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Boris Johnson meets President Zelensky in Kyiv

Boris Johnson is “feeling well” after he was placed under general anaesthetic for a routine operation on his sinuses this morning, No 10 has said.

Responsibility for “significant decisions” facing the government was passed over to deputy prime minister Dominic Raab for a 24-hour period from the start of the operation.

It comes as Downing Street has confirmed that members of Boris Johnson’s team intervened following the publication of a story about his wife Carrie in The Times, but denied that the prime minister himself contacted the paper to complain.

Mr Johnson was driven to an NHS hospital in London around 6am on Monday morning and was put under anaesthetic shortly afterwards for the operation, which No 10 described as “minor”.

The op – which had been scheduled for some time and was not an emergency – was described as a success and Mr Johnson returned to Downing Street around 10am, where he is spending the day resting.

Key Points

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Will Boris Johnson keep the dispute over the Northern Ireland protocol going until the next general election?

If the prime minister does decide to call an election next May, a promise to ditch the protocol checks could form part of a manifesto pitch, writes Adam Forrest.

Joe Middleton20 June 2022 21:50


Army orgies ‘fairly common’ amid ‘slut-shaming’ culture of women, whistleblower says

A whistleblower has said orgies in the army are fairly common as she warned the recent incident at Merlville Baracks points to a wider culture of misogyny in the armed forces which views women as “lesser beings”.

Speaking exclusively to The Independent , the woman, who previously worked in recruitment for the British Army, said the institution often felt like a throwback to the 1950s.

It comes after a group of paratroopers were put under military police investigation after footage surfaced of them having an orgy with a civilian woman at Merville Barracks – a military base in Colchester.

Joe Middleton20 June 2022 20:50


ICYMI: Treasury minister Simon Clarke says Brexit is not to blame for airport chaos

Treasury minister Simon Clarke says Brexit is not to blame for airport chaos

Joe Middleton20 June 2022 19:50


Government refuses to rule out another Rwanda deportation flight

The government did not rule out trying to send another deportation flight to Rwanda before the outcome of a full High Court review of the policy.

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A Home Office minister was asked by the SNP’s home affairs spokesman to confirm Priti Patel will not be “gambling on another utterly reckless, degrading and expensive attempt at these removals” before the judicial review is heard.

Tom Pursglove told Stuart C McDonald “we do not comment on what are ongoing legal proceedings”.

He then noted “every day that this new partnership is not in operation is a day that people continue to risk their lives in the Channel”.

The first deportation flight to Rwanda was supposed to take place last week, but was blocked at the last minute after a late intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). A full judicial review of the policy is expected to take place in July.

However, it is not clear whether the Home Office will attempt to send another flight to Rwanda before then.

Mr McDonald said: “The full hearing on whether the Home Secretary’s policy in Rwanda is lawful will take place, as the minister has said, in July.

“So, surely if she has one iota of respect for UNHCR, and the importance of the Refugee Convention, she will confirm now that she will wait for the outcome of that hearing, instead of gambling on another utterly reckless, degrading and expensive attempt at these removals?”

Mr Pursglove replied: “The honourable gentleman will recognise that of course, we do not comment on what are ongoing legal proceedings, but what I would say to him is this, and we have had this debate many times, but every day that this new partnership is not in operation is a day that people continue to risk their lives in the Channel.

“That is not acceptable. It’s not sustainable.”

Joe Middleton20 June 2022 18:53


Labour to force Commons vote on new ethics watchdog after Lord Geidt’s exit

Parliament is set to vote on a Labour plan to grant MPs on a cross-party select committee new powers to hold Boris Johnson and his ministers to account following the exit of his ethics adviser.

Lord Geidt quit last week as the independent adviser on ministers’ interests – saying the PM had put him in an “impossible and odious position”.

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Mr Johnson is considering not replacing his ethics watchdog, with No 10 saying there would be a review into how best manage the “vitally important” function and admitting the position could be abolished.

Joe Middleton20 June 2022 18:13


Shapps accuses unions of tricking workers into strike ‘under false pretences’

Transport secretary Grants Shapps has told the Commons that unions boss want to “drag us back to the 1970s” – accusing them of “opposing progress”.

In appeal to railway workers, Shapps said: “Your union bosses have got you striking under false pretences. Rather than protecting your jobs they are actually endangering them, and the railways future.”

The minister said it was vital for the railway companies to build “an agile, flexible workforce – and accuses Labour of “widening the division”.

Joe Middleton20 June 2022 17:25


UK military being ‘overloaded’ with commitments, says senior Tory MP

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, chair of the defence committee, has said the government was “overloading our troops with these widening commitments” without sufficient resources.

The senior Tory, who praised the commitment to train Ukrainian troops, said defence funding cuts outlined in the 2021 integrated review “must now be reversed”.

He added: “All three [military] services are now too small to manage the ever-greater burden that we are now going to place on them”.Junior defence minister Leo Docherty says UK on the “right lines” in terms of getting kit to the Ukrainians.

And he claimed Britain was getting “more match fit that ever before” to counter Russian aggression.

Boris Johnson announced on Friday that a UK-led programme would train as many as 10,000 Ukrainian service personnel every three months.

Mr Docherty also said he expected other NATO nations to be involved in the training of Ukrainian troops – but wouldn’t say which ones.

Joe Middleton20 June 2022 16:50


Boris Johnson ‘feeling well’ after sinus operation

Boris Johnson is “feeling well” following a minor sinus operation and is due to take meetings this afternoon, No 10 said.

Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab remains on hand to assist with any major decisions, in line with the general advice to the public on not making significant choices for the first 24 hours after undergoing general anaesthesia.

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However, Mr Johnson remains prime minister and will continue acting as such, No 10 said.

Joe Middleton20 June 2022 16:14


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Wakefield and Tiverton by-elections: the numbers to watch for

Two by-elections taking place on the same day is fairly common in British politics – but a government losing two by-elections on the same day is extremely rare.

The last time it happened was more than 30 years ago.

On 7 November 1991, the Conservative government of John Major lost the seat of Langbaurgh in Cleveland to Labour and also Kincardine & Deeside in east Scotland to the Liberal Democrats, Ian Jones writes.

If the Conservatives were to lose both of the by-elections taking place this Thursday – in Wakefield and in Tiverton & Honiton – it would be only the seventh time a government has suffered such a double defeat since the Second World War.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 June 2022 16:10


Government admits it has still had zero meetings with rail unions on eve of strike

The government is facing criticism after admitting it has still had zero meetings with unions on the eve of Britain’s biggest rail strike in a generation.

Ministers have been accused of a “dereliction of duty” after deciding not to intervene in talks between unions and employers, despite calls for them to play a role.

The Department for Transport confirmed on Monday afternoon ahead of the strike that ministers did not believe it was their responsibility to wade into the dispute.

40,000 rail workers across 13 train operators and infrastructure manager Network Rail will walk out on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with knock-on disruption expected for the whole week.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone reports:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 June 2022 15:56

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