Boris Johnson hopes to set up a charity to pay to refurbish his flat. Johnson apparently wants multimillionaire Tory peer Lord Brownlow to run it.
Former chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life Sir Alistair Graham said this would be an “outrage”.
“I’d be surprised if it was within the law to set up a charity and get tax benefits for the home of a public servant,” he said last week.
“To do so there has to be wider public benefits for a group who are in charitable need. I am really not sure if the prime minister and his fiancée qualify.”
Johnson could get help to preserve the flat on heritage grounds. But the public aren’t actually allowed in because of “security”.
Ex-charity commissioner Andrew Purkis said that to be for public benefit “you would assume there would be some sort of public access”.
It’s not that there’s no money. Downing Street has spent over £2.6 million refurbishing Number 9 to be a fancy media room. The Cabinet Office admitted that the total cost was £2,607,767.67.
This includes “audio-visual equipment, internet infrastructure, electrical works and lighting”. The Office said, “This spending is in the public interest.”
Meanwhile Johnson and his fiancée, Carrie Symonds, have enjoyed £12,500 of gourmet food during the pandemic.
It came from the Daylesford firm, one of the most expensive food shops in Britain. Daylesford is owned by Lady Bamford, wife of billionaire Tory donor and JCB construction boss Lord Bamford.
The shopping and prepared meals “smuggled in” via the rear entrance of Downing Street were apparently paid for by Johnson.
Three cops will not be prosecuted for malicious communications over “allegedly racist” WhatsApp messages posted last year.
One officer had posted a monkey picture message under a meme of black British actor Kayode Ewumi.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary said a complaint had been made about an “allegedly racist exchange”.
The Crown Prosecution Service last week decided no further action should be taken.
Over 1,000 prison staff have been sacked for misconduct in just six years. Ministry of Justice figures show 1,121 were dismissed from English and Welsh prisons between 2014 and 2020.
Some 43 had “inappropriate relationships with prisoners”. Others used unnecessary force on prisoners. The vast majority of misconduct investigations of prison staff don’t end in dismissal.
Don’t panic—MPs will be kept safe from virus
As the Tories push ten million people back to schools and colleges this week, they’re taking far more care to preserve their own safety.
House of Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle plans to set out a “roadmap” next week detailing plans for MPs to return to parliament.
Only 50 out of 650 MPs can currently physically attend the floor of the Commons, with others joining via Zoom.
Hoyle reportedly favours a June return, although some have suggested he may want no full return until September. He also wants to keep what he calls the “bonuses” of the changes during the pandemic.
“I want normality,” he said. “But let’s not throw the good out with the bad.”
The Lords may also carry on sleeping from home instead of in the chamber. The House of Lords finance committee said that emergency equipment leased when the pandemic began has now been bought.
In a meeting last November, some sleepers “expressed their desire for remote working to continue beyond the Covid-19 pandemic”.
But some Tories worry about how this all this affects their image.
Tory MP Pauline Latham warned if MPs ease their own restrictions later than the rest of Britain “we’ll look completely out of touch”.
And Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg whined, “We can’t be behind nightclubs.”
Settlement puts stop to Patel ‘bullying’ evidence
Home secretary Priti Patel has reached a six‑figure settlement with a senior civil servant over claims of bullying.
The move means that neither Patel nor Boris Johnson will have to give evidence to a public tribunal.
Sir Philip Rutman had been suing the government under whistleblowing laws.
The former Home Office permanent secretary claims he was forced out of his job after threatening to take Patel to an employment tribunal over her alleged bullying of staff.
Patel denies the claims. But a Cabinet Office report published last November found she had breached the ministerial code. Boris Johnson disagreed.
She has been accused of bullying in two other government departments—Dfid and the DWP.
It isn’t clear how much in total the government has spent defending her.
Give us a loan or fuck off, say bully bosses
Bosses at a restaurant firm have “bullied” low paid workers into lending them cash to pay their national insurance and pension contributions, says the GMB union.
Many of the workers at Tomahawk restaurants earn the minimum wage.
The firm wrote to workers saying it had a “short-term cash flow issue” and “requires your help”.
“We respectfully ask, in these difficult times, for you to support us by agreeing to pay your own employer’s nic/pension contributions by way of a voluntary ‘loan’ to the company,” it said.
In a Zoom meeting, workers were then told to “fuck off somewhere else if you don’t like it”.
And if they didn’t agree to pay the contributions, the firm would “review whether you are suitable for your role”.
The company is benefiting from the government’s furlough scheme, which pays bosses some of workers’ wages during the pandemic.
The things they say...
‘Lots of drugs’
What Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said people would buy given a Universal Basic Income (UBI)
‘Concerned about work incentive’
Another reason Bailey opposes a UBI
‘It’s your City traders and their cocaine habits’
Simon Duffy of the Centre for Welfare Reform said it’s not the poor that Bailey should be worried about
‘He’s been homeless’
How a spokesperson for Bailey defended him
Author Elisa Segrave thinks Boris Johnson should solve his problems with Dilyn the dog
Biographer Tom Bower on Dilyn’s importance in a new chapter he is writing in Johnson’s biography
‘We are going to have to live with a degree of mortality that will be substantial’
Professor Andrew Hayward, of the government’s Sage group of scientists, on the future
‘We will get back to normal’
Hayward has an interesting definition of ‘normal’