Latest politics: Long-awaited immigration figures to be confirmed - as Johnson faces questions over 'a dozen meetings at Checkers and Downing Street' (2023)

Basic points
  • Net migration forecast to reach new high|Here's what that might mean
  • Johnson faces questions about 'about a dozen' COVID-related rallies - reports
  • COVID investigation issues legal notice to revamped WhatsApp
  • Sam Coates:Leaked Tory WhatsApps show MPs turning on each other over Boris Johnson's legal troubles
  • Downing Street is insisting the government hand over all relevant material to the inquiry
  • Live reporting fromFaith Ridler


Exclusive: Leaked Tory WhatsApps show MPs turning on each other over Boris Johnson's legal troubles

The Conservative Party is on the brink of going down in flames as party MPs turn on each other over Boris Johnson's latest woes, leaked WhatsApp messages reveal.

Sky News has obtained internal Tory WhatsApp messages from earlier today after Whitehall decided to report Boris Johnson to the police over allegations of illegal events at Checkers during Covid.

This prompted some speculation that allies of Boris Johnson could destabilize Rishi Sunak by submitting letters of censure, claims later denied by friends of the former prime minister.

According to an exchange obtained by Sky, MPs expressed their anger at the idea that the police directive should cause problems for Sunak, who was not involved in the decision.

Jackie Doyle-Price said it was "crazy. Are you determined to set our party on fire?"

Simon Hoare, chairman of the Tory select committee, said this "self-defeating stupidity must end or our party is dying".

Here's the entire exchange:

  • 10:02 - Jackie Doyle-Price:FFS - who the hell spews this madness? Are you determined to turn our party into a bonfire?
  • 10:03 - Anne-Marie Trevelyan:☝ what Jackie said
  • 10:06- Sally-Ann Hart:WTF.
  • 10:07- Kevin Foster:Spazi Jackie
  • 10:15 - Simon Hoare:will be the last to leave the building please turn off the lights. Stupid, self-defeating stupidity must stop or our party dies.
  • 10:19 - James Sunderland:These budding groups, leaks, and press releases aren't helping any of us. We all already belong to the most successful political group of all time - called the Conservative Party.
  • 10:29 - Andrea Jenkyns:I don't like people writing, I prefer to say things to people's faces. However, it is interesting that some of those who commented were happy to speak out publicly against Boris and Liz's administration. Well, maybe less sacrilege and hypocrisy. Obviously, many in the party are unhappy. But those at the top do nothing to bring people together.
  • 10:29 - Robert Goodwill:There are two very simple rules that must be applied in all cases. 1) Does what I say or do make it less or more likely that we will win the general election? If the answer is yes, then do it, if not, don't. 2) Unofficial updates - see above.
  • 10:32 - Craig Mackinlay:Good advice Mr RG. Never turn blue on blue, no matter how annoyed someone is.


Clear immigration data is hours away - here's why you should watch out

Already9.30 Saturday, the Office for National Statistics will release figures on net migration to the UK for the past year - and it is widely expected to reach a new high.

smallan increase in legal immigration is expected, conservatives likely worry about voter backlash — and perhaps even a new wave of insurgency.

Let's remember that in 2019, this is what the Tory manifesto promised"Overall numbers will decrease"following the introduction of post-Brexit border controls.

At that time, net immigration was 226,000.

The Center for Policy Studies analysis predicts that net migration may have hit somewhere in between700,000 and 997,000the year ended December 2022.

If that's true, it mightasking questionson the impact of Brexit on legal immigration - and the Tories' ability to deliver on their manifesto promises.

In addition, they are said to show information from the Ministry of the Interiorthe number of work and study visas reached a new recordalmost a million in the first quarter of 2023.

This was reported in the Times and Daily Mail and may mean that high levels of net migration have not abated in the new year.


Prince cap energy drop 'positive' for Brits - Shapps

Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps described the drop in the energy price cap to £2,074 as a "positive" for people in the UK.

In a statement, the minister said: “It is positive that households across the country will see their energy bills fall by an average of £430 from July, marking a major milestone in our determined efforts to halve inflation.

"We spent billions to protect families when prices rose in the winter to cover almost half of a typical household's electricity bill, and now we're seeing costs fall even further with wholesale energy prices falling by more than two-thirds of the highest level we've had. neutralized (Vladimir) Putin's blackmail.

"I am relentlessly focused on reducing our dependence on foreign fossil fuels and powering Britain from Britain to provide cheaper, cleaner and safer energy."

The energy price cap will come into effect in England, Wales and Scotland from July 1 and will see the bill fall by £426 a year for the average household.


The energy price cap drops significantly as Ofgem reveals new average bill level

The energy cap on household bills fell to an average of £2,074 a year between July and September, removing some of the financial pressure caused by unprecedented gas and electricity price rises.

This will come into effect in England, Wales and Scotland from July 1 and will see the average household's bills fall by £426 a year.

Industry regulator Ofgem made the announcement amid good news forcost of living crisis- with the drop in wholesale energy prices.

Last year they went up after thatRussianhis invasionUkraine, which sent oil and gas prices skyrocketing - a situation exacerbated by Western governments imposing sanctions on the Kremlin.

The new top figure compares with Ofgem's March-June level of £3,280.

However, this cap is currently irrelevant.

And that's because the governmentenergyThe Price Guarantee (EPG), which limits how much suppliers can charge per unit of energy they use, was in place during the autumn and winter months and remains in place until 1 July.

You can watch live cost of living updates by clicking here


GPs should give patients options to travel further or go privately to deal with NHS delays

GPs are to give patients the choice to travel further for healthcare or go to a private alternative under plans to cut NHS waiting times.

Doctors will have to offer up to five healthcare providers when making referrals, allowing people to choose their preferences using an NHS app or website.

Options will be filtered by distance, waiting time and quality of care, in an expansion of the app that has been downloaded by millions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said "empowering" patients to choose where they go will reduce the record number of people waiting for treatment in England -which rose to 7.3 million last month.

But the British Medical Association says it's a staffing crisis, not a lack of options,prevents them from being admitted early and "is not the answer to the huge waiting lists we face".

You can read more about Sky News at the link below:


'Hand on heart': Boris Johnson vows to tell the truth

Less than two months ago, Boris Johnson was questioned by a cross-party panel of MPs for more than three hours about allegedly misleading the Commons about a breach of quarantine rules at Downing Street.

He gave evidence to the Privileges Committee inquiry, which was set up after the matter was referred to them by the House of Commons last April.

In a Sky News Daily podcast shortly after the former prime minister appeared in March,Sally Lockwoodjoined ourschief political correspondent Jon Craig;consider what was said, by whom and when, plus - what could happen next?

Listen to the podcast here:

Click to subscribe to Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts


Johnson faces questions about 'about a dozen' unknown COVID-related gatherings - reports

As we reported yesterday, Boris Johnson is again facing questions about his behavior during the pandemic - this time after a friend visited Chequers.

The Cabinet referred Mr Johnson to the police after finding notes about the visits in his cabinet diaries while gathering evidence for the COVID investigation.

New details were published in the papers overnight:

  • Guardclaimed that "around a dozen" previously undisclosed gatherings at Checkers and Downing Street that allegedly took place during COVID were passed on to the police;
  • However, in response to the previous oneTelegraphIn the story, Boris Johnson's spokesman denied claims that there are 17 "questionable" entries in the former prime minister's diaries.
  • Expressreported overnight that sources close to Mr Johnson have now publicly apologized to Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden over claims the Cabinet had issued misleading statements;
  • These alleged "lies" are reported to the Cabinet Office as saying that they have made no assessment of the facts themselves, nor have they made any actual allegations of a breach of the law.
  • Johnson's allies say this contradicts a letter the Cabinet sent to Harriet Harman's Commons Privileges Committee, which said a group of councilors backing Mr Johnson had identified some records as potentially problematic.


Net migration forecast to hit new high today

This morning the Home Office will release long-awaited immigration figures, detailing the number of people who settled in the UK last year.

Net migration is widely expected to reach record levels, with forecasters suggesting it could be close to a million.

If this is the case, it will surpass the previous peak of 504,000 in the year to June 2022.

On Thursday, the State Statistics Service will publish data for the year ending December 2022.

An analysis by the Center for Policy Studies projects that net migration could reach between 700,000 and 997,000 during this period.

These figures are well above the level of 226,000 when the Conservative Party manifesto in 2019 promised that "overall numbers will fall" after the introduction of post-Brexit border controls.

Rishi Sunak has promised action to reduce net migration, telling reporters on a recent trip to Japan that he wants to be "crystal clear" to the public that "the numbers are very high" and he wants to "bring them down."

The latest available data shows that levels are already at record highs.

Total net migration - the difference between the number of people moving into the UK and the number leaving the country - in the 12 months to June 2022 is estimated to have been 504,000.

This was up sharply from 173,000 in the year to June 2021.


Good morning!

Welcome back to the Politics Hub, where we'll be bringing you live news from the heart of Westminster.

We've got a busy day ahead of us - here's what's next:

  • This morning the Ministry of the Interior will publish the long-awaited data onimmigration, which will detail the number of people who settled in the UK in the year to December 2022;
  • Net migration is generally expected to be closemillionin the last 12 months, with the support of the refugee support program in Ukraine. If this is the case, it will surpass the previous peak of 504,000 in the year to June 2022.
  • The backlash is likely to continue in the newsBoris Johnson has been referred to the policeby the cabinet over fresh allegations that he broke lockdown rules;
  • The former prime minister gave a speech in the US in the early hours of the morning - we will update you on something important.
  • Ofgem is set to announce whatnew energy price capit will be from July to September. Cornwall Insight predicts it will be £2,053.77, down £3,280.
  • We will talk to the former ministerRobert Bucklandalready9.30 Saturdayand WorkStephen Kinnockalready8.20 Saturday.

We'll have all the latest right here as it happens.


That's all for tonight

Thank you for tuning in to another very busy day of live updates from the heart of Westminster.

We'll be back in the morning, and until then, here are the highlights of the day:

  • Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has decided his Home Secretary Suella Braverman will not face an investigation following a speeding row.
  • The COVID inquiry has issued a legal notice to the Cabinet Office to hand over all of Boris Johnson's WhatsApp messages during the pandemic.
  • Leaked Tory WhatsApps showed MPs turning on each other over Boris Johnson's legal troubles.
  • It was announced that inflation eased to 8.7% - the lowest rate in more than a year.
  • Research was assigned to the Teesworks site.
  • A Tory MP was kicked out of the Commons during PMQs as the Prime Minister and Sir Keir Starmer clashed.
  • Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves presented "security" as Labour's economic philosophy for Britain's future.
  • A Labor MP who harassed an aide and racially abused a journalist has been given the whip back.

We'll be back tomorrow from 6am - join us.

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