Meanwhile, the Telegraph can disclose that Scotland Yard will not provide any further updates on partygate ends until after the May local elections have concluded. Police have so far issued 50 fixed penalty notices in connection with illegal gatherings held in and around Downing Street during lockdown, but are continuing to investigate further alleged breaches. In the Commons, Sir Keir Starmer has corrected the parliamentary record after attacking Mr Johnson over reports that he had criticized the BBC’s coverage of the war in Ukraine.
The Prime Minister is missing the drama in Westminster as he carries out his long-awaited diplomatic visit to India. Yet he has been embroiled in controversy on the first morning of the trip after inaugurating a new JCB factory, one day after the company’s machines were used to illegally bulldoze Muslim homes and businesses in Delhi. JCB is owned by Lord Anthony Bamford, who is close with Mr Johnson and backed his Conservative leadership bid in 2019. Civil society activists and members of the Indian public have accused Mr Johnson of carrying out an ill-timed visit to the plant, situated in Gujarati. See pictures of the trip.
The Prime Minister may have unreservedly apologized this week over breaching lockdown rules, but that has not stopped the opposition from continuing its barrage of attacks on the matter. On this week’s PlanetNormal podcast, which you can listen to using the audio player here, Allison Pearson and Liam Halligan argue the ongoing assaults against Mr Johnson show how unpleasant politics in the UK has become. Listen to why Allison feels Sir Keir’s attacks on the Prime Minister in Parliament – which invoked the emotional story of a husband unable to see his dying wife due to coronavirus restrictions – were “entirely hypocritical”.
Comment and analysis
Around the world: Putin claims victory in Mariupol
Vladimir Putin has declared victory in the battle for the Ukrainian port of Mariupol and ordered his defense minister to blockade but not assault the last Ukrainian-held redoubt there. Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defense minister, told Putin in a scripted meeting broadcast on Russian state television this morning that “the city of Mariupol has been liberated” but that an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian troops remained in the Azovstal steel plant. james rothwell has this guide to the sprawling underground city. Ukraine has threatened to launch an airstrike on Russia’s £2.7 billion bridge to Crimea, the largest structure of its kind in Europe and of strategic importance to the Putin regime. The bridge, which links southern Russia to the annexed peninsula, was opened by Vladimir Putin in 2018 to condemnation from the West. Also today:
‘Why did I leave Spandau? Ask the Kemps and watch them squirm’
Tony Hadley, the singer proudly known as ‘Tory Tone’, has released a photo book of his life. Not that he particularly likes to look back, he tells Craig McLean
Read the full interview