London politics news LIVE: Boris Johnson announces reshuffle as he refuses to apologise over Savile smear

Boris Johnson has embarked on a mini-reshuffle as he continued to resist calls to apologise for his controversial attack on Sir Keir Starmer over Jimmy Savile.

Chief Whip Mark Spencer, who has been criticised for his handling of discipline among MPs, is moved sideways to become Leader of the Commons.

He replaces Jacob Rees-Mogg who becomes Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency in the Cabinet Office.

Chris Heaton-Harris, a long time ally of Mr Johnson, takes over as his parliamentary enforcer as the new Chief Whip.

The announcements came as the Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle delivered a fresh rebuke to Mr Johnson over his claim in the Commons last week that Sir Keir failed to prosecute Savile when he was director of public prosecutions.

NHS ‘needs more investment in staff’, says Javid

22:02 , Daniel Keane

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said there needs to be “more investment in staff” in the NHS.

Asked today by reporters about what is being done to increase staff and why a workforce plan has not been published, Mr Javid said: “I can not thank staff enough throughout the NHS and social care for how they have handled the huge challenge, probably the biggest in a lifetime, throughout the pandemic. They are all heroes in what they have done.

“There needs to be, of course, more investment in staff. The workforce is that the heart of the NHS and that is why we have seen 10,000 more nurses over the last year and 5,000 more doctors.

“We have got more doctors and nurses than ever before in the NHS’s history but we will continue to invest, that is also why I have asked the NHS for a long-term workforce plan.”

Mo Gilligan jokes Boris Johnson should join BRIT awards party

21:13 , Daniel Keane

Mo Gilligan mocked the Prime Minister inviting him to the Brit Awards ceremony because “I know you love a party”.

The comedian, 33, is hosting the awards show for the first time, taking over from Jack Whitehall who has helmed the event for many years.

Gilligan poked fun at Boris Johnson following the partygate scandal which has dogged Downing Street.

He joked: “We all love a party, the mad hatter’s tea party.

“Speaking of parties, Boris I know you’re watching, I know you love a party, come on my guy, come down.

“I know you like a cheese board, look at you, looking for the Dairylea.”

Govt ‘committed to tackling waiting times'

20:27 , Daniel Keane

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has spoken of the Government’s commitments to tackle waiting times and how the NHS would deal with the backlog of care built up during the Covid pandemic.

Mr Javid, who was speaking at a hospital visit in east London on Tuesday, said: “What we have committed to is that by 2025 the NHS, in terms of total activity, will be at least 30 per cent more a year than what it was pre-pandemic.

“That is because of the record investments we are making in workforce but also in capital investments we are making in places like these new community diagnostic centres that I have seen today here at the Mile End Hospital but also the new surgical hubs.”

Tory MP admits he was wrong to say roads cause more deaths than Covid

20:05 , Daniel Keane

A Conservative MP has accepted it was incorrect for him to claim more people were dying in road accidents than of Covid.

Former minister Sir Desmond Swayne raised a point of order in the House of Commons to correct the record on Tuesday evening.

On December 14, Sir Desmond told a debate on coronavirus restrictions that people had to decide what their “risk appetite” was rather than the Government.

He said: “Notwithstanding the carnage on our roads, which is certainly killing more people than Covid at the moment, some of us still decide to drive. It is a matter of opinion.”

Chris Pincher reprises old Deputy Chief Whip role as shake-up continues

19:22 , Michael Howie

Downing Street has confirmed that Chris Pincher has been given the role of Deputy Chief Whip in the reshuffle.

The Conservative MP for Tamworth has been moved from his previous position as a minister in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Mr Pincher’s appointment marks a return to a position he held previously during Theresa May’s tenure in No 10.

Javid says Spencer will ‘do a very good job’ after reshuffle

18:54 , Daniel Keane

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said that Mark Spencer, who has gone from chief whip to become the new Commons Leader in the reshuffle, “will do a very good job in the position he has been given”.

Mr Spencer is currently facing a Cabinet Office-led investigation into claims that he told Tory MP Nusrat Ghani that she lost her ministerial role because her Muslim faith made people feel uncomfortable.

Mr Javid, speaking after a hospital visit in east London, said: “The investigation being referred to is being carried out by the Cabinet Office.

“Anyone being investigated would have nothing to do with the investigatory process itself. It is right that there is this investigation. These were serious allegations.

“It is also fair to put on the record that Mark, who is a friend and colleague, as well as Nusrat Ghani, who made the allegations and they are both friends and colleagues, that Mark has said that he doesn’t recognise any of those words that have been attributed to him.

“He is a friend and a colleague and I think he will do a very good job in the position he has been given.”

Javid heckled by member of the public in east London

18:29 , Daniel Keane

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has been heckled by a member of the public as he said “the protesters themselves” are to blame for the abuse targeted at Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Mr Javid, who had just been on a visit to the Mile End Diagnostics in east London on Tuesday, was answering press questions about the scenes in Westminster which saw Sir Keir needing police to escort him to safety.

Asked if Boris Johnson should apologise for his controversial attack on Sir Keir over Jimmy Savile, Mr Javid said: “I saw those scenes yesterday of Keir Starmer and David Lammy.

“First of all, I think that what happened to them was completely disgraceful in every way. No politician in our country, it doesn’t matter who they are, should have to put up with anything like that.”

A cyclist who was passing by then repeatedly shouted “well then, why isn’t Boris apologising for his remarks?”

Mr Javid continued: “I do think though, that when you look at what happened itself, the people that are to blame are the protesters themselves.”

Archbishop of Canterbury condemns heckling of Starmer and Lammy

18:04 , Daniel Keane

The Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned the heckling of Sir Keir Starmer and David Lammy outside the Palace of Westminster as “shocking, disturbing, and utterly abysmal”.

Delivering a talk to the Church of England’s general synod on Tuesday, Justin Welby said: “It is by recognising and hating its enemies that the political body will find its own common consciousness.”

He continued: “Does that not speak to us as much today as it did in 1942?

“From the individual events like the shocking, disturbing, and utterly abysmal harassing of Keir Starmer and David Lammy yesterday to the threats of war in Eastern Europe to the actual wars around the world.

“Do we not see societies forgetting God and therefore existing by the creation of an enemy?”

Foreign Office targeted in ‘serious security incident’

17:45 , Daniel Keane

The Foreign Office has been a “target of a serious cyber security incident”, according to a public tender document.

The document did not outline what happened or who carried it out but stated there was “urgent support” required to “support remediation and investigation”.

It added that BAE Systems Applied Intelligence was called in to deal with the incident and received more than £467,000 for its work.

The document said the work required involved “business analyst and technical architect support to analyse an authority cyber security incident”.

The firm’s contract was concluded on January 12 this year, although it has not been confirmed when the incident took place or how much damage was caused.

Wendy Morton made transport minister

17:26 , Daniel Keane

Some more news from today’s reshuffle.

Wendy Morton MP has been made a Minister of State in the Department for Transport, Downing Street has announced.

She had previously been parliamentary undersecretary in the same department.

Gove declines to say whether PM should apologise for Savile jibe

17:03 , Daniel Keane

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove declined to say whether Boris Johnson should apologise for his Jimmy Savile jibe directed at Sir Keir Starmer.

Speaking at the Convention for the North in Liverpool, he was asked whether the prime minister should withdraw his comments in the wake up the abuse directed at the Labour leader on Monday evening by protesters.

Mr Gove responded: “It’s a uniquely sensitive issue and I think the sooner the debate moves on the better.”

Downing St says reshuffle will improve links between No10 and Parliament

16:40 , Daniel Keane

Downing Street has claimed that today’s mini Cabinet reshuffle will improve links between No 10 and Parliament.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “As the PM said last week, it is important that we both make immediate changes to improve both how the No 10 operation works and the work of the Cabinet Office, and further changes to strengthen Cabinet government and improve that vital connection between No 10 and Parliament.

“The changes being made today will strengthen that connection. We have changes to the whips’ office, improving engagement with MPs and helping to drive the Government’s ambitious agenda.

“We have a new Brexit opportunities minister, a role that’s been created to drive forward the changes we are able to make now that we have left the EU, delivering on our post-Brexit agenda across Whitehall.”

Sturgeon warns of ‘dangerous’ moment for British politics

16:24 , Daniel Keane

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that the abuse directed at Sir Keir Starmer after Boris Johnson’s Savile smear could represent a “dangerous” moment in British politics.

She said: “Credit to Keir Starmer and to David Lammy, who will know more than most of us about these far right attacks, for the way they conducted themselves.

“I have had some experience personally of being confronted on the streets by the far right, it’s not pleasant, it’s deeply unpleasant, and I’m sure they will have been deeply shaken by it.

“I think they deserve credit for the way in which they handled it.”

She added: “This is a moment to decide that this is not acceptable in our politics.

“Tough scrutiny of politicians is essential in our democracy but when that crosses the line and becomes the stirring up of hate and abuse, something has gone far wrong and that’s a moment to draw a line in the sand and say we cannot allow this to continue.”

Rees-Mogg says he ‘does not recollect’ giving PM Savile jibe

16:00 , Daniel Keane

New Brexit minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has he did not recollect feeding the Prime Minister the debunked jibe about Sir Keir Starmer failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile while the Labour leader was director of public prosecutions.

Asked about a report in the Sunday Times that suggested he gave Boris Johnson the idea for using the attack line in the Commons last week, he told Conservative Home’s The Moggcast: “That isn’t my recollection.

“What was going on at the time was a very noisy chamber and people were shouting things out.

“I think it came from behind us, but it seemed to me a perfectly fair point to use.”

He added: “I certainly mentioned the point about journalists in the back and forth across the chamber, but I think it came from behind both of us.

“I wasn’t sitting next to the Prime Minister, so I wasn’t in a particularly good position to be feeding him lines.”

Cleverley becomes minister for Europe

15:42 , Daniel Keane

Another move in today’s reshuffle just announced.

James Cleverly MP will become Minister of State (Minister for Europe) in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) as part of the shake-up of the Government frontbench, Downing Street said.

Still going.... Heather Wheeler moves to Cabinet Office

15:15 , Elly Blake

MP Heather Wheeler will be a parliamentary secretary in the Cabinet Office.

This is in addition to her current role as an assistant government whip.

Still going.... Heather Wheeler moves to Cabinet Office

15:15 , Elly Blake

MP Heather Wheeler will be a parliamentary secretary in the Cabinet Office.

This is in addition to her current role as an assistant government whip.

Michael Ellis to be minister for the Cabinet Office

14:45 , Elly Blake

Michael Ellis will attend Cabinet after having the role of Minister for the Cabinet Office added to his existing post as Paymaster General.

New Chief Whip announced

13:55 , Elly Blake

Chris Heaton-Harris has been appointed as the new Chief Whip, Downing Street said.

Deputy Chief Whip moves to housing

13:51 , Rachael Burford

Stuart Andrew has lost his role as Deputy Chief Whip, moving to become Minister of State for Housing in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Mini Cabinet reshuffle sees Mark Spencer become Commons leader

13:36 , Elly Blake

Mark Spencer has been moved from Chief Whip to Commons leader as part of Boris Johnson’s reshuffle, No 10 said.

Mini Cabinet reshuffle under way

13:31 , Elly Blake

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been moved from Commons Leader to Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency in the Cabinet Office, No 10 said.

Jacob Rees-Mogg will be the minister responsible for “Brexit opportunities” in the first move confirmed as part of Boris Johnson’s reshuffle.

The shake-up of the ministerial team follows the appointment of Stephen Barclay as the Prime Minister’s chief of staff and comes as Mr Johnson seeks to relaunch his administration following the partygate row.

Mr Rees-Mogg, previously the Leader of the House of Commons, will still sit at the Cabinet table in his new role as Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency.

Sajid Javid on plans to cut NHS waiting times to under a year by 2025

13:01 , Elly Blake

Outlining his plan to cut NHS elective surgery waiting times, Health Secretary Sajid Javid promised to cut waiting lists to under a year by 2025.

Mr Javid said: “Assuming half of the missing demand from the pandemic returns over the next three years, the NHS expect waiting lists to be reducing by March 2024.

“Addressing long waits is critical to the recovery of elective care and we will be actively offering longer waiting patients greater choice about their care to help bring these numbers down.

“The plan sets the ambition of eliminating waits of longer than a year, waits in elective care, by March 2025.

“With this no one will wait longer than two years by July this year and the NHS aims to eliminate the waits of over 18 months by April 2023 and over 65 weeks by March 2024.”

Mr Javid also said the NHS needed to “come together on a new national mission to fight what the virus has brought with it”.

Sajid Javid: NHS waiting lists will rise before they fall

12:55 , Josh Salisbury

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has began setting out his NHS “recovery plan” in the Commons by outlining that 10 million people are estimated to have stayed away from the NHS for care during the pandemic.

Mr Javid said that despite the NHS's "exceptional efforts" there "is now a considerable Covid backlog of elective care".

He added: "1,600 people have waited longer than a year for care before the pandemic. The latest data shows that this figure is now over 300,000.

"On top of this, the number of people waiting for elective care in England now stands at six million - that is up from 4.4 million before the pandemic.

"Sadly, this number will continue rising before it falls. A lot of people understandably stayed away from the NHS during the heights of the pandemic, and the most up-to-date estimate from the NHS is that that number is around 10 million people.

"I want these people to know that the NHS is open. I want them to come forward for the care they need."

No 10: Boris Johnson ‘has clarified’ Savile remark

12:41 , Josh Salisbury

Downing Street has made clear that Boris Johnson will not apologise for his controversial attack on Sir Keir Starmer accusing him of failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile, despite Mr Starmer being mobbed by protesters on Monday night.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman acknowledged the PM’s original words last week in the Commons were “capable of being misconstrued” which was why he subsequently issued a “clarification”.

“The Prime Minister clarified his remarks last week to make clear he was not suggesting Keir Starmer was individually responsible for the Savile decision,” the spokesman said.

He added: “I think the Prime Minister was making a political point about taking responsibility for organisations as a whole.”

Boris Johnson to conduct ‘small’ reshuffle of top team

12:33 , Josh Salisbury

Boris Johnson will carry out a small reshuffle on Tuesday, Downing Street has said.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said it was expected that there would be a “small number” changes announced.

The moves follow the appointment of Stephen Barclay, the Cabinet Office minister, as Mr Johnson’s new chief of staff.

Asked if the Prime Minister had confidence in the Chief Whip Mark Spencer, who may be moved from his current role, the spokesman said: “Yes”.

‘Our words have consequences’, says Sir Lindsay Hoyle

11:37 , Elly Blake

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he has requested a “situation report from the Metropolitan Police” on the incident which saw police having to rescue Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer from a mob near Parliament.

He told MPs that understood arrests have been made following the incident, adding: “I know it has been reported that some abuse was directed at the leader of the Opposition yesterday related to claims made by the Prime Minister in this chamber.

“But regardless of yesterday’s incident, I made it clear last week that while the Prime Minister’s words were not disorderly, they were inappropriate.

“As I said then, these sorts of comments only inflame opinions and generate disregard for the House and it is not acceptable.”

Giving a stark warning to MPs he said: “Our words have consequences and we should always be mindful of the fact.”

‘I pray for all who work in politics’, says Archbishop of Canterbury

10:58 , Elly Blake

Following the abuse aimed at Sir Keir Starmer on Monday evening, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, tweeted: “When politicians are harassed and threatened it’s a threat not just to the MPs themselves, but to the health of our democracy.

“We must condemn it and stand united against it. I continue to pray for all who work in politics, and for a culture where we can learn to disagree well.”

Another minister comes to PM’s defence over Keir Starmer abuse row

10:17 , Elly Blake

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said the abuse aimed at Sir Keir Starmer was “completely unacceptable” but insisted Boris Johnson’s comments were not to blame.

Echoing comments made by technology minister Chris Philp, Mr Lewis told ITV that the prime minister had made a “fair and reasonable point” that “somebody at the top of an organisation has responsibility for what happens in it”, in relation to Sir Keir’s former role as director of public prosecutions.

“That’s no excuse for people to behave the way they did last night and we shouldn’t give them that excuse either,” he added.

ONS: 1,385 Covid deaths in England and Wales in week ending January 28

09:49 , Elly Blake

A total of 1,385 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending January 28 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is down 7 per cent on the previous seven days and is the first week-on-week fall so far this year.

Around one in nine (11.2 per cent) deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to January 28 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.

Breaking: Six Russian warships heading to Black Sea for drills, according to Reuters

09:28 , Elly Blake

Six Russian warships are heading to the Black Sea for drills, the news agency Reuters is reporting.

Ministers arrive at No 10 for Cabinet meeting

09:04 , Elly Blake

It’s business as usual for Cabinet ministers, who have arrived at Downing Street for their weekly meeting.

Ben Wallace, Nadhim Zahawi, Oliver Dowden and Brandon Lewis were all pictured making an entrance.

Oliver Dowden and Brandon Lewis (AFP via Getty Images)
Oliver Dowden and Brandon Lewis (AFP via Getty Images)
Ben Wallace (AFP via Getty Images)
Ben Wallace (AFP via Getty Images)
Nadhim Zahawi (REUTERS)
Nadhim Zahawi (REUTERS)

Andy Burnham accuses PM of playing ‘Trump handbook’ at the despatch box

08:44 , Elly Blake

Andy Burnham has accused the prime minister of playing “the Trump handbook at the despatch box”.

The mayor of Greater Manchester said that Boris Johnson’s “words have consequences” after footage emerged of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer being ambused by an angry mob of protesters in Westminster on Monday.

Mr Burnham told Sky News: “If you are going play the Trump handbook at the despatch box at the House of Commons, and incite people with untruths, they are going to be consequences, and we saw some of those consequences yesterday.

“The thing that surprises me most, about the situation we are in, we are a matter of a couple of months since a British MP was murdered in his constituency office and it just feels as though they have moved on and it hasn’t registered.”

He called on Mr Johnson to “face up to" the Jimmy Savile 'slur' he levelled against Sir Keir Starmer.

Mr Burnham said “if it was wrong, apologise", adding that we all make mistakes and say things in the heat of the moment.

He said: “We all do things that we, perhaps on reflection wouldn’t have done in politics. In the heat of the moment, things come out.

“The best thing to do always, is to face up to it and say it was wrong and apologise.

“It was an extraordinary state of affairs to have a senior No 10 adviser, Johnson’s longest-serving aide, resigning on the back of this.

“That tells you a line has been crossed. I’m not saying he’s uniquely to blame, and there’s been inflammatory language amongst people on the left in recent times, so it’s not only his problem but he is the prime minister.

The mayor of Greater Manchester said that “words have consequences” and warned that the prime minister had a responsibility not to “decimate” parliamentary standards.

He continued: “When he speaks from the despatch box his words have consequences. And he can’t allow his desperation with regard to the situation he’s in to see up the decimation of all standards in politics. That really can’t happen.”

Addressing the recent attacks on the prime minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, Mr Burnham said it was “not right” for leaders’ other halves to get drawn into the political debate - adding that he spoke from personal experience.

Mr Burnham continued: “Leave wives, husbands and other halves out of it”.

Senior Tory MP urges PM to give ‘fulsome apology’ over Sir Keir Starmer Jimmy Savile ‘slur'

08:31 , Elly Blake

Boris Johnson has been urged by a senior Tory MP to make a “fulsome apology” for accusing Sir Keir Starmer of being to blame for Jimmy Savile not being prosecuted, writes political editor Nicholas Cecil.

Caroline Nokes, chair of the Commons women and equalities committee, stressed he should “genuinely” say sorry rather than a “half-baked, near apology”.

Mr Johnson last week clarified his remarks by saying he was not accusing Sir Keir, when he was director of public prosecutions, of personally taking the decisions not to prosecute Savile.

But after Sir Keir was mobbed by protestors near Parliament on Monday night, some shouting Savile, Ms Nokes told Times Radio: “The Prime Minister should come forward today and instead of having some half-baked near apology that we saw last week, he needs to make a fulsome apology...make it very clear that it’s not Keir Starmer who was personally responsible for the decisions around charging Jimmy Savile...

“I want to see a genuine apology that he does not then row back on in the Tea Room.”

She added: “It’s absolutely incumbent on every single one of us in that House to make sure that we have an informed, courteous, respectful political discourse in the Chamber so we don’t see those sort of mob scenes outside the Chamber.”

She stressed she had “called out” Mr Johnson’s use of language back in 2019.

“The terrible scenes that we saw yesterday afternoon are completely unaccepable in a democracy,” she continued.

“Of course, people have the right to protest, but they don’t have the right to threaten and terrorise democratically-elected politicians going about their work...and it’s a very, very slippery slope.”

Ms Nokes has previously called on Mr Johnson to resign over the ‘partygate’ scandal.

Widower of Jo Cox says PM has injected ‘poison into politics'

08:10 , Elly Blake

Brendan Cox, the widower of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, said the mobbing of Sir Keir Starmer on Monday could have been an “unintended consequence” of the Boris Johnson’s choice to “inject poison into politics” with his Jimmy Savile ‘slur’.

“If it was a one-off, I think we could be more sanguine about it,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“But I think what we’ve seen over the last few years really has been an increase in that level of intimidation online, absolutely, but also face to face.

“I think that it’s very hard to draw a direct link and to say that in some ways, the Prime Minister is directly responsible for what happened.

“I think the people that are directly responsible for what happened yesterday were the people that did it.

“However, it’s also true that if you inject poison into politics, that has a whole set of unintended consequences that people will react to in different ways and at times that can lead over into intimidation, it can lead over to violence, it can lead over into extremism.”

Sister of murdered Jo Cox says ‘words have consequences’ after seeing Keir Starmer abuse footage

07:47 , Elly Blake

The sister of murdered MP Jo Cox has condemned the scenes outside Westminster yesterday.

Kim Leadbeater, who is the MP for Batley and Spen, said she was “incredibly angry and upset” by footage showing Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer being abused by an angry mob near Parliament on Monday afternoon.

She tweeted: “I keep thinking about Keir & David’s families & friends. But these things don’t just happen.

“Words have consequences, leaders have a duty to behave responsibly & politics is not a game.

“Our country deserves far better.”

Jo Cox was murdered while representing the West Yorkshire constituency in 2016.

Mrs Leadbeater was elected as the Labour MP for Batley and Spen in July 2021.

Read the full story by political reporter Rachael Burford here.

Labour MP joins calls for PM to apologise for Jimmy Savile slur

07:36 , Elly Blake

Labour MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan has demanded Boris Johnson to apologise for the Jimmy Savile ‘slur’ against Sir Keir Starmer, after the Labour leader was surrounded by a mob near Parliament on Monday.

The MP for Tooting and shadow minister for mental health said: “I wasn’t there yesterday, I didn’t hear what was said, but I would make a general comment that the Prime Minister shouldn’t be looking in the dark corners of the internet for lies to smear his opponents but standing up for a better public discourse based on fact not fiction.

“Nobody wants to see people in public life hassled that way. That’s not the way we should be conducting ourselves,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“If the Prime Minister is genuinely sorry for what happened yesterday then he should come to Parliament and apologise unreservedly for his smears, like many of his own MPs have called for,” she said.

“Words have consequences, and without a doubt we need to have more responsible leaders who fight fake news and conspiracy theories, not promote them.

“We know that when Boris Johnson made horrible Islamophobic slurs, we know that hate crimes against Islamic women, when he compared them to letterboxes, went up, without a doubt.”

Dr Allin-Khan joins a number of MPs, including 10 Conservatives and many from across the political spectrum, in calling for an apology.

Technology minister defends PM over allegedly singing 'I Will Survive' to new director of communications

07:23 , Elly Blake

Technology minister Chris Philp has defended the prime minister over allegedly singing ‘I Will Survive’ to his new director of communications, Guto Harri.

Journalist Mr Harri, who has recently been appointed to Number 10, revealed the prime minister launched into the Gloria Gaynor number after he asked Boris Johnson about his chances of political survival.

But Chris Philp denied suggestions the prime minister was “laughing” at the British public.

He told Sky News: “I think it was a moment in lightness in what is a stressful time for a lot of people in public life.”

"I don't think we should criticise someone for a moment of levity" in what is a stressful job, he said.

Minister says treatment of Starmer ‘completely unacceptable’ but can’t be blamed on PM

07:08 , Elly Blake

Technology minister Chris Philp has called the incident involving Sir Keir Starmer in Westminster “completely unacceptable”.

He said the actions of the mob had “no place in a democracy” and “all of us across the political spectrum should condemn what we saw”.

Asked whether Boris Johnson was responsible for fuelling the mob, Mr Philp said: “I don’t think you can point to what the prime minister said as the cause of that.

“I don’t think you can blame him” over the mobs actions, he said.

He said that although the mob mentioned Jimmy Savile, they also mentioned Julian Assange, coronavirus and the opposition in general.

It comes amid fresh pressure on Mr Johnson to withdraw his baseless comments about Sir Keir Starmer’s failure to prosecute Jimmy Savile.

Good morning

06:53 , Elly Blake

Good morning, the top stories on Tuesday are:

Boris Johnson is facing demands to apologise for the Jimmy Savile smear he levelled at Sir Keir Starmer after police had to rescue the Labour leader from a mob.

Meanwhile, the PM has warned Russian president Vladimir Putin that invading Ukraine would backfire and only serve to strengthen Nato. Mr Putin is adamant that Europe countries will be drawn into military conflict if Ukraine joins the defence alliance.

And much more coming up.... stay tuned for the latest developments in Westminster and around the UK.