Boris Johnson news – live: Government Right to Buy scheme plans branded ‘hare-brained’

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Neil Parish resigns after admitting to watching pornography in the Commons

Government proposals to sell off housing association properties have been branded “hare-brained” amid warnings they will worsen the shortage of homes for more than a million people on waiting lists for affordable accommodation.

Boris Johnson is reported to want to grant 2.5m housing association tenants in England the right to purchase their homes at a massive discount, in an echo of Margaret Thatcher’s popular “right to buy” policy of the 1980s which saw a huge proportion of the nation’s stock of council homes sold.

Labour branded the plan “desperate”, pointing out that it repeats a policy from David Cameron’s 2015 Conservative manifesto which failed to deliver any sales.

And the chief executive of homelessness charity Shelter said the “hare-brained idea” was “the opposite of what the country needs”.

Earlier, a minister rejected calls for an all-women shortlist to find a replacement for disgraced Tory MP Neil Parish. Universities minister Michelle Donelan said that female-only shortlists for parliamentary candidates are “demeaning” to women.

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Tory rift over call to find female candidate to replace porn shame MP

Universities minister, Michelle Donelan, said that female-only shortlists for parliamentary candidates are “demeaning” to women.

Boris Johnson is facing calls from within his own party to ensure that a woman is chosen to fight the by-election in the east Devon seat of Tiverton and Honiton triggered by Parish’s resignation after being caught watching pornography in the Commons chamber.

Namita Singh3 May 2022 05:13

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Labour question Rishi Sunak on Russian presence of company in which wife £400m stake

Labour has written to Rishi Sunak demanding to know whether he or his family benefit from the continued presence of a company in Russia in which his wife holds a £400m stake.

Reports on Monday suggested that Indian-based IT giant Infosys – founded by the father of Mr Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty – is still operating in Moscow despite promising a month ago it was leaving.

Shadow economic secretary Tulip Siddiq called on the chancellor to clarify when the company’s Russian office will be shut down and whether he or any of his immediate family are benefiting from its continued operation.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has the details.

Namita Singh3 May 2022 04:54

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Johnson to evoke Churchill as he tells Ukrainian parliament this is country’s ‘finest hour’

The prime minister will be the first western leader to address the Verkhovna Rada in Kyiv by video link, almost two months after president Volodymyr Zelensky gave his own message to the House of Commons.

Mr Johnson will say that the UK is “proud to be among Ukraine’s friends” and will announce a new £300m package of defensive military aid, including electronic warfare kit, a counter-battery radar system, GPS jamming equipment and thousands of night-vision devices.

More about his address to Ukraine’s parliament in this report by Andrew Woodcock.

Namita Singh3 May 2022 04:35

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Welcome back to The Independent’s liveblog where we are resuming the updates on UK Politics for 3 May 2022.

Namita Singh3 May 2022 04:19

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We’re pausing updates on the blog for tonight, thanks for following with us.

You can find all of The Independent’s latest articles on UK politics here.

Or else keep scrolling to catch up on the day’s political events.

Andy Gregory2 May 2022 20:31

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Opinion | Will the Northern Ireland elections finally end a relentless game of tug of war?

“In Northern Ireland, we live in a perpetual game of tug of war,” my colleague Caolán Magee writes for Independent Voices.

“On one side of the rope stands nationalists and republicans who pull in the direction of closer ties with the Republic of Ireland, with the eventual goal of a united Ireland. Unionists and loyalists stand on the other side of the rope, pulling in the direction of Britain, to solidify Northern Ireland’s status in the United Kingdom.

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is because political decisions are taken in the context of the constitutional question, with little consideration given to whether these decisions will materially improve people’s lives.

“An inch is given, a mile taken, before the rope cannot withstand the tension and it snaps. Republicans and loyalists fall into the mud and splash the onlookers of the sectarian spectacle. Historically, this came in the form of bombings and killings. Today, it comes in the form of assembly collapses.”

He adds: “For this election, Sinn Fein has put down the rope and joined the crowd of onlookers watching the DUP tangle themselves in knots. A new generation of voters wants to unshackle themselves from a rope that has pitted the two communities against each other for a century.”

You can read his analysis in full here:

Andy Gregory2 May 2022 20:14

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Starmer’s lead over Johnson as voters’ favoured PM narrows, poll suggests

Sir Keir Starmer’s lead over Boris Johnson as voters’ preferred prime minister narrowed considerably last week, polling suggests, with the two leaders apparently now nearly neck-and-neck in the eyes of the public.

Asked on Sunday who would make a better PM, 35 per cent of the 2,000 people polled by Redfield & Wilton Strategies chose the Labour leader – marking a drop of 5 per cent on the previous week.

In contrast, 33 per cent chose Mr Johnson, while a huge 31 per cent said they didn’t know.

Andy Gregory2 May 2022 19:50

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Nadine Dorries defends decision to share Daily Mail article about Keir Starmer

The culture secretary has issued a further defence of her decision to share a Daily Mail article about Sir Keir Starmer’s attendance at a Durham campaign event during lockdown.

The article, which includes claims relating to a takeaway delivery of curry, has sparked outrage among some over its inclusion of a stock image of the Labour leader eating a curry alongside the late MP Frank Dobson, who died in 2019 and who has been cropped out of the photo.

Nadine Dorries tweeted: “I’ve linked to an article and am not responsible for what photographs they use. The substance is in the story and the absurdity that we are expected to believe that Starmer had beers and curry with others at 10pm and then went back to work? Is that what he told the police?”

Andy Gregory2 May 2022 19:32

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Protests in British Virgin Islands over plan for UK to impose direct rule on territory

Protests have taken place in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) against plans for the UK to take direct rule of the territory following the arrest of its elected leader, our race correspondent Nadine White reports.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside of Government House in Tortola, the residence of the governor-general John Rankin, on Monday, after an inquiry led by British judge Sir Gary Hickinbottom into corruption recommended the islands be governed from London for two years.

However, many BVI residents are resisting this suggestion which has been described as “colonial”, particularly in the context of the region’s history as a former British slave colony, and undemocratic as there are no plans to put the matter to the public.

The UK’s minister for the overseas territories, Amanda Milling, arrived in the British Virgin Islands on Sunday for a three-day trip in which discussions will be had about future leadership of the region. However, the content of these discussions have been shrouded in ambiguity, protesters have said, as they called for Ms Mulling to include BVI residents in conversations about the country’s future.

Andy Gregory2 May 2022 18:55

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Culture secretary tells Labour MP to ‘behave’ in row over Starmer curry photo

Nadine Dorries has hit back at Labour’s Chris Bryant, after he accused her of tweeting what he claimed was “a blatant lie” about Sir Keir Starmer.

There is outrage in some quarters this afternoon over the Daily Mail’s use of a stock photo of the Labour leader eating curry next to the late MP Frank Dobson, who has been clipped out of the image, in an article about a campaigning event in Durham attended by Sir Keir during lockdown.

“We are expected to believe that a curry and beers arrived for about 30 people at 10pm, and this was a break for a work meeting?” the culture secretary tweeted, linking to the Mail article and claiming: “No reasonable person believes Labours [sic] story, so why do Durham police and what were they told?”

Writing that he had been Dobson’s election agent in 1992 and attended “his beautiful funeral in 2019”, Mr Bryant tweeted: It’s bad enough that a culture secretary would tweet a blatant lie, but despicable that she’s refusing to take it down.”

But Ms Dorries retorted: “Oh Chris, behave. It’s a generic stock photo and they are used all the time as you well know. Just like the pictures of the PM with a birthday cake outside a school -not in cake free Downing St. Frank was a lovely man, we can all agree on that.”

This morning, Sir Keir again denied breaking lockdown rules in Durham last year, saying: “There was no party. There was no breach of the rules. There was nothing really to add to that.

“Contrast that to Downing Street, where we know that there have been 50 fines issued already in Downing Street in relation to goings on. That makes Downing Street the most fined workplace in the whole of the UK.”

Andy Gregory2 May 2022 18:40

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