The Government have been churning out announcements this week at a rate that would make even Craig David’s diary look positively chilled. As has become the norm now, almost the entire contents of the Budget were leaked by the time Jeremy Hunt stood up on Wednesday, making the last 7 days a column writer’s dream. Coupled with the small matter of the publication of the Integrated Review refresh on Monday, Whitehall has had quite the week. Thankfully next week will be much quieter… Boris Johnson’s giving evidence to the Privileges Committee on Wednesday… [insert popcorn eating GIF]
Welcome to the weekly roundup from Navigate Politics, bringing you all the top news, publications and movements from UK politics over the past seven days, ensuring you’re fully briefed on the top stories ahead of the weekend. If you know somebody who would find this briefing useful, please do forward it on so they can subscribe and get it direct to their inbox each Friday.
Editor’s note 🎂
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SPRING BUDGET SPECIAL – The main event
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivered his first Spring Budget Statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday, focusing on his ‘Four Es’: Enterprise, Employment, Education and Everywhere. We’ve added a fifth… Everything else…
On HMS Enterprise, he set out a series of measures related to businesses, including a new policy to allow “full expensing” by companies to encourage greater investment in equipment and machinery, an enhanced R&D tax credit regime for SMEs, and an improved expenditure credit scheme for the creative industries. He also announced funding for the MHRA, £900m for an Exascalcomputer, the publication of a new Quantum Strategy and a series of measures to help put the UK at the forefront of artificial intelligence.
To support Employment, he announced a number of changes to the Benefits
system to encourage greater employment of those currently economically inactive, including the publication of a White Paper on Disability Benefits Reform and £400m to increase mental health and muscular skeletal support to help those who need support stay in work. He also launched a series of measures aimed at the over 50s, including the introduction of adult apprenticeships, named “Returnerships”, an increase to the pensions annual tax-free allowance to £60,000 and the abolition of the pensions Lifetime Allowance.
On Education he announced an expansion of free childcare to all children over the age of 9 months and the extension of wraparound childcare to all schools by September 2026, to better fit in with the standard working day.
Incoming Everywhere… he announced the launch of a competition for 12 new investment zones across the UK, £361m for regeneration projects, £400m for levelling up partnerships, £8.8bn over the next five years through the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements second round, and additional funding for potholes.
And finally, to sum up everything else – he announced the Energy Price Guarantee will remain at £2,500 until the end of June, a reclassification of nuclear power as environmentally sustainable, more money for leisure centres and community organisations, an increase in draught relief for pubs as part of a new “Brexit Pubs Guarantee”, a further year’s freeze in fuel duty and the 5p cut, and £11bn for the Defence budget over the next five years, to take Defence spending to almost 2.25% of GDP by 2025.
If you’re short on reading material this weekend, check out the House of Commons Library’s epic 23 page report on the Budget for the fullest and most comprehensive summary
SPRING BUDGET SPECIAL – Office for Budget Responsibility Forecast
Inflation should average out at 6.1% in 2023, dropping to 0.9% in 2024, then 0.1% in 2025, before climbing again to 0.5% in 2026 and 1.6% in 2027.
Growth forecasts have been revised up for the next two years from the Autumn Statement, with the UK no longer expected to enter a technical recession. Negative growth of -0.2% in 2023 will be followed by growth of 1.8% in 2024, and 2.5% in 2025.
Borrowing in 2023/24 will increase dramatically from the £84.3bn forecast in November, to £131.6bn in 2023/24 before dropping back to £85.4bn in 2024/25 and easing off over the rest of the decade.
Debt is forecast to be 3 percentage points lower in 3 years’ time than predicted in November, but still expected to stand at a whopping 94.6% of GDP in 2025/26.
SPRING BUDGET SPECIAL – Political reaction
Labour leader Keir Starmer responded that the Budget was merely a “sticking plaster” and called for an “industrial strategy that removes barriers to investment”. He said the UK’s economy “has weak foundations” with wages lower in real terms than they were when the Conservatives came to power in 2010, before contending that the Budget was a missed opportunity for a “proper windfall tax”. He criticised the uncertainty created for businesses by things such as an overhaul to the R&D tax credit regime and regular changes to corporation tax policy, while lamenting the inactivity levels in the UK workforce. He concluded that the Conservatives “won’t offer change, because they can’t”.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves accused the Government of “papering over the cracks of 13 years of economic failure” and said the “only surprise was a handout for the richest 1% and their pension pots”.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said it was ‘disappointing’ for those ‘struggling to make ends meet during a spiralling cost of living crisis.’
The Liberal Democrats argued the Government had ‘failed miserably’ to deal with the cost-of-living crisis, while also not providing enough support for hospitals and local health services.
SNP Spokesperson Stewart Hosie welcomed certain measures, such as changes to prepayment meters, but regretted that the UK Government had not provided more support for businesses with their energy costs and warned that the predicted rise in employment would “barely dent the labour and skills shortages throughout the economy”.
The Green Party attacked the Budget for failing to address the climate emergency or provide adequate support for public services, specifically criticising the decision to invest in nuclear instead of putting ‘meaningful investment in renewables such as onshore and offshore wind, tidal and solar.
The DUP said the Budget ‘will require scrutiny to see whether the detail matches the Chancellor’s rhetoric.’
The Scottish Government described the Budget as ‘another missed opportunity’ to support households, businesses and public services, with Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP accusing the Chancellor of failing to ‘deploy the full range of powers available to him to mitigate the impact of soaring energy prices and high inflation.’
The Welsh Government echoed this view, characterising it as a Budget that chose to prioritise ‘petrol and potholes’ over ‘investment in public services, pay and economic growth’.
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee welcomed that its recommendations relating to prepayment energy meters, carbon capture and storage, and the leadership of local economic growth policy, had been accepted, though Chair Darren Jones MP also criticised the lack of information on the financing of nuclear power, on whether the Government is committed to an industrial strategy and on the lack of action on Horizon Europe.
The Commons Science and Technology Committee posted the comments of Chair Greg Clark MP, who welcomed the focus on science and technology, the backing for quantum technologies, and the publication of Sir Patrick Vallance's review on pro-innovation regulation of emerging technologies.
The Work and Pensions Committee said they would look at the Government’s proposals seeking to address economic activity, calling on them to publish the evidence and data that supports the announcements.
The Welsh Affairs Committee said there had been a ‘vote of confidence in nuclear energy’.
The Education Committee highlighted that the new policies on childcare were what ‘MPs of all parties have been banging the drum for’.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee welcomed the announced funding for swimming pools to help cope with rising energy bills, with this having been recommended by the Committee previously.
The Conservative Environment Network emphasised that the measures ‘take us closer to net zero’ as the funding for CCUS and SMRs could ‘cut carbon, grow the economy, and create jobs.’ They also highlighted that ‘bolder action is needed to encourage businesses to choose Britain for building the next generation of clean industries like sustainable aviation fuel and green hydrogen.’
SPRING BUDGET SPECIAL – Business Group Reaction
The British Chambers of Commerce welcomed the policies related to childcare and over-50s, saying the actions taken could ‘address the unfilled jobs blighting our economy’. The BCC added that the ‘jury is out’ on how the plans for full capital expensing will compare to the Super Deduction Scheme; warned that there was ‘little’ in the Budget to allay fears of companies facing steep energy bills; and criticised the lack of action to reform business rates.
The CBI said the Budget was a ‘strong second act in the Chancellor’s plan for stability and growth’, citing policies on capital expensing, childcare provision, occupational health support, investment zones and carbon capture and storage as positive steps.
The Federation of Small Businesses regretted that the Budget would leave many of its members ‘feeling short-changed’, with households and larger companies supported but small businesses ignored.
Make UK noted that ‘companies will be disappointed that there is no extension of energy support, while the planned changes to R&D tax credits remain.’
The Institute of Directors strongly welcomed the full expensing of business investment and called for it to be made permanent, as well as supporting the policies aimed at helping people return to the workforce’.
ADS Group highlighted the policy of Returnerships as a measure that should provide successful, noting that the defence industry ‘looks forward to understanding the impact of additional defence spending’.
The City of London Corporation called the Budget ‘sound and sensible’ while accepting that there is still a ‘challenging economic outlook’ in the UK.
techUK said that while certain aspects were promising, such as a ‘new drive to research, develop and deploy new technologies aimed at turning around the UK’s lacklustre economic growth’, there were still some key strategies missing ‘such as a UK semiconductor strategy and many tech SMEs will be disappointed by the only partial reversal of the R&D tax credit cut.’
The SMMT cited positive aspects from the Budget as tax breaks for capital infrastructure and investment zones with a focus on advanced manufacturing, however it warned that there was ‘little that that enables the UK to compete with the massive packages of support to power a green transition that are available elsewhere’.
SPRING BUDGET SPECIAL – Think Tank Reaction
The IPPR cautioned that while there were ‘small steps’ towards growth in the Budget, it fell short of the ‘giant leap’ that is needed for ‘serious, long-term progress’. It noted that on investment, economic and environmental issues, the Budget had ‘come up short’.
The Social Market Foundation said changes to childcare policy were ‘overdue’ while noting that most of the expanded childcare will not come into force until after the next General Election; and argued that not increasing fuel duty was ‘really a giveaway to the rich’.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance argued that the Budget ‘looks good on the surface’ but is actually ‘full of problems for taxpayers, while also criticising the confirmed rise in corporation tax as it ‘sends the wrong message to firms looking to do business in Britain’.
The Institute of Economic Affairs stated that it was ‘nowhere near radical enough to jump-start the British economy’, with the tax burden and public spending to ‘remain historically high’.
Director of Onward Seb Payne tweeted that it was a ‘Budget to bring back trust - reassuring and optimistic, providing support now and fostering growth in the future. It balanced fiscal security and creating better conditions for prosperity.’
The Adam Smith Institute rated it as ‘6.5 out of 10’, celebrating the policy on full expensing but lamenting that stamp duty hasn’t been scrapped and the corporation tax rise was not ditched.
The Fabian Society disagreed with the changes to pension allowances and accused the Chancellor of ‘fiddling while Rome burns’ due to the lack of support for the public sector.
The Centre for Policy Studies celebrated the focus on business investment and economic inactivity.
The NIESR also welcoming these announcements but expressed disappointment at the lack of support for public sector pay.
The New Economics Foundation contended that the Budget ‘failed to act on the most important issues facing people today’.
Policy Exchange labelled it a ‘serious Budget’ that aims to ‘get the labour market working again and businesses investing again’.
SPRING BUDGET SPECIAL – Union Reaction
Unite called it a ‘Budget of betrayal’ for the NHS, arguing that the Chancellor had simply ‘rearranged the deck chairs for corporate Britain’.
The TUC said the policies will do ‘nothing’ to deliver the high-wage high-skills economy and lamented that there is ‘no plan to get wages rising across the economy’.
Unison argued that the lack of support for public services and a failure to invest in workers would ‘come back to haunt the Government’ as ‘economies can’t thrive with weak public services’.
Prospect criticised it for being a ‘missed opportunity to address the challenges facing our country’, from the cost-of-living and public sector pay to energy security and national security.
USDAW contended that it wouldn’t tackle insecure and low-paid employment.
The TSSA warned that the Budget had a ‘gaping black hole’ on transport policy, contending that the Chancellor did not have a ‘single word on the future of public transport.
ASLEF attacked the decision to scrap the lifetime pension allowance to ‘help the mega rich’ while not easing the ‘burden on working people’.
The RMT Union called it a Budget ‘for the wealthy thought up by a government that are servants of the super rich’.
The National Education Union regretted that it ‘continues the failure to make the investment in education that is needed.’
The BMA welcomed that the tax-free annual allowance for pensions will rise to £60,000 while the lifetime allowance will be scrapped entirely, stating that senior doctors will ‘no longer [be] subject to punitive tax rules’; with this move also supported by the FDA Union.
The Week in Stats 📉
72,000 – The SNP’s current membership, a fall of 32,000 in the past two years.
£116bn – The amount the Government will spend servicing debt interest over the next financial year.
60,000 – The number of workers the OBR expects the expansion of free childcare will bring into the workforce.
15,000 – The number of workers expected to remain in or return to employment due to the abolition of the pensions Lifetime Allowance.
20 – The maximum number of Conservative MPs Downing Street believes will rebel against the Windsor Framework.
85% – The proportion of all outside earnings declared by MPs so far this year that belong to Boris Johnson (who has made £4.8m since leaving office).
12% – The rise in rental prices so far this year.
1.1 million – The number of job vacancies across the UK.
£45bn – The size of the loan Credit Suisse received from the Swiss central bank after its shares tumbled by more than 10% this week.
Other Political News
The long awaited refresh of the Integrated Review was finally published on Monday, updating the Government’s security, defence, development and foreign policy priorities to reflect changes in the global context since the review was first published almost exactly two years ago. The Refresh sets out four ways in which the UK will protect its core national interests: 1) shape the international environment by actively balancing, cooperating and competing to create the conditions, structures and incentives necessary for an open and stable international order; 2) defer, defend and compete across all domains by strengthening the UK’s integrated approach to counter both state threats and transnational security challenges; 3) address vulnerabilities through resilience by tackling the economic, societal, technological, environmental and infrastructural factors that leave the UK exposed to crises and hostile actors; and 4) generate strategic advantage by reinforcing and extending IR2021’s focus on strategic advantage.
39 of the country’s biggest developers signed the Government’s remediation contract. The contract will require developers to take responsibility for addressing ‘life-critical fire-safety defects arising from the design and construction of buildings 11 metres and over in England that they developed or refurbished over the last 30 years’. During a Ministerial Statement in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Housing Secretary Michael Gove warned developers that have failed to sign the contract without good reason, that unless they sign it, they will not be able to operate freely in the housing market. He explained that they will not be able to commence new developments in England or receive building control approval for work that is already underway, and he will also notify public bodies “to be prepared to reopen tender award processes or rerun competitions”. The Government is due to publish further information next week.
Health unions reached a pay deal with the Government, meaning more than one million NHS staff in England will receive an additional pay rise. The offer consists of a one-off payment of 2% of their salary plus a COVID recovery bonus of 4% for the current financial year 2022/23, and a 5% pay increase for 2023/24. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “really pleased that after several weeks of constructive talks, the Government and the Agenda for Change unions have come to an agreement that will provide a fair deal for NHS staff and put disruptive strike action behind us”.
TikTok was banned on UK Government devices as part of a wider app review, although TikTok icon (and Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero) Grant Shapps has vowed to keep using the app on his personal phone. Ordered by Cabinet Office Ministers, the review looked at the potential vulnerability of Government data from social media apps on devices and risks around how sensitive information could be accessed and used by some platforms. The decision is in line with similar restrictions brought in by key international partners, including the US and Canadian governments, and the European Commission.
Around the World
The RAF and German jets intercepted Russian aircrafts near Estonian airspace. The two typhoons, in their first mission working together, were called on Tuesday to intercept the aircraft after it failed to communicate with Estonian air traffic control. Whilst a routine mission, the incident adds to building tensions with the NATO and Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, following an unrelated incident which saw a Russian jet crash into one of the US’s drones over the Black Sea. The US have accused Russia, who claims the drone was approaching its territory rather than international unrestricted airspace, as being ‘reckless’, calling the move ‘completely inappropriate, unsafe and unprofessional’. Questions remain over whether the move was just an attempt to disrupt the US’ drone work, or was to deliberately bring the drones in question down.
Crowds of protestors gathered in Paris after President Macron’s administration used its constitutional power to push through a Bill raising the pension age from 62 to 64. The Bill, which is polled to be unpopular with around 70% of the French public, was passed without a parliamentary vote using Article 49.3 in the French Constitution moments before MPs were due to debate the Bill, following signs it would not reach a majority. Protestors gathered in Paris’ Place de la Concorde, where riot police fired tear gas, arresting at least 120 people. Demonstrations also took place in Lyon, Marseille and Nantes. Opposition leader Marine Le Pen has suggested she will file a vote of no confidence against the Government, labelling the move ‘a total failure.’
Honduras’ President Xiomara Castro has asked her Foreign Minister to open official relations with China. The move is said to be so that Honduras can expand its foreign engagements, though it comes just weeks after Honduras has been negotiating with China to build a hydroelectric dam in the country. It also comes a month before the Taiwanese President is scheduled to visit the US and Central America, where she will meet the US House Speaker, a move which will likely anger China. If the Foreign Ministry is successful in opening relations with China, official ties between Honduras and Taiwan will mostly likely end, meaning Taiwan will only be recognised as a country by 13 Nations, as China’s attempts to isolate the island continue.
Biden approved a $6bn major oil and gas drilling project in Alaska. The Willow Project, which has now been approved after a long and controversial process, has in recent weeks received a huge sum of criticism from environmental protestors, as the White House has received over 1 million letters calling for the project to be stopped, and a change.org petition against the drilling has now received over 4 million signatories.
Argentina’s inflation rate reached over 100% in February, new stats reveal. The 102.5% increase is most prominent in the food and drink sector, as prices increased by a rate of 9.8%, and prices of meat alone saw a 20% increase. The increases are part of a longer-running inflationary problem in the country, which culminated in the IMF approving a $6bn bailout last December, as part of a 30-month programme costed to reach a total of $44bn.
The Budget was debated in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords this week, after the Chancellor delivered his Statement on Wednesday. It will continue to be debated in the Commons on Monday and Tuesday next week.
The Illegal Migration Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons, with its committee stage due to begin on 27 March. The controversial legislation seeks to prevent and deter unlawful migration to the UK.
The National Security Bill completed its passage through the House of Lords and returns to the Commons with amendments, including changes that were made to the Foreign Influence Registration Scheme. The Bill will introduce new measures to tackle state threats including sabotage, spying, foreign interference and economic espionage.
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill continued its committee stage in the House of Lords, with Peers discussing areas such as local policing provisions, the scrutiny of combined county authorities, and the devolution of fiscal powers. Committee stage continues on 20 March.
The Electronic Trade Documents Bill passed its report stage in the House of Lords without debate, with the third reading to take place next Wednesday. The Bill enables businesses to choose electronic trade document systems in transacting international trade.
The Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill completed its report stage in the House of Lords, with the third reading to take place on Monday. The Bill will implement in UK domestic law the Government’s obligations in the FTAs with Australia and New Zealand.
The UK Infrastructure Bank Bill will return to the House of Commons on Wednesday, after the Lords approved a further amendment while considering the Commons’ amendments. The Bill would put the UK Infrastructure Bank on a statutory footing and clarify its powers to lend to local government.
The Public Order Bill will also return to the Commons on Wednesday, after Peers passed an amendment aimed at restricting the use of “suspicionless stop and search”.
A series of Private Members’ Bills passed their final stages in the House of Commons, including Henry Smith’s Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill; Siobhain Baillie’s Child Support (Enforcement) Bill; Stephen Metcalfe’s Powers of Attorney Bill; and Angela Richardson’s Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill.
Homelessness among Ukrainian refugees in the UK and proposals for the seizure of Russian state assets were the subjects of Backbench Business debates in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
Delays at the DVLA caused ‘lost jobs and income’, states the Public Accounts Committee’s latest report, with three million customers experiencing problems with the organisation since April 2020. This situation persisted despite the DVLA ‘investing in new buildings and additional staff, and making more services available online’. The Committee also criticised the Department for Transport’s ‘hands-off approach’ that ‘failed to ensure DVLA is using modern working practices and up-to-date technology’.
Parliament must have ‘meaningful input’ into the Windsor Framework before it is finalised, demands the European Scrutiny Committee. The report was published after the Prime Minister ‘rejected an invitation to appear before the Committee’, which suggested he ‘may be attempting to swerve timely scrutiny’. The Committee may have been slightly pre-emptive, as it has since been announced that Parliament will debate a motion relating to the ‘Stormont Brake’ aspect of the Windsor Framework this coming Wednesday.
Royal Mail is going though ‘troubled times’ and is ‘failing to meet some of its statutory requirements’ concludes the BEIS Committee in its newest report. Losses of up to £1m a day, ongoing industrial action and questions around evidence from its CEO have ‘caused the Committee great concern’. The report calls on the Government to ‘formally engage’ with Royal Mail to ensure its future is secured.
A pilot trial of proxy voting for MPs should be extended ‘to include serious long-term illness and injury on an ongoing basis’ suggests the Procedure Committee’s report on the trial. It recommends that proxy voting rules be ‘applied flexibly to ensure an inclusive environment’ which encourages participation for ill or injured MPs, but that such a system be safeguarded so that it is not abused.
Philip Duffy has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of the Environment Agency (EA) and will start in the role on 1 July.
The Ministerial Responsibilities for the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology have been released, with Michelle Donelan MP as Secretary of State. George Freeman MP as Minister for Science, Research and Innovation; Julia Lopez MP as Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure; Paul Scully MP as Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy; and Viscount Camrose as Minister for AI and Intellectual Property.
Stephen Conlon has been appointed HM Ambassador to Turkmenistan. He will take up his appointment in May 2023.
Edward Hobart has been appointed HM Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.
Sarah Ling has been temporarily appointed as the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland from April 2023 for a maximum of three months.
Owen Roberts has been appointed Chief Executive of Plaid Cymru, following the departure of Carl Harris last year.
This Week’s Polls
Labour held a 45% Westminster voting intention, up 2%, while Conservatives fell by 2% to 30% ahead of the budget this week, according to a recent Savanta Poll. However, slightly more recently, polling from Redfield & Wilton found a 5% decrease in voting intention for Labour, in Blue Wall seats specifically, down to 36%, while the Conservatives sat uncomfortably at 34%.
Building an NHS fit for the future was the most important priority for 67% of people when asked which of Keir Starmer’s five missions are the most important, according to recent Ipsos data.
36% of Britons think Rishi Sunak’s government will do a bad job at passing laws to stop small boat crossings, a decrease from 44% from the start of the year, according to Ipsos polling.
40% of people believed members of the bar were overpaid, thus leaving barristers at the bottom of the pile when it came to attracting public support for industrial action, with 34% strongly opposing their striking, according to YouGov’s latest poll.
4 in 5 voters say Sunak’s Government has made only “a little” or “no progress at all” towards achieving each of Sunak’s priorities as they haven’t seen “meaningful improvement” in their everyday lives, according to Redfield & Wilton polling. They found only 5% said he had made progress on growing the economy.
Generation X were the least likely to be aware of the arbitrary boundaries of their own generation, according to polling from YouGov that found 40% of Britons didn’t know which generation they were in. In contrast, and perhaps surprising for some, adult members of Gen Z were the most likely to know. Sadly the results suggest we won’t see a reduction in the number of generic ‘something something… skinny jeans… something something… too much time on TikTok’ articles published each week…
The Institute for Government published a report on adult social care, warning that the Government’s current approach to funding was unlikely to ensure that performance reaches the levels expected by the public.
The IPPR published a report on what the UK should learn from the USA’s Inflation Reduction Act, highlighting the need for action to be taken to ensure the UK doesn’t fall behind in the global green race as this could have ‘disastrous consequences for its economy and the environmental agenda.’
Policy Exchange released a report on physician-assisted suicide, urging Parliament to ‘show restraint’ while debating the matter. It warns that the law in Canada exemplified the ‘slippery slope’ that legalising assisted dying for the terminally ill can lead to.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies published a report on freeports, setting out the rationale behind them and what can be learned about their potential impact from past policies.
The Centre for Policy Studies published a report on economic activity in Britain, contending that inactivity among workers aged 50-64 was ‘probably driven’ by early retirement rather than ill health. Recommendations made in the report, such as changing the limit on tax-free pension savings, were implemented in the Budget.
You’ve Got to Laugh
If you’ve got this far, seriously well done. If you simply scrolled to the bottom because you’re only here for the LOLs, shame on you but also fair play. We’ve got three highlights for you this week.
In at number three, it’s Conservative MP for North Dorset, Simon Hoare, telling Parliament, to gasps around him, that he was about to “lost my virginity this morning”, by asking a question following the Thursday Business Statement for the first time in his eight years as an MP. Whether his phrasing was pre-planned or not, it was picked up by the media and cleverly drew attention to his real question around intimidation of MPs on the Privileges Committee, investigating Boris Johnson.
At number two, it’s this excellent photograph of former Prime Minister Theresa May breaking ground at the new Legoland Windsor holiday village, accompanied by two life-size Lego figurines.
And in at number one, is Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Grant Shapps, responding to the Government’s announcement of a TikTok ban on Government issued phones, by posting Leonardo DiCaprio’s famous “I’m not leaving!” scene from the Wolf of Wall Street. (To out readers in Government… we strongly advise you not to click on that link…)
We’re off for a long walk in the Friday evening sun… Have a lovely weekend