Prime minister Boris Johnson during a visit to the Finchley Memorial Hospital in north London on Tuesday. Photograph:  Ian Vogler/PA Wire

British PM rejects Cummings claim that he knew Downing Street event was against rules

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said the prime minister acted in accordance with the guidance because his wife Carrie, who was pregnant, was in the country residence. Photograph: PRU/AFP via Getty Images

PM’s former adviser says he would ‘swear under oath’ that Johnson was advised to cancel party

Boris Johnson remains holed up in his Downing Street flat, self-isolating after a family member tested positive for coronavirus. But his allies trailed his strategy for survival over the weekend, with the central objective identified as persuading MPs to postpone a decision on his fate until after local elections in May. Photograph: EPA

PM’s plan involves persuading MPs to postpone a decision on his fate until after May local elections

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer being interviewed by Sophie Raworth during the BBC1 current affairs programme. Photograph: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

Labour leader says it’s clear ‘industrial-scale partying’ was going on in Downing Street

Boris Johnson appeared to be unassailable in October. Now the Tories are looking towards their next leader

Difficult to see how British PM can make it through the current crisis

The queen  alone at her husband’s funeral  in line with social distancing guidelines. The previous night there were two parties at  Downing Street. Photograph:  Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Former head of government unit ‘truly sorry’ for another lockdown breach at the top of the British government

Foreign secretary Liz Truss greets EU post-Brexit negotiator Maros Sefcovic in Kent. Photograph: Ben Stansall/PA Wire

Coveney foresees ‘landing zone’ over next two months if talks stay on track

Boris Johnson is driven away from the House of Commons on Wednesday, the day he admitted he attended a party in the Downing Street garden on May 20th, 2020. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Party infighting over PM’s future after Scottish Tory leader calls for his resignation

Former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith asked if legislation to deal with the legacy of the Troubles was something to be ‘shoehorned’ into the future. Photograph:  Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images

NI Minister declines to tell MPs when the overdue legislation will be brought forward

‘O the Roast Beef of England’,  also called the Gate of Calais, by William Hogarth. Photograph:   Imagno/Getty Images

London Letter: The artist’s outlook was connected with Europe but firmly rooted in his Englishness

British prime minister Boris Johnson: ‘I believed implicitly that this was a work event.’ Photograph: Getty/UKParliament

View begins to take shape that Teflon PM may be cornered after lockdown party debacle

British foreign secretary Liz Truss: ‘The EU has a clear responsibility to help fix the myriad problems caused by the protocol.’ File photograph: Getty

Foreign secretary Liz Truss signals deal to be done but ‘pragmatic EU approach’ required

‘The benches behind the prime minister were full but Conservative MPs were still and expressionless as he spoke.’ Photograph: Jessica Taylor/AFP via Getty Images

Analysis: All goes wrong for British PM as he explains attendance at lockdown-breaking party

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson is set to make his first public appearance since the leak on Monday. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

British PM apologises for attending Downing St gathering he ‘believed was a work event’

British prime minister Boris Johnson has refused to say  whether he sanctioned the ‘bring your own booze’ party in Downing Street in May 2020. Photograph:  Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Polls find majority of voters want British PM to step down amid new lockdown breach claims

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson, right, and Nigel Dodds arrive at the British Foreign Office for a meeting with foreign secretary Liz Truss. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Mary Lou McDonald says ‘stability’ should be focus rather than DUP ‘electoral positioning’

British foreign secretary Liz Truss says she is prepared to work night and day to negotiate a solution. Photograph: Aaron Chown/ PA Wire

British foreign secretary in face-to-face talks wtih European Commission’s Sefcovic this week

British foreign secretary Liz Truss: In the Sunday Telegraph, she  describes the problems with the protocol as “myriad and manifest” but most of those she listed could be eased by the EU’s current proposals.  Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Foreign secretary’s contradictions and ambiguities misread as tough new approach

‘Born in County Kilburn, I am the proud son of an Irish navvy from Cork and a nurse from Tipperary,’ Jack Dormey said. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA

Former trade unionist who was married to Harriet Harman MP died in Birmingham

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson was criticised by the ministerial ethics watchdog for his failure to reveal his exchange of messages with Lord Brownlow. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/AFP via Getty Images

Lord Brownlow, who originally paid for part of PM’s flat refurbishment, met culture secretary

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner: she is still talked up by the Conservative-supporting press but her star has dimmed in recent weeks as Starmer has tightened his grip on the party. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire

London Letter: the Labour leader drove home his rejection of the left-wingers who helped make him leader by praising Blair

The British prime minister’s standards adviser, Lord Geidt, who is reported to have been told by Boris Johnson that he did not disclose messages exchanged with a Tory donor about his flat refurbishment because they were on an old phone. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire.

UK PM apologised for not disclosing messages with Tory donor about flat refurbishment

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner speaking during prime minister’s questions on Wednesday. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire

Labour’s deputy leader forced the PM away from coronavirus successes during PMQs

Commuters, most wearing face coverings to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, travel on an  underground tube in central London. Photograph:  Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Johnson acknowledges surge in cases nationwide posing problems for NHS

Liz Truss has indicated  she will not deviate from Britain’s new position, which is to seek an ‘interim’ agreement on practical issues . Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Liz Truss has taken charge of Brexit negotiations following David Frost’s resignation

British prime minister Boris Johnson: “Lockdowns, further restrictions, are not cost-free for lives, for livelihoods, for life chances, closing schools.” Photograph:  Jack Hill

Covid figures hit new record as PM criticised by Starmer over shortage of antigen tests

John Gilhooly, who was born in Limerick, is the  Artistic and Executive Director of London’s Wigmore Hall. Photograph: Ian West/PA Wire

John Gilhooly’s ‘immense contribution to classical music’ marked by Queen Elizabeth

 Sajid Javid: he has admitted that record numbers of coronavirus infections have put the testing system under pressure. Photograph:  Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Health secretary Sajid Javid warns that tests may have to be rationed over the next two weeks

Prime minister Boris Johnson leaving Downing Street in London. He faces local elections in May that could spell the end of his premiership if the Conservatives fare badly. Photograph:  Joshua Bratt/PA Wire

London Letter: Covid restrictions, cost of living and local elections spell peril for PM

British PM Boris Johnson visits a Covid-19 vaccination centre in Milton Keynes on Wednesday. Photograph: Geoff Pugh/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

British government resists calls to reduce isolation times amid record Covid cases

Amid questions over parties at Downing Street and the refurbishment of his private flat, Boris Johnson has suffered an astonishing reversal of fortune. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Few would bet on the PM remaining in office another year or the royal family making up

Prime minister Boris Johnson: Kept open the prospect of imposing new restrictions after Christmas. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Agency warns infections could still overwhelm hospitals as UK records 119,789 new cases

A quiet Oxford Street in London on Wednesday morning. Photograph: Ian West/PA Wire

London Letter: Shops, restaurants, theatres struggle as gloomy message takes hold

Christmas shoppers walk through the centre of Cardiff, Wales, where more restrictions will be introduced from December 26th  in an effort to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Country joins Scotland, Northern Ireland in introducing post-Christmas Covid restrictions

Christmas jumpers on display in a market stall in east London.   A further 91,743 coronavirus cases were recorded in Britain on Monday, with 44 newly reported deaths. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

PM rejects calls to tighten restrictions but hints at new measures after Christmas

Boris Johnson  visiting a vaccination centre in Uxbridge on Friday. On Sunday the Guardian published a photo showing the prime minister and his wife at a social gathering in the Downing Street garden last May. Photograph:  Leon Neal/Getty Images

More trouble for PM as photo emerges of him at cheese and wine gathering during lockdown

Britain’s foreign secretary Liz Truss is taking over the Brexit minister role vacated by  David Frost. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP

Britain’s foreign secretary to take role of negotiating London relationship with EU

David Frost: Believes that the only way that Britain can prosper outside the EU is by cutting taxes and regulation and abandoning the European social model.  Photograph: Getty Images

Rejoicing in Brussels and Dublin may be misplaced as Liz Truss takes over role with own issues

Liberal Democrats candidate Helen Morgan and former party leader Tim Farron celebrate her victory in the North Shropshire byelection. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Analysis: British PM’s rambling speech about Peppa Pig cost his party votes in North Shropshire byelection

Newly-elected Liberal Democrat MP Helen Morgan with party colleague Tim Farron in Oswestry, Shropshire on Friday.  Photograph: Jacob King/PA Wire

PM ‘totally understands’ frustrations as Lib Dems’ Helen Morgan wins North Shropshire seat

London’s Covent Garden: Many people are staying at home and avoiding crowded places over the next few days. Photograph:  James Manning/PA

Shows, restaurants and shops slacken off in game of snakes and ladders

A video grab of chief medical officer for England Chris Whitty speaking to a health and social care committee in London. Photograph: Handout/PRU/AFP via Getty

Medical adviser says speed of Omicron’s spread will place hospitals under strain

British prime minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation in  a Covid update at Downing Street on Wednesday. Photograph: Tolga Akmen-WPA Pool/Getty Images

As medical experts warn of dangers, PM seeks to reassure MPs who voted against his plan

Full border controls on goods coming to Britain from the Republic could encourage Southern traders to reroute their goods through Northern ports. Photograph: Getty Images

Implementing arrangements for goods moving from Ireland to Britain is complex

Shoppers walk along Oxford Street in London on Wednesday. Photograph:  Andy Rain/EPA

78,610 infections in 24 hours as experts warn Omicron variant will break more records

British  prime minister Boris Johnson: Conservative MPs have tired of the disorderly and dysfunctional operation he presides over in Downing Street.  Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Tuesday’s votes limit the PM’s room for manoeuvre in face of Omicron variant surge

MPs announcing the result of a vote for coronavirus regulations in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Photograph:  PA Wire

Labour backing sees measures through after prime minister’s pleading falls on deaf ears

A protest against coronavirus restrictions near parliament in London on Monday. Photograph: Andrew Testa/The New York Times

More than 70 Tory MPs threatening to vote against government over new restrictions

British prime minister Boris Johnson’s personal ratings have fallen to an all-time low as Labour extended its lead in a number of polls. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/PA Wire

Starmer urges Conservative MPs to topple PM, claiming he is unfit for office

A senior British official characterised dropping Britain’s demand on the ECJ as a response to the European Commission’s move to change EU rules so that the supply of medicines to Northern Ireland can be guaranteed. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Negotiators made important shift in position recently, says senior British official

British prime minister Boris Johnson faces a Conservative backbench rebellion over new coronavirus measures announced this week. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Electoral commission suggests PM may have misled ethics adviser over funding of flat

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson: MPs are merciless in private about his faults, character flaws and chaotic Downing Street operation. Photograph: Adrian Dennis

London Letter: Shape-shifting Johnson amid mayhem is still deemed genius campaigner

British PM Boris Johnson during  prime minister’s questions  at the House of Commons in London, Britain. Photograph: UK parliament/Jessica Taylor/EPA

British prime minister’s announcement of an investigation draws immediate ire

British prime minister Boris Johnson. Photograph:  Christopher Furlong/Getty

Allegra Stratton, former press secretary pictured joking in footage, resigns as adviser

The UK foreign office’s top civil servant, Sir Philip Barton, giving evidence on the evacuation from Afghanistan to a Commons foreign affairs  committee.  Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire

Former official at foreign office claims Johnson intervened to ensure domestic animals were evacuated from Afghan capital

Conservative Party co-chairman Oliver Dowden: ‘I would say to people, keep calm and carry on with your Christmas plans.’ Photograph: EPA/Vickie Flores

Conservative party chairman says he is pressing ahead with a staff Christmas party and urged others to do the same

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis said he was optimistic an agreement could be reached over the Protocol. Photograph: Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Images

Coveney urges Northern Ireland secretary to get broader support for reforms

After our dinner of beef and suet pie washed down with wine that had oesophageal reflux written all over it, the speeches began. Photograph: Getty Images

London Letter: The club has met twice a year for dinner since the 1890s – the vilification of the guests proving the usual highlig(...)

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson applauds the choir as he attends the switch on of the Christmas tree lights outside 10 Downing Street in London on December 1, 2021. Photograph:  Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Labour leader accuses PM of ‘worthless’ promise to build 40 new hospitals

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said there had been progress in the negotiations, although it had been difficult. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Minister expresses confidence Frost and Sefcovic could make progress on issues

Labour leader Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner hold their first shadow cabinet meeting after a reshuffle. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Figures on left of party criticise tilt ‘to right’ but Nandy dismisses characterisation

British prime minister Boris Johnson: ‘We don’t see any need currently to change the guidance about how people are living their lives.’ Photograph: Paul Grover/WPA Pool/Getty

PM looks to booster vaccines as at least 14 cases of Omicron variant reported in Britain

David Frost, the UK’s Brexit minister, speaks to the media prior to meeting Maros Sefcovic, vice-president of the European Commission, in Brussels earlier in November. Photograph: Valeria Mongelli/Bloomberg

London Letter: The EU would view the UK’s use of article 16 as particularly aggressive

People take part in a protest outside the Home Office in Westminster, London, following the deaths of 27 people, who drowned after their boat sank in the English Channel on Wednesday. Photograph: James Manning/PA Wire

Priti Patel to meet with French counterpart after 27 people drown in English Channel

British prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak sitting together during prime minister’s questions. Photograph: AFP via Getty Images

Labour leader accuses prime minister of introducing ‘working class dementia tax’

Labour leader Keir Starmer: ‘The prime minister’s routine is falling flat. His chancellor is worried that people are getting wise.’ Handout photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire

Labour leader revels in PM’s discomfort as rift with chancellor Rishi Sunak widens

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson meets Israeli president Isaac Herzog: Mr Johnson gave a rambling speech to the Confederation of British Industry on Monday.  Photograph:  Justin Tallis

Eighteen Conservatives call for independent assessment of NHS staffing needs

Louise Haigh, shadow Northern Ireland secretary: ‘It’s not my job to be a persuader for the union.’ Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Louise Haigh says Belfast Agreement means British government should not act as a persuader on one side

Britain’s Brexit minister David Frost says diverging from EU rules and standards is essential for Britain to prosper after Brexit Photograph: John Thys/AFP

Diverging from EU rules essential for Britain to prosper, David Frost tells conference

British cabinet minister Michael Gove has expressed confidence that a deal over the Northern Ireland protocol can be agreed without recourse to unilateral action under Article 16. Photograph:  Leon Neal/Getty Images

Taoiseach says he has built good relationship with Boris Johnson and all sides keen to end post-Brexit rancour

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern: he said loyalists see the  protocol as a ‘trick by the South’ to create a united Ireland. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ex-taoiseach says solving issues on political identity more difficult than trade issues

Britain’s president for Cop26 Alok Sharma speaks during a press conference in central London earlier this week. Photograph: Daniel Leal/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

London Letter: Cop26 president provides welcome relief from Johnson’s chosen path

Labour leader Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves at Leeds railway station after visiting Bradford. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Levelling up exposed as nothing more than a slogan, says Labour leader Keir Starmer

 David Frost answering Brexit-related questions in the House of Lords  on Thursday. Photograph: AFP via Getty Images

He also dismisses speculation he would invoke article 16 in the most limited way to extend current grace periods

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson: told the House of Commons liaison committee that he now accepted that the former Northern secretary broke the rules. Handout photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Prime Minister admits mistake in trying to change rules to save Owen Paterson

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons in London on Wednesday. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/AFP via Getty Images

Conservatives worry debacle will keep Tory sleaze in the headlines for months

Boris Johnson attempted to block  Owen Paterson’s suspension as an MP for breaching rules about paid lobbying, but  reversed his position following a backlash from MPs and voters. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/Pool/EPA

Prime minister’s announcement came just as Labour leader was making same proposal

Police forensics officers at the Women’s Hospital in Liverpool on Monday, the scene of Sunday’s taxi explosion. Photograph: Paul  Ellis/AFP via Getty

Suspect Emad Al Swealmeen (32), who died in taxi explosion, was a convert to Christianity

Boris Johnson defends Britain’s handling of  Cop26. Photograph: Daniel Leal/PA Wire

Activists say pact not ambitious enough to prevent global warming above 1.5 degrees

A climate justice march in New York took place in the final hours of the Cop26 summit. A tearful Cop26 president Alok Sharma closed the  summit with a global deal by nearly 200 countries aimed at limiting dangerous temperature rises. Photograph: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty

Last-minute coup by China, India sees coal wording being changed from ‘phase out’ to ‘phase down’

President for Cop26, Alok Sharma, speaks on stage during the Cop26 summit at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow for the opening of the Gender Day event. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Climate pact ‘watered down’ at last minute following push by India

Climate activists protest in central London, as the Cop26 summit over-runs its deadline. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty

Negotiators near deal on carbon trading as Ireland pledges €5m to help poorer countries

Journalists work inside the media centre at the Cop26 conference, in Glasgow. Photograph:  Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

What has happened in Glasgow is nothing less than a reorientation of global capitalism towards a carbon neutral future

Cop26 president Alok Sharma surrounded by advisers before giving a  speech at the  summit in Glasgow. Photograph: PA Wire

Minister acknowledges commitments made not enough to reach 1.5 degree target

The latest draft text retains references for countries to upgrade climate pledges in 2022 and phase out inefficient fossil fuels subsidies, which had been criticised by some nations. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

EU, US and Japan reported to be resisting giving more money to developing countries

Britain’s Brexit minister David Frost. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Change might reflect a conclusion in London that it’s the wrong time to risk EU retaliation

European  Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic speaking at Europe House in Westminster, London after a meeting with Brexit minister David Frost. Photograph: Hollie Adams/PA Wire

EC’s Maros Sefcovic welcomes ‘change in tone’ from Brexit minister David Frost

Britain’s Brexit minister  David Frost: Europe has made it clear it is not impressed by British spin about triggering article 16 in a “calibrated and forensic” way.  Photograph: Olivier Hoslet

London Letter: British threats have pushed more EU members into hawkish camp

Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission, said it would be a ‘very bad signal’ if a reference to phasing out coal and fossil fuels in a draft text published on Wednesday does not survive in the summit’s final statement. Photograph: Robert Perry/EPA

European Commission VP says phasing out of fossil fuels needs to make final statement

British chief Brexit negotiator David Frost: “We have inched a little bit closer; there has been some movement, and that is good. We just are not moving together quickly enough.” Photograph: Virginia Mayo

British Brexit minister says move still an option but vows to keep up talks

UK prime minister Boris Johnston at Cop26. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

‘The world will find it absolutely incomprehensible if we fail to deliver,’ he tells leaders

 British prime minister Boris Johnson: “For hundreds of years, MPs have gone to parliament and also done work as doctors, lawyers or soldiers or firefighters or writers, or all sorts of other trades and callings.” Photograph: Robert Perry

British PM tells Cop26 of media scrutiny and ‘appropriate sanctions’ amid wave of sleaze

UK prime minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty

Opposition calls for watchdog inquiry into stay at Zac Goldsmith’s luxury property

European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic following a meeting with Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost. Photograph: Getty

Engagements with Britain over Northern Ireland proposals ‘disappointing ’ – Sefcovic

UK Brexit minister  David Frost speaks with the media outside EU headquarters in Brussels on Friday. Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP

Maros Sefcovic describes latest talks with David Frost as ‘disappointing’

The Imperial War Museum in London. Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty

London Letter: Imperial War Museum initiative fills gaps in understanding of Holocaust

Boris Johnson has ditched plans to overhaul the standards system for MPs. File photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor /PA Wire

PM had promised new vote in standards in public life row after heavy backlash

France’s minister for European affairs Clément Beaune. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Ministers commit to further negotiations as Paris meeting fails to break deadlock

Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking during the Cop26 summit in Glasgow on Tuesday. Photograph: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

Government plan expected to include methane reductions of about 10%

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