Blog: Boris Johnson news – live: ‘Confusion super-spreader’ PM refuses to apologise for Cummings Covid text – The Independent

Related video: Boris Johnson calls The Telegraph his ‘real boss’, Dominic Cummings claims

Boris Johnson has faced Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions today from self-isolation after being told to stay at home by NHS Test and Trace due to a close Covid contact.

On Wednesday, Sir Keir criticised the confusion around whether the PM would self-isolate over this weekend after he held a meeting with health secretary Sajid Javid last week.

It came as the government was expected to warn the EU that it is prepared to override the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol if an agreement cannot be reached on cutting checks on goods travelling from Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Ministers are preparing to outline proposals to parliament for solving the “serious challenges” caused by the Protocol, which is designed to prevent a hard border with Ireland by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.

Lord Frost, the former chief negotiator with the EU, is expected to say today that the post-Brexit terms must be radically changed, less than a year on from the new system coming into effect.

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Priti Patel accused of ‘troubling’ refusal to accept Covid border policy failed

Home secretary Priti Patel has been accused of a “troubling” refusal to accept that the government’s Covid border policy failed after the Delta variant first detected in India surged in the UK in recent weeks.

During a grilling at the Home Affairs Committee, Ms Patel insisted that health measures imposed at the border had “not failed” and claimed that a “comprehensive” policy was in force.

Our political correspondent, Ashley Cowburn, has the full story below:

‘I don’t think there’s anybody in the country who thinks that your border policy worked,’ says Yvette Cooper

Conrad Duncan21 July 2021 12:00

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Johnson faces major Tory rebellion over Covid vaccine passport plans

Boris Johnson is facing a potential major rebellion from backbench Tory MPs over plans for Covid vaccine passports at nightclubs later this year.

More than 40 Conservatives have signed a declaration by the campaign group Big Brother Watch saying they are opposed to using such passports “to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs”.

Our policy correspondent, Jon Stone, has the full story below:

Over 40 MPs have signed pledges to oppose measures

Conrad Duncan21 July 2021 11:45

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Two MPs who breached code of conduct over ex-MP’s case apologise

Two Tory MPs who were found to have breached the code of conduct by writing to judges in relation to a former colleague’s legal case have apologised for their actions.

Theresa Villiers and Natalie Elphicke were among the five MPs who were criticised by the Commons Standards Committee this morning over interfering in the case of former MP Charlie Elphicke – who was jailed for two years over three counts of assault against two women.

A spokesperson for Ms Villiers said that she “deeply regretted” her actions, added: “The correspondence was well-intentioned, but Ms Villiers recognises that it was wrong to raise this matter with judges when a court hearing was pending.”

Meanwhile, Ms Elphicke said: “My actions were solely motivated by my duty to represent my constituents who had raised serious concerns with me.

“Those who approached me about this matter were private individuals who I believe have no place in the public eye.

“This is particularly true in the age of social media where online bullying and harassment is rife. It is of deep concern to me that the committee did not fully recognise this.”

However, she added that she recognised that there were “faults” in the way she acted and apologised for this.

Conrad Duncan21 July 2021 11:23

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You can find today’s order paper for the House of Commons, which is set to start proceedings in about 20 minutes, below:

Conrad Duncan21 July 2021 11:09

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Opinion: ‘If Cummings thinks Brexit could still be a mistake – is it time to say ‘told you so’?’

Leave supporters who expected a ringing endorsement of Brexit from Dominic Cummings will have been “left disappointed” by the former No 10 adviser’s BBC interview yesterday, according to our commentator Chris Stevenson.

“There are clearly many issues to deal with when it comes to something as complicated as Brexit and things will take some time to settle down, but more than five years after the vote, it is still galling to hear such a statement from a former key Boris Johnson adviser. Cummings stressed that he still believed the Brexit vote result was a “good thing” but anyone expecting a ringing endorsement would have been left disappointed.”

You can find his full piece below:

Anyone expecting a ringing endorsement from Cummings about Brexit would have been left disappointed

Conrad Duncan21 July 2021 10:56

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‘Sustainable way forward’ must be found on Northern Ireland Protocol, Labour says

Labour’s shadow cabinet office minister has warned that a “sustainable way forward” must be found to resolve the issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol, ahead of her counterpart Lord Frost’s statement later today.

“The prime minister negotiated this deal just months ago and yet today communities and businesses in Northern Ireland are being subjected to another round of brinkmanship,” Baroness Chapman of Darlington said on Wednesday.

“The government and the EU must urgently find a sustainable way forward to reassure everyone affected by this political stalemate.”

Conrad Duncan21 July 2021 10:29

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Tory MPs should be suspended over attempt to influence ex-MP’s case, watchdog says

Five Conservative MPs have been found to have breached the code of conduct by attempting to “improperly” influence a judge involved in a case against a disgraced former colleague, according to the Commons Committee on Standards.

Charlie Elphicke, the former Tory MP for Dover, was jailed for two years in September 2020 for sexually assaulting two women.

Our reporter, Adam Forrest, has the full story below:

Conservatives accused of seeking special treatment for disgraced ex-MP Charlie Elphicke

Conrad Duncan21 July 2021 10:12

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Northern Ireland first minister says post-Brexit Protocol has ‘failed’

Northern Ireland’s first minister Paul Givan has said that the post-Brexit NI Protocol has “failed” and damaged the region’s economy ahead of ministerial statements on the issue later today.

Mr Givan said that he had discussed the UK government’s proposals for the Protocol with Northern Ireland minister Brandon Lewis and Brexit minister Lord Frost on Wednesday morning.

“Evidence is clear the Protocol has failed and is damaging the economy of Northern Ireland, destabilising societal cohesion and lacks democratic accountability,” the first minister wrote on Twitter.

Conrad Duncan21 July 2021 10:02

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ICYMI: Dominic Cummings says ‘the sooner Johnson goes the better’

Dominic Cummings has said that he thinks Boris Johnson has been “terrible for the country” as prime minister and that the Tory leader should be removed as soon as possible.

When asked in his first major interview whether he was looking to “hasten” Mr Johnson’s departure from government, Mr Cummings told the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg: “Certainly. The sooner he goes the better, for sure.”

Our political editor, Andrew Woodcock, has the full story below:

Former Vote Leave leader feared being forced out by PM’s wife Carrie

Conrad Duncan21 July 2021 09:50

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Tory lead over Labour falls to four points, poll shows

The Conservative Party’s lead over Labour has fallen to four points, according to a new poll, amid confusion over the lifting of Covid restrictions this week.

Research by Survation showed that 39 per cent of voters backed the Tories, down by four points, compared to 35 per cent for Labour, up by three points.

The new polling follows confusion after Boris Johnson was forced into self-isolation over the weekend when the health secretary Sajid Javid tested positive for Covid-19.

You can find the full results below:

Conrad Duncan21 July 2021 09:33

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