Blog: Bullying probe ‘finds Priti Patel broke rules’ – The Independent

Boris Johnson is being urged to publish the findings of an inquiry into allegations of bullying by Priti Patel amid reports the investigation concluded she had breached the ministerial code.

A draft report last summer is said to have found the home secretary breached the requirements to treat civil servants with consideration and respect.

Meanwhile, Brexit talks have been suspended following an agreement between the two sides after a member of Michel Barnier’s negotiation team tested positive for the coronavirus.

In Westminster, Boris Johnson has announced he will plunge £16.5bn into the Ministry of Defence while pledging support for the creation of “inexhaustible laser” weaponry, and a “space command” capable of launching the UK’s first rocket by 2022.

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Labour to erupt into civil war

Good morning – here is our top story today:

The Labour Party risks falling into a mess of infighting yet again, with 28 MPs demand Sir Keir Starmer reinstate the whip to former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Former leader forced to sit as independent in Commons

Vincent Wood19 November 2020 07:50

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Boris Johnson to offer up £16.5bn to MoD

Boris Johnson, who has spent the week listing spending commitments in a bid to move the conversation away from the turmoil in Number 10 left by aide Dominic Cummings, is set to offer up £16.5bn to the MoD.

Four-year settlement goes beyond Tory manifesto pledge

Vincent Wood19 November 2020 07:53

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Vaccine hope as study finds promising response ion over 60s

And the day begins with a bit of good news for the PM when it comes to the government’s coronavirus response – the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine which has been heavily talked up by Mr Johnson is offering promising results in the over-60s.

More on the Oxford jab below:

The results are ‘encouraging’, researchers say

Vincent Wood19 November 2020 08:00

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Military spend and a day for the men – what to look out for

Here is our political editor Andrew Woodcock on what to look out for today:

Highlight of the day in Westminster is a statement from Boris Johnson on military spending which will decisively end a struggle between the Treasury and the Ministry of Defence in defence secretary Ben Wallace’s favour. Later in the Commons, that doughty defender of the rights of beleaguered men, Shipley MP Philip Davies, will make his annual attempt to wind up feminists with a debate on International Men’s Day which he has secured with fellow Tory Ben Bradley.

Vincent Wood19 November 2020 08:04

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To infinity and beyond

The PM’s proposed military spend is a big departure from Downing Street – and not just because Mr Johnson wants to see the nation launch its own space rocket by 2022.

The chancellor Rishi Sunak had wanted government departments to be limited to one-year spending commitments – however the billions pledged for the MoD will see a four year commitment to fund the forces.

It also constitutes a significantly higher figure than defence secretary Ben Wallace was expected to get after years of complaints from the department over funding and significant cuts made during Philip Hammond’s time in Number 11.

The PM’s announcement (slated for 11:50 but if recent media briefings are anything to go by expect it to be a little later) will see four central policies unveiled – the development of a cyber-warfare agency, an AI agency to develop autonomous weapons systems, investment in military research and development and, of course, the space force.

Vincent Wood19 November 2020 08:15

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Gordon Brown: Corbyn must apologise – no ifs, no buts

The nation’s last Labour prime minister Gordon Brown has said it is incumbent on Jeremy Corbyn to offer a clear and unequivocal apology to the party and the public over the handling of antisemitism during his tenure.

Gordon Brown said it was likely Keir Starmer will have to withhold the whip from the Islington North MP until he does so.

Our own John Rentoul has the lines:

Vincent Wood19 November 2020 08:33

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I call app Britain

Virtual participation in Commons debates should be made “uniform” for all MPs as soon as possible, a committee has urged.

It comes as the prime minister continues to address the commons from Number 10 while he self-isolates under coronavirus regulations. 

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has announced plans to extend virtual participation for extremely vulnerable MPs until the end of March, but he stopped short of making it universal.

Vincent Wood19 November 2020 08:27

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Commons procedure chair urges government to go further on virtual participation

Karen Bradley, chair of the Commons procedure committee, has urged the government to go further with plans to allow greater virtual participation int he chamber.


It is clear that the physical-virtual hybrid we have is not a perfect substitute for the scrutiny and accountability MPs can achieve by being physically present in Westminster and holding ministers’ feet to the fire in person in normal times. But we are not in normal times. Many MPs who have not been able to travel to Westminster have been excluded from participating in debates on important issues and legislation during this pandemic.

Vincent Wood19 November 2020 09:03

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UK and allies issue joint statement condemning China for breaching international agreements

Meanwhile on the international stage, the Five Eyes intelligence sharing group of nations issued a joint statement on Wednesday slamming China for breaching international agreements with its new rules to disqualify pro-democracy legislators in Hong Kong, prompting an immediate backlash and en masse resignations.

Five Eyes Intelligence partnership calls on China to reverse its action and ‘stop undermining rights’ of people of Hong Kong

Vincent Wood19 November 2020 09:08

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On the agenda:

Parly has today’s call list for the Commons

The department for health is due for a grilling early on in the day, and Boris Johnson’s military spending spree gets its run out in the statement on the integrated review .

And for the those who felt the day may not have enough discourse, Ben Bradley and Philip Davies will be clocking in for a brief foray into the culture war as they host a backbench debate on International Men’s Day.

Vincent Wood19 November 2020 09:35

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