money they earn – the Tories have now given up. Handouts are preferred to general tax cuts, allowing the state to choose winners and losers. Ed Miliband’s old idea about good and bad companies (the “predators”) is now back. Taxation is spoken of in moral terms: a tool to serve justice to stubborn companies making “excess” profits ...

The big problem is growth, not inflation. The price spike is hideous, but it will be temporary. When it dissipates, a bigger issue will remain: an economy that is barely moving, and the UK could tip into recession at any time.

  • Camilla Tominey in the Telegraph says Rishi Sunak adopted “Labour-lite” policy. She says:

In neglecting to come up with any relief for businesses, the Chancellor once again found himself in the bizarre position of being out-Toried by … the Labour party.

It was left to Ms Reeves, of all people, to point out that a better solution might have been to “spike the NI hike” and cut VAT for businesses. Conservatives were similarly at pains to point out that adding to the highest tax burden since the Second World War instead of tackling the green levies that push energy bills up in the first place was hardly Lawsonian (the Chancellor has a portrait of his tax-cutting predecessor above his desk).

  • The Sun in its editorial congratulates Sunak on the announcement, which it says was “badly needed”. But it also warns about taxation and borrowing being too high. It says (bold in the original):

The highest burden in 70 years is suffocating the economy.

That IS un-Conservative.

Third, and worst, is the danger that a nation kept afloat by borrowing £400billion during Covid, and now bailed out again, starts to believe a Corbyn-style “magic money tree” really CAN cushion them from the harshness of reality.

That delusion leads to a bankrupt Britain. Mountainous debts must be repaid.


But Chris Bryant is not resigning as chair of the Commons standards committee, I’m told.

For many years the Commons had a single standards and privileges committee which dealt with complaints of misconduct against MPs (standards) and matters relating to parliamentary privilege (the rights of MPs, and misconduct that might amount to contempt of parliament). But, after the expenses scandal, the two committees were split in 2013 because lay members were added to the standards committee (so that it was not just MPs ruling on complaints against MPs) but not to the privileges committee

Since then generally the same MPs have sat on both committees, with the same MP chairing both.

Chris Bryant to leave Commons privileges committee next month to pave way for inquiry into PM to start

Chris Bryant has announced that he will stand down from the Commons privileges committee, which he chairs, next month so it can replace him with another Labour MP before it starts its inquiry into whether or not Boris Johnson knowingly misled MPs in what he told them about Partygate.

1/2 I have summoned a meeting of the Commons Privileges Committee for Tuesday 7 June to dispose of its outstanding business, namely a report on the powers of select committees, to follow up our earlier (May 2021) report on which we have been consulting.

— Chris Bryant (@RhonddaBryant) May 27, 2022

2/2 That done, a motion to replace me on the Committee with another Labour MP will go before the House, then the Committee will meet again to elect a new chair and start its inquiry into the conduct of the Prime Minister, in which I will take no part as I have recused myself.

— Chris Bryant (@RhonddaBryant) May 27, 2022

Bryant is standing down because he has publicly accused Johnson of lying to MPs on several occasions in recent months, and so he accepts that he would not be seen as an impartial chair on this matter.

His announcement last month that he would recuse himself from this investigation helped to lessen Conservative party opposition to the idea of a privileges committee inquiry going ahead. The day after Bryant said he would not lead the inquiry, government whips abandoned attempts to force Tory MPs to vote to block it going ahead because by that point they were no longer confident of winning the vote.

In the Telegraph Tony Diver reports that Harriet Harman, the former deputy Labour leader and mother of the house (the longest-serving female MP) is being lined up to take Bryant’s place on the committee. “Harman, the MP for Camberwell and Peckham, is understood to be happy to be placed on the privileges committee, while Conservatives on the panel have provisionally agreed that she would be elected chairman,” Diver reports.

In his statement in April Bryant said that, although he would recuse himself from the Johnson investigation, he wanted to remain chair of the privileges committee and remain in charge of its inquiries into other matters. But leaving the committee for good will probably provide more of an assurance to Tories.

Chris Bryant.
Chris Bryant. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA

Sunak's measures will offset 82% of cost of rising energy bills for average families, says Resolution Foundation

The Resolution Foundation thinktank has now published its analysis of Rishi Sunak’s cost of living announcement yesterday. Here are the key points.

  • Sunak’s measures are “well targeted”, filling a “big gap” left by the previous announcements this year that did not do enough to protect families on lower incomes, the RF says. It says the impact of all the Sunak measures taking effect this year is now “highly progressive”. This chart shows how poorer households gain as much as three times as much in cash terms than richer households from the measures announced yesterday.
Distributional impact of Sunak’s measures
Distributional impact of Sunak’s measures Photograph: Resolution Foundation
  • It says the combined effect of measures announced this year will offset 82% of the cost of rising fuel bills for average families in 2022-23, and more than 90% for poorer families.
  • It says the poorest 20% of households will gain £1,195 on average from all the Sunak measures taking effect this year. The middle 20% of households will gain £799 on average, but the richest 20% will lose £456 on average. This chart shows the impact on households of all the Sunak measures taking effect this year, including the national insurance increase announced last year but coming into force from April.
Distributional impact of all Sunak policies coming into effect in 2022
Distributional impact of all Sunak policies coming into effect in 2022. Photograph: Resolution Foundation
  • It says the Sunak measures are more generous than just uprating benefits now by 9.5% would have been. But it says uprating benefits by 9.5% would have been better for families with three or more children, who it says have been “hard done by” in yesterday’s announcement. That is because flat-rate payments to households do not make allowance for their higher costs.


Russia making 'slow but palpable' progress in Ukraine, Johnson says

Boris Johnson has given an interview to Bloomberg, extracts from which are being released over the course of the day. Speaking about Ukraine, he said Russia was making “slow but palpable” progress in Donbas. He said:

I think it’s very, very important that we do not get lulled because of the incredible heroism of the Ukrainians in pushing the Russians back from the gates of Kyiv.

I’m afraid that Putin – at great cost to himself and Russian military – is continuing to chew through ground in Donbas, he’s continuing to make gradual, slow, but, I’m afraid, palpable progress. Therefore it is absolutely vital that we continue to support the Ukrainians militarily.

As Bloomberg reports, Johnson said he would like to see further military support going to Ukraine, including more multiple-launch rocket systems that would allow the Ukrainians to strike Russian targets from a greater distance.

He also appeared to dismiss the prospect of negotiating with Vladimir Putin, saying the Russian president was not to be trusted. He said:

How can you deal with a crocodile when it’s in the middle of eating your left leg? The guy’s completely not to be trusted.


Sunak refuses to rule out further emergency support for people with energy bills

Here are the main points from Rishi Sunak’s morning interviews.

  • Sunak, the chancellor, urged wealthy people who do not need the £400 energy bills rebate to give it to charity. He would be doing that himself, he said. He also defended the decision to allow second home owners to get it twice. (See 9.34am.)
  • He would not rule out a further emergency package of support for people with energy bills, even if it meant more borrowing or taxes. Asked on the Today programme if he was willing to do this, he replied:

People can judge me by how I’ve acted over the last couple of years. I’ve always been prepared to respond to the situation on the ground, what’s happening to the economy, what families are experiencing and making sure we’ve got policies in place to support them through that.

In terms of ‘is it one-off?’, what’s happening next year, I’d go back to what I said earlier. I do want people to be reassured and confident that we will get through this. We will be able to combat and reduce inflation, we have the tools at our disposal and after time it will come down.

If Sunak does have to extend these measures for another year, the impact on borrowing will be considerable. This is what Carl Emmerson, deputy director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said on this topic in the IFS analysis published last night.

Today’s announcement is a big package of support for households this year. But it is not without risks. In particular, if oil and gas prices remain high then the government will doubtless come under pressure to continue the additional household support for at least a further year. Extending the 5p cut to fuel duties and the £9bn help with energy bills announced in the March spring statement and the £15bn of additional giveaways for households announced by the chancellor today for a further 12 months would add a further £26bn to borrowing in 2023-24.

  • He said benefit claimants could expect an above-inflation increase in payments next year. That is because next April’s uprating will be pegged to the inflation level in September, after which inflation is expected to fall. He said:

What is likely to happen is that benefits and pensions next year will go up by this year’s much higher inflation levels. That is forecast to be much higher than the inflation that people will actually experience next year. So, for all those people they can look at next year and actually feel relatively confident about that.

  • He claimed that impact of the measures announced yesterday on inflation would be “minimal”, by which he meant less than 1%, he said. That was because most of the money was going to those most in need, and because the package was partly funded by a tax rise, he said.
  • He insisted that he was still a “fiscal conservative”. He said:

First and foremost I’m a fiscal conservative, I believe it’s incredibly important that I manage the country’s finances responsibly. That means after suffering the shock we did to get our borrowing and debt levels back on a sustainable trajectory.


As my colleague Graeme Wearden reports on his business live blog, Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, has criticised the decision to allow second home owners to get the £400 energy bills rebate twice. She claimed on Sky News that this would not have been necessary if the Treasury had not “rushed through” its package. She said:

If the government hadn’t have been resisting Labour’s calls for a windfall tax and this additional support for months, the government could have taken the time to get this package right.

It is not right that if you own a second or a third home you should get this £400 payment multiple times. You can now get a situation where somebody who’s incredibly wealthy gets £400 on three or four occasions because they own so many properties.

This is only happening because this package has been rushed through because the government has been resisting this.

Rachel Reeves in the Commons yesterday.
Rachel Reeves in the Commons yesterday. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/UK PARLIAMENT/AFP/Getty Images

Rishi Sunak defends letting second home owners get £400 energy bill rebate twice

Good morning. It is the day after Rishi Sunak’s cost of living support package announcement, and his third momentous fiscal intervention of the year, after the February energy bills announcement and the spring statement in March, has turned out to be the biggest (worth £15bn). And in some quarters it has turned out to be the best received. The two leading budget thinktanks, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Resolution Foundation, have been about as positive about this as they ever are about anything.

But Sunak also finds himself in the situation faced by one of his predecessors as chancellor, Hugh Gaitskell. Gaitskell was only chancellor briefly at the start of the 1950s, but he went on to become Labour leader and in that capacity he gave a speech in 1962 opposing membership of the European Economic Community (because it would mean the end of “a thousand years of history”). It was a terrific speech, and it got a great reception at Labour conference. But as Gaitskell listened to the applause on the platform, his wife Dora warned: “All the wrong people are cheering.”

They probably feel much the same way in the Treasury this morning. The Resolution Foundation says in a new analysis that the impact of all Sunak’s measures this financial year is “highly progressive” (that’s a compliment). But the Resolution Foundation is run by a former Ed Miliband adviser, and the leading Tory newspapers are much more sceptical.

Friday’s Mail: “Rishi’s £21bn splurge (but when will Tories get back to just cutting tax?)” #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) May 26, 2022

Friday’s Telegraph: “Tories are now the party of big spending, says Sunak” #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) May 26, 2022

I will post more on the media reaction to the announcement later.

Sunak has been giving interviews this morning and one aspect of the announcement he has had to defend is the decision to allow people with second homes to get the £400 energy bill rebate twice (once for each property). People with even more homes could get even more.

In interviews this morning Sunak said that, to get the money out easily, it was simplest to distribute these payments per property. He told Sky News that he considered using a council tax rebate to help most households, which would have allowed people living in the most expensive homes to have been excluded, but that this created other problems. He said:

We tried that [with the £150 for most homes announced in February] and we tried to do it with a discretionary fund and it has worked reasonably well, but there are lots of cases of people who will say ‘hang on, I happen to live in this expensive looking house or in a high council tax band house but I need help too’.

So actually this being universal means that we avoid all of those problems and really do get help to everyone who needs it.

Second homes account for only one or two per cent of the housing stock, Sunak added.

Sunak also said that, as he did not need the £400 payment, he would be donating the money to charity, and he urged other wealthy people to do the same. Addressing the Sky presenter Niall Paterson, he said:

I am sure, like me, you can also give that money to charity if you don’t need it.

The Sunaks own several properties and so his charity donations are likely to be more than £400.

I will post more from his interviews soon.

Here is the agenda for the day.

Morning: Boris Johnson is doing a visit in County Durham, where he is expected to record a clip for broadcasters.

11am: John Swinney, Scotland’s deputy first minister, attends the official opening of the Scottish Covid memorial.

12pm: The ONS publishes its regular Covid infection survey results.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at



Andrew Sparrow

The GuardianTramp

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