In a now-deleted tweet calling for urgent action, Sadiq Khan called London the “18th most polluted city in the world”, citing air quality, light pollution and congestion. Not only is Khan’s self-flagellation alarmist, it also suffers the disadvantage of being wrong. Publicly over-exaggerating the inadequacies of his own environmental record seems to be a price Sadiq is happy to pay to further his punitive green policies. To recap: he’s been in charge for six years…
London is nowhere near 18th most polluted city in the world, on any of these measures. IQair ranks London as the 3739th in the world on air pollution. It is ranked 55th out of just 404 cities on congestion, and the UN reports mean noise pollution as joint 28th out of the 61 cities measured.
Guido isn’t sure where Sadiq got his facts. It could be from London’s air pollution being ranked 17th of 29 European Capitals in 2019, or from a deliberate misreading of the aforementioned UN report. Sadiq’s constant love of speaking hot air probably doesn’t help the statistics…
On Sunday Guido tweeted that Rishi’s then-to-be announced U-turn was so big it could be seen from space. Immediately Team Rishi texted to argue it was not a U-turn, it was consistent with his stated policy. However Guido’s memory is not playing tricks. Only a week or so ago, Team Rishi was briefing the FT and Guardian that Truss’s tax cuts were unfunded and that he would not be matching them – now he’s not only matching them, he’s raising the ante. A week is a long time in politics…
Guido thought the straight talker who objected to fairy tales was changing his story on tax cuts. No, says Rishi today, these will be funded by the surpluses forecast by the OBR. What? Didn’t Rishi in a debate criticise Liz for relying on the £30 billion of fiscal headroom the OBR was forecasting for next year? Now he wants to rely on a 7 year forecast going out past the next election to finance incremental tax cut promises? That looks like a U-turn you can see from space…
Yesterday SNP MP Stewart Hosie told Politics Live viewers that Scotland has a lower Covid prevalence than England. So smug were the SNP that their neighbours and closest friends south of the border were supposedly riddled with a quasi-deadly virus, they gleefully repeated this claim on their social media channels:
📺 Journalist @pollytoynbee praises Nicola Sturgeon for a more cautious Covid approach in Scotland, in contrast with Boris Johnson.— The SNP (@theSNP) January 6, 2022
✅ Latest ONS data shows Covid is less prevalent in Scotland than England.
🏴 Get boosted, get tested, wear a mask - let's keep saving lives. pic.twitter.com/5jbaU4kBGq
There’s just one problem: despite Sturgeon’s love of restrictions, stricter rules, the closure of clubs and semi-lockdowns in other hospitality venues, their Covid prevalence stats are out of date.*
While the SNP cite ONS statistics, the government’s Covid dashboard spells a different picture for cases by nation for the last 7 days:
Not only does England have a lower prevalence than Scotland, it has the lowest prevalence of all four UK nations despite having almost no legal restrictions. The lockdown lovers always say they’re following the science… except when they aren’t.
*Previously this article said the SNP’s stats were untrue rather than out of date.
The Daily Mail’s Deputy Political Editor John Stevens has clarified that Boris, Carrie and their close friend Nimco Ali formed a childcare bubble over Christmas last year – which means the trio did not break any of the Covid-19 rules, despite claims to this effect published in The Daily Mirror.
The row, which started following a profile about the Johnsons in Harper’s Magazine, accused Carrie’s best friend Nimco of illegally staying with the Johnsons over the holidays. A spokesperson for the PM initially told Harper’s Magazine that the “Prime Minister and Mrs Johnson follow coronavirus rules at all times” without denying claims that they hosted Nimco for Christmas. Given Downing Street’s relatively tight-lipped response, Nimco has been left to defend herself online the past three days…
At the time, rules allowed people to have both childcare bubbles and support bubbles, and also allowed bubbles to change if there was a 10 day gap between meet ups.
What a childcare bubble is
If you live in a household with anyone aged under 14, you can form a childcare bubble. This allows friends or family from one other household to provide informal childcare. ‘Informal’ childcare means it is unregistered.
You can only form a childcare bubble if you meet certain eligibility rules. Not everyone can form a childcare bubble.
Childcare bubbles are different from support bubbles.
If providing informal childcare within a childcare bubble, you should follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus, including washing your hands and opening windows to let in plenty of fresh air.
When providing childcare, it may not always be possible to maintain social distancing. You should still limit close contact as much as possible and take other precautions.
Boris’s spokesperson has therefore confirmed that Boris’s mother did not join Boris and Carrie for Christmas. After all that, it’s Johnson’s critics who’ve ended up looking like turkeys…
Penny Mordaunt’s mauling of Angela Rayner in the Commons yesterday afternoon took Westminster by storm, with both Rayner and Mordaunt even trending on Twitter. Given it was so watched, Guido thought a fact check of one of Mordaunt’s main claims was in order:
“If you were to take every single MP she’s made an allegation about this afternoon, and you were to look at all the political donations they have received since the pandemic started (since January 2020), if you were to add them all up; if you were to double them – no, Mr Speaker, if you were to quadruple them – you would still just about match what the hon. Lady herself has received in the same time period.”
Referring back to Ange’s speech, she named the PM, the Home Secretary, the Health Secretary and Lord Lister, whose total declared takings since January 2020 benchmark amounted to just £4,660 for Boris and £55,586 for Hancock. Surprisingly, Priti doesn’t have a single register of interest entry…
Rayner’s coffers on the other hand have been working overtime. Since January 2020 Angie has received:
That’s a whopping £234,410.79, and – as Penny pointed out – the same as four times the total takings of the government figures she was pointing the finger at (£240,984). Penny had Rayner bang to rights…
From the tone of coverage and discourse on social media about the Downing Street flat’s controversially-financed redecoration, you would imagine that there was a snobby reaction to the “John Lewis furniture nightmare” on the part of Carrie and Boris bordering on allergic when they moved in. This morning’s coordinated tweets from Labour MPs give a flavour of that view:
Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds consider John Lewis furniture a “nightmare”.— Nadia Whittome MP (@NadiaWhittomeMP) April 27, 2021
Maybe they should ask the 14 million people living in poverty, or the 280,000 people who are homeless, what they have nightmares about.
I bet John Lewis sofas wouldn't feature.
Many of the customers of John Lewis don’t agree they live in a “John Lewis nightmare” what unctuous snobbery oozing from No10!— Barry Sheerman MP (@BarrySheerman) April 27, 2021
Most revealing about Johnson & his Downing St refurb - he wanted rid of Theresa May’s “John Lewis nightmare”. Most people consider John Lewis reliable, good value & upmarket. One of Britain’s favourite brands. #TorySleaze— Ben Bradshaw (@BenPBradshaw) April 25, 2021
The commentariat hasn’t been shy of misattributing the phrase either:
Can't quite get my head around Carrie Symonds reportedly looking down on 'John Lewis furniture'. I think we had our wedding list there. For all but the tiniest section of the population, John Lewis is posh.— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) April 27, 2021
One of the most offensive details of the PM/Carrie Symonds reno scandal is that they had the flat redone because it was a “John Lewis nightmare”. That nightmare is aspirational and out of reach for very many people in this country. And nobody is paying for their gaffs— Hannah Fearn (@hannahfearn) April 27, 2021
Somewhat lost in this saga is that the phrase “John Lewis furniture nightmare of the May years” actually originated months ago from the elegant hand of Anne McElvoy in a Tatler article, not the mouth of Carrie Symonds. The actual evidence is that far from despising the middle-classes’ go-to shop, Carrie is in fact one of their most avid customers. On the very day she moved into Downing Street the Daily Mail had photographs (above) of a large delivery of boxes arriving from John Lewis. That’s a lot of boxes from a store she is supposed to detest…