Briefing on Monday: Ghani claims to put more pressure on Johnson | – After world

Top story: Westminster nervous for Gray report

Good morning everyone. This is Martin Farrer bringing you the best stories of the day.

Boris Johnson faces calls to launch an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the Tory party after former Minister Nusrat Ghani claimed she was told her “being Muslim” made “colleagues uncomfortable”. The PM has been drawn into the controversy as he awaits the results of a make-or-break inquiry into alleged lockdown busting parties at Downing Street. No10 on Sunday acknowledged that Ghani raised her concerns personally with Johnson at a meeting in 2020 and said he subsequently encouraged her to lodge a formal complaint with the Conservative Party. Ghani says when she was sacked in a 2020 reshuffle as junior transport minister, Tory Whips told her that her “status as a Muslim minister makes colleagues feel uncomfortable”. In a sign of tensions with the party, Chief Whip Mark Spencer called the claims “completely false”.
Ghani, the first female Muslim Tory MP, has described the comment as a “punch in the stomach” and reignited fears of racism in the party.

The case added to the feverish atmosphere in Westminster, where the results of Sue Gray’s inquiry into alleged parties at Downing Street are awaited this week. Speaking to TV stations yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab refused to say whether the report would be released in full.


Order from Ukraine – The US government has ordered the families of all American employees at the US Embassy in Ukraine to leave the country amid heightened fears of a Russian invasion. The US also issued a statement last night noting the build-up of Russian troops on the border and that “security conditions are unpredictable and may deteriorate without notice”. Anthony Blinken, US Secretary of State, said NATO will be united and respond “quickly” if Russia crosses the border. It came as Ukraine’s government said it was responding “seriously” to British accusations that Moscow plans to invade the country and install a puppet government, adding that Kiev is opposing Russian efforts to destabilize its government and economy.


Long Covid influence – NHS trusts in England lost nearly 2 million days of staff absences due to long Covid in the first 18 months of the pandemic, according to a cross-party group of MPs. The group’s leader, Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, said the government had paid “almost no attention to the long-running Covid and the severe impact it has had on vital public services”. In another study of the effects of Covid, nearly half of those who get sick in the first wave of infection may have long-term and even permanent changes in their sense of smell.


Peng ‘Kapitulation’ – Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has condemned the Australian Open’s decision to prevent fans from wearing ‘Where’s Peng Shuai?’ as ‘pathetic’. T-shirts accusing Tennis Australia of ‘surrendering’ to China Late last week, spectators at Melbourne Park were told to remove their T-shirts and security forces confiscated a banner bearing the same words, on the grounds that TA bans “clothing, banners or signs that are commercial or political”.


Exclusive – A committee of MPs has produced a report saying gambling regulators are “too tough” on the industry and criticizing the regulator’s attempts to reduce addiction. MEPs accuse the Gambling Commission of a “mentally damaging attitude towards bullying” within the industry and are calling for special measures to be put in place. The findings of the All Party Group (APPG) on betting and gaming have been called “ridiculous” by a regulatory reform campaigner and frostily received by the regulator. Several members of the committee have been criticized for accepting thousands of pounds worth of freebies from betting companies.


Truss accused – Paul Keating, the outspoken former Australian prime minister, has accused Liz Truss of making “insane” comments about Chinese military aggression and urged the foreign secretary to “hurry back to her collapsing, shady government”. Keating also said Britain was “suffering from megalomania and a loss of meaning” after Truss visited Australia for meetings with counterparts last week.


Thierry Mugler with actress Sharon Stone in 1992. Photo: Bei/Rex/Shutterstock

Thierry Mugler died – French designer Manfred Thierry Mugler, who pioneered the power dressing look of the 1980s, has died of “natural causes” at the age of 73. A former ballet dancer, Mugler’s has continued to dress the world’s most famous women including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian. “He was timeless and ahead of his time,” said supermodel Jerry Hall of the designer.

Today on the Focus podcast

Nipsey Hussle was one of LA’s most popular rappers and a pillar of his community. But records released after his death showed he was also the target of an extensive Los Angeles police operation. Guardian Tech reporter Johana Bhuiyan explains.

Today in focus

Proactive Policing

Read at noon: Jason Bateman on family, celebrations and the Ozark

Photo: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

As drama series Ozark returns to streaming screens for its fourth and final season, Jason Bateman – aka Marty Byrde – talks about the ups and downs of his acting career and how his penchant for fun led to him being “on the road too long.” party remained”.

Sport

Antonio Conte lamented the “incredible” decision to ban Harry Kane’s first-half strike as his unbeaten league start as Tottenham manager came to an end against Chelsea, before admitting his former club were at “a different level” than his current ones squad stands. An irate Patrick Vieira was relentless in his criticism of referee Kevin Friend and VAR after his Crystal Palace side were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool. An injury-time goal from Tobin Heath salvaged a point against Manchester City at the Academy Stadium, but there was controversy over the opening goal, leading Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall to call for more support for WSL referees.

England won their second T20 international at the Kensington Oval after Jason Roy created the platform to weather a late rise in the West Indies, who finished in an all-time high of ninth wicket. Tennis Australia considers Peng Shuai’s safety to be its “primary concern” despite urging fans at Melbourne Park to remove t-shirts and a banner that read ‘Where’s Peng Shuai?’ The Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs qualified for championship games on Sunday after two exciting NFL battles. On a weekend when bleating golfers were hard to find, Thomas Pieters delivered a timely redemption story with a one-shot win at the Abu Dhabi Championship. And Youssef Msakni struck from long range to give Covid-stricken Tunisia an unlikely 1-0 win over ten-man Nigeria in Garoua to reach the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

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According to a study by the Center for Cities, major cities have lost nearly a year of revenue during the pandemic thanks to lockdowns, leading to a “leveling” of historically more prosperous high street destinations. London lost 47 weeks’ worth of sales between March 2020 and November 2021, while Birmingham, Edinburgh and Cardiff also lost nearly a year’s worth of sales as people stayed away from the big cities. The FTSE100 appears to be down around 0.2% on the opening bell, while the pound sits at $1.355 and €1.196.

The papers

Guardian front page January 24th
Photo: The Guardian

the Guardian leads with ‘PM slammed over Tory party Islamophobia’ as Boris Johnson also faces the results of the Partygate affair this week. This is the leadership in the Telegraph – “Gray Police #10 questioned about ‘parties'” – while the to express has “Boris accepts ‘Need for Change’ at number 10”. the Post reports that “the whole cabinet would support delaying the tax increase”. the Spiegel focuses on what it calls the “Cold Britain Scandal” with a headline “Freeze” while the Daily record in Scotland has “power struggle”. the Just continues to look into the distance with “fears that Russia will arm gas supplies,” and the FT says “Unilever faces pressure on new front as US activist builds stake”. the Scotsman leads with “Airline intensifies flights ahead of summer vacation rush”.

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