Will Dry, Rishi Sunak’s former special adviser, is believed to have worked with a group of rebels trying to unseat the prime minister and helped commission a poll that predicted a landslide Labor victory. Tom Ambroise reports.
There are other details at the time, which says Dry has “worked with an informal group of a dozen former government policy advisers and MPs who believe the Tories are doomed under Sunak’s leadership”. He brings back :
The rebel group is based in central London. They are said to be working with around a dozen Tory MPs to draw up plans to remove Sunak from office. Suella Braverman, the former interior minister, is said to be among those who believe a new prime minister is needed. She has repeatedly said Sunak needs to “change course”.
Nicolas Sturgeon denied hiding emails about the covid crisis on his private Scottish National Party account, and said those “relevant to the management of the pandemic” had been handed over.
Opposition leaders yesterday demanded full disclosure of emails from her SNP account after Britain’s Covid inquiry published evidence from public health expert Professor Devi Sridhar that Sturgeon had proposed to use his private account for government business. Sturgeon told Sridhar: “Don’t worry about protocol.”
In response, a source close to the former prime minister said:
All emails relevant to the management of the pandemic received by Nicola in her private email have been forwarded to the Scottish Government so that they can be processed and recorded appropriately.
Scottish Labor yesterday asked John-Paul Marks, the Scottish Government’s permanent secretary, to investigate whether emails relating to government business were referred to the inquiry. The Scottish Government has not yet responded on his behalf.
The Scottish Conservatives have said Sturgeon should publish them – a request she appears to have rejected.
Jackie Baillie, The Scottish Labor deputy leader said Sturgeon’s carefully worded response was far from enough. She says:
Full disclosure of all communications is necessary and it is up to the investigation to determine what is relevant.
The former first minister has form here: during the Salmond inquiry (into the Scottish Government’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations against him), reference was made to the use of SNP emails to avoid scrutiny. All SNP emails must be disclosed.
And the former prime minister knows government business should not be conducted over private email and she broke those rules.
Last night ITV published a new poll, carried out by YouGov for the Labor Party. Fabienne Company, showing that Labour’s lead in its 150 key target seats is even bigger than its lead in the country as a whole. The poll suggests Labor has a 24-point lead nationally (Lab 46%, Con 22%), but a 34-point lead in battleground seats (Lab 52%, Con 18% ).
Full voting details are available this report from the Fabian Society.
Chris Philp, the police minister, also said that within a year or so the police could have technology that would allow them to scan people for knives as they walk down the street. He told GB News:
We are also investing, at the Ministry of the Interior, in new technologies. It’s not ready to roll out yet, but I hope it will be in about a year. This will scan people for knives as they walk along main streets in order to remove more knives from the streets.
In his morning interviews Chris Philp, the Police Minister, said he wanted police to feel “more confident” in using stop and search to tackle knife crime. He told BBC Breakfast:
I also want the police to be much more confident in using their stop and search powers to stop people on the street when they are suspected of carrying knives or drugs and carry out a search….
There’s still a lot to do, so starting in April we’re going to really step up these hot spot patrols.
He also said that “I don’t think some Labor politicians, like Sadiq Khan (London Mayor) in particular, are giving the police the encouragement they need.”
Good morning. Labor and the Conservatives are in a bidding war over knife crime today, with Keir Starmer announcing or re-announcing various plans to tackle the problem on the day the Home Office lays legislation before Parliament to ban zombie type knives. Pippa Crerar has the details here.
You might think the government was already supposed to ban them. According to Labor, the government has made 16 announcements on this theme since 2015. But, as Chris Philpadmitted this morning the Minister of Police, a previous crackdown contained a fairly obvious gap.
When the government legislated to ban zombie knives, it defined them such as blades having a cutting edge, a jagged edge and “images or words suggesting that they are to be used for violence”. When the legislation came into force, manufacturers resorted to a clever ploy to circumvent the ban; they simply left out images or logos.
When asked why the legislation contained such an obvious flaw, Philp told LBC:
I was not responsible at the time. There was essentially a loophole that knives banned in 2019 had to have threatening words or images on them… What then happened was that the manufacturers responded by removing the words and images… which, among other things loopholes, is being closed.
When told it should have been obvious that manufacturers would do this, he replied:
Maybe it is. I can vouch for what we do now. This caught my attention and we are fixing it today.
Here is the program for the day.
9:30 a.m.: Kemi Badenoch, the Business and Commerce Secretary, answers questions in the Commons.
Morning: Keir Starmer is visiting Buckinghamshire.
10 a.m.: Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary, gives evidence to the UK Covid inquiry in Edinburgh. Liz Lloyd, Nicola Sturgeon’s former chief of staff, follows him and Humza Yousaf, the Scottish first minister, gives evidence at 2 p.m.
10:30 a.m.: Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt answers questions about next week’s proceedings in the House.
11 a.m.: Outgoing Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford takes part in a question and answer session at the Institute for Government think tank.
11:30 a.m.: Downing Street holds a briefing in the lobby.
After 11:30 a.m.: Karen Bradley, chair of the Commons Procedure Committee, makes a Commons statement on her committee’s proposal that David Cameron be questioned by MPs in the House.
Afternoon: Rishi Sunak is visiting Yorkshire.
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