Boris Johnson news – live: PM accused of breaking climate change promises ahead of policy launch, as plan to jail terror offenders indefinitely condemned

The former Tory minister and president of the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow – sacked last week by the government – has launched a blistering attack on Boris Johnson’s record on climate change.

As he prepares to outline his plan for the summit at an event with Sir David Attenborough, Claire Perry O’Neill claimed the PM “doesn’t really get” the climate emergency and said his promises “are not close to being met”. She added: “We owe the world a lot better.”

It comes as the government faces criticism over a “concerning” plan to jail terror offenders indefinitely, while lawyers warned emergency legislation to prevent automatic release was a “panic” measure sure to be challenged in court.

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2020-02-04T09:20:31.000Z

Keir Starmer calls for investigation into No 10 ‘media ban’

The Labour leadership hopeful has called on the cabinet secretary to investigate urgently No 10’s decision to “ban selected media from attending a briefing with a senior civil servant”.

On Monday journalists walked out of a trade deal briefing – expected to chief negotiator David Frost – after the prime minister’s director of communications tried to restrict it to selected publications and broadcasters.

Among those boycotting were the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg and ITV’s Robert Peston.

In a letter to Sir Mark Sedwill, Starmer warns that the decision had “undermined the civil service’s ability to comply with its core values of integrity, objectivity and impartiality.”

The Labour leadership contender says: “The media’s access to the prime minister’s chief negotiator should not be determined by political favouritism.”

Starmer has asked Sedwill to “investigate urgently this matter and provide assurance that such an incident will not happen again.”


2020-02-04T09:08:20.510Z

PM adopts ‘mad man’ strategy with EU

If you’re still catching up with the competing visions for a UK-EU trade deal set out yesterday by Boris Johnson and Michel Barnier, our Inside Politics briefing looks at all the fall-out.

Johnson said he believes Britain is ready to throw off our “Clark Kent spectacles” and be a free trade “superhero”. But in Johnson’s fantasyland, superheroes don’t do compromises.

The PM explained his desire for a free trade deal like one forged by the EU and Canada, his refusal to adopt “Brussels-made” rules – and his willingness to walk away if necessary.

One senior ally described this new no-deal threat as the “mad man” strategy. More Lex Luthor than Superman, then.

Michel Barnier is proving to be Johnson’s Kryptonite. The EU’s chief negotiator said the UK would have to abide by standards across an array of areas to ensure a “level playing field”.

All the details here:


2020-02-04T08:56:06.466Z

PM ‘doesn’t really get’ climate emergency, reveals Claire Perry O’Neill

The former COP26 climate change conference organiser – sacked by the government last week – has had more to say on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning.

Asked about Boris Johnson’s knowledge of climate change, Perry O’Neill said: “He has admitted to me he doesn’t really understand it [climate change] – he doesn’t really get it, I think is what he said.”

The former Tory energy minister warned the summit was being undermined by “playground politics” and was “hundreds of millions of pounds off track”, with just nine months to go.

Perry O’Neill said she suggested giving Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister a key role at the November conference in Glasgow – a proposal Johnson rejected with “salty” language.


2020-02-04T08:38:34.530Z

PM ‘refusing to be honest’ about Brexit damage, experts say

Boris Johnson is “refusing to be honest” about the likely damage from his Brexit plans, a leading think tank has warned.

A damning report by the UK in a Changing Europe group warns that the prime minister is on course to strike only “the barest of bare bone deals” with the EU by his deadline of the end of 2020 after the strict red lines he said out on Monday.

It argue Johnson’s government is failing to be upfront about the inevitable “trade-offs” to come and the adverse consequences for businesses, citizens and taxpayers.

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has the details:


2020-02-04T08:30:55.830Z

Terror offenders could be jailed indefinitely under government review proposals

This government doesn’t mind a good legal battle, even when they end up in the Supreme Court.

There’s another one brewing after justice secretary Robert Buckland told MPs about plans for emergency legislation to end the automatic release of terror offenders and ensure they’re only considered for release after serving two-thirds of their sentence (and meet the approval of the Parole Board).

Lord Carlile, a crossbench peer and QC, said applying the change retrospectively to current offenders was “certainly going to be challenged”, while Geoffrey Robertson QC described it as “panic legislation”.

But No 10 actually hopes to go further. Offenders could be jailed indefinitely under plans being considered as part of a government review.

“I’m sure there are people who would view this as controversial,” a Downing Street source told The Independent. No doubt.


2020-02-04T08:28:26.030Z

PM brings forward petrol and diesel vehicle ban by five years

Boris Johnson is pledging an earlier ban on new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars, as he hits back at claims that his attempts to lead the world in tackling climate change are mired in “chaos”.

In a long-awaited first speech on the climate emergency, the PM will call on other nations to match the UK’s landmark legal commitment to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions.

The flagship announcement – to end sales of new polluting cars in 2035, rather than 2040 – was welcomed as “right” by Friends of the Earth. But the environmentalist group said it would be better to bring forward the ban to 2030.


2020-02-04T08:28:04.910Z

Former Tory MP accuses PM of breaking climate promises

The former president of the UN climate summit in Glasgow, sacked by the government last week, has launched a blistering attack on Boris Johnson’s record on tackling climate change.

Former energy minister Claire Perry O’Neill spoke out as the PM prepared to outline new measures, including a ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles being brought forward to 2035.

In a letter to Johnson, O’Neill told him: “You promised to ‘lead from the front’ and asked me what was needed: ‘Money, people, just tell us!’ Sadly these promises are not close to being met.”

She added: “This isn’t a pretty place to be and we owe the world a lot better.”

She said the PM had not convened the Cabinet subcommittee on climate change that he had promised, adding that the government was “miles off track” in setting a positive agenda for the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November, and that promises of action “are not close to being met”.

Her attack came as Johnson was about to outline plans for the summit with a speech setting out Britain’s stall as a leader on tackling climate change.

At an event attended by Sir David Attenborough, Johnson will call for international efforts to reach net zero as early as possible through investment in cleaner technology and protection of natural habitat – which will also help reverse losses in wildlife.

Claire Perry O’Neill attending cabinet last February (AFP)

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