Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, was interviewed on the Today programme this morning about Donald Trump and Boris Johnsonâ€™s relationship with him. She did not go as far as she did in her tweet last night, when she called him â€œspinelessâ€ (see 9.24am), but she said Johnson and his government had been â€œvery slowâ€ in reacting to what the president had been doing.
When it was put to her that Johnson did condemn the mob attack on congress, she said she welcomed that, but she said that Trump had been using inflammatory language for some time.
When asked what Johnson should be doing now, Rayner said he should be â€œsupporting [President-elect] Biden and making sure that there is a peaceful transition of powerâ€. But she also said that Johnson should be â€œcondemning what Donald Trump has doneâ€, pointing out that even the former US president George W Bush has been willing to so so.
Here is Bushâ€™s statement from last night. It does not mention Trump by name, but the references to the â€œreckless behaviourâ€ of leaders who would not accept the election result and how the mob in Washington was â€œinflamed by falsehoods and false hopesâ€ are clearly directed at the president.
This is what Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, posed on Twitter last night about the storming of congress by Trump supporters.
Good morning. Mostly we will be focusing on Covid today, but this morning the UK news has been dominated by reaction to what has been happening in Washington – which is being covered in full our US Politics Live blog – and the debate about whether or not Boris Johnson and his ministers are being sufficiently critical of Donald Trump. British prime ministers always like to preserve good relations with their US counterparts, but Trump is one of the few world leaders who actually thought Brexit was a good idea and in the past Johnson and some of his ministers have praised him in terms that go beyond the merely diplomatic and polite.
Last night Angela Rayner, Labourâ€™s deputy leader, said that Johnson had been â€œspinelessâ€, particularly because of his failure to â€œcall outâ€ Trumpâ€™s lies about the US presidential election being rigged.
Johnson, who has always accepted that Joe Biden won the election, but who has declined to explicitly condemn Trumpâ€™s failure to accept the result, posted this on Twitter last night.
This morning Priti Patel, the home secretary, was doing the morning interview round for No 10 and – unlike Johnson in his tweet last night – she did directly blame Trump (at least in part) for what happened in Washington yesterday. She said:
[Trumpâ€™s] comments directly led to the violence and so far he has failed to condemn that violence and that is completely wrong. He basically has made a number of comments yesterday that helped to fuel that violence and he didnâ€™t do anything to de-escalate that whatsoever.
But she would not accept the charge that British ministers had got too close to the outgoing president, and she said it was more important to look to the future. She told the Today programme:
The fact of the matter is, they are now transitioning to a new president, to a president-elect. The prime minister has already been in touch with Joe Biden and certainly congratulated him. I think on that basis alone we move forward with one of our greatest allies in the world.
This isnâ€™t about going back and reflecting on personal relationships. The fact of the matter is: Donald Trumpâ€™s words were associated with violence, his comments directly led to violence. And so far, he has failed to condemn that violence, and that is wrong.
I will post more on this row this morning, although over the course of the day mostly the blog will be focusing on coronavirus.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: The ONS publishes a report on the impact of coronavirus on the economy.
11am: NHS test and trace performance figures are published.
12.15pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotlandâ€™s first minister, holds a coronavirus briefing.
2.30pm: Matt Hancock, the health secretary, gives evidence to the Commons health committee.
5pm: Downing Street is expected to hold a press conference.
Here is our global coronavirus live blog.
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