Thursday briefing: The key takeaways from Boris Johnson’s Partygate grilling

In today’s newsletter: Johnson sat through three hours of questioning over whether he recklessly misled MPs over pandemic parties. Amid the bluster and the blowups, telling details emerged

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Good morning. It was Shakespearean, it was his Waterloo, it was the Thick of It, it was practically a renaissance painting. It was a January 6 moment, it was a cup-tie atmosphere, it was a show trial, it was a kangaroo court, it was run by “marsupials”. It was, Boris Johnson said, his “lived experience”. Sometimes, it was quite boring.

From 2pm to eighteen minutes past five yesterday, the House of Commons’ privileges committee interrogated the former prime minister about his statements to MPs over Partygate. And if, in truth, long stretches of the evidence felt less like the above hyperbole and more like Old Man Yells at Cloud, it was significant nonetheless – full of clues about how the committee is handling its task, the real issues it has raised, and how Johnson intends to treat its verdict.

Brexit | The government’s revised Northern Ireland trade plan has passed by 515 votes to 29, including a rebellion by more than 20 Conservative MPs. Rishi Sunak praised the “incredibly strong support” for his agreement, despite high profile defections from Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel.

Economy | The Bank of England is under pressure to increase interest rates again today after new figures showed that inflation in the UK has risen to 10.4%. The increase was driven by an 18% surge in the cost of food and drink, the highest rate for 45 years. Read Richard Partington’s analysis of the Bank’s dilemma.

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France | Emmanuel Macron has insisted he will not back down over raising the French pension age in a combative TV interview ahead of another day of strikes. After five nights of highly charged anti-government protests, Macron said that he was prepared to be unpopular “for the greater interest of the nation”.

Rishi Sunak | Rishi Sunak has made nearly £5m over the past three years thanks mostly to gains from his US investment fund, according to tax details published during Boris Johnson’s appearance before the privileges committee. Sunak paid just over £1m in UK tax over the course of the three years, giving him an effective tax rate of 22%.

Donald Trump | The Manhattan grand jury expected to consider criminal charges against Donald Trump over his role in the payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels was abruptly postponed on Wednesday. The reason for the schedule change was not clear, but the jury was on standby to meet on Thursday.

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