Liz Truss rejects ‘kangaroo court’ fears despite No10 anxiety over MPs’ partygate probe

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, is pictured attending the Nato summit in Madrid, Spain yesterday – Manu Fernandez/AP

Liz Truss has rejected No 10 fears that the Privileges Committee probe into whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament over partygate could turn into a “kangaroo court”.

The Foreign Secretary also said she has no “problem” with Harriet Harman, the veteran Labour MP, chairing the committee.

Downing Street sources told The Telegraph they believe there is a risk of the investigation becoming a “kangaroo court” after the committee announced it is willing to grant witnesses anonymity.

Allies of Mr Johnson accused the committee of relying on “hearsay evidence” and they also questioned why Ms Harman has been allowed to chair the investigation despite the Labour grandee suggesting as recently as April that Mr Johnson had lied.

Ms Truss was asked if she shared the anxiety that the probe could become a “kangaroo court” and she told Sky News: “No, we have these processes in Parliament. The process has kicked off. We now need to wait for the result.”

Asked about Ms Harman leading the investigation, the Foreign Secretary said that she does not “see a problem with that”. Ms Truss later told the BBC that she “implicitly” trusts the Privileges Committee to investigate the PM.

​​Follow the latest updates below.

09:42 AM

‘Realistic’ to push Russia out of all of Ukraine

Liz Truss has said it is “realistic” that Russia can be pushed out of all the land Ukraine has lost since 2014, including Crimea, within a foreseeable timeframe.

The Foreign Secretary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “All of Ukraine that has been invaded by Russia is illegally occupied.

“And, ultimately, the Russians need to be pushed out of all of that territory, and certainly what we shouldn’t be doing as friends and allies… if Ukraine is implying that there are any trade-offs or any bits of Ukrainian territory that could be traded away or compromised on.”

Asked whether the Government believes Russia can be pushed out of all of Ukraine within a foreseeable timeframe, she said: “It is realistic, and that is why we are supplying the extra lethal aid we’re supplying.”

09:32 AM

‘No’ campaign has narrow lead over ‘Yes’ on Indyref2

The “No” campaign has a narrow lead over the “Yes” campaign on the question of Scottish independence, according to a new poll.

A Savanta ComRes survey for The Scotsman found 44 per cent of those questioned support independence, while 46 per cent are opposed, both down one per cent from a survey last month, while 10 per cent were undecided, which was up three percentage points.

When don’t knows were removed, 49 per cent said they would vote “Yes”, while 51 per cent said they would vote “No”, which was unchanged.

The survey was conducted between June 23 and 28.

09:23 AM

Babies ‘should not be allowed in House of Commons’

Babies should be banned from the House of Commons chamber because they risk distracting MPs, a cross-party committee has found.

The ruling by the House of Commons procedures committee comes after a fierce row was sparked by a Labour MP who was rebuked for bringing her child into a debate last year.

MPs who want to “observe, initiate, speak or intervene in proceedings” should also be banned from bringing babies into Westminster Hall and committee hearings, the review found.

You can read the full story here.

09:22 AM

PM arrives for day two of Nato summit in Madrid

Boris Johnson is pictured as he arrives at the Nato summit in Madrid this morning - Juan Carlos Hidalgo/Shutterstock

Boris Johnson is pictured as he arrives at the Nato summit in Madrid this morning – Juan Carlos Hidalgo/Shutterstock

09:16 AM

Poll: More than half of Scots do not want Indyref2 next year

Nicola Sturgeon’s plan to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence next October has suffered a blow after a new poll found more than half of people in Scotland do not want a ballot to be held in 2023.

When asked whether a referendum should take place next October, 53 per cent of people said it should not, 40 per cent said it should, and the remainder were undecided, a poll for The Scotsman found.

Nicola Sturgeon takes a picture with a guest during a garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh yesterday - Reuters

Nicola Sturgeon takes a picture with a guest during a garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh yesterday – Reuters

Ms Sturgeon wants to hold the vote on October 19 next year.

The UK Government is refusing to grant permission for the referendum and Ms Sturgeon has now asked the UK Supreme Court if Holyrood can hold a referendum without the backing of Westminster.

09:03 AM

‘I don’t pretend that I can conduct a psychological analysis on him’

Boris Johnson suggested earlier this week that Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was an example of “toxic masculinity” and a female president would not have made the same mistake.

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, today distanced herself from the Prime Minister’s suggestion.

She told Times Radio: “He (Vladimir Putin) clearly is capable of very, very evil acts… I don’t pretend that I can conduct a psychological analysis on him, nor do I think it’s helpful.”

Asked if female leaders are less aggressive than their male counterparts, Ms Truss said: “I think that both women and men are capable of terrible and appalling acts.”

08:57 AM

Liz Truss ‘implicitly’ trusts Privileges Committee

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, has said she “implicitly” trusts the Privileges Committee to “listen properly to the evidence and make the right decision” as it probes whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament over partygate.

Ms Truss was asked if she believes Mr Johnson will receive a “fair hearing” from the committee and she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I believe and I trust the Privileges Committee to look at the evidence properly and make the judgement appropriately and we need to allow that process to continue.”

Asked again if the PM will get a “fair hearing”, Ms Truss said: “I trust implicitly my parliamentary colleagues to listen properly to the evidence and make the right decision.”

08:45 AM

Liz Truss: Taiwan must have ‘ability to defend itself’

Liz Truss has said the West must “learn the lessons from Ukraine” as she repeated her call for western allies to arm Taiwan for its protection against China.

She told Times Radio: “The fact is Ukraine wasn’t in a good enough position to defend itself, that made it a target for Russia.

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, is pictured as she attended a Nato summit in Madrid yesterday - Manu Fernandez/AP

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, is pictured as she attended a Nato summit in Madrid yesterday – Manu Fernandez/AP

“That’s what we, as a free world, need to do is make sure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself, that we continue to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait. These are things that we’re discussing with our allies and working on with our allies.”

She added: “The lesson is that we need to make sure that sovereign nations are in a position to defend themselves.”

Asked if this meant providing arms, Ms Truss said: “There are different ways of doing that, and Finland and Sweden have joined Nato as a way of making sure that they are defended. Ultimately, it is making sure that those countries have the capabilities that they need.”

08:43 AM

Labour fails to commit to more defence spending despite criticising cuts

Labour’s shadow defence secretary John Healey has criticised the Government for making cuts to the UK’s armed forces but declined to say whether a Labour government would spend more on the military.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the Government’s plans to cut another 10,000 soldiers from the army is “embarrassing for Britain”.

But asked about Labour’s plans, he said: “You simply can’t fix detailed figures from opposition without seeing the highly-classified military information about threats, the assessment of weapons systems, the cost. Labour will always commit to what’s needed to defend the country.”

08:39 AM

‘We are not thinking about that’

Boris Johnson this week insisted the idea of an early general election “hasn’t occurred to me” but he refused to rule out calling a snap poll.

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, was asked the same question this morning and she also refused to rule out holding a snap election.

She told Sky News: “We are focused on delivering for the British people. We are facing the worst war in Europe for decades, we have got the aftershock of the pandemic which is having huge effects around the world on inflation, on people’s incomes, on economic growth. We are spending our time focused on dealing with those challenges, not speculating about elections.”

Asked again if there could be a snap poll, she said: “As I said, we are not thinking about that, we are thinking about getting on with the job.”

08:29 AM

Liz Truss labels Vladimir Putin an ‘appalling dictator’

The Foreign Secretary has labelled Russian President Vladimir Putin an “appalling dictator”.

Speaking from the Nato summit in Madrid, Spain, Liz Truss told Sky News: “I would describe him as an appalling dictator perpetrating a war that was neither legal nor justified in any possible way.

“I’ve not met Vladimir Putin, I don’t know the motivation for carrying out this appalling war. All I know is that we have to make it our absolute priority to stop this war and to push Vladimir Putin and the Russian troops out of Ukraine.”

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Mr Putin “evil” and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he was a “lunatic”.

08:27 AM

‘We have to ignore the rhetoric’

Vladimir Putin last night warned that Russia will “respond in kind” if Nato troops and infrastructure are placed in Finland and Sweden, with the two countries now poised to join the alliance.

The Russian President said Finland and Sweden can “go ahead” and join Nato but he said “they must understand there was no threat before, while now, if military contingents and infrastructure are deployed there, we will have to respond in kind and create the same threats for the territories from which threats towards us are created”.

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, dismissed the warning this morning as she said Nato should “ignore” Mr Putin’s “red line” rhetoric.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, speaks to the media in Ashgabat yesterday - Dmitry Azarov/AFP

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, speaks to the media in Ashgabat yesterday – Dmitry Azarov/AFP

She told Sky News: “We have heard this rhetoric from Putin about all kinds of plans in the past so he said that it was a red line for him that Finland and Sweden would join Nato. He said it was a red line if Western nations supplied weapons to Ukraine.

“This is rhetoric. We have to ignore the rhetoric and instead do all we can to continue to support Ukraine with the weapons they need to win this appalling war because if we don’t it means that there will be much greater threat for European security in the future.”

08:22 AM

Foreign Secretary backs Harriet Harman

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, said she has no “problem” with veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman being the chairman of the Privileges Committee as it conducts its investigation into whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament over partygate.

She told Sky News: “I don’t see a problem with that either. The committee clearly has to take its course and make its judgement.

“As I have said before I am 100 per cent supportive of the Prime Minister and what people want us to be doing in Britain is getting on with the priorities.”

08:19 AM

Liz Truss rejects ‘kangaroo court’ claims

Downing Street sources have claimed that the inquiry into whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament over partygate risks becoming a “kangaroo court” (you can read the full story here)

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, was asked this morning if she shared that anxiety about the Privileges Committee probe.

She told Sky News: “No, we have these processes in Parliament. The process has kicked off. We now need to wait for the result.”

08:16 AM

Good morning

Good morning and welcome to today’s politics live blog.

Boris Johnson is in Madrid for the second day of the Nato summit and he is expected to hold a press conference before flying back to the UK.

The two main issues of the day are rising tensions between Russia and Nato over Finland and Sweden joining the alliance and a row in Westminster about the Privileges Committee investigation into whether Mr Johnson misled Parliament over partygate.

I will guide you through the key developments.

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