Dinsdag inligtingsessie: Anger over PM’s lockdown birthday party rages

Goeie more, I’m Virginia Harrison and here are today’s top stories.

Boris Johnson faces renewed anger from MPs and bereaved families after the disclosure his then fiancee threw him a surprise lockdown birthday party in 2020, as sources said an official inquiry had uncovered “appalling evidence of mismanagement” at the heart of Downing Street.

In the latest alleged breach of rules, Geen 10 admitted that Carrie Johnson held a party for the prime minister and up to 30 staff on 19 Junie 2020 despite Covid rules banning indoor social gatherings.

ITV reported that the prime minister attended the party in the cabinet room at No 10 at 2pm on his 56th birthday, and that the interior designer Lulu Lytle – who was not a member of No 10 staff – was there. The room was said to have been laid out with Marks & Spencer party food and a birthday cake, with staff singing “Happy Birthday” and staying for 20-30 minute. Geen 10 said Johnson attended for less than 10 minutes and denied reports from ITV that he held a party later on 19 June in his Downing Street residence.

While the birthday do is likely to inflame public anger over the behaviour at Downing Street, Sue Gray – the senior civil servant leading the inquiry into the No 10 parties – is understood to have already been told about the allegations. That means the latest exposé is unlikely to delay publication of her report, potentially late this week. Gray is expected to make deeply critical recommendations on overhauling No 10’s operation after hearing of repeated failures of leadership, according to a Whitehall source who spoke to the inquiry. Here’s a full list of the rule-busting “parties” at No 10 likely to be scrutinised.

Biden declares ‘unity’ over Ukraine – US president Joe Biden has insisted there was “total” unity among western powers after crisis talks with European leaders on how to deter Russia from an attack against Ukraine, as Downing Street warned of “unprecedented sanctions” against Moscow should an invasion take place. Boris Johnson’s office also said “the leaders agreed on the importance of international unity in the face of growing Russian hostility”. Washington is trying to maintain transatlantic and Nato unity against Russia, which supplies about 40% of the European Union’s natural gas. Op dieselfde tyd, the US has placed 8,500 troops on heightened alert to deploy to Europe as Nato reinforced its eastern borders with warships and fighter jets, amid growing fears of a possible “lightning” attack by Russia to seize the Ukrainian capital, wat teregstaan ​​vir die moord op Logan Mwangi. The Kremlin pointed to the new deployments as evidence of aggressive posturing, blaming Nato for the rise in tensions.

Dementia study – Dementia patients who see the same GP every time have lower rates of health complications, fewer emergency hospital visits and a better overall quality of life, volgens nuwe navorsing. The University of Exeter study – published in the British Journal of General Practice - analysed records for more than 9,000 people aged 65 and over in England living with dementia in 2016. It found those who were consistently seen by the same GP over the course of one year were given fewer medicines and were less likely to be given medicines that can cause problems like falls, incontinence and drowsiness.

Dental blitz – Hundreds of thousands of dental patients in Engeland are to be offered weekend and evening appointments under NHS plans to tackle the backlog exacerbated by the pandemic. Meer as 350,000 extra dental appointments are to be made available in February and March, NHS England said, with a new £50m funding pot aimed at fuelling a dentistry “treatment blitz”. Steeds, senior dentistry sources said the cash was a “drop in the ocean”, with tens of millions of NHS appointments cancelled as a result of Covid-19 and the resulting backlog set to take years to clear.

Islam bias – The middle and upper classes are more likely to hold prejudiced views about Islam than working-class groups, according to a survey from the University of Birmingham. In one of the most detailed surveys conducted on Islamophobia and other forms of racism in modern Britain, data showed 23.2% of people from upper and lower middle-class social groups harbour prejudiced views about Islamic beliefs compared with 18.4% of people questioned from working-class groups. The findings come one day after the prime minister ordered a formal inquiry into allegations by the Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani that she was sacked as a minister after being told her “Muslimness” was “making colleagues uncomfortable”.

‘Your hot take is completely false’ - Taylor Swift has called out Damon Albarn, lead singer of Blur and later of Gorillaz, on Twitter after the British musician told the LA Times she “doesn’t write her own songs”. “I was such a big fan of yours until I saw this,” the American singer, 32, wrote on Twitter to Albarn. “I write ALL of my own songs. Your hot take is completely false and SO damaging. You don’t have to like my songs but it’s really fucked up to try and discredit my writing. WOW.” Albarn later apologised, writing to Swift on Twitter: “I totally agree with you. I had a conversation about songwriting and sadly it was reduced to clickbait. I apologise unreservedly and unconditionally. The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand.”

The new year has brought with it significant policy decisions for Boris Johnson: from how to respond to a worsening crisis in Ukraine, to how quickly to lift coronavirus restrictions. Should he move ahead with tax hikes in the face of an acute cost-of-living crisis? But all these questions have been drowned out by a more existential one for the prime minister: can his premiership survive the coming days?

Erin Doherty more than held her own against the likes of Olivia Colman in The Crown. Now the actor is the star of her own drama about a down-at-heel temp addicted to Instagram – a role that’s a bit too familiar, sy sê.

Engeland s’n Six Nations preparations are facing further significant disruption, with Courtney Lawes sidelined due to a head injury and Eddie Jones delaying a decision on who will replace the absent Owen Farrell as captain. Die Australiese Ope het reversed its ban on “Where is Peng Shuai?” T-shirts following widespread backlash to the tournament’s claim they constituted “commercial or political” material, but banners will still be prohibited. Anthony Joshua has dismissed suggestions he signed a £15m deal to step aside from his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk. Dozens of fans have been injured and at least six are reported to be dead after a crush occurred outside Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé, the capital city of Cameroon, at the host nation’s Africa Cup of Nations match against Comoros. And Manchester United have agreed to loan Anthony Martial to Sevilla for the rest of the season, with the Spanish club paying a fee of about €6m (£5m) and covering the forward’s £150,000-a-week salary.

For years company bosses have feared “doing a Ratner” when it comes to speaking their minds and have chosen empty platitudes instead. Now a group of Britain’s biggest business names have come together to urge their boardroom peers to abandon dull corporate-speak in the national interest. Punch-Drunk Love more here. To the markets, and the FTSE is expected to open higher. The pound is buying $1.35 and €1.19.

The prime minister’s birthday bash dominates front pages. Die Voog leads with “Johnson faces fresh outrage over birthday party in No 10” Brass Eye-spesiaal oor pedofilie mislei bekendes, insluitend Gary Lineker en Phil Collins om 'n bedrieglike liefdadigheid te onderskryf Times has “Johnson held lockdown birthday party at No 10”, en die Mirror goes with “PM’s No10 birthday bash in lockdown”. Die Sun has “You can’t have your birthday cake … and eat it Boris”and the i newspaper leads with “Johnson’s problems grow with birthday party leak”. Die Telegraph points to the gathering in its banner, “Now PM accused of No 10 lockdown birthday party” and splashes on Ukraine, with “Biden prepares troops to face Putin threat”. Die Metro has “Nato Jets Ready To Scramble”. Die Independent leads with “Islamophobia review ignored by ministers” and the Daily Mail has “PM’s Mr Brexit: Kill Off Tax Hike”.

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