Home Play by Mail Wednesday briefing: New headache for Prime Minister over ‘prosecco’ party No 10 |

Wednesday briefing: New headache for Prime Minister over ‘prosecco’ party No 10 |


Headline-grabbing: Police investigating three Johnson-related events

Hello everybody. I’m Martin Farrer and these are today’s best stories.

A day after promising to restart his failing government, Boris Johnson is facing fresh allegations over anti-lockdown parties in Downing Street after the Guardian learned he witnessed a prosecco-fueled departure for a No. 10 during the strict post-Christmas closure last year. The alleged party is now the subject of a police investigation. Sue Gray’s investigation into the lockdown parties uncovered several events that had not been made public before, including a rally on January 14, 2021 “on the occasion of the departure of two Private Secretaries No. 10”. But the redacted report revealed no further details. Sources said the event was held in Downing Street partly as a departure for a senior political adviser who is now a senior civil servant working in the culture department. Three rallies Johnson allegedly attended are currently under police investigation.

Anger continues to simmer on the Tory benches after Johnson’s allies informed that he had won his party despite the damage from the Gray report. As splits emerge in the Tory centrists’ One Nation group, veteran MP Peter Aldous said he had submitted a letter of censure and MP Tom Hunt slammed Johnson’s “cack-handed” backers. However, Tories cheered as many hailed the return of Lynton Crosby, Australia’s campaign guru, to the Prime Minister’s side as part of the planned No 10 hitback.

Upgrade – Michael Gove will lead another key part of the government’s bid to reset today when he launches the landmark leveling white paper, with targets for reducing inequality in society by 2030 to be enshrined in law. The Communities Secretary will promise to ‘end the postcode lottery’ of inequality across Britain, setting out 12 legally binding ‘missions’ to improve health, living standards, transport, crime and well-being by the end of the decade. Labor has called the policy “new slogans without new ideas”, while the research exposes the inequality of the funding formula.

Putin speaks out – Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of trying to draw his country into war by providing military support to Ukraine as the tense standoff over Moscow’s military buildup in eastern Ukraine unfolds. continued. In his first public comments on the growing crisis since December, the Russian president said the West was ignoring Russia’s security proposals and using Ukraine to spark conflict. Boris Johnson warned during a whirlwind visit to Kiev that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would end in humanitarian, political and military disaster for Russia and the world. And our diplomatic editor argues that the Ukraine crisis is the first post-Brexit test for Britain to show it is not global irrelevance as many had predicted. It’s also a test Johnson can’t afford to fail.

New arrest of Greenwood – Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood has also been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and death threats. The 20-year-old was arrested on suspicion of rape and assault on Sunday after police saw a woman reporting allegations of physical abuse and sexual threats on social media. Greater Manchester Police, who did not identify the player by name, said yesterday a suspect was re-arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and death threats after being granted more time for the interrogate. Police have until later today to decide whether to charge or release him.

Goldberg suspended – Whoopi Goldberg has been suspended from a US talk show after saying during a TV appearance that the Holocaust was “not about race”. The 66-year-old actor apologized for his remarks on The Late Show and again on The View’s upcoming broadcast on Tuesday morning. But now she has been suspended from the latter program “effective immediately”, ABC announced last night.

“Epidemic of fraud” – An influential group of MPs has urged the government to tackle an ‘epidemic of fraud’ across Britain, amid concerns about the growing financial cost to consumers and taxpayers from economic crime. The Commons Treasury Committee has said ministers must pass new laws after a 43 per cent rise in fraud and misuse of computers between June 2019 and June 2021. It comes amid growing anger over to official figures which showed ministers had spent nearly £9billion on personal protective equipment. either substandard, defective, past its expiration date or overpriced.

Photography: Geoffrey Swaine/Rex/Shutterstock

Early flowering – If you think plants are flowering much earlier than before, you’re right: new research indicates that flowers are coming out a month earlier in the UK as the climate warms. Researchers led by a Cambridge professor examined 420,000 recorded dates of first bloom for over 400 species, dating back to 1793. The average date of first bloom was around May 12 until 1986, but since then the date has been brought forward to April 16. .

Today Podcast in the spotlight

The attack on a prison in northern Syria by Islamic State fighters has sparked a six-day siege that marked the terror group’s most dramatic stand since the collapse of its ‘caliphate’ there almost three years old. Martin Chulov explains why his threat is far from over.

Why the Islamic State is still a threat

Why the Islamic State is still a threat

Midday Reading: Has the Sex-Positive Revolution Failed?

Love Island promoted 'joyful exhibitionism'
Love Island promoted “joyous exhibitionism”. Photography: Matt Frost/ITV/Rex/Shutterstock

The sex-positive feminism movement championed the right to enjoy sex and was meant to liberate women from guilt or shame. A Gen Z says their experience kept them from having sex for a year, and now many are wondering if it made them more vulnerable.


England’s plans for the Calcutta Cup Six Nations opener in Edinburgh on Saturday have been dealt a double blow with captain Courtney Lawes and lock Jonny Hill both ruled out with injury. Here’s a team-by-team guide for the opening weekend. The specter of 1936 and 1980 haunts Beijing as the Winter Olympics prepare to open in the Chinese capital amid a deafening silence over human rights abuses. Saudi Arabia’s plans to entice some of golf’s leading players to play in some sort of super league will cause huge disruption to the game’s major tours in the US and Europe, with reports the star England of the Ryder Cup Ian Poulter is one of them.

We take a look at the top 10 transfers in the now-ended January window, such as Bruno Guimarães’ £33m move from Lyon to Newcastle and Dusan Vlahovic’s £63m transfer from Fiorentina to Juventus. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s transfer from Arsenal to Barcelona was arranged on pizza, promises and a director of football working miracles, while high spending indicates football could be back on the path to a super league.


Store price inflation nearly doubled to 1.5% in January, hitting its highest level in nearly a decade as the cost of furniture and flooring soared. Food prices rose 2.7% from 2.4% the previous month and the highest rate since October 2013. But the biggest change is in non-food items such as furniture and flooring , with prices up 0.9% versus 0.2% a month earlier. The FTSE100 is on course to climb 0.77% at the open, while the pound is at $1.345 and €1.199.

The papers

Money is the dominant theme on many front pages this morning with the To post leading an attack on wasteful government spending on PPE: ‘What a waste of £13billion,’ he says. the Express is also rabid about it with a splash saying “Outrageous! £8.7billion of YOUR money wasted.” the Time says “Rebates on energy bills to help counter rising costs”, but the Mirror takes another take on the cost of living story with “The price crisis is making us £2,000 a year worse off”. the FT reports European rate hike: “Markets are signaling that they expect at least two ECB rate hikes this year.”

Guardian front page February 2, 2022
Photography: The Guardian

the Guardian leads with “Race up is ‘new slogans without new ideas,’ says Labor”, while the Telegraph a “HRT for sale over the counter”. the I reports that “the Conservatives have warned the Prime Minister”.


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