Who was at Boris Johnson’s lockdown busting celebration on June 19, 2020? 

The birthday boy: Boris Johnson   

Sources near the Prime Minister insist he did not know concerning the get together, which authorized specialists consider was in breach of his personal lockdown guidelines. Mr Johnson did not break up the get together.

Downing Avenue admitted that the PM attended the occasion ‘for lower than ten minutes’. However No 10 denied claims that the bash had been adopted by a second get together within the PM’s flat. As an alternative, Mr Johnson hosted a small variety of folks outdoors, together with his sister, the place meals was cooked on a BBQ.

The organiser: Carrie Johnson   

A supply stated members of Johnson’s crew had been emailed prematurely asking them to come back to ‘want the prime minister pleased birthday’. 

The Prime Minister was allegedly given a Union Jack cake by his spouse. Studies stated picnic meals from Marks & Spencer was eaten in the course of the afternoon gathering lasting for as much as half-hour

These current additionally sang a refrain of pleased birthday. Guidelines on the time banned indoor social gatherings.     

The uninvited visitor: Rishi Sunak 

Sources near the Chancellor have insisted that he wasn’t invited by Carrie, however was arriving for the Covid assembly in the identical room afterwards, attending very briefly. A supply careworn he was ‘not invited’.  

The inside designer: Lulu Lytle  

Inside designer Lulu Lytle admitted attending whereas finishing up the lavish and controversial work to their flat above No 11 Downing Avenue, however insisted she was solely current ‘briefly’ whereas ready to speak to Mr Johnson. 

Some declare she helped carry the cake.

Get together Marty: Martin Reynolds

Mr Johnson’s under-fire principal non-public secretary, was additionally stated to have attended. A month earlier than he had beforehand invited greater than 100 employees to a drinks get together at No 10 on Might 20, 2020.

The others 

No 10’s director of communications: Jack Doyle

Head of operations: Shelley Williams-Walker

Boris Johnson faces one other wave of Partygate stress immediately as ministers gave him lukewarm backing over a birthday bash in Downing Avenue in June 2020.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps admitted he was ‘upset’ by the newest allegations that as much as 30 folks gathered within the Cupboard Room, offered Mr Johnson with a cake and sang to him.

Despatched out to discipline questions this morning, Mr Shapps was pushed on why inside designer Lulu Lytle, who had been refurbishing Mr Johnson’s flat, had come down three flights of stairs and was current on the alleged get together. 

‘You’re asking me questions I can not present the reply to as a result of I wasn’t there,’ Mr Shapps stated. 

Mr Shapps informed Sky Information: ‘It was his (Boris Johnson’s) birthday and these are those who he labored with on a regular basis.

‘As I stated, I do not search to defend it. That is for Sue Grey to resolve on whether or not this was applicable, she’ll make the suggestions.

The minister appeared to put the blame squarely on Mr Johnson’s spouse Carrie, who’s believed to have organised the gathering within the Cupboard Room on June 19, 2020. 

‘Look, because the Prime Minister’s stated, the place errors have been made, although it wasn’t… I imply, he would have turned up and the cake would have been there,’ he informed ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

‘He did not find out about it, and it clearly should not occur.

‘However Sue Grey will unravel that; the Prime Minister’s already stated there will likely be penalties falling out from the Sue Grey report, and my hope is we are able to get to see that in a short time.’

He added: ‘We all know that this was a shock, the Prime Minister clearly wasn’t concerned in that shock, however we have to have a full understanding of all of that.’  

Tory MPs are predicting extra damaging revelations after it emerged that the PM’s 56th birthday celebration included a Union Jack cake, Marks and Spencer’s nibbles and singing.

The occasion, first revealed by ITV, was apparently already on the radar of Sue Grey, the civil servant who’s finishing up an investigation into Whitehall lockdown breaches.

Earlier that day he had posed together with his arms outstretched with youngsters at a faculty in Hertfordshire to point out the significance of social distancing. 


However whereas some ministers and Tory MPs tried to shrug the birthday bash off – mentioning that the rising chaos in Ukraine might shortly overshadow the controversy – others warned that it might herald a brand new extra harmful part for Mr Johnson.

One senior MP informed MailOnline that the premier was going through big harm that may not finish.

‘It simply retains piling on,’ they stated. 

One other MP informed The Guardian: ‘Presumably there may be extra being saved up for launch after the Grey report simply in case that hadn’t dealt the killer blow.’

A Tory who thus far has not submitted a no confidence letter added that the gathering on June 19 was ‘clearly social’ and ‘modifications issues – lots’.

A frontbencher additionally referred to the mounting risk of the PM shedding a no confidence vote, saying if a 3rd of the payroll voted in opposition to the PM then he wants ‘at the least half of all backbenchers to again him’, including: ‘That appears fairly unlikely. You’ll be able to see issues get harmful shortly.’ 

As allies desperately mobilise an ‘Avengers’ operation to save lots of the PM, 70 Tories together with 5 Cupboard ministers held a web-based assembly to debate his state of affairs yesterday.

Housing minister Chris Pincher, a former whip, is alleged to have warned the group that an election might comply with inside months if Mr Johnson is ousted. 

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner stated Downing Avenue’s assertion that the PM was solely there 10 minutes ‘seems a transparent admission of an unlawful gathering’ and will ‘tie the Met’s arms’ about launching a probe.

He famous that it’s the first time No10 ‘has admitted that the PM was at an, to me, clearly unlawful gathering with no actual prospect of an inexpensive excuse’.

Boris Johnson is seen in Westminster on his way to his morning run today as another party during lockdown rocked No 10

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps admitted he was 'upset' by the latest allegations that up to 30 people gathered in the Cabinet Room, presented Mr Johnson with a cake and sang to him

Boris Johnson (left) is seen in Westminster on his strategy to his morning run immediately as one other get together throughout lockdown rocked No 10. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (proper) admitted he was ‘upset’ by the newest allegations that as much as 30 folks gathered within the Cupboard Room, offered Mr Johnson with a cake and sang to him

Downing Street has conceded staff "gathered briefly" in the Cabinet Room following a meeting after it was alleged 30 people attended and shared cake despite social mixing indoors being banned.

Downing Avenue has conceded employees ‘gathered briefly’ within the Cupboard Room following a gathering after it was alleged 30 folks attended and shared cake regardless of social mixing indoors being banned.

They are said to have celebrated his birthday after his return from a visit to Bovingdon Primary Academy in Hemel Hempstead (pictured), where the PM showed children how to social distance

They’re stated to have celebrated his birthday after his return from a go to to Bovingdon Main Academy in Hemel Hempstead (pictured), the place the PM confirmed youngsters methods to social distance

Mr Johnson holding a birthday cake presented to him by the staff during a socially distanced visit to Bovingdon Primary School in Bovingdon on June 19, 2020

Mr Johnson holding a birthday cake offered to him by the employees throughout a socially distanced go to to Bovingdon Main College in Bovingdon on June 19, 2020

Downing Avenue is preventing battles on a number of fronts – however will Boris survive? 

The Prime Minister is presently preventing wars on a number of fronts as he makes an attempt to take care of his premiership. 

Although Sue Grey’s inquiry into ‘partygate’ is believed to have dug up some extraordinarily damning proof, listed here are a few of the different challenges going through Downing Avenue which might show lethal to Boris’ management.

Allegations of Islamophobia 

Nusrat Ghani, the primary Muslim girl to be elected as a Tory MP in 2015, stated she was informed by a celebration whip she was being axed in Feb 2020 as a result of her standing as a Muslim girl was ‘making colleagues really feel uncomfortable’. 

She additionally claimed she was informed by the whip that she had been fired for saying to Boris Johnson that they’d a ‘ladies drawback’, in attracting feminine voters.

Ms Ghani claimed she raised the problem by means of official get together channels however stated she was warned that if she continued to take action, she can be ‘ostracised’ by her colleagues and her ‘profession and repute can be destroyed’.

William Wragg’s allegations of MP blackmail

William Wragg, a backbencher who accused Downing Avenue of attempting to blackmail insurgent MPs, stated yesterday he would meet police to debate his allegations. 

Downing Avenue stated it had not seen any proof of the behaviour he alleges, however Chris Bryant, chairman of the Commons Committee on Requirements, stated a few dozen Tory MPs alleged whips threatened to withdraw funding for his or her constituencies ought to they not present help for Johnson.

Whips have additionally been accused of heavy-handed makes an attempt to intimidate the rebels with the specter of revealing allegations about their intercourse lives.

1922 Committee

William Wragg and Nusrat Ghani are joint vice-chairmen of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers. 

The committee’s govt secretary Gary Sambrook has additionally expressed his want for a brand new Tory chief, whereas treasurer Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown voiced frustration with the PM final yr. 

If Johnson have been to win a celebration confidence vote, he can be immune to a different management problem for a yr – however the committee is contemplating chopping this immunity interval to 6 months.  


Former Tory MP Christian Wakeford crossed the ground and joined the Labour get together final week.

Although defections are uncommon in Parliament, there are rumours that extra Tory MPs might quickly comply with swimsuit. 

A spokesperson for Lytle stated: ‘Lulu was not invited to any birthday celebrations for the prime minister as a visitor. Lulu entered the cupboard room briefly as requested, whereas ready to talk with the prime minister.’

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is assumed to have attended for a brief time frame, however sources insisted that he ‘had not been invited’.

ITV Information stated that picnic meals from M&S was eaten in the course of the afternoon gathering, lasting for as much as half-hour. Martin Reynolds, Mr Johnson’s under-fire principal non-public secretary, was additionally stated to have attended.

Different friends are reported to have included Jack Doyle, the director of communications, and Shelley Williams-Walker, his head of operations.  

A spokesman informed ITV that the afternoon occasion was a shock and he stayed for under 10 minutes. The broadcaster additionally claimed that there was a separate occasion in a while within the PM’s flat.

However No 10 denied claims that the bash had been adopted by a second get together. As an alternative, Mr Johnson hosted a small variety of folks outdoors. A supply informed the BBC this concerned a meal cooked on a disposable barbecue within the No 10 backyard with members of Mr Johnson’s household, together with his sister Rachel.

The bombshell comes as Mr Johnson awaits the outcomes of the investigation by Cupboard Workplace mandarin Sue Grey that would make or break his premiership. 

It’s understood she was already conscious of the celebration allegations and due to this fact their emergence won’t additional delay the publication of her investigation, which continues to be anticipated this week.  

Labour chief Keir Starmer stated Mr Johnson ought to resign ‘for the nice of the nation’, including: ‘That is but extra proof that we now have obtained a Prime Minister who believes that the foundations that he made do not apply to him. 

‘And so we now have obtained a Prime Minister and a authorities who spend their complete time mopping up sleaze and deceit. In the meantime tens of millions of individuals are struggling to pay their payments. We can not afford to go on with this chaotic, rudderless authorities.’ 

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood additionally condemned the ‘newest twist by which has been fairly a horrible collection of occasions’, telling Nigel Farage’s present on GB Information: ‘Very unhappy to learn these newest headlines. The nation is rightly very indignant by what’s occurred. We’re virtually in a holding sample as we look forward to Sue Grey’s report. 

‘I am curious as as to whether this was allowed to leak out within the construct as much as that report or whether or not she’s going to need to require an extension certainly to incorporate the research of this newest occasion. That is all an enormous distraction from the place we needs to be focusing. 

‘There are each home points, big challenges nationally, but additionally internationally that require consideration. So it’s extremely unhappy to see this newest twist by which has been fairly horrible collection of occasions rolling out for the final three or 4 months.’

Months earlier than the get together, Mr Johnson had praised a schoolgirl who cancelled her birthday celebration due to the lockdown. 

He tweeted: ‘Josephine units a terrific instance to us all by suspending her celebration till we now have despatched coronavirus packing.’ 

Tradition Secretary Nadine Dorries tried to defend the PM tonight, tweeting: ‘So, when folks in an workplace purchase a cake in the course of the afternoon for another person they’re working within the workplace with and cease for 10 minutes to sing pleased birthday after which return to their desks, that is now referred to as a celebration?’

And Surroundings Secretary George Eustice described the newest allegations as not ‘severe’, saying ‘on the finish of the day a small group of employees introduced in a birthday cake’.

He informed Sky Information: ‘My understanding is the prime minister had a small variety of household, shut relations, with him outside within the backyard to have fun his birthday.’

Mr Eustice continued: ‘I do assume that on this saga there have been some fairly severe allegations made – these have been investigated.

‘I do not assume that these newest allegations which were made match into that class. I feel they’ve gone barely excessive.’

A No 10 spokeswoman stated: ‘A bunch of employees working in No 10 that day gathered briefly within the Cupboard Room after a gathering to want the Prime Minister a cheerful birthday. He was there for lower than 10 minutes.’

Relating to allegations of a later occasion within the No11 flat she added: ‘That is completely unfaithful. In keeping with the foundations on the time the Prime Minister hosted a small variety of relations outdoors that night.’

Boris Johnson visited Milton Keynes Hospital today as he awaits the results of the Sue Gray inquiry into Partygate

Boris Johnson visited Milton Keynes Hospital immediately as he awaits the outcomes of the Sue Grey inquiry into Partygate

In another potential blow to the Prime Minister's authority, ITV News claims he hosted a gathering partly organised by his wife Carrie in the Cabinet Room in No10 (pictured) on June 19, 2020, to celebrate turning 56

In one other potential blow to the Prime Minister’s authority, ITV Information claims he hosted a gathering partly organised by his spouse Carrie within the Cupboard Room in No10 (pictured) on June 19, 2020, to have fun turning 56

The broadcaster claims guests included the interior designer Lulu Lytle (pictured), who was responsible for a six-figure revamp of the PM's official flat, who joined in with a chorus of happy birthday as the PM was presented with a cake

The broadcaster claims friends included the inside designer Lulu Lytle (pictured), who was chargeable for a six-figure revamp of the PM’s official flat, who joined in with a refrain of pleased birthday because the PM was offered with a cake

A spokesman for Lulu Lytle confirmed she was in Downing Avenue, saying: ‘Lulu was current in Downing Avenue on 19 June engaged on the refurbishment. 

‘Lulu was not invited to any birthday celebrations for the prime minister as a visitor. Lulu entered the Cupboard Room briefly as requested, whereas ready to talk with the Prime Minister.’ 

Baroness Warsi informed Channel 4 Information: ‘Throughout lockdown when so many people couldn’t go on to do the issues that we wished to do with our households, together with birthdays – I had a fiftieth in the course of Covid and we had a Zoom Get together, my husband had his fiftieth and we spoke to our kids over the phone… these of us in public life have been making determination that erred on the aspect of warning as a result of we have been individuals who have been concerned in ensuring that laws for Covid went by means of each homes. 

‘Subsequently it was proper that we interpreted that within the strictest approach potential as a result of we would have liked to be seen to be following the foundations that we have been making.

‘Anyone who was at a celebration the place guidelines have been damaged, whether or not that is a Prime Minister, ministers, particular advisers, or civil servants, [they] ought to resign. If you’re in a spot which makes the foundations and you’re seen to not be following these guidelines then you must fall in your sword, you must say ‘I obtained this improper’ and due to this fact, the best way to cope with it’s by means of a resignation. 

‘And due to this fact, that is not simply speaking concerning the Prime Minister, that is speaking about anyone who was current when these guidelines have been damaged.’

The most recent claims of alleged rule-breaking at Downing Avenue was described as ‘utterly sickening’ by a bunch representing these bereaved within the pandemic.

Jo Goodman, co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Households for Justice, stated ‘Like hundreds of others, I bear in mind June nineteenth vividly.

‘It was the day earlier than what would have been my dad’s 73rd birthday, shortly after he had handed away from Covid-19. It was a horrible time for my household, however we caught to the foundations, not even having the ability to hug to consolation one another.

‘It is utterly sickening that the Prime Minister spent the night sharing cake with 30 associates indoors and although we’re not even stunned any extra, it nonetheless brings recent ache. While dozens sang pleased birthday to him, households could not even sing in reminiscence at their family members funerals.

‘No matter any report, the Prime Minister clearly must resign. He is misplaced all credibility.

‘Each day and each recent scandal pours salt on the injuries of the lots of of hundreds who’ve misplaced family members. If he had any decency he would do what we and the nation is looking for him to do and go.’

Labour (Co-op) MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport Luke Pollard tweeted two footage of his ‘lockdown birthday’ in 2020, questioning the Prime Minister.

One image reveals a card which learn ‘April 2020 – Undoubtedly essentially the most s**t birthday you’ve got ever had’.

‘For my lockdown birthday in 2020 I had a beautiful day with my pretty boyfriend at dwelling,’ he tweeted.

‘No events. No guidelines damaged. If I might do it, why could not the Prime Minister?’

Scottish Nationwide Get together MP John Nicolson recalled his late mom’s closing birthday, celebrated over FaceTime, after an allegation of a celebration in Downing Avenue for Boris Johnson.

The MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, tweeted: ‘In June of 2020 my mum died shortly after her birthday which we ‘celebrated’ over FaceTime.

‘I hadn’t been capable of see her for a lot of weeks. She was very lonely. However we agreed we must always comply with the foundations.

‘I can not specific how a lot I despise this merciless charlatan and his acolytes.’ 

Lord Agnew announced he was resigning at the despatch box in the Upper House - drawing gasps from peers

Lord Agnew introduced he was resigning on the despatch field within the Higher Home – drawing gasps from friends

Dominic Cummings falls for columnist’s joke that PM had a ‘work birthday’

Dominic Cummings appeared to fall for a columnist’s joke {that a} Downing Avenue spokesperson stated the PM was having a ‘work birthday’.

In a tweet that has since been deleted, Kirsty Strickland wrote: ‘A No10 spokesperson stated: ‘The Prime Minister doesn’t recognise the media characterisation of this occasion as a ‘get together’.

”This was clearly a piece birthday and as quickly because the PM had blown out the candles he went straight again to his desk to open his presents.” 

Referencing the tweet, Mr Cummings posted: ‘Getting texts from inside no10/70WH cut up 50-50 between a/ this reveals how completely f*d is he is placing out this line, b/ i am unable to inform if that is the precise line we have put out or if foyer have fallen for a joke.’

Responding to a remark telling him it was a joke, the PM’s former chief adviser wrote: ‘Inform the poor no10 officers!’

Ms Strickland later defined: ‘Needed to delete what I believed was a fairly apparent joke concerning the PM having a ”work birthday” as a result of too many individuals thought it was an actual quote from No.10. 

‘The ludicrousness of partygate excuses in a nutshell.’

Mr Johnson is going through one other week from hell as the highest civil servant finalises her inquiry into alleged lockdown breaches in Whitehall, whereas livid Tories put together for an additional coup bid. 

Dominic Cummings immediately revealed he’s solely giving written proof to the Partygate inquiry to keep away from Mr Johnson ‘inventing nonsense’ about what he stated. 

The former No10 chief stated he’s not talking to Sue Grey immediately as he claimed employees usually are not handing essential materials to the highest civil servant because of fears Boris Johnson will see it. 

The feedback got here amid rumours Downing Avenue police have equipped ‘extraordinarily damning’ testimony to Ms Grey, with storm clouds seemingly gathering round Mr Johnson.

However the PM’s spokesman pointedly refused to say that Ms Grey’s complete report will likely be printed – saying it is going to be all the way down to the premier how a lot is launched.  

Mr Cummings has already revealed he is able to swear on oath that Mr Johnson was warned {that a} ‘BYOB’ bash in Might 2020 would break the foundations.

In a weblog submit this afternoon, the ex-aide wrote: ‘When SG requested to talk to me I emailed to the impact: if we converse the PM will invent nonsense and spin it to the media and also you and I’ll each have issues, let’s hold all the pieces in writing, due to this fact he can not invent issues I’ve supposedly stated to you, there may be solely a written document, this makes each our lives simpler. 

‘She agreed. So I’ve answered questions in writing and can reply additional questions in writing if she desires. However I can’t converse and due to this fact present the PM with extra probabilities to lie and confuse all people.

‘I do know others are very anxious about handing issues to the Cupboard Workplace as a result of they know the PM will see all the pieces SG collects. This inevitably implies that proof, together with pictures, isn’t given to her and as a substitute will hold leaking after her report.’

He careworn that his warning was a ‘consequence of beliefs concerning the PM’s integrity, not SG’s’. 

Officers from the Scotland Yard’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Safety Command who have been guardian No10 are stated to have been ‘solely too prepared’ to supply accounts to the investigation.    

Nonetheless, the premier has signalled defiance, and has reportedly reunited a crew of allies who helped safe him the management to shore up help amongst MPs. Wags have nicknamed the group – together with ministers Conor Burns, Nigel Adams, and Chris Pincher the ‘Avengers’.

He’s anticipated to push Speaker Lindsay Hoyle to let him reply to Ms Grey’s findings inside hours of them being launched, so he can take cost of the ‘narrative’.   

Mr Johnson suffered one other physique blow as a Treasury minister dramatically stop, branding the federal government’s Covid anti-fraud measures ‘indolent, conceited and ignorant’.

Lord Agnew introduced he was resigning on the despatch field within the Higher Home – drawing gasps from friends as he took goal at ‘schoolboy errors’ in tackling abuse of help schemes.

The bombshell got here as he was updating friends concerning the £4.3billion of Covid loans written off by the Treasury – which Labour stated has gone to ‘fraudsters’.  

Former cowboy and brothel cleaner who turned profitable businessman regardless of failing eleven-plus

Lord Theodore Agnew turned a millionaire businessman regardless of failing his eleven-plus and and enduring a stint as a brothel cleaner. 

Born and raised in Norfolk of farming inventory the now 61 yr outdated attended the celebrated Rugby College however by his personal admission he was not significantly educational. 

However his examination expertise led him to be a staunch opponent of the grammar faculty system he says fails college students who be taught at totally different speeds.

After faculty he left dour Seventies Britain for Australia, through Canada. Down Beneath he labored as a jackaroo – the Aussie equal of a cowboy – earlier than shopping for a cleansing firm in Sydney.

In 2013 he informed the Jap Every day Press: ‘More often than not it was cleansing flats in King’s Cross that had been used as brothels. The squalor and filth was indescribable.’

After a decade in Australia he returned to Britain and based the insurance coverage claims agency City & Nation Help. He bought the enterprise on in 2002 after constructing it to an organization using 150 folks.

His expertise as a pioneer of outsourcing – to cheaper and extra numerate employees in India sparked an curiosity in elevating UK training requirements.

He was made a Tory peer in 2017 as Baron Agnew of Oulton and have become a faculties minister beneath Theresa Might. In 2020 he was moved by Boris Johnson to turn into minister for effectivity and transformation.

Lord Agnew stated he had been ‘arguing’ with Treasury and BEIS officers for practically two years to ‘get them to raise their sport’ over points resembling duplicate loans and monitoring the efficiency of lenders, including: ‘I’ve been largely unsuccessful.’

‘Provided that I’m the minister for counter fraud, it might be considerably dishonest to remain on in that position if I’m incapable of doing it correctly,’ he stated.

‘It is for that reason that I’ve sadly determined to tender my resignation as a minister throughout the Treasury and Cupboard Workplace with speedy have an effect on.’

After ending his speech raging at a ‘mixture of conceitedness, indolence, and ignorance’ that’s costing the equal of a penny on earnings tax, the Treasury minister stated ‘thanks and goodbye’ and strode out of the Lords chamber to applause from his fellow friends. 

Though Lord Agnew insisted there was no connection to Mr Johnson’s different woes, the transfer will intensify stress on the already-embattled premier.

Lord Agnew informed the Home: ‘The oversight by each BEIS and the British Enterprise Financial institution of the panel lenders of BBLs has been nothing lower than woeful.

‘They’ve been assisted by the Treasury, who seem to don’t have any information or little curiosity within the penalties of fraud to our economic system or our society.’

He informed the Lords that BEIS had ‘two counter-fraud employees’ at the beginning of the pandemic who wouldn’t ‘interact constructively’ together with his counter-fraud crew within the Cupboard Workplace.

He added: ‘Schoolboy errors have been made, for instance permitting over a thousand corporations to obtain bounceback loans that weren’t even buying and selling when Covid struck.’

Lord Agnew tried to distance himself from the rising calls to oust the PM.

‘It’s value saying that none of this associated to way more dramatic political occasions being performed out throughout Westminster. This isn’t an assault on the Prime Minister and I’m sorry for the inconvenience it would trigger,’ he stated.

‘I hope that as a nearly unknown minister past this place, it’d immediate others extra essential past me to get behind this and type it out.

‘It issues for all the apparent causes however there’s a penny of earnings tax ready to be claimed right here if we simply awoke. 

‘Whole fraud loss throughout Authorities is estimated at £29billion a yr, after all not all could be stopped however a mix of conceitedness indolence and ignorance freezes the Authorities machine.’ 

Lord Agnew informed friends that early estimates of fraudulent Covid mortgage claims was prone to be 26 per cent of the whole paid out thus far.

He stated: ‘We have now already paid out practically £1 billion to banks claiming the state assure. The proportion of those losses estimated to be from fraud fairly than credit score failures is 26%. I settle for that is solely an early approximate however a really worrying one.’

As he resigned, Lord Agnew stated he had ‘4 variations of opinion with Treasury officers’ and proceeded to learn out what he would do otherwise.

These have been: ‘1. An pressing enchancment in lender efficiency knowledge, together with a standard definition of fraud.

‘2. Far better problem of lender banks once we uncover inconsistency.

‘3. Educating Treasury officers on why reliance on audit is much too reactive.

‘4. A failure by Treasury or BEIS to know the disjunction between the extent of criminality – in all probability lots of of hundreds – and enforcement functionality.

Mr Cummings, pictured outside his London home today, has levelled a series of allegations at the PM over Partygate

Mr Cummings, pictured outdoors his London dwelling immediately, has levelled a collection of allegations on the PM over Partygate  

One other minister stop on the despatch field in 2018… however was talked round by Theresa Might  

It isn’t the primary time a minister has resigned on the despatch field within the Home of Lords.

Again in 2018, Lord Bates shocked friends when he introduced he would stop as he was ‘ashamed’ for failing to show up on time within the higher chamber.

Nonetheless, the worldwide improvement minister’s supply of resignation was rejected by the then prime minister Theresa Might.

He subsequently left the Authorities the next yr to stroll from Belfast to Brussels in quest of ‘frequent floor’, amid the fractious Brexit debate.

Lord Agnew’s resignation as a Treasury minister got here after a query from his Labour shadow, Lord Tunnicliffe.

Lord Tunnicliffe requested: ‘Final week the Authorities objected to the £4.3billion determine quoted in varied information stories.

‘In lots of senses we’d be delighted if the extent of fraud arising from the Authorities’s coronavirus help scheme was smaller than first thought. Is the noble lord the minister capable of present a extra correct determine immediately?’

He additionally requested ‘why the Authorities expects working folks to cancel out these losses’, including: ‘That may be unhealthy sufficient in regular instances however is definitely worse when households face an unprecedented cost-of-living disaster.’

After the resignation Labour chief within the Lords Baroness Smith of Basildon stated: ‘I feel we now have simply witnessed some of the dramatic moments we now have ever seen within the Home from a minister who felt his integrity might now not guarantee he remained a member of the Authorities.’

No10 insisted the Authorities had been clear fraud was ‘unacceptable’.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman stated: ‘We’re grateful to Lord Agnew for the numerous contribution he has made to Authorities.

‘On the broader points that he is raised, we launched our unprecedented Covid help schemes at pace to guard jobs and livelihoods, serving to tens of millions of individuals throughout the UK, together with practically 12million on the furlough scheme alone.

‘We have at all times been clear fraud is unacceptable and are taking motion in opposition to these abusing the system, with 150,000 ineligible claims blocked, £500 million recovered final yr and the HMRC tax safety taskforce is anticipated to get well a further £1 billion of taxpayers’ cash.’

It isn’t the primary time a minister has resigned on the despatch field within the Home of Lords.

Again in 2018, Lord Bates shocked friends when he introduced he would stop as he was ‘ashamed’ for failing to show up on time within the higher chamber.

Nonetheless, the worldwide improvement minister’s supply of resignation was rejected by the then prime minister Theresa Might.

He subsequently left the Authorities the next yr to stroll from Belfast to Brussels in quest of ‘frequent floor’, amid the fractious Brexit debate. 

Lord Agnew’s resignation assertion to friends in full  

‘I’m right here to defend the federal government’s document on the deployment of counter-fraud measures during the last two years or so. However I’ll solely have the ability to do this partially,

‘The assertion made by the financial secretary of the treasury within the Commons debate final week that the precedence was pace of distribution of funds is completely right. However what has adopted has been nothing lower than desperately insufficient.

‘Given the time out there I’ll give attention to one or two emblematic failures, however these ussues run far wider.

‘The oversight by each BEIS and the British Enterprise Financial institution of the panel lenders of BBLs has been nothing lower than woeful.

‘They’ve been assisted by the Treasury, who seem to don’t have any information or little curiosity within the penalties of fraud to our economic system or our society.’

‘A lot retailer has been given to the additional cash allotted to HMRC. But it surely took a yr to occur and this division is already essentially the most competent and well-funded on this self-discipline.

‘Whereas at the start of Covid BEIS has the grand whole of two counter-fraud officers on its employees neither of whom have been skilled within the topic.

They refused to interact constructively with the counter-fraud perform that sits within the Cupboard Workplace, has appreciable exp[ertise and reports directly to me.

‘Schoolboy errors were made, for example allowing over a thousand companies to receive bounceback loans that were not even trading when Covid struck.’

‘They simply failed to understand that company formation agents hold in stock companies with earlier creation dates.

‘I have been arguing with Treasury and BEIS officials for nearly two years to get them to lift their game. I have been mostly unsuccessful.’

‘We move now to a new and dangerous phase, banks’ ability to claim on the 100 per cent state guarantee for non-payment.

‘We do this without implementing a standard bar of quality assurance on what we expect as counterfraud measures. We know we have had serious discrepancies.

‘For example, three out of the seven main lenders account for 87 per cent of loans paid out of companies already dissolved. Why is the ratio so skewed?

‘Two of the seven account for 81 per cent of cases where loans were paid out to companies incorporated post-Covid, as I referred to a moment ago.

‘One of the seven accounted for 38 per cent of the duplicate BBL application checks that were not carried out after the requirement was in force.

‘Bizarrely it took six weeks to get the duplicate check into place during which time 900,000 loans or 60 per cent in total were paid out. Bear in mind some 47billion has been paid out.

‘If only BEIS and the British Business Bank will wake up there is still time to demand data and action on duplicate loans. Why won’t they do it?

‘Despite pressing BEIS and BBB for over a year there is still no single dashboard of management data to scrutinise lender performance. It is inexcusable.

‘We have already paid out nearly £1billion to banks claiming the state guarantee. The percentage of these losses estimated to be from fraud rather than credit failures is 26 per cent. I accept this is only an early approximate but a very worrying one.’

I will place into Hansard a copy of my letter to the chairman of the BBB snet on the 16th December addressing some of these points. I still have not received an answer.

‘I have at least four differences of opinion with Treasury officials.

‘Urgent improvements in lender performance data. I simply want the bar to be set at what the best of the panel bank can deliver.

‘2) Far greater challenge of lender banks when we uncover inconsistency in data.

‘3) Educating Treasury officials on why reliance on audit is far too reactive and generally happening well after the whole horse has bolted.

‘4) A failure by Treasury or BEIS officials to understand the complete disjunction between the level of criminality – probably hundreds of thousands – and enforcement capability. For example NATIS, the specialist agency can handle around 200 cases a year. Local police forces might double that.’

‘My lords, you can see that it is my deeply-held conviction that the current state of affairs is not acceptable.

‘Given that I am the minister for counter-fraud, it seems somewhat dishonest to stay on in that role if I am incapable of doing it properly, let alone defending our track record.

‘It is for that reason that I have sadly decided to tender my resignation as a minister across the Treasury and Cabinet Office with immediate effect.’

‘I would be grateful if my noble Lord would pass this letter on to the PM at his earliest convenience.

‘It is worth saying that none of this related to far more dramatic political events being played out across Westminster. This is not an attack on the Prime Minister and I am sorry for the inconvenience it will cause.

‘Indeed I think any PM should be able to reasonably expect that the levers of government were actually connected to delivering services for our citizens.

‘I hope that as a virtually unknown minister beyond this place, it might prompt others more important beyond me to get behind this and sort it out.

‘It matters for all the obvious reasons but there is a penny of income tax waiting to be claimed here if we just woke up. Total fraud loss across Government is estimated at £29 billion a year, of course not all can be stopped but a combination of arrogance indolence and ignorance freezes the Government machine.

‘Action taken today will give this government a sporting chance of cutting income tax before a likely May 2024 election. If my removal helps that to happen it will have been worth it.

It leaves me only to thank the noble Lord Lord Tunnicliffe for his courteous but attentive role as my shadow minister of my portfolio and to tank noble friends, many of whom I know will carry on their scrutiny of this important area.

‘Thank you and goodbye.’

How much business coronavirus support cash has been lost to fraud and error?

Figures released by HM Revenue and Customs suggested that some £5.8billion has been criminally siphoned off from furlough and other business relief schemes since coronavirus struck.

A taskforce was set up by the Treasury to get the money back and so far it has managed to get its hands on approximately £500million.

It is projected to have clawed back a further £1billion by the end of 2023.

However, that leaves some £4.3billion – almost three quarters of the total – with reports suggesting the cash could just be written off.   

Here is a breakdown of the Covid business support schemes and how fraud and error has impacted them. 

Bounce Back Loans

The BBL scheme was set up by the Government in April 2020 to enable smaller businesses to rapidly access financial assistance during the Covid crisis. 

The scheme allowed small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25 per cent of their turnover, with a maximum loan of £50,000. 

Some 1.5million loans were issued at a total value of £47billion. 

The Government has estimated that £17billion of that total could be lost from loans that will not be repaid. 

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s best guess, as of the end of March 2021, was that there were £4.9billion of fraudulent loans in the system.   

Lord Agnew today claimed that ‘schoolboy errors’ were made with the scheme which allowed ‘over a thousand companies to receive bounce back loans that were not even trading when Covid struck’.


The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was rolled out in April 2020 and up to March 31 2021 it had supported 11.5million jobs.

HMRC estimates show that just over £60billion was paid out in furlough in 2020 to 2021.

At the highest point of demand the scheme was supporting 8.9million jobs at once.

HMRC has calculated that combined error and fraud relating to furlough payments was about 8.7 per cent – so just over £5billion.  

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme 

The SEISS initiative was rolled out at the end of March 2020. It enabled self-employed people who had been impacted by coronavirus to access grants. 

A total of £28.1billion had been paid out in SEISS grants up to October 2021, according to official Government data.    

HMRC estimated that 2.5 per cent of grants in the 2020/21 financial year, covering the first three award rounds, were awarded in error or because of fraud.   

Eat Out to Help Out    

Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme was rolled out in August 2020 and was designed to entice people to return to restaurants. 

It enabled people to receive discounts on their meals, with restaurants then claiming the discounted cash back from the Government.  

The discounts were applied on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, from August 3 to August 31. 

The claims service was then open from August until the end of September, with a total of £840million paid out by the Government. 

HMRC has estimated that the error and fraud rate relating to Eat Out to Help Out was 8.5 per cent – approximately £71million.  

Boris Johnson insists he is taking ex-minister Nusrat Ghani’s claim she was sacked in reshuffle over ‘Muslimness’ ‘extremely seriously’ as he launches a civil service probe following calls from Cabinet members for a ‘proper investigation’ 

Boris Johnson today insisted he is taking allegations an ex-minister was sacked over ‘Muslimness’ ‘extremely seriously’ as he ordered a formal Cabinet Office investigation into the claims. 

The Prime Minister has instructed the civil service to carry out a probe after the extraordinary claims from Tory MP Nusrat Ghani. 

The move came after Cabinet ministers Nadhim Zahawi and Sajid Javid joined calls for a ‘proper’ inquiry – with others suggesting it should be fully independent. 

Mr Johnson told reporters on a visit to Milton Keynes University Hospital this morning: ‘We take these allegations extremely seriously. I took them very seriously when they were raised with me 18 months ago.

‘Very glad there’s an investigation taking place now, can’t say more really about it.’ 

Downing Street announced the probe this morning, with a Number 10 spokeswoman saying: ‘The Prime Minister has asked the Cabinet Office to conduct an inquiry into the allegations made by Nusrat Ghani MP. 

‘At the time these allegations were first made, the Prime Minister recommended to her that she make a formal complain to CCHQ. She did not take up this offer.

‘The Prime Minister has now asked officials to establish the facts about what happened.

‘As he said at the time, the Prime Minister takes these claims very seriously.’

Nusrat Ghani (pictured), the Tory MP for Wealden in East Sussex, has alleged her ‘Muslimness’ was raised when she was sacked as transport minister in February 2020 

Ms Ghani alleged that chief whip Mark Spencer said her faith was partly responsible for her getting the boot in 2020 – something he flatly denies. 

Mr Johnson was asked this morning if Mr Spencer will remain in his role while the investigation is carried out and he replied: ‘Just to get back to the key point, this is something I take personally extremely seriously. I took it very seriously 18 months ago. We must wait and see what the investigation produces.’

Ms Ghani has contradicted No10’s version of events, saying the PM refused to get involved and tried to fob her off.

After the announcement, Ms Ghani insisted the terms of reference for the probe must including ‘all that was said in Downing Street and by the Whip’.

Ms Ghani said: ‘As I said to the Prime Minister last night all I want is for this to be taken seriously and for him to investigate.

‘I welcome his decision to do that now.

‘The terms of reference of the inquiry must include all that was said in Downing Street and by the Whip.

‘I look forward to seeing the terms of reference.’ 

In a round of interviews this morning, Mr Zahawi welcomed the news, but stressed he did not think the allegations had been taken lightly before.

He said he personally had never ‘experienced any form of racism’ in the Conservative Party.

The Education Secretary told Sky News: ‘She has made a very serious allegation, the Prime Minister spoke to her last night and said the Cabinet Office will investigate this and look at the detail of this.

‘She put out a statement last night saying actually, to be fair to her, this could be people who weren’t even members of the Conservative Party, which is why we need to get to the bottom of this very quickly.

‘And of course the Chief Whip (Mark Spencer) has come out and named himself as the individual and I work with both colleagues, and I think it is important that someone like a Cabinet Office senior civil servant should look at this properly, because the Chief Whip has also categorically denied this.’

A thinktank has called on the Government to bring in the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to investigate the claims.

The Runnymede Trust, a race equality thinktank, says the issue is too important to be left to a civil servant-led inquiry.   

Chief executive Dr Halima Begum told the Guardian: ‘This is an incredibly serious situation. At a bare minimum, the allegation that a minister of the crown was fired for her so-called ‘Muslimness’ would represent a flagrant challenge to our equalities and labour laws.

‘The facts and questions about the legality of what has happened here must be urgently investigated by the very highest authority. This cannot simply be left for another civil service inquiry. If the allegations are proven to be true, Nusrat would have been subjected to grossly discriminatory behaviour.

‘[Her] misery will likely be felt by each one of many 3 million Muslims within the nation, in addition to each member of our non secular minority communities. The entire political events have to do extra to show zero tolerance for discrimination, and to show that non secular minorities on this nation are revered no matter their religion.’

Caroline Nokes, chair of the Commons ladies and equalities committee, described the remedy of Ms Ghani as ‘appalling’.

She additionally backed requires the EHRC to launch an investigation and informed the Telegraph: ‘Her religion has by no means made me (or some other colleague) ‘uncomfortable’.

‘On the very least EHRC ought to take a look at this.’

An EHRC spokesman said the Fee continues to be analyzing the Conservative Get together’s dealing with of the Singh inquiry into Islamophobia complaints final yr and recommended a full investigation might happen.

The spokesman added: ‘If we’re not glad with progress we’ll overview our determination [not to begin an immediate review] and don’t rule out the usage of our authorized powers.’

In a round of interviews this morning, Nadhim Zahawi welcomed news that a Cabinet Office investigation will be held

In a spherical of interviews this morning, Nadhim Zahawi welcomed information {that a} Cupboard Workplace investigation will likely be held

Boris Johnson

Mark Spencer outed himself as the whip concerned, and branded Ms Ghani's comments 'false' and 'defamatory'

The PM (pictured left working this morning) has instructed the civil service to hold out a probe after the extraordinary claims from Ms Ghani. Mark Spencer (proper) has outed himself because the whip involved, and branded Ms Ghani’s feedback ‘false’ and ‘defamatory’

After the announcement, Ms Ghani insisted the terms of reference for the probe must including 'all that was said in Downing Street and by the Whip'

After the announcement, Ms Ghani insisted the phrases of reference for the probe should together with ‘all that was stated in Downing Avenue and by the Whip’

Who’s Nusrat Ghani? Kashmir born trailblazer was a shock sacking in PM’s 2020 reshuffle 

Nusrat Ghani – often known as Nus – was lengthy seen as a rising star in Tory circles.

And it got here as a shock to many when she was axed as a minister in 2020. 

The 49-year-old was born in Kashmir to Pakistani dad and mom and grew up in Birmingham.

She labored in an funding financial institution, charities and the BBC World Service earlier than getting into politics. 

Ms Ghani is married to Sky govt David Wheeldon, with whom she has one little one.

She stood within the 2010 basic election for the seat of Birmingham Ladywood and misplaced, however was elected as MP for Wealden in East Sussex in 2015. She was the primary feminine to win the seat and the primary Muslim girl elected as a Tory MP.

After her victory, Ms Ghani stated: ‘Because the nation wakes up the Conservatives look to be getting ready to returning to authorities.’

‘We have now helped put our nation again on monitor. Our get together has taken daring steps and you’ve got put your belief in us to complete the job.’

In 2015, Ms Ghani was appointed a member of the Residence Affairs Choose Committee. A Brexiteer, Ms Ghani in 2016 informed the BBC: ‘Britain has an opportunity to vote for a daring, optimistic future as an unbiased nation in charge of its personal future.

‘We have now the possibility to liberate our economic system from a declining nook of the world and unfold our wings to the entire globe.’

Ms Ghani was appointed assistant whip and transport minister in 2018 beneath Theresa Might. She was the primary feminine Muslim to talk from the Commons dispatch field. On the time, then-Transport Secretary Chris Grayling informed the BBC her promotion confirmed the Conservatives ‘have been a celebration of alternative’.

‘We are the get together to supply… the primary Muslim girl minister to talk from the federal government dispatch field – the member for Wealden,’ he stated.’

Ms Ghani wrote on her web site: ‘A century after ladies obtained the vote for the primary time, I hope that immediately younger folks can see that no matter their background, religion, race, gender or sexuality, there will likely be a heat welcome on the inexperienced benches, and regardless of the place you’re from you’ll be able to obtain your desires and ambitions.’

In 2020, when Ms Ghani was faraway from the position, she was changed by Kelly Tolhurst. Ms Ghani has stated that she was stunned on the demotion, and the shuffle was reported in that mild given she had been tipped to supervise HS2 progress.

Ms Ghani is a steering committee member of the backbench Covid Restoration Group which opposed the December 2020 lockdown and has voted in opposition to different Covid restrictions.

Elsewhere, a Tory MP sparked anger after he stated Ms Ghani was ‘hardly somebody who is clearly a Muslim’. 

Michael Fabricant stated the timing of the previous transport minister’s declare was ‘very suspicious’, and recommended it was linked to strikes to do away with Boris Johnson over the Downing Avenue lockdown events scandal. 

Yesterday, Labour described Mr Fabricant’s feedback as ‘shameful’ and referred to as for the Conservative whip to be withdrawn.

Talking on LBC, Mr Fabricant stated: ‘The timing is attention-grabbing. I feel all it’s because it is open season on Boris Johnson, placing stress on him from the get together attempting to get him to resign.

‘I feel the entire thing truly stinks, the accusation being made by Nus Ghani.

‘She’s hardly somebody who is clearly a Muslim. I had no thought what faith she is. It does appear fairly a lame excuse to me that she was sacked due to that.’

In response, shadow international secretary David Lammy tweeted: ‘What an appalling, disgraceful factor to say.

‘If the Tories wished to point out they have been severe about tackling Islamophobia, they may begin by eradicating the whip from Michael Fabricant.’

Labour Get together chair Anneliese Dodds stated the response of the the Tories to Ms Ghani’s claims had been shameful.

‘For a Conservative MP, Michael Fabricant, to go on the radio and make feedback that replicate precisely the kind of unacceptable behaviour Nusrat has raised reveals simply how deep the issue within the Conservative Get together goes,’ she stated.

Ms Ghani has obtained the backing of Well being Secretary Sajid Javid and Schooling Nadhim Zahawi, the 2 most senior Muslims within the Cupboard.

Each took to Twitter to help her and demand a full investigation into her claims in opposition to Mr Spencer.                

He has outed himself because the whip involved, and branded Ms Ghani’s feedback ‘false’ and ‘defamatory’. 

Justice secretary Dominic Raab additionally lined as much as defend the get together, claiming she had determined to not name for an investigation on the time.

However Mr Javid stated Ms Ghani was ‘a credit score to the Conservative Get together’, including: ‘This can be a very severe matter which wants a correct investigation. I might strongly help her in making a proper grievance – she have to be heard.’

His intervention declare after Mr Zahawi tweeted: ‘There isn’t a place for islamophobia or any type of racism in our Conservative get together. Nusrat Ghani is a good friend, a colleague & a superb parliamentarian. This must be investigated correctly & racism routed out. #standwithNus’ . 

Ms Ghani, who was the primary Muslim girl to be elected as a Tory MP in 2015, informed the Sunday Occasions she was informed by a celebration whip she was being axed in February 2020 as a result of her standing as a Muslim girl and a minister was ‘making colleagues really feel uncomfortable’.

She additionally claimed she was warned that if she continued to lift the problem then her ‘profession and repute can be destroyed’.   

However yesterday morning Downing Avenue revealed that Ms Ghani had complained on to the PM in 2020. A spokeswoman stated: ‘After being made conscious of those extraordinarily severe claims, the Prime Minister met with Nusrat Ghani to debate them. 

‘He then wrote to her expressing his severe concern and alluring her to start a proper grievance course of. She didn’t subsequently accomplish that.’

After that assertion was launched, Ms Ghani stated: ‘Once I informed the Prime Minister in June 2020 what had been stated to me within the Authorities Whips’ Workplace I urged him to take it severely as a Authorities matter and instigate an inquiry.

‘He wrote to me that he couldn’t get entangled and recommended I exploit the interior Conservative Get together grievance course of.

‘This, as I had already identified, was very clearly not applicable for one thing that occurred on Authorities enterprise – I don’t even know if the phrases that have been conveyed to me about what was stated in reshuffle conferences at Downing Avenue have been by members of the Conservative Get together.’