Friday morning UK news briefing: No 10 parties as Queen mourned

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·6-min read
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  • Prince Andrew, Duke of York
    Prince Andrew, Duke of York
    Second son and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born 1960)
  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player
  • Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
    Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
    Prince consort
boris johnson queen prince andrew novak djokovic latest news covid omicron
boris johnson queen prince andrew novak djokovic latest news covid omicron

Downing Street is embroiled in a fresh party controversy. The Telegraph can reveal that staff drank alcohol into the early hours at two leaving events the night before Prince Philip's socially-distanced funeral.

Some attendees played music in the basement and danced as a senior No 10 adviser acted as DJ, a witness said. It is also alleged that one person present went to a nearby Co-op with a suitcase to collect bottles of wine.

The next day, the Queen sat alone at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral in St George's Chapel because of Covid-19 restrictions. Political Correspondent Tony Diver has the full revelations.

Speaking to today's Chopper's Politics podcast, Andrew Bridgen becomes the fifth Tory MP to call for Mr Johnson to resign, confirming he has submitted a letter of no confidence to the 1922 Committee.

And Sir Keir Starmer was branded an "absolute hypocrite" for drinking beer with staff in lockdown.

Meanwhile, the co-founder of Downing Street's "Nudge Unit" has suggested scare tactics were misused during the pandemic to get the public to follow lockdown.

Simon Ruda, a behavioural scientist, said he feared the "most egregious and far-reaching mistake" made during the Covid crisis was the "level of fear willingly conveyed on the public".

While defending behavioural science for driving improvements in policy, he warned the trend could have unintended consequences.

Duke of York exiled from royal life as he loses HRH title

And so, in just 49 words, the Duke of York's royal career was over - with no going back. He was stripped of all military titles and patronages by the Queen and agreed no longer to use his HRH title, in an attempt to protect the Royal family from the fallout of his sexual abuse case. The announcement was made after the Duke, 61, was summoned to Windsor Castle for a 45-minute meeting with his mother amid increasing speculation that he will have to pay off his accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre. But he insisted that he would continue to defend the civil case as a "private citizen". Overnight, Ms Giuffre said that she was glad "I will have the chance to continue to expose the truth". Buckingham Palace made clear that Prince Andrew's titles will never be returned regardless of the outcome of any future legal proceedings. Associate Editor Camilla Tominey says that cutting ties with royal life was the Duke's only option.

Prince Andrew and his lawyer Gary Bloxsome are driven from the Royal Lodge to Windsor Castle yesterday after being summoned by Her Majesty - KELVIN BRUCE FOR THE TELEGRAPH
Prince Andrew and his lawyer Gary Bloxsome are driven from the Royal Lodge to Windsor Castle yesterday after being summoned by Her Majesty - KELVIN BRUCE FOR THE TELEGRAPH

Djokovic faces deportation as visa cancelled… again

Novak Djokovic has once again been banned from Australia after the country's government cancelled his visa for a second time early today. Shortly before 7am, immigration minister Alex Hawke decided to use his "personal power of cancellation" to revoke the tennis star's visa in a stunning move that overruled a decision by a judge earlier this week. Sparked by a row over Djokovic's Covid vaccine status ahead of the Australian Open, Mr Hawke said he acted on "health and good order grounds" as he sought to deport the player. Follow live updates.

Daily dose of Matt

View Matt's latest cartoon as he finds a domestic equivalent to calls for the Prime Minister to resign.

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Chinese spy | A Labour MP accepted more than £425,000 in donations from a Chinese spy, prompting demands for an urgent investigation into her activities within Westminster. MI5 issued an interference alert to MPs about Christine Lee, a Chinese national who has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to Barry Gardiner, who employed Ms Lee's son in his parliamentary office. The Telegraph understands that Ms Lee has been under an MI5 investigation for at least five years.

Around the world: Kazakhstan journalism crackdown

Kazakh officials are arresting and interrogating journalists as revenge for their reporting on an uprising that forced the government to resign, media and rights groups have said. The reported crackdown comes as Russia started pulling soldiers out of Kazakhstan after the completion of an "anti-terrorist" operation. James Kilner reports from Nur-Sultan.

Municipal workers clear a burnt-out room at the city hall in Almaty - STR/EPA-EFE
Municipal workers clear a burnt-out room at the city hall in Almaty - STR/EPA-EFE

Comment and analysis

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  3. Ricky Gervais's After Life | One-star review: The emotional depth of a Post-It note

Sport briefing: Australia hit back at Ashes

Marnus Labuschagne's bizarre dismissal summed up an eventful first session of the fifth Test early today. Labuschagne, dropped on nought, had counter-attacked after England reduced Australia to 12 for three on a green, English-style pitch at the Bellerive Oval. Follow the latest action and reaction from Hobart with David Cosgrove in our liveblog.

Business briefing: Race to run Ofcom hots up

The chairman of BT's network arm Openreach has emerged as the frontrunner in the race to oversee Ofcom, in a process being led by Sue Gray even as she investigates parties in Downing Street. Mike McTighe has applied to head the board at the media and telecoms regulator after previous attempts by Boris Johnson to install Paul Dacre, the former editor of the Daily Mail, triggered a political storm. Meanwhile, Google paid £730m to buy its London building in what it said demonstrated a long-term commitment to the value of having workers in the office.

Tonight's dinner

Catalan-style paella | This Spanish rice-based dish by Diana Henry celebrates sunny, spiced flavours. View the recipe. For more, try our Cookbook newsletter.

Travel: The 20 most beautiful corners of France

With France announcing that it is lifting its ban on UK travellers from today, many holidaymakers will be starting to plan trips. Expert Anthony Peregrine provides some inspiration by selecting his 20 favourite départements to visit, from elegant Hérault to boozy Calvados.

And finally... for this morning's downtime

My six decades as a football fan | The game may be tarnished to some, but one thing has stayed the same and always will: the loyalty of fans to their clubs, writes Mick Brown, as he explores how the beautiful game has repeatedly changed over the years.

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