The last PMQs before recess turned nasty as Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer descended into a blame game over Russia.
The Labour leader attempted multiple times to challenge the Prime Minister over the Intelligence and Security Committee report published yesterday, asking him why Mr Johnson sat on it for so long, instead of acting to prevent Russian interference.
But Mr Johnson attacked his rival, saying Labour had "parroted the line of the Kremlin" after the Salisbury poisoning, while the Government had turfed out diplomats.
This was challenged by the Labour leader, who says he supported Theresa May at the time, demanding he “correct the record”. But the Prime Minister ploughed on, saying Sir Keir “sat on his hands” while Jeremy Corbyn spoke.
This was challenged by the former Director of Public Prosecutions who said he had been involved in bringing the case against Russia over the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.
But Mr Johnson turned the tables on the Labour leader, accusing him of trying to undermine the result of the referendum.
"Let's be in no doubt about what this is all about," he said, claiming the "Islingtonian Remainers" were trying to give the impression that Russian influence is responsible for Brexit. "The people of this country didn't vote to leave the EU because of Russian interference - they voted to take back control."
Follow the latest updates below.
And that's it for another day - and another term
Parliament goes into recess from later on today, which goes to explain in part why it has been such a busy few days.
Boris Johnson took Sir Keir Starmer to task during PMQs today as the Labour leader sought to hammer him over the Russia report, and much of his accusations stuck - not least the fact the former shadow Brexit secretary "sat on his hands" while Jeremy Corbyn "parroted the Kremlin's line" following the Salisbury poisoning.
The Prime Minister also accused his rival of trying to rake up old graves because he is an "Islingtonian Remainer".
There's no suggestion that Sir Keir wants a rerun of the referendum, and he insists that Labour is "under new management" but they are tricky lines for him to successfully shrug off, despite his powerful claim that he stood up to Russia by being involved in bringing the legal case over Alexander Litvinenko's poisoning.
That means six weeks of quiet - or does it? I suspect the news will be as busy as ever for some time yet.
I'll be back from 8am tomorrow to bring you everything from Westminster and beyond.
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Corbyn's anti-Semitism comments are 'bizarre' and 'obsessional', says Margaret Hodge
Jeremy Corbyn's comments about Labour's apology to the anti-Semitism whistleblowers (12:58) is "bizarre" and "obsessional", Dame Margaret Hodge has said.
"The less said by him the better, not just for us, the Labour party, but for him too," she added.
The Barking MP told Sky News that "a little humility shown by Jeremy at this time would be most welcome", adding: "Jeremy has got to start listening".
Dame Margaret, who has spoken out against her own party and told the Commons of her personal fight against anti-Semitism, added: "Not only did nine out of 10 Jewish people fear the advent of Jeremy Corbyn as our Prime Minister... not only have we got the inquiry by the Human Rights Commission, but we had the most resounding defeat ever in the last General Election."
Whistleblower says it will take 'a long time to repair damage' from Labour's response to anti-Semitism doc
One of the whistleblowers who was interviewed by Panorama about Labour's handling of anti-Semitism complaints has said it will take "a long time to repair the damage done" by the party.
Benjamin Westerman, told BBC's World and One he had accepted the party's apology, saying it meant "a great deal" to have the truth acknowledged by the party.
But he added: "I've been accused of various things, both in my time with the party and since - having bad motives, having an axe to grind, being a Tory or whatever, which is just deeply hurtful and today is a very momentous step in moving forward from that.
"I'm very pleased that our reputations have been restored and that the truth of what we said has been acknowledged by the party - that means a great deal.
"But of course it will take a long time to repair the damage done to our character by these unfounded attacks."
Panorama film-maker consulting legal team following Corbyn's comments
Following Jeremy Corbyn's statement earlier today, saying the Labour party's apology to seven whistleblowers and the Panorama documentary maker, it seems the journalist is considering action.
The former Labour leader said it was "a political decision, not a legal one" (12:58), adding the move "risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations" about action to tackle anti-Semitism in Labour".
Sir Keir Starmer's team distanced the opposition leader from the comments (1:59pm).
After Jeremy Corbyn's statement, which said Labour settlement was a 'political not legal' decision, journalist John Ware understood to be consulting his legal team
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) July 22, 2020
Dominic Raab praises German-British cooperation in meeting with Heiko Maas
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and German minister of foreign affairs Heiko Maas have met at Chevening House in Kent.
The pair discussed topics including the joint response to the coronavirus pandemic as well as international relations with China, the Middle East and Russia, Mr Raab told reporters.
He said: "It has been British and German researchers that have lead in vaccine development while our Governments have also been working together on the global stage to ensure there's an equitable global distribution."
Mr Raab's address was later interrupted by a gust of wind that blew both ministers' papers from their socially distant lecterns.
The Foreign Secretary continued, adding that the British and German governments had worked together in the delivery of PPE as well as repatriations during the pandemic.
Conservatives extend polls lead despite Boris Johnson's personal ratings drop
The Conservatives are extending their lead against Labour in the polls - despite Boris Johnson's personal ratings continuing to fall.
The latest Savanta ComRes poll puts the Tories on 43 per cent, three points higher than last month, while the Labour Party are on 37 per cent, up just one point. The Liberal Democrats have slumped further to just six per cent.
However the Prime Minister appears to be taking the brunt of his decision to back chief adviser Dominic Cummings in May, with favourability ratings hitting a new low this month.
Mr Johnson dropped four points to minus-two, entering negative territory for the first time. Cabinet colleagues including Dominic Raab, Matt Hancock and Priti Patel's ratings have also gone south, with only Rishi Sunak seeing a rise, to 30, following his summer economic update a fortnight ago.
Conversely Sir Keir Starmer's personal ratings have climbed four points to +5.
In the pollster's "Best Prime Minister" ratings, Mr Johnson still has the edge, taking 40 per cent compared with Sir Keir's 31 per cent.
Lobby latest: Government committed to 'bringing forward' a social care plan
The Government is planning to overhaul the social care system - but it sounds like a plan might be a way off.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We remain committed to bringing forward a plan social care to ensure everybody is treated with dignity and respect and nobody is asked to sell their home to pay for care.
"This is one of the most complex issues that we face. And it's right we take time to develop a fair and sustainable solution."
Lobby latest: Government will bring forward legislation to ‘counter hostile state activity’, No 10 says
The Prime Minister’s spokesman confirms that there is work underway to create new legislation to “deal more effectively with the espionage threat”.
It includes a review of the Official Secrets Act, and the Government is also considering the introduction of a form of foreign agent registration.
“We are fully committed to taking whatever action is necessary to combat the threat posed by a hostile state,” the spokesman adds.
Lobby latest: WHO still has 'important role to play’, Downing Street says
The World Health Organisation still plays an important role in leading the world's response to coronavirus, Number 10 has said.
The statement follows today’s Telegraph story that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Tory MPs that the World Health Organisation’s Director-General was "bought by the Chinese government".
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the WHO “continues to have an important role to play in leading the global health response to the pandemic”.
He noted that the UK is a “major donor” to the organisation but continues to advocate for “reform”.
Lobby latest: UK 'prepared for all' outcomes of Brexit trade talks
The UK is prepared for "all possible scenarios" arising from the critical round of Brexit trade talks this week, following the Telegraph's report that Britain is close to abandoning hope of a deal.
The Prime Minister's spokesman said the UK remains "committed to working hard to find the outlines of a balanced agreement".
The spokesman added: "We have been clear. Discussions throughout this intensified process have continued to be constructive but significant differences still remain on a number of incautious issues.
"Our preference is to leave with an FTA as long as it guarantees political and economic independence. "We will make sure that we're prepared for all possible scenarios."
Lobby latest: Downing Street says Rob Roberts allegations are 'unacceptable'
Rob Roberts has apologised for his behaviour, after numerous accounts of harassment, Number 10 has said.
The Delyn MP was referred to Parliament's standards body over WhatsApp texts allegedly sent to a young female intern and a male worker at Parliament.
The Red Wall MP, who recently split from his wife and publicly came out as gay, sent a string of messages to the intern, allegedly inviting her to "fool around" with him.
Mr Roberts has been undertaking safeguarding and social media protection, Downing Street said.
The Prime Minister's Press Secretary added: "We are clear such conduct is completely unacceptable".
Care homes reopen to visitors again, Government confirms
Loved ones can safely visit care home residents from today - but under certain restrictions.
Visits will resume in specific care homes in England once local directors of public health and local authorities decide it is safe to do so, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
Visits should be limited to a "single constant visitor" per resident where possible to limit the risk of infection spread and keep footfall in and out of the home down.
Risk assessments will be undertaken prior to visits starting, and visits should involve face coverings and social distancing measures.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "I know how painful it has been for those in care homes not being able to receive visits from their loved ones throughout this period.
"We are now able to carefully and safely allow visits to care homes, which will be based on local knowledge and circumstances for each care home.
"It is really important that we don't undo all of the hard work of care homes over the last few months while ensuring families and friends can be safely reunited, so we have put in place guidance that protects everyone."
Just 10 deaths recorded in English hospitals, NHS says
A further ten people who tested positive for coronavirus have died, with no deaths recorded in London and the South West.
The total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England now stands at 29,212.
Patients were aged between 50 and 97 years old. All had known underlying health conditions.
One death was recorded in the North West and the North East & Yorkshire, while there were two in the East of England. Three deaths were recorded in the Midlands and the South East.
Minister pledges to uphold independence of Intelligence and Security Committee
Yvette Cooper says there is "a long tradition" of members of both houses putting aside party politics to engage in scrutiny of intelligence agencies, saying the Government "puts that at risk at its peril".
She asks James Brokenshire to rule out any attempt at Government interference to the Intelligence and Security Committee, including political appointments.
He says he is "very clear on the need for independence" of the ISC.
"I do not want to see the sense of that question of its independent drawn into any doubt," he adds, giving the Home Affairs Committee chair assurance that he will "take steps to uphold that".
Legatum commended by minister for helping ISC report
Steve Baker notes that the ISC thanks five Russia experts from outside the intelligence community, two of whom have done work with the Legatum Institute.
He asks James Brokenshire if he will praise the think tank and individuals "for having the courage and commitment to expend the resources and take the risks to oppose Russian wrongdoing".
Mr Brokenshire commends Legatum "and all those who have sought to assemble" information.
Minister fends off challenge over why Russians 'chose to sit the Brexit vote out'
Stella Creasy questions why the Russians "chose to sit this one out", by not getting involved in the Brexit referendum, when they influenced the 2014 Scottish independence vote and other elections.
James Brokenshire says "we are certainly hearing some questions to refight this referendum".
"Actually, we should respect that," the security adds.
He gives the Labour MP assurances of "vigilance" against intrusion and disinformation.
Labour leadership distances itself from Jeremy Corbyn's comments on anti-Semitism settlement
Labour has declined to comment on Jeremy Corbyn's claims that it made a "political" decision to settle and apologise to anti-Semitism whistleblowers.
Asked about Mr Corbyn's comments this afternoon (12:58), Sir Keir Starmer's spokesman said that the party had set out its position and did not intend to add to it.
"Jeremy set out its own position but we issued statements this morning that out very, very clearly the position of the leadership," he said.
However, they also said that during the Labour leadership contest that Sir Keir's rivals Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey, the pro-Corbyn candidate, had also said they would have settled the issue and that the party had handled the controversy wrong.
He declined to comment on reports that the party has spent more than £500,000 settling the action with seven former members of staff and the journalist John Ware.
Former Scotland Secretary slams 'shameful' Salmond over RT ties
Conservative MP and former Scotland Secretary David Mundell has said it is "absolutely shameful" that Alex Salmond "remains in the pay of the Kremlin", noting that "so few nationalists condemn him for it".
James Brokenshire says there are "questions, doubts and real concerns about the objectivity of Russia Today".
He says Ofcom and other agencies need to "step up".
Brokenshire rejects suggestion that 'dark money' was funnelled into Brexit referendum
Deirdre Brock says the Government "didn't want to know, didn't want to ask about dark money" funnelled into the Brexit referendum through the DUP by Richard Cook.
Asked how he will stop "foreign donations polluting our elections", James Brokenshire says "again, the issue is about trying to rerun the Brexit referendum".
But he says the Government is taking further steps to safeguard the voting system, including voter ID.
"We do not accept foreign donations," he notes.
Labour leader calls on Sturgeon to condemn Salmond's RT appearances
Sir Keir Starmer has called on Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to make a public statement condemning former SNP leader Alex Salmond's appearances on RT.
When asked whether Sir Keir would "condemn" Mr Salmond's appearances on the Kremlin-backed channel, the Labour leader's spokesman told reporters: "We completely condemn it and we advise the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to do the same.
"She should make a public statement condemning it."
The spokesman added: "He (Keir) would certainly say it is the wrong thing to do (appearing on RT).
"As Keir said, no member of the front bench has been on Russia Today since Keir was put in charge and it is certainly not anything we would endorse."
Minister asked about Russian threat through institutional organisations
John Howell asks if the report "underplays" the "distinct risk to the UK from international institutions to which we jointly belong".
James Brokenshire notes that "Russia seeks to advance this sense of a state that supports the rules-based order and yet through all its other actions, we can see this fundamentally different approach".
He says the UK should be "clear eyed" about threats and make sure the UK's interests are best represented in those organisations.
Minister dodges question about whether register will include foreign lobbyists
Bob Seely asks about the proposed foreign agents register, asking if it is about spies or foreign lobbying.
James Brokenshire says the Government has been examining different laws in different countries, and will draw that together into something which will be "effective from a UK perspective".
He doesn't give a clear answer, however.
Labour MP 'mystified' by continued acceptance of donations from 'dodgy Russian oligarchs'
Labour MP Chris Bryant says he is "mystified" by the fact that Government is giving out "golden visas to dodgy Russian oligarchs", that exemptions are being granted so they can "hide ownership" and that donations are still being taken by these "dodgy Russian oligarchs".
James Brokenshire says he hopes Mr Bryant would recognise the work that has been done including tightening up Tier One visas, and says he can reassure him of "our continued review and our vigilance as to the abuse of our system".
There is 'changing character of conflict', minister agrees
Tobias Ellwood, the Defence Select Committee chair, says it has "long been recognised" that Russia poses a threat.
He asks James Brokenshire if the actions are a reflection of the "changing character of conflict" and that "we need to quickly adapt to his new form of political competition".
The security minister does agree, and says offensive cyber capabilities are now "a critical part of our work", although they are "bounded appropriately by legal and policy oversight".
Tory MP challenged over ISC question by report co-author
Conservative MP Jo Gideon says the ISC report suggests the SNP has "questions to answer" about Russian influence in the 2014 referendum.
James Brokenshire says "we will wait to see how the SNP reponds".
Kevan Jones, the Labour MP who sits on the ISC committee and helped write the report says he wishes Ms Gideon or "the Special Adviser who wrote that question had actually read the report, because clearly she hasn't".
He then welcomes some of the Government's responses to the report about reforming the Official Secrets Act and introducing new laws.
He says legislation is needed, adding:"Let's hope it's not just some spin to take the headlines on the tday after the report was announced".
Minister urged to consider Russian influence in referendums 'objectively'
SNP MP Stewart Malcolm McDonald has called for an inquiry into the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, saying there is "a lot of stuff in there [the report] and I think it needs to be taken seriously and objectively".
He also asks the minister to look at what is said about the 2016 EU referendum "objectively".
"Let's have the inquiry into Brexit and the 2014 referendum campaign," he says. "That is only something the UK Government can do."
He also asks when legislation will be brought forward to deal with the threat.
James Brokenshire says the Government has already responded, highlighting that it is the work of intelligence agencies to assess information as it arises. "It is not necessary to hold a specific retrospective inquiry," he adds.
Mr Brokenshire claims it is "more about rearguing some of the issues over the Brexit referendum itself", which could lead to it not being respected.
Julian Lewis tackles minister over reports of ISC political manoeuvres
Julian Lewis, the newly independent MP for New Forest East, says it is "really rather sad" that James Brokenshire is responding to an urgent question about Russian interference into British democracy rather than making a "voluntary statement".
He says the report's "high standard" is down to the staff of the ISC, but he notes media reports that "some people within Government tried to sack the secretariat and make political appointments".
He asks "my political friend, as I still regard him" not to "fob us off with cliches about not believing everything you read in the media" and give a categorical commitment that no party political special advisers will be allowed anywhere near the Intelligence and Security Committee.
Mr Brokenshire does refer to Dr Lewis as his "honorable friend", stressing the weight he gives to the ISC and its investigations.
"He can certainly have my assurances to the weight and support I give to his committee," he adds.
Voter ID will help protect UK against Russian interference, says security minister
James Brokenshire has attacked Labour again over its previous stance towards Russia.
The security minister says "unlike the party opposition" the Conservative manifesto "committed to defend our democracy" including the introduction of voter ID and stopping postal vote harvesting, as well as measures to prevent any interference at elections.
"We are clear-eyed in relation to the threat Russia poses," he added.
Minister says it is 'a bit rich ' for Labour to attack Government on Russia
The Government "categorically reject any suggestion that the UK actively avoided investigating Russia", James Brokenshire has said, telling MPs it is "a bit rich" for Labour to attack the Government over its stance towards Moscow.
Asking an urgent Commons question, Labour's shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds echoed the words of the Intelligence and Security Committee's report into Russian interference in UK politics and said the Government had "badly underestimated the threat".
He added: "Sitting on it for months and blocking its publication before a general election was a dereliction of duty."
Mr Brokenshire replied: "We recognise and have always recognised the enduring and significant threat posed by Russia, and Russia remains a top national security priority for this country.
"However, in terms of the other assertions he makes, I reject them, and I think it is a bit rich for the Labour front bench to lecture this Government in respect of its stance in relation to Russia, given that the shadow foreign secretary (Lisa Nandy) has herself even said at the weekend that the Labour Party had got it wrong in relation to its position.
Labour's anti-Semitism apology 'political, not legal', says Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn has said it is "disappointing" that Labour has apologised to seven whistleblowers and a film-maker, claiming settling the case was "a political decision, not a legal one".
The former Labour leader said the decision "risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations" about action to tackle anti-Semitism in Labour.
He said: "Our legal advice was that the party had a strong defence, and the evidence in the leaked Labour report that is now the subject of an NEC inquiry led by Martin Forde QC strengthened concerns about the role played by some of those who took part in the programme.
"The decision to settle these claims in this way is disappointing, and risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations about action taken to tackle anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in recent years.
"To give our members the answers and justice they deserve, the inquiry led by Martin Forde must now fully address the evidence the internal report uncovered of racism, sexism, factionalism and obstruction of Labour's 2017 general election campaign."
PMQS: Boris Johnson challenged to take note of rapid Covid inquiry over recess
Layla Moran says she is part of a team leading a cross-party rapid inquiry to learn the lessons about the coronavirus response before the second wave.
Recommendations will be released throughout recess, she says, and asks the Prime Minister to take them seriously.
Boris Johnson says he will be happy to look at whatever they publish.
PMQs: Boris Johnson pledges to 'do more as economic ramifications unfold'
Kirsten Oswald asks the Prime Minister about the looming "jobs bloodbath" when the furlough scheme ends.
Boris Johnson notes the £1,000 furlough bonus, the VAT cut, and the eat out to help out scheme, among others.
"But of course we will continue to do more as the economic ramifications unfold," he says.
"We can't protect every job but no one will be left without hope, no one will be left without opportunity and this country will bounce back stronger than ever before."
PMQs: Boris Johnson gets some summer reading tips
Nus Ghani, the former transport minister, asks the Prime Minister to read three books during summer recess: How Innovation Works,The Happiness of Blonde People and Winnie the Pooh.
Boris Johnson says he will take her recommendations up, promises a game of Pooh-sticks and attacks Labour for being "Eeyoreish".
PMQs: Boris Johnson pledges to bring forward obesity strategy
Caroline Nokes, the former immigration minister, asks what the Prime Minister is doing to prevent fat-shaming and encouraging people to "take back control of their own well being".
She also asks about scrapping BMI as a measure.
Boris Johnson says the country needs to address obesity, and "the sad fact that we are considerably fatter than other European nations, apart from the Maltese".
He says a strategy "which I hope will conform with my Rt hon friend's strictures", will be brought forward.
PMQs: Boris Johnson commits to look again at lockdown childcare provision
Maria Miller asks if levelling up will remain a central policy for the Government.
Boris Johnson says in the current circumstances it is about "doubling down on levelling up".
DUP MP Gavin Robinson then challenges the Prime Minister on childcare provision during lockdown, asking if he has considered a petition raised during his recent People's PMQs.
Mr Johnson says he "well remembers" the petition and will "commit to him to look at it in detail".
PMQs: Boris Johnson to look at face mask VAT exemption
The Prime Minister is asked if the Government will extend VAT cuts to face coverings so the public won't be penalised for having to buy them when they travel and visit shops.
Noting that medical-grade masks are already exempt, Boris Johnson says he is "happy to ask the relevant minister" to clarify the position.
PMQs: Boris Johnson challenged over 'inadequate response' to Covid economic concerns
Emma Hardy, Kingston upon Hull's MP, says a new study that her constituency faces the worst economic hit and slowest recovery from Covid-19.
The Labour MP says she has "received an inadequate response" from the Government.
"You cannot level up by shutting down", she adds.
Boris Johnson says the Government has supported 90 per cent of caravan manufacturers, some of which are in her constituency. He also points to the furlough scheme as part of a "massive package".
PMQs: Boris Johnson blasts 'rage and fury of the Remainer elite'
Ben Bradshaw, Labour's MP for Exeter, says it is "abundantly clear" that the Prime Minister has "knowingly and repeatedly put his own interests, and those of his party, before those of the country".
Boris Johnson says this is "a lamentable question" and says there is no evidence in the Russian report of any interference in the Brexit referendum.
He says the lack of evidence has provoked "rage and fury of the Remainer elite".
"There is no smoking gun.. after all that froth and fury," he says.
PMQs: Boris Johnson slams 'bizarre' SNP stance on Brexit
Ian Blackford uses his questions to challenge the Prime Minister about devolution
Boris Johnson says it seems "bizarre to me" that the SNP wants to "reverse the process" of Brexit and "Hand those powers back to unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels".
PMQs: Starmer mocks Johnson's 'pre-prepared jokes'
Sir Keir Starmer mocks the "pre-prepared jokes on flip-flops". He says Labour is "under new management" and no frontbencher of his party has appeared on Russia Today since he became leader.
A raucous Commons then falls silent as he raises the abuses against the Uighur people, asking if the PM will consider targeted sanctions against those involved.
Boris Johnson says he is "glad he is with us [the Government] this week", making more jokes about Sir Keir's flip-flopping.
"A year ago this was a leader of the opposition who was supporting an anti-Semitism condoning Labour government that wanted to repeal Brexit. I represent a Government that is getting on with delivering on the people's priorities," he adds.
PMQs: Boris Johnson attacks Labour leader over Corbyn's RT appearances
Sir Keir Starmer then turns to disinformation and asks about Russian broadcasters such as Russia Today, or RT as it now known. He asks if it is time to look again at the licencing agreement.
Boris Johnson said it would be "more credible if he had called out" Jeremy Corbyn for taking money for appearing on Russia Today.
The Prime Minister then accuses Sir Keir of "flip-flopping" saying he has "more flip-flops than Bournemouth beach".
PMQs: Starmer attacks Boris Johnson over 'serious gap in defences'
Sir Keir Starmer attacks Boris Johnson's "pre-prepared lines", accusing him of sitting on the report.
He notes the report's findings of a fragmented response across Whitehall, saying there is a "serious gap in our defences".
He asks how the PM will address that threat with a "joined up robust response".
Mr Johnson says there is "no other Government in the world" that takes more robust steps to protect democracy and infrastructure.
He again accuses the Labour leader of trying to undermine the result of the referendum.
PMQs: Boris Johnson hits back at 'Islingtonian Remainers'
Sir Keir Starmer then asks why the Government has delayed so long in bringing forward legilsation to tackle the treat.
Boris Johnson says laws are being brought forward including an espionage act, IP property theft and a Magnitsky Act.
"Let's be in no doubt about what this is all about," he says. It is about the "Islingtonian Remainers" trying to give the impression that Russian influence is responsible for Brexit.
"The people of this country didn't vote to leave the EU because of Russian interference - they voted to take back control."
PMQs: Starmer says he 'won't take lectures' over Russia
Sir Keir Starmer says the Government took its eye off the ball, adding the ball "wasn't even on the pitch".
He asks him to explain why the Government has underestimated the threat, having been in power for 10 years.
Boris Johnson says the question is "absurd", saying ther is no country that has done more to protect their country, and is going further now.
"It is the UK that leads the world in caution about Russian interference," he adds, then repeats the claim that Sir Keir "sat on his hands and said nothing" when Jeremy Corbyn "parroted the line of the Kremlin".
Sir Keir says he was "absolutely clear" about what happened in Salisbury, not least because he was involved in bringing the case against Russia on behalf the Litvinenko family.
"I wont take lectures from the Prime Minister about national security", he adds.
PMQs: Keir Starmer challenges Boris Johnson over Russia report
PMQs kicks off with the Prime Minister being congratulated for his one year anniversary.
Sir Keir Starmer then "records my thanks and admiration" for the Oxford vaccine trial success.
He then turns to the "extremely serious report" by the Intelligence and Security Committee. He asks "why on earth did the Prime Minister sit on that report for so long".
Boris Johnson says the Government had expelled diplomats while the Labour party "parroted the line of the Kremlin" after the Salisbury poisoning.
Sir Keir says he supported the then-Prime Minister and asks him to correct the record.
Dominic Raab welcomes move to close Harry Dunn case 'anomaly'
Dominic Raab has welcomed the move to "close the anomaly" that allowed Harry Dunn's alleged killer to claim diplomatic immunity,
A court hearing last month heard that the "secret agreement" permitted Anne Sacoolas to return to her home country after a road crash which killed the 19-year-old in August last year.
Despite the "anomaly" now having been amended in the immunity agreements surrounding RAF Croughton, the Northamptonshire military base near where Harry Dunn died in a road collision, his alleged killer still remains in the US.
The Foreign Secretary said: “It’s important that we have now agreed with the US new arrangements that have closed the anomaly that led to the denial of justice in the heart-breaking case of Harry Dunn. The new arrangements mean it could not happen again.
“I know these changes won’t bring Harry back, and I appreciate the pain and suffering the family are still going through. But I hope this may bring some small measure of comfort to them, because I know they want to prevent any other family going through the same ordeal they have.”
Government to introduce spy register as it grapples with Russian threat
he Government is planning to introduce tough new laws to grapple with the threat posed by hostile states such as Russia and China, including a new spy register.
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, told Sky News ministers were looking at laws similar to those that already exist in the US and Australia as the UK grapples with the rising threat. It comes a day after the Intelligence and Security Committee published a damning report which claimed Russian interference in British politics had become "the new normal".
The US Foreign Agents Registration Act covers activities including lobbying and public relations for overseas states, and Australia has a similar register.
Separately the Law Commission is reviewing the Official Secrets Act, which was branded "out of date" by the same report.
Mr Shapps said: "This isn’t the end of the road."
But he ruled out any further investigation or assessment of the 2016 referendum, echoing Dominic Raab's comments from yesterday, insisting the intelligence agencies "are constantly reviewing this, so we don't need to have a big sudden review because they are doing it every week."
Whistleblower settlement a 'misuse of Labour Party funds', says Unite boss
The boss of Unite - Labour's biggest donor - has said the money used to pay substantial damages to the seven whistleblowers and Panorama film-maker is a "misuse" of the party's funds.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, an ally of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, said: "Today's settlement is a misuse of Labour Party funds to settle a case it was advised we would win in court.
"The leaked report on how anti-Semitism was handled tells a very different story about what happened."
Cabinet Office to take responsibility for data to 'drive policy making'
Number 10 has shifted responsibility for "use of data" from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to the Cabinet Office to ensure it is used "effectively to drive policy making".
Last year Downing Street ordered departments to centralise the collection and analysis of user information from the government’s main public information website.
— Chris Skidmore (@CSkidmoreUK) July 22, 2020
The Prime Minister's chief adviser Dominic Cummings is known to be a big fan of using data as a way to tap into public sentiment, so this suggests a more sophisticated approach within Government.
John Mann praises 'bravest of brave' whistleblowers as Labour apologises
Former Labour MP John Mann has praised "the bravest of the brave" whistleblowers after the party issued an apology and promised to pay substantial damages.
Lord John, who is now an independent adviser to the Government on anti-Semitism, tweeted: "Normal decent people doing what normal decent people do when faced with injustice. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude."
He added: "Trade union members shamefully attacked by their employer win their apology. Of course any Labour representative at any level repeating these lies will be personally liable for further action.
He also retweeted this post from Ruth Smeeth.
Luciana Berger praises bravery of anti-Semitism whistleblowers as she welcomes apology
Luciana Berger, the former Labour MP who quit the party after receiving a torrent of anti-Semitic abuse, has welcomed the apology given to the seven whistleblowers today.
The former Liverpool Wavertree member, who stood as a Liberal Democrat in 2019, praised the bravery of the people who spoke to Panorama last year.
"I don’t underestimate the personal and professional toll this has taken on all their lives," she said.
This is what I said last year in the wake of the @BBCPanorama programme. The whistleblowers have been so brave - the unreserved apology they’ve received today is welcome. I don’t underestimate the personal and professional toll this has taken on all their lives. https://t.co/pwUN1Ffbu1
— Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) July 22, 2020
JLM welcomes Labour's apology over anti-Semitism film
The Jewish Labour Movement has welcomed the decision to apologise and pay damages to whistleblowers who contributed to a TV programme on anti-Semitism within the party.
"It is a sad reflection of its historic role as the party of working people that Labour sought to pursue and silence its former employees for speaking out against racism," the JLM said.
"Panorama shone a spotlight on the Labour Party's failure to act and the growing culture of denial that sought to victimise those who had faced discrimination."
The group said that "under new leadership, our hope is that the party will continue to demonstrate this willingness to change and act decisively against anti-Semitism".
BBC welcomes 'long overdue' Panorama apology from Labour
The BBC has welcomed Labour's apology to the Panorama film-maker and seven whistleblowers, saying it is "long overdue".
A statement from the broadcaster said: "The BBC will always support fair and impartial reporting, exposing wrongdoing and holding power to account. The Panorama programme did precisely that, but was subject to an extraordinary and vitriolic attack by the Labour Party.
"We welcome today's long overdue apology to John Ware and the seven Panorama whistleblowers, who have been subjected to painful and damaging personal attacks on their integrity and character.
"We applaud their strength to take this case forward and are pleased it has been recognised in court that these extremely serious and damaging allegations against them were false and have been unreservedly withdrawn.
"John Ware is a reporter with an extraordinary record of excellence at Panorama for investigative journalism in the public interest."
Labour 'brought an end to chapter' of anti-Semitism, Lord Falconer says
Speaking outside court after the hearing, Labour's shadow attorney general Lord Falconer said: "It is a clear line under a dispute between the Labour Party and people who had been whistleblowers about anti-Semitism.
"The Labour Party made absolutely clear in its statement in open court that it withdrew completely any allegation of dishonesty or bad behaviour against the whistleblowers and the journalist involved.
"It is for the (Equality and Human Rights) Commission to make its findings public when it chooses ... but we have brought to an end a chapter when the Labour Party was accusing whistleblowers of behaving dishonestly and I'm incredibly glad that we have brought it to an end.
"We can focus now not on litigation, which is a disastrous thing for a party to be focusing on.
"Instead, it should be focusing on championing the things that matter to the public, so it's a good day."
Labour says anti-Semitism has been 'a stain' on the party
Anti-Semitism has been "a stain" on Labour, the party has said in a statement.
As well as apologising to the seven whistleblowers who featured in a Panorama about anti-Semitism, and the film-maker, the party has agreed to pay substantial damages.
The Labour statement said: "Under the leadership of Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, we are committed to tackling anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.
"Anti-Semitism has been a stain on the Labour Party in recent years. It has caused unacceptable and unimaginable levels of grief and distress for many in the Jewish community, as well as members of staff.
"If we are to restore the trust of the Jewish community, we must demonstrate a change of leadership.
"That means being open, transparent and respecting the right of whistleblowers and the free press and freedom of expression which includes the right to object to things written or published.
"We are determined to deliver that change."
Labour's apology 'a big step' says MP Margaret Hodge
Veteran Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge has also welcomed the news that Labour has apologised to seven whistleblowers and agreed to pay substantial damages.
The member for Barking and Dagenham tweeted it was "a big step in the right direction".
Good! This is a big step in the right direction and shows just how far the Labour Party has come since last year. https://t.co/tuy0XgYVQe
— Margaret Hodge (@margarethodge) July 22, 2020
Earlier today the MP attacked reports that Corbyn-era figures were planning to challenge the decision, saying: "t is beyond ridiculous that this is the hill they want to die on. These three have wreaked havoc within Labour & caused so much anguish within the Jewish community.
"Drop this absurd challenge, show some humility and allow the new leadership get on with rebuilding our party."
Former MP Ruth Smeeth welcomes Labour apology as 'long time coming'
Former Labour MP Ruth Smeeth has hailed the party's apology to seven whistleblowers made just moments ago, saying it is a "long time coming".
Ms Smeeth, who lost her Stoke-on-Trent seat at the 2019 general election, was one of a number of Jewish members of the party to receive abuse including a death threat.
She tweeted: "This has been a long time coming, the whistleblowers were so brave to make a stand & their strength has been inspirational. They have been relentlessly attacked for simply being honest."
This has been a long time coming, the whistleblowers were so brave to make a stand & their strength has been inspirational. They have been relentlessly attacked for simply being honest. @UKLabour are absolutely right to apologise for the shameless way they have been treated https://t.co/kP17qRui3m
— Ruth Smeeth (@RuthSmeeth) July 22, 2020
Labour to pay 'substantial damages' over anti-Semitism allegations
Labour will pay "substantial damages" to seven whistleblowers over "defamatory and false allegations" made following a BBC Panorama investigation into anti-Semitism.
Seven former employees who worked in the party's governance and legal unit, who were responsible for the investigation of allegations of misconduct by party members, sued Labour after it issued a press release describing them as having "personal and political axes to grind".
Mark Henderson, representing Labour, told the court: "The Labour Party acknowledges that these claims about the claimants are untrue, and we retract and withdraw them and undertake not to repeat them.
"The Labour Party is here today to publicly set the record straight and to apologise to the claimants for the distress and embarrassment that it has caused them."
At the same hearing, Labour also apologised to John Ware - the journalist who made the Panorama programme - for falsely accusing him of "deliberate and malicious misrepresentations designed to mislead the public".
Tower Hamlets sat on Westferry decision because council 'didn't like' Richard Desmond, Robert Jenrick suggests
Tower Hamlets "chose to sit on" the Westferry development decision "because they didn't like the application or they didn't like the applicant", Robert Jenrick has said.
The Housing Secretary accused a "small" number of councils of "maladminstration", saying: "I strongly urge those councils to raise their game."
"It is not fair to simply sit on applications," he added. "If you don't like an application, decide against it - don't just sit on it."
His decision was "simply based on the facts of case" he said, noting there is an "urgent need for housing in London.... of all sorts, particularly affordable housing."
Mr Jenrick said the "most logical" sites were brownfield sites where "existing clusters" of high rise buildings already existed.
'Perfectly fair' to fast-track Westferry development to avoid £45m levy, says Robert Jenrick
Robert Jenrick has defended fast-tracking approval of the Westferry development before a levy came in, saying this represented a "material change in circumstances".
The Housing Secretary has been attacked for rushing through the decision to back Richard Desmond's £1bn development to avoid the community infrastructure levy (CIL). This would have added £45m to the cost of the development.
Mr Jenrick said this meant the "viability of the project might be compromised", adding: "It was perfectly fair to get decision done before the CIL charge came in.
"Who that benefits is of no interest to me. I am not interested in the personal finances of the applicant. I am interested in making a fair decision on basis of facts before material change in circumstances
"That is the rule of law."
Westferry decision 'absolutely' in keeping with other actions as Housing Secretary, says Jenrick
Nothing that Richard Desmond said to Robert Jenrick had "any bearing on my decision", the Housing Secretary has said.
It came to him "because of the failure of Tower Hamlets Council" to decide, not because it had been "called in", he said, blasting accusations by shadow attorney general Lord Falconer, who he said "should know better".
Mr Jenrick said the development was "of a different magnitude of complexity" to other planning decisions.
He said it is "absolutely" in keeping with his other actions as Secretary of State.
"I have not heard anybody produce any evidence to the contrary," he added. "It is very clear I have taken decisions to get housing built... that is what a housing secretary in a housing crisis needs to do."
Robert Jenrick: I was acting within rules over Richard Desmond
The Housing and Communities department was aware of the situation and "at no point did anyone advise me to recuse myself", Robert Jenrick has said.
He had a formal discussion on his first day back after the election, the Housing Secretary said.
The election meant he was "not making decisions", saying "nothing happened during this time".
Mr Jenrick was reappointed on 16 December, and he went through "all the matters that were pending" that afternoon.
"I believe that was acting entirely within both the actual rules and the spirit of the rules," he said.
Robert Jenrick 'regrets' that he sat next to Richard Desmond
Robert Jenrick is giving evidence to the Housing Committee, where he has told MPs: "I regret that I was sat next to" Richard Desmond at a donor dinner prior to the decision on Westferry development.
The Housing and Communities Secretary said he had "no idea... until I took my seat at the table" that he would be sitting with the billionaire tycoon applying for planing permission, noting that it is "to some extent an occupational hazard of being a planning minister".
When Mr Desmond raised the development, Mr Jenrick said he "was very clear... that it was not appropriate for me to discuss it". He added that "with hindsight it would have been better not to have exchange text messages with the applicant".
However he has not changed his position on the decision itself.
Have your say on: is the UK facing more austerity?
Yesterday Rishi Sunak warned ministers that they will have to make "tough choices" over public spending as he prepares to make cuts to help pay for the impact of coronavirus.
Secretaries of state should find "opportunities to reprioritise and deliver savings", the Chancellor said, recommending redundancies – particularly in communications teams across Whitehall – selling off publicly-owned buildings and moving departments out of London as three areas in which money should be saved.
The Government has repeatedly ruled out a return to austerity in order to pay for its coronavirus borrowing. But with that figure reaching record highs, are we facing austerity by another name?
Have your say in the poll below.
Labour demands Sunak 'comes clean' on austerity
Labour has called on Rishi Sunak to "come clean" over the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) he kick-started yesterday, in which he called on departments to make cuts despite promises that the UK would not be returning to a period of austerity.
Anneliese Dodds has written to the Chancellor, asking him to clarify his plans on public sector pay after he spoke of exercising “restraint” for future pay awards.
She said: "This is not the time to fall back on policies that delivered the slowest economic recovery in eight generations. And it’s not the time for the government to keep the public in the dark about its fiscal plans.
"It’s time for the Chancellor to come clean and explain how he plans to delivers growth across the country and rebuild the vital public services we all rely on.”
What's on the agenda today?
It's a busy day ahead of the start of recess - here's what we are looking forward to.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick is before the Commons' Housing committee at 9.30 am, which will see him grilled on the Westferry “cash for favors” scandal. The Prime Minister has said the matter is closed - but the MPs on the committee clearly think otherwise.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will be before the Commons transport committee, having just published a review of funding. An independent panel of experts has begun a review of TfL’s long term future funding and financing options. Mr Khan is apparently hoping to use today's session to "set the record straight" with Tories including his leadership rival Shaun Bailey accusing him of leadership failings.
Also up at 9.30 a.m. is Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey, who will be quizzed by the Work and Pensions committee on the suicides of benefits claimants.
The centrepiece of the day will be the last PMQs before recess. Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer go head to head one final time today, with questions about Russia and the latest on coronavirus likely to come up.
There’s also an urgent question in the Commons on the Russia report to look forward to, and a written statement from the prime minister on unspecified “machinery of government” changes.
At 3:30pm, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden will be answering questions on “U.K. telecommunications infrastructure” — i.e. 5G networks and Huawei — before the Commons science committee.
And Labour Party lawyers are expected to read out a formal apology today to former staffers who gave evidence to a Panorama documentary on anti-Semitism.
Travel corridor update on Monday, Transport Secretary confirms
Travel corridors will be updated on a weekly basis from now on, with a further update on Monday, the Transport Secretary has said.
Grant Shapps said he was carrying out a review "to see how we can expand them", although he noted that coronavirus cases around the world were still on the increase.
"So while [coronavirus] is fading in the UK news, globally it’s still a massive issue," he said.
He told Sky News: "I will be talking more about the way forward on things like international travel corridors then.
"But now, each week actually, we are reviewing and, where required, updating the list of countries it's safe to travel to."
No 'foreign donors' in British politics, Grant Shapps says
Grant Shapps has stressed that British political parties cannot accept money from "foreign donors", after the ISC report suggested parties had received money from "elite" individuals with close links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The report, published yesterday, said: "Several members of the Russian elite who are closely linked to Putin are identified as being involved with charitable and/or political organisations in the UK, having donated to political parties, with a public profile which positions them to assist Russian influence operations."
But the Transport Secretary and former party chairman told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Money obtained through criminality or corruption is simply not welcome in the UK.
"We have the Financial Action Taskforce, which was a landmark review back in 2018 into tackling money laundering, and some of the controls we put in place are among the toughest in the world.
"So we certainly don't want the UK to be open to that.
"It is important to know that, in British politics at least, money can only come from UK citizens and UK organisations - we don't accept in UK politics money from foreign donors."
Transport Secretary opens door to Air Passenger Duty suspension
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has not ruled out suspending Air Passenger Duty as part of ongoing efforts to shore up the airlines sector.
He told Sky News the Government was "working on whole range of measures with the aviation industry" as it grapples with the fall-out from coronavirus.
But asked specifically about scrapping Air Passenger Duty, he said: "I'm the Transport Secretary rather than the Chancellor so I can't, I'm afraid, tell them that."
He added: "I can't get into pre-empting the Budget and other measures, so I can't confirm that at all, I'm afraid."
Grant Shapps urges Russia to 'cease and desist' intereference
Grant Shapps has called on Russia to "cease and desist" its interference in British politics, saying this is one of the tools the British Government will be using to tackle the threat posed by the Kremlin.
The Transport Secretary said the creation of a spy register akin to that used by the US and Australia would be "very useful" because it "makes it easier if someone is found and they failed to register to extradite them".
But he told the Today programme it was "not the entire answer".
He said: "That is just one part of the solution. There are many other things we can do [including]... call on Russia to cease and desist this activity."
'Serious failure' not to investigate Russian influence in Brexit vote, former national security adviser says
A former national security adviser, said it was a "serious failure" not to investigate Russian influence during the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Lord Peter Ricketts, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that MI5 had prioritised counter-terrorism efforts over hostile state activity since the September 11 attacks in the US in 2001.
He added: "Even after the revelations of the massive Russian attack on the US Democratic Party, which came a month or two after the referendum, the government of the day didn't ask for a rapid assessment of whether there had been any similar effort to hack and leak documents and try to influence the referendum campaign, and I think that was a serious failure."
However security services do not need "a lot of further powers", he said.
"By all means we can strengthen the powers of the intelligence agencies to fight espionage in the UK and foreign agents but I think the story of the ISC report is more about using the powers they already have and being alert and being prepared to have investigations into what's gone on rather than necessarily needing a lot of further powers."
Labour to urge MPs not to appear on RT
Labour's Nick Thomas-Symonds said there was a "chronic failure" of leadership on Russia following the publication of the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) report on Tuesday.
Asked whether he thought the 2016 Europe membership referendum was affected by Russia, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There is no answer to that question because the Government simply hasn't looked at it, so one can't draw a conclusion in that way.
"What we can say though, since 2014 - and the report is stark about this - the Government simply took no action.
"It took no action partly because it didn't want to look but it also took no action because of a chronic failure of strategic leadership.
The shadow home secretary said he would urge his colleagues not to appear on RT, the Kremlin-backed TV channel formerly known as Russia Today.
"I've never appeared on Russia Today and I would obviously say to parliamentary colleagues not to do so as well."
British intelligence agencies did not 'take their eye off the ball', minister insists
British intelligence services did not take "their eye off the ball" over the security threat posed by Russia, the Transport Secretary has said.
Appearing on Sky News, Grant Shapps was questioned about the publication of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee report on Russia on Tuesday, which took a critical look at the British intelligence community.
Mr Shapps said: "It's obviously right that we're always reminded that the threat is there and it's very real, but I don't think it's the case that the intelligence services took their eye off the ball."
He also said the report had not contained "any evidence" of Russian interference in the EU referendum in 2016.
"The report didn't reveal that," Mr Shapps said.
Face masks to be mandatory in all enclosed spaces, minister suggests
Face masks could be made mandatory in all enclosed spaces except pubs and restaurants, a Cabinet minister has suggested.
Asked about the ongoing confusion regarding whether people have to mask-up in Pret Grant Shapps told Sky News that further measures would be coming in to make face coverings mandatory in all enclosed spaces when he was.
The Transport Secretary made it sound as though the rule was there is an exemption for places where you are eating or drinking, but wearing masks will become the general rule.
He told Sky News it was "very straightforward. You to need to wear masks on public transport... and in all shops."
"Restauratans and pubs are exceptions, with many other social distancing measures in place instead.
"In general the rule is wear a face covering in any enclosed space... The simple rule is from this weekend start to wear face coverings ."
"We will also be making it mandatory in enclosed public spaces [but] because you eat in places like pubs and restaurants you don't need to wear one there."
However he got himself in a tangle about the date, saying they came in on 25th (it's 24th).
Pompeo claims China ‘bought’ WHO chief
Mike Pompeo made the allegations at a private meeting of MPs in London on Tuesday that Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the organisation’s director-general, had struck a deal with China that helped him secure election.
Mr Pompeo said that “when push came to shove, when it really mattered most”, people had died “because of the deal that was made”.
He added that the WHO was a “political” rather than “science-based organisation” that had failed to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.