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Geoffrey Cox says Tory chief whip told him voting from Caribbean was ‘appropriate’ – UK politics live | Politics


Good morning. The Commons has started a mini-recess, which means Boris Johnson will not have to face what would otherwise have been a awkward PMQs, which would doubtless have been dominated by futile attempts to get him to admit what almost everyone else in government will admit – that last week’s Owen Paterson vote was a serious mistake, for which an apology is necessary.

Instead Johnson is going by train to the Cop26 conference “to meet negotiators, to get an update on progress in the talks and encourage ambitious action in the final days of the negotiations”, as No 10 put it yesterday. Johnson will hold a press conference in the afternoon.

The press conference will focus on the climate crisis, and what has been achieved at Cop26. There have been welcome developments at the summit, but overall the verdict so far is very mixed, at best, and Greenpeace International has described the draft text of the summit agreement published this morning as “not a plan to solve the climate crisis … [but] an agreement that we’ll all cross our fingers and hope for the best”. My colleague Alan Evans has full coverage on our Cop26 live blog.

But Westminster political journalists are heading to Glasgow for the press conference too, and Johnson is bound to face some questions about the sleaze/corruption allegations that continue to dog the Tories.

Downing Street was struggling to defend Sir Geoffrey Cox yesterday, and this morning his position is looking even more perilous in the light of new allegations that he seems to have used taxpayer-funded parliamentary facilities to appear in a court hearing virtually. Other Conservatives facing fresh questions about their outside interests include Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former party leader (see here), and Daniel Kawczynski (see here).

Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, said this morning that Johnson’s trip to Glasgow – which had been expected later this week – looks like an attempt to distract attention from sleaze. He said:


It’s hard to avoid the suspicion that the prime minister sees a day trip to the Cop as a useful way of distracting from the sleaze surrounding the Tory party rather than a chance to get a grip and engage in the substance like a statesman.

It’s high time Boris Johnson recognised that he is not a commentator but needs to take charge of a summit that is not on track to deliver. We are miles off where we need to be in the halving of emissions required by 2030. It’s time the government faced this truth, stopped the greenwash, and put maximum pressure on all parties to step up and agree a path out of Glasgow to keep 1.5 alive.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: The ONS publishes a series of of reports, including one covering the impact of the budget on inflation, labour costs and labour income and Covid antibody levels.

4.30pm: Boris Johnson is due to hold a press conference at the Cop26 summit.

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