London Playbook: Disobedient servant — The Reynolds pamphlet — Hurricane – POLITICO

Good Tuesday morning.


DISOBEDIENT SERVANT: The Boris Johnson vs. Dominic Cummings demise match is approaching its endgame after the prime minister’s former chief aide turned sworn enemy accused him of mendacity to parliament over what he knew about Partygate. The Cummings cost: That he warned Johnson his Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds was organizing a rule-breaking drinks occasion within the Downing Street backyard on May 20, 2020, however the PM dismissed his considerations and attended the occasion. The Johnson denial: That that is “not true,” the PM was not warned in regards to the occasion prematurely, and he “believed implicitly that this was a work event.” The reply to who’s telling the reality may now show essential for Johnson’s premiership.

THE REYNOLDS PAMPHLET: In an replace on his Substack on Monday night, Cummings laid out his model of occasions for May 20, 2020. He claims that after Reynolds despatched his now legendary e-mail asking employees to attend “socially distanced drinks” within the backyard and “bring your own booze,” each Cummings and one other senior official advised Reynolds his bash was towards the principles. According to Cummings, Reynolds defended the thought and stated he’d verify with the PM. Cummings writes: “I said to the PM something like: Martin’s invited the building to a drinks party, this is what I’m talking about, you’ve got to grip this madhouse. The PM waved it aside.”

HURRICANE: These allegations problem Johnson’s assertion to the Commons final Wednesday, during which the prime minister stated he had believed it was a piece occasion. His phrases in full: “When I went into that backyard simply after six on 20 May, 2020, to thank teams of employees earlier than going again into my workplace 25 minutes later to proceed working, I believed implicitly that this was a piece occasion. With hindsight I ought to have despatched everybody again inside. I ought to have discovered another strategy to thank them.” The Guardian has a run-through of all of the instances Johnson has denied any events passed off and insisted he broke no guidelines.

ONE LAST TIME: Here’s the No. 10 line in full: “It is untrue that the prime minister was warned about the event in advance. As he said, he believed implicitly that this was a work event.”

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Lawyers, please verify: There is far curiosity in Johnson’s use of the phrase “implicitly” amid hypothesis it might give him some authorized leeway. QC and COVID rules skilled Adam Wagner reckons: “If I was the PM’s lawyer, I would tell him that since the 20 May party was in his garden, he can’t have committed an offence under the regulations but could be liable as an accessory to others’ crimes if he knew it was a party and encouraged it. So it is very important indeed that he did not think it was a party at the time, was not warned and only ‘in hindsight’ has he seen any issues.”

Swear to inform the reality: Cummings’ case for the prosecution is that the PM knew it was a rule-breaking occasion beforehand, however went together with it anyway, and is not telling the reality about what occurred. He writes: “The events of 20 May alone, never mind the string of other events, mean the PM lied to Parliament about parties. Not only me but other eyewitnesses who discussed this at the time would swear under oath this is what happened.”

Can any of this be proved? It stays to be seen whether or not any written proof will emerge to help Cummings’ claims, or whether or not he can be interviewed by civil service investigator Sue Gray. At the second, it’s the PM’s phrase towards his former aide’s — though a number of journalists together with the Sunday Times’ Dominic Lawson, the Mail on Sunday’s Dan Hodges and the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg all have nameless former officers claiming to corroborate Cummings’ account. It would definitely put Johnson in a tougher place if any of them had been to go on the document, though it is very important be aware that many former officers concerned in these occasions had been embroiled within the Johnson-Cummings civil conflict themselves.

Not fairly swearing on oath: ITV’s Robert Peston blogs: “I know who sent the email to Martin Reynolds on 20 May 2020 telling him the planned ‘bring your own booze’ party should not go ahead — though the sender tells me he does not want to be seen as agent provocateur against the prime minister and has asked me not to name him.” Did the thriller sender additionally warn the PM? “I probably did but I honestly can’t remember,” he tells Peston. Gray has requested the sender to be interviewed by her investigation and he seems to have agreed.

Lull newest: It is honest to say that earlier than the Cummings weblog put up dropped, Monday had been wanting noticeably steadier for No. 10 when it comes to the “mood” of the Conservative MPs who will determine Johnson’s destiny. Two Tory MPs instructed to Playbook that Cummings’ intervention may very well assist Johnson with the parliamentary occasion as a result of it’s going to remind them the vengeful former aide has been main the Partygate marketing campaign. One stated that if there’s one one who can unite Tory MPs behind the PM, it’s Cummings.

Is Operation Red Meat working? My POLITICO colleague Annabelle Dickson may be very well-connected amongst Conservative MPs and located “the mood is much calmer” after spending the day speaking to backbenchers yesterday. She despatched over this detailed stocktake which Playbook recommends as the most effective intel on Tory backbench pondering you’ll see this morning.

Annabelle writes: One former Cabinet minister stated the anger of their constituency had been lower than anticipated. Lots of emails, persons are annoyed and indignant, however they nonetheless suppose the PM has an opportunity to place issues proper, they stated. There was a realization amongst some MPs that the Tory Party wouldn’t recuperate from a management election if it passed off now. Big caveat: they’re nonetheless ready to see what details Gray produces. Another former Cabinet minister stated they might now see a means by way of for Johnson if the Gray report doesn’t discover something new. Other MPs expressed a way that not one of the management contenders are prepared, and that none of them desire a contest now.

The Omicron impact: Annabelle additionally detected a way of vindication in some quarters that the federal government’s determination to impose Plan B COVID restrictions within the first place was improper. The timing of the PM’s name on Omicron was talked about, with some MPs believing that with restrictions being lifted — and the comparability to different elements of Europe — they’ll have the ability to promote the Johnson’s judgment name to voters. A 3rd former Cabinet minister additionally talked about his name on not locking down over Omicron and that the management contenders aren’t in the precise place in the meanwhile. Labour chief Keir Starmer getting a going over on the BBC over his personal beer-drinking work occasion has supplied some a lot wanted cheer. (The Mail has a double web page unfold on “Beer Starmer — Dan Martin reckons he might have damaged COVID guidelines on marketing campaign conferences earlier than elections, and former Labour MP Tom Harris says he ought to apologize.)

Inbox from hell: Other Lobby journalists nicely sourced on the Conservative aspect echo Annabelle’s Westminster espresso focus group. The Sun’s Harry Cole reckons MPs had been “less flappy” yesterday, though “the place is still a tinderbox.” The FT’s Seb Payne and Laura Hughes say the temper was “muted,” although MPs complained their inboxes are a “bucket of cr*p,” with criticism particularly robust in historically Tory supporting areas within the south. The i’s Paul Waugh quotes one MP saying that of the five hundred emails they’d obtained by Saturday night time, simply 20 backed Johnson. That stated, Waugh hears some Tories suppose Johnson ought to name a confidence vote in himself to display he has the help of his occasion.

Not the most effective look: The Mirror’s Aletha Adu studies {that a} dozen Home Office employees loved Prosecco and crisps within the workplace to have a good time a brand new immigration coverage throughout lockdown final 12 months. Playbook can solely assume “we were celebrating a new immigration policy” is the easiest way the officers felt they might keep away from a hammering from Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Hauled over the Cauls: There had been no additional public requires Johnson to stop from Tory MPs yesterday, and in a Downing Street that may be very a lot simply trying to survive every day because it comes in the meanwhile, that was one thing of a win. The Times’ George Grylls and Chris Smyth be aware that two ministers did communicate out: George Freeman, who later recanted his criticism, and Maria Caulfield, who admitted “the spirit of the rules” had been damaged.

What do Tory members suppose? Conservative MPs could have been watching Channel 4 News with curiosity final night time (and it’s not typically you’ll be able to say that). They had an Opinium ballot discovering that 63 p.c of Tory members need Johnson to remain on.

And what in regards to the public? There had been two extra brutal polls out yesterday: Redfield and Wilton had Labour on a 13-point lead, and Deltapoll gave the opposition a 9-point benefit. Possibly essentially the most damaging second of the day within the eyes of Tory MPs who care solely about retaining their seats got here from polling supremo John Curtice, who advised Times Radio that MPs “do have to ask themselves whether or not the prime minister is likely to recover from a situation where around a half of the people who voted for him think he should go.”

Sunak vs. Truss vs. Mordaunt: As ever, it’s value watching the Cabinet and potential Tory management challengers carefully to gauge what occurs subsequent. Chancellor Rishi Sunak was nonetheless in submarine mode on Monday, which is able to solely additional ship the Westminster rumor mill into overdrive. Politics Home’s Noa Hoffman and Adam Payne say Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’ “Fizz for Liz” schmooze operation is in full swing, and Payne reckons Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt is rising as a possible contender.

Sue Gray replace: No change … she nonetheless hopes to have the ability to publish her report on the finish of this week, although it might slip into subsequent.


HOUSE OF COMMONS: Sits from 11.30 a.m. with DHSC questions, adopted by any statements or UQs … DUP MP Ian Paisley has a ten minute rule invoice on entry to digital units for subsequent of kin … The most important enterprise would be the second studying of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which might legally acknowledge that animals are sentient beings able to ache and different emotions … after which former Cabinet Minister Gavin Williamson has an adjournment debate on authorities recognition of Somaliland.

LEAVING THE PARTY: Away from Westminster’s favourite story, there’s quite a lot of vital information at the moment on each the worldwide and home fronts: from vital British motion forward of Russia’s potential conflict in Ukraine, to motion on the courts backlog, a serious mooted reform of the NHS, hassle over “red meat” insurance policies on the BBC licence payment and small boats, and new studies on how ministers may sort out the looming vitality disaster.

UKRAINE ON THE BRINK: Defense Secretary Ben Wallace final night time introduced that the U.Ok. was sending weapons and a small staff of troops to Ukraine, as fears mount {that a} Russian invasion is imminent. Britain can be supplying Ukraine with hi-tech short-range anti-tank missiles for protection functions, and the troops will practice the Ukrainian military use them. The Mail’s Mark Nicol splashes on the story. It is value studying Wallace’s article on the scenario within the nation right here, because it more and more seems to be like occasions are about to take a really grave flip.

Global Britain newest: Wallace’s robust motion on Ukraine is successful him followers within the nation. Kyiv Independent journalist Illia Ponomarenko tweets: “The British are just unstoppable these days. Once again, the UK finds itself on the right side of history — because it is wise enough not to be lured into going the easiest way, which is always the fastest lane straight to hell.” (H/t Ben Judah.) “Two British C-17 transport aircraft carrying weapons to Ukraine were forced to fly around German airspace after Germany refused to supply defensive weapons to Ukraine,” U.Ok. Defence Journal’s George Allison reported.

Mags vs. lags: Back on the house entrance, the crimson meat thrown to Tory backbenchers on Monday obtained combined evaluations, so a lot more has been chucked onto the barbecue by No. 10 spinners at the moment. The Telegraph’s Charles Hymas splashes on Justice Secretary Dominic Raab giving magistrates the ability to jail criminals for as much as a 12 months to clear courtroom backlogs. Raab has an article within the paper explaining that the utmost magistrates’ jail time period can be doubled from six months.

What in regards to the NHS backlog? Hospitals primarily based on academy faculties can be arrange and given extra freedom by Health Secretary Sajid Javid to sort out ready lists, the Times‘ Chris Smyth studies. “Modelling reforms on the Blairite academies programme could lead to failing hospitals being forcibly turned into reform trusts, as happens with schools that are rated inadequate. It is possible that chains of hospitals will be run by leading NHS managers, or even outside sponsors, although this is yet to be decided,” Smyth writes.

Red meat problem 1: Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries introduced a two-year freeze to the BBC licence payment yesterday, however pulled again from repeating a risk she made on Sunday that appeared to counsel she may be planning to abolish all of it collectively. The Times’ Steve Swinford and Jake Kanter have the story.

Red meat problem 2: The authorities’s small boats coverage has descended right into a predictable mess because the Sun’s Harry Cole and Jerome Starkey reveal that No. 10 has encountered fierce inside resistance after exploring utilizing painful sonic weapons to discourage crossings. The Home Office is opposing the thought, with a supply there telling the Sun it was “f***ing bonkers.”

MORE COVID GOOD NEWS: WHO COVID envoy David Nabarro — usually one of many extra cautious voices all through the pandemic — has stated there’s “light at the end of the tunnel” for the U.Ok. on the coronavirus, although he warned extra variations and mutations may come additional down that very same tunnel. He reckons Britain can be one of many first nations to succeed in the top of the pandemic. The i’s Paul Gallagher has a write-up.

YESTERDAY’S UK COVID STATS: 84,429 optimistic instances. In the final week there have been 700,366 optimistic instances, ⬇️ 501,197 on the earlier week … 85 deaths inside 28 days of a optimistic take a look at. In the final week 1,845 deaths have been reported, ⬆️ 515 on the earlier week. As of the most recent information 19,345 COVID sufferers are in hospital.

ENERGY PRICE PLAN? Downing Street is contemplating a “temporary price stabilisation mechanism” that will see the federal government make funds to vitality firms when there’s a spike in wholesale fuel costs, the FT’s George Parker, Nathalie Thomas and Jim Pickard report in a high scoop on their entrance web page. Energy companies are unsurprisingly in favor of the transfer, whereas Chancellor Rishi Sunak is nervous it’s going to find yourself costing the taxpayer a bomb, the paper studies.

Turn the thermostat as much as 30C and put your shorts on: Johnson and Sunak won’t be anticipated to pay any extra for his or her vitality payments in their very own Downing Street flats due to a cap on contributions of their grace and favor houses, the Times’ Oli Wright studies.

OPERATION PITTING: The British troopers who led the Afghanistan evacuation mission can be awarded medals, following a marketing campaign led by the Telegraph’s Dani Sheridan. The Sun’s Jerome Starkey and Harry Cole hear comparable.

NOT JUST A BRITAIN PROBLEM: Governments and the media are fueling a cycle of mistrust internationally, in keeping with consultancy Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer which launches at the moment. Among the hanging findings from the annual mass world survey are stats exhibiting almost one out of each two respondents view authorities (48 p.c) and media (46 p.c) as divisive forces in society, and that individuals in democracies are usually fearful in regards to the subsequent few years. Plenty extra the place that got here from to look by way of right here. Edelman CEO Richard Edelman tells POLITICO’s Ryan Heath in a podcast out tomorrow that individuals’s fears in regards to the future are partially coming from the pandemic: “The base emotion is ‘I’m scared I’m going to be downwardly economically cell,’ and that could be a completely different form of world than the whole type of postwar consensus.”

LONDON IN 8 YEARS: London Mayor Sadiq Khan goals to chop automotive site visitors within the capital by greater than 1 / 4 by the top of the last decade, as a part of plans contained in a City Hall report on how London can attain internet zero by 2030. Deep within the report are some new approaches Khan has introduced are being thought of to assist meet internet zero, which embrace additional extending ULEZ, a brand new day by day “clean air charge” and a Greater London boundary cost to levy non-London autos getting into the town. The Standard’s Ross Lydall has extra.

COMMITTEE CORRIDOR: YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and Meta officers can be questioned by the DCMS committee and on-line harms and disinformation subcommittee on influencer tradition and the Online Safety Bill (10 a.m.) … Prisons Minister Victoria Atkins and Skills Minister Alex Burghart can be quizzed on the standard of training in prisons by the training committee (10 a.m.) … Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is up on the Scottish affairs committee for a session on the injury left by Storm Arwen (10.30 a.m.) … and the international affairs committee will maintain a one-off session on the rising tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with specialists, a Bosnian politician and Tory peer Arminka Helic (2.30 p.m.).

HOUSE OF LORDS: Sits from 2.30 p.m. with questions on the subsequent assembly of the EU-U.Ok. Partnership Council, skilled use of peat and the equality of therapy between completely different teams in enforcement of lockdown rules by police … The most important enterprise can be committee stage consideration of the Health and Care Bill.

Yesterday within the Commons: Controversial authorities plans to herald voter ID at polling stations handed on the last hurdle. The Mirror’s Dan Bloom factors out that 85 of the 99 Tory MPs who had been concerned within the authorities’s greatest rebel over COVID passes voted for the invoice, regardless of any earlier reservations they might have had about changing into a “papers please” society. Two Tory MPs rebelled within the type of William Wragg and David Davis — the latter had an ill-fated piece for OpenDemocracy yesterday calling on his colleagues to assist kill the voter ID measures within the invoice. The authorities insists the measures are essential to sort out voter fraud.

Last night time within the Lords: The authorities suffered 14 defeats on the Policing Bill in a late-night sitting of the Lords, which noticed friends vote to make misogyny a hate crime in England and Wales towards the desires of the federal government. Other defeats for the federal government got here on their plans to introduce new curbs on protests, which could possibly be damaging because the late entry of the amendments on protest imply they can’t be reinstated into the invoice when it returns to the Commons. The Guardian’s Jedidajah Otte has a write-up.

TODAY IN HOLYROOD: Nicola Sturgeon will ship a COVID replace to the Scottish parliament this afternoon as strain grows on the primary minister to ease remaining coronavirus curbs. Though soccer and different sporting followers returned to stadiums yesterday, indoor occasions proceed to be restricted and nightclubs at the moment stay closed in Scotland. The opposition Scottish Conservatives have referred to as for all restrictions besides mask-wearing to be dropped from the top of January, whereas hospitality teams are pointing to new Scottish authorities analysis that means because the numbers visiting bars and eating places fell, home mixing has risen. Sturgeon will meet along with her Cabinet this morning to OK any adjustments forward of her assertion at 2 p.m. in Holyrood — right here’s the BBC’s preview.

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Deputy PM Dominic Raab broadcast spherical: Times Radio (7 a.m.) … Sky News (7.15 a.m.) … BBC Breakfast (7.30 a.m.) … LBC (7.50 a.m.) … Today program (8.10 a.m.) … ITV GMB (8.25 a.m.) .. talkRADIO (8.50 a.m.).

Also on the Today program: Dave Penman, normal secretary of the FDA union (7.09 a.m.) … David Anderson, former unbiased reviewer of terrorism laws and crossbench peer (7.30 a.m.) … Director-General of the BBC Tim Davie (7.50 a.m.).

Also on Good Morning Britain (ITV): Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jon Ashworth (7.50 a.m.).

Also on Sky News breakfast: Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jon Ashworth (8.05 a.m.) … London Mayor Sadiq Khan (9.05 a.m.).

Also on Nick Ferrari at Breakfast (LBC): Tory Councillor Claire Pearsall (7.10 a.m.) … The Mirror’s Rachel Wearmouth (7.25 a.m.) … IATA Director General Willie Walsh (7.40 a.m.) … Former Editor of the Scotsman Tim Luckhurst (8.05 a.m.).

GB News breakfast: Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jon Ashworth (7.20 a.m.).

Also on Times Radio breakfast: Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell (7.35 a.m.) … SAGE member Andrew Hayward (8.06 a.m.) … Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jon Ashworth (8.36 a.m.) … Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council Andrey Kortunov, a former Kremlin adviser (8.45 a.m.).

Also on Julia Hartley-Brewer breakfast present (talkRADIO): Tory MP Richard Fuller (8.05 a.m.) … Work and pensions committee Chairman Stephen Timms (8.20 a.m.).

Good Morning Scotland: Scottish authorities COVID adviser Linda Bauld (8.05 a.m.) … Former head of BBC News Roger Mosey (8.15 a.m.).

The Briefing with Gloria de Piero (GB News): Tory MP Bob Seely (12.05 p.m.) … Shadow Rail Minister Tan Dhesi (12.15 p.m.) … Tory MP Siobhan Baillie (12.35 p.m.) … Lib Dem MP Jamie Stone (12.45 p.m.) … Labour MP Kevin Brennan (12.45 p.m.).

Politics Live (BBC Two 12.15 p.m.): Tory MP Miriam Cates … SNP MP Hannah Bardell … The Guardian’s Jessica Elgot … The Mail’s John Stevens.

Cross Question with Iain Dale (LBC 8 p.m.): SNP MP Pete Wishart … Former Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe … Politics professor Tim Bale … Comedian Dane Baptiste.

Reviewing the papers tonight: Sky News (10.30 p.m. and 11.30 p.m.): The Observer’s Sonia Sodha and ConservativeHome boss Mark Wallace.


(Click on the publication’s title to see its entrance web page.)

Daily Express: PM, the clock is ticking … kind vitality payments disaster.

Daily Mail: British troops despatched to Ukraine.

Daily Mirror: PM gave go-ahead for occasion.

Daily Star: Blessed be thy title.

Financial Times: Ministers discover paying vitality suppliers to ease family payments.

HuffPost UK: PM ‘lied to parliament about events.’

i: Tory angst at Johnson management rising.

Metro: ‘I’ll swear PM lied to the home.’

POLITICO UK: Roberta Metsola cements rise to European Parliament presidency.

PoliticsHome: Liz Truss management “schmooze operation” is in full swing as Boris Johnson’s recognition plummets.

The Daily Telegraph: Tougher powers for magistrates to clear trial backlog.

The Guardian: Cummings accuses PM of mendacity over No 10 occasion.

The Independent: Navy policing of Channel boats ‘will assist traffickers.’

The Sun: Andrew’s 6-in-a-bed.

The Times: Cummings — PM lied to parliament about occasion.


WESTMINSTER WEATHER: ☁️☁️☁️ Cloudy and windy, with mist within the morning. Highs of 8C.

MEDIA MOVE: Former Scottish Tory chief Ruth Davidson will current a brand new Friday afternoon program on Times Radio. Playbook is advised Davidson sees it as a strategy to mix her two nice loves: politics and stay broadcasting (she labored as a journalist for BBC Scotland earlier than turning to politics). She’ll be on after Matt Chorley and current between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., protecting tradition, leisure and sport in addition to breaking information.

HIRING: Occasional MP Geoffrey Cox is in search of a “highly motivated” caseworker who can “manage a large case load.” No doubt. On the plus, the profitable candidate will get to “accompany the MP on constituency visits and meetings.” You by no means know, you may get a free journey to the Caribbean out of it.

NEW GIGS: Conservative Campaign Headquarters have made two new hires in preparation for the subsequent normal election. Tony Lee will change into the director of campaigning — he’s a veteran occasion staffer who most lately labored with West Midlands Mayor Andy Street. Richard Murphy, a former head of CCHQ area campaigning, will begin a job advising Tory MPs in Lib Dem-facing marginals.

NEW GIG: Jenny Symmons, who’s the GMB rep for MPs’ employees, is shifting on from Labour MP Janet Daby’s workplace after touchdown a gig as senior researcher to Sarah Owen, the shadow minister for homelessness and religion.

BIRTHDAYS: Irish Tánaiste Leo Varadkar … Brecon and Radnorshire MP Fay Jones … Former Tory and Change U.Ok. MP Heidi Allen … Former FT Editor Lionel Barber … Tory peer David Howell … Retired Tory peer Terence Higgins … Former Principle Private Secretary to Margaret Thatcher Clive Whitmore … Welsh authorities Mental Health Minister Lynne Neagle … Former GQ U.Ok. Editor Dylan Jones.

PLAYBOOK COULDN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT: My editor Zoya Sheftalovich, reporter Andrew McDonald producer Grace Stranger.

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