Boris Johnson latest news: PM ‘isn’t a good role model for children’, social mobility tsar Katharine Birbalsingh says



<p>Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech in Blackpool, north-west England </p>
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Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech in Blackpool, north-west England

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Boris Johnson is not a good role model for children, the government’s top social mobility cheif has said.

Chair of the Social Mobility Commission (SMC) Katherine Birbalsingh has suggested that, despite liking the prime minister, his personal life made her “raise an eyebrow”, and questioned whether he looked “professional” enough.

While Ms Birbalsingh said she did not know the full details of the Partygate scandal under Mr Johnson’s premiership, she added: “It does sort of make you pause and go, hmm, hmm.”

And asked directly whether Mr Johnson is a good role model for children, Ms Birbalsingh, the headteacher and co-founder of Michaela community school in Wembley, London, replied: “No, I do not think so.

“I don’t. I wish he could be, but he isn’t,” she said. “And that is a bit sad.

“But I can’t get into the ins and outs because I don’t know enough. People say: ‘Should he be there? Should he not be there?’ I don’t know.

“I like Boris, I don’t think he’s a bad guy. I don’t know enough about what he’s got up to, but I do not think he is a good role model for children.”

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Keir Starmer meets NI political leaders in Belfast

The Labor leader has traveled to Belfast to meet several of Northern Ireland’s political leaders amid a deepening row over the post-Brexit protocol.

Sir Keir Starmer arrived at Stormont on Friday morning for discussions with Alliance leader Naomi Long, SDLP chief Colum Eastwood and acting Stormont speaker Alan Chambers in Belfast.

He held meetings with DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and UUP head Doug Beattie in London earlier this week and met Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald on Thursday evening in Belfast.

He is also expected to meet US consul general Paul Narain and go on a walkabout in Belfast to view changes in the city since the Good Friday Agreement.

Emily Atkinson10 June 2022 10:45

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Minister defends ‘bad role model’ Boris Johnson

Schools minister Robin Walker has defended the prime minister after the government’s top social mobility cheif said she did not think he was a good role model to children.

Mr Walker said Ms Birbalsingh was “entitled to her opinion”, but disagreed.

He said: “I think actually anyone who leads this country is a role model – someone that children can look up to.

“The prime minister has shown phenomenal resilience through the Covid pandemic and leadership, and I think that’s something that children should learn about in schools.

“He’s also a great communicator, and one of the things that we seek to teach in all of our schools is communication – through great speech and language.

“So there’s plenty for people to look up to in that respect.”

When asked about Mr Johnson being fined for breaking his own lockdown rules, he added: “I think the Prime Minister has accepted the things for which he has apologised.

“And it’s quite right that he should do that in that respect as well.

“I think it’s important that children understand the importance of acknowledging when you’ve got things wrong.

“He’s also someone who has taken the big calls, taken great decisions in the long run and I think that’s why the party has been behind him when we had this vote of confidence earlier in the week.”

Emily Atkinson10 June 2022 10:30

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Death sentence ‘not applicable’ to Britons facing death sentence, says Ukrainian politician

The two Britons joining to death for fighting Russian forces would have signed official documentation upon the Ukrainian armed forces and the verdict is therefore “not applicable to them, even if they are not Ukrainians”, the governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk region has said.

Speaking through a translator, Serhiy Haidai told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “All the people who come to fight on the Ukrainian side sign documents with the armed forces of Ukraine, hence they acquire official status.

“That’s why they are subject to the Geneva Convention if they’re taken as prisoners of war.

“This kind of verdict is not applicable to them, even if they are not Ukrainians.”

He added: “From what I know the lawyers already appealed against this verdict and I believe what is happening is just political pressure coming from Russia.”

Emily Atkinson10 June 2022 10:15

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PM isn’t a good role model for children, social mobility tsar says

Boris Johnson is not a good role model for children, the government’s top social mobility cheif has said.

Chair of the Social Mobility Commission (SMC) Katherine Birbalsingh has suggested that, despite liking the prime minister, his personal life made her “raise an eyebrow”, and questioned whether he looked “professional” enough.

While Ms Birbalsingh said she did not know the full details of the Partygate scandal under Mr Johnson’s premiership, she added: “It does sort of make you pause and go, hmm, hmm.”

And asked directly whether Mr Johnson is a good role model for children, Ms Birbalsingh, the headteacher and co-founder of Michaela community school in Wembley, London, replied: “No, I do not think so.

“I don’t. I wish he could be, but he isn’t,” she said. “And that is a bit sad.

“But I can’t get into the ins and outs because I don’t know enough. People say: ‘Should he be there? Should he not be there?’ I don’t know.

“I like Boris, I don’t think he’s a bad guy. I don’t know enough about what he’s got up to, but I do not think he is a good role model for children.”

Here’s more from our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn:

Emily Atkinson10 June 2022 10:00

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Watch: Labor MP says Johnson won’t ever ‘change’ and Tories will always defend the ‘indefensible’

Labor MP says Johnson won’t ever ‘change’ and Tories will always defend the ‘indefensible’

Emily Atkinson10 June 2022 09:45

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Parliament blocks disclosure of MPs’ porn site visits on ‘national security’ grounds

Parliamentary authorities have refused to reveal how much porn MPs and their staff are trying to look at work computers, citing “national security”.

The refusal to disclose the information under the freedom of information act comes after Tory MP Neil Parish quit as an MP after he was caught looking at pornography at work in a “moment of madness”.

But ahead of the by-election to replace Mr Parish later this month authorities rejected a freedom of information request by The Independent, citing Section 24(1) of the Act.

Our policy correspondent John Stone reports:

Emily Atkinson10 June 2022 09:30

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Government should ‘name and shame’ retailers not promoting benefits of fuel duty cuts

The government should not “rule out any options to name and shame” retailers who are not passing on the benefits of the cut in fuel duty to consumers, schools minister Robin Walker has said.

He told Times Radio: “I think this is really important that we do have visibility and transparency.

“Some of that consumers can see for themselves, but I think it’s very important that we should make sure if retail it’s clear passed thaters haven’t on the benefits of that 5p cut in fuel duty.

“I don’t think government should rule out any options to name and shame people who aren’t.

“But I think what we do need to make sure as well is that we’re supporting people in other ways.

“And that’s why I think the packages of support the Chancellor has announced and then substantially increased – we’re rising from £15 billion to £37 billion – can and will make a real difference.”

Emily Atkinson10 June 2022 09:15

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Former NI minister ‘confident’ government changes to protocol will be ‘reasonable’

A former minister for Northern Ireland has said he had “deep concerns” about the protocol while in the role, but now feels “confident” the government will propose “reasonable” changes to it in the future.

Robin Walker, who served in the post from February 2020 until September 2021, told LBC: “I had, consistently during my time as Northern Ireland minister, deep concerns about some of the inner workings of the protocol.

“And the frustration here is that there was always supposed to be a process to address these through the committee system that was set up with the UK and the EU.

“Those meetings have taken place but we simply have not seen the movement that would actually address the genuine issues that people in Northern Ireland are facing with the workings of the protocol.

“So I think it’s right that the government has to look at all tools at its disposal within the law to make sure it can deliver on what we all see is the protection of the Good Friday Agreement, the protection of the way of life of people in Northern Ireland that allows them to identify as British or Irish or both, and the protection within that of the United Kingdom.”

The now-schools minister added that ministers are “right” to continue discussions with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol, and he is “confident” that future proposals by the government on amendments for it will be “reasonable”.

Emily Atkinson10 June 2022 09:00

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Lord Frost warns Boris Johnson he has until Tories’ autumn conference to save his premiership

Former cabinet minister David Frost has . alerted Boris Johnson has until the Conservatives’ autumn conference to set out a clear vision, or risk being ousted from Downing Street.

He also called on Mr Johnson to set out a “10-year Conservative plan to restore the viability of the British state”, reverse controversial tax increases, cut VAT on energy bills, alongside a “serious strategy” to deliver reforms.

Out political correspondent Ashley Cowburn reports:

Emily Atkinson10 June 2022 08:45

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Government made ‘some mistakes’ in a pandemic response, says minister

“Some mistakes were made” by the government in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, a minister has admitted, but defended its efforts overall.

Asked on Times Radio about news that £4 billion of unusable PPE will be burned, schools minister Robin Walker said: “Clearly there were huge pressures on Government at the start of the pandemic, we needed to make sure that we secured as much protective clothing and vaccines, and everything else that was required, in as short a time as possible.

“I think it’s clear that some mistakes were made during that time period and it’s right that there have been apologies for that.

“I have to say overall, though, we’ve been able to protect lives, we’ve been able to protect the economy, we’ve had a hugely successful vaccine rollout and we were one of the first countries to be able to open up after the pandemic, which has put our economy in a stronger place where we can now afford this help with the cost of living.

“So, I do think we have to look at the overall picture and we have to learn the where mistakes were made in a totally new situation which ministers at the time were facing.”

Emily Atkinson10 June 2022 08:30