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  1. How long did it take Johnson to 'correct the record?'

    Reality Check

    One of the key things the committee investigating Boris Johnson is looking at is how long it took him to correct some of his statements to Parliament, which he acknowledges were misleading.

    This is known as "correcting the record".

    Boris Johnson says he corrected the record at "the earliest opportunity at which I could make the necessary correction", which, he says, was after the publication of Sue Gray's report into Downing Street gatherings on 25 May 2022.

    That was almost six months after his statements about Covid rules and guidance being followed "at all times" had been made.

    On 25 May, he said: “I am happy to set on the record now that when I came to this House and said in all sincerity that the rules and guidance had been followed at all times, it was what I believed to be true.”

    But he did not say that his earlier statement had been untrue.

    The committee has questioned why he did not take the opportunity to set out what he knew about gatherings he had attended when asked about them in the Commons before Sue Gray's report was published.

  2. Specific ban on work Christmas parties was in place in December 2020

    Reality Check

    Boris Johnson was earlier asked about a gathering in the Downing Street press office on 18 December 2020 and the fact that he told the House of Commons that all guidance was followed in No 10.

    He said he didn't attend the event and says he remembers it was an evening where they were dealing with the emergence of the Delta variant of Covid and fears over a no-deal Brexit.

    Johnson says he has no memory of seeing any kind of "party or illicit gathering" taking place, adding he first learned of it more than a year later from an adviser.

    The event featured alcohol, a Secret Santa gift exchange, and an awards ceremony, with people working elsewhere in the building complaining about the noise it generated.

    A cleaner noted the following morning that red wine had been spilled on one wall and on a number of boxes of photocopier paper.

    Not only was there nothing in the guidance suggesting such an event would be acceptable, the guidance for England at the time said specifically: "You must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted by the rules in your tier".

  3. What did the guidance actually say about events like leaving drinks?

    Reality Check

    Boris Johnson has defended the leaving do on 13 November 2020 which he was pictured at, saying: "The guidance specifically allows for workplace freedoms to decide how to implement it."

    But what the guidance for England said was that social distancing of two metres or one metre with mitigation should be followed. If that wasn't possible the activity should have been redesigned or potentially stopped.

    There was nothing in the guidance that permitted work gatherings such as leaving drinks.

    Remember that Downing Street insiders told the BBC that at the event being discussed: "there were about 30 people, if not more, in a room. Everyone was stood shoulder to shoulder, some people on each other's laps".

    We don't know whether Boris Johnson was there at that time - he says he didn't stay longer than 25 minutes.

  4. Did Johnson correct record at earliest opportunity?

    Reality Check

    One of the key things the committee investigating Boris Johnson is looking at is how long it took him to correct some of his statements to Parliament.

    This is known as "correcting the record". Each year around 100 written corrections are made by ministers who have inadvertently misled Parliament.

    Boris Johnson says he corrected the record at "the earliest opportunity at which I could make the necessary correction", which, he says, was after the publication of Sue Gray's report into Downing Street gatherings on 25 May 2022.

    That was almost six months after his statements about Covid rules and guidance being followed "at all times" had been made.

    The committee said in its interim report that it wanted to know why "instead of correcting the record at the earliest opportunity, he declined to answer questions that were within his direct knowledge".

    It said that it should have been obvious to Johnson that not all the guidance was being followed at events that he attended. Johnson disputes this.

    You can read more about it here.

  5. The WhatsApp messages that complicate Johnson's defence

    Reality Check

    Boris Johnson says in his dossier: "The evidence before the committee demonstrates that those working at No 10 at the time shared my honest belief that the rules and guidance were being followed."

    But the Privileges Committee - which is investigating him - has published evidence that contradicts this.

    Its interim report earlier this month included a series of WhatsApp messages between the then director of communications and a No 10 official on 25 January 2022.

    In response to a suggestion that they should describe an event as "reasonably necessary for work purposes", the director of communications says: "I’m struggling to come up with a way this one is in the rules in my head", and "not sure that one works does it. Also blows another great gaping hole in the PM’s account doesn’t it?"

    There was another message from the director of communications in relation to the gathering of 19 June 2020 saying "Haven’t heard any explanation of how it’s in the rules".

    In his dossier, Johnson says these are "internal messages between advisers. There is no suggestion at all that these concerns were passed on to me".

    You can read more about it here.

    An earlier version of this post stated the messages were sent in 2021, they were sent in 2022.

  6. Were leaving drinks essential?

    Reality Check

    A key part of Boris Johnson’s defence is that leaving events were necessary for work purposes.

    In his dossier, he says: "My view has always been that thanking and encouraging staff, and maintaining morale at No 10, was absolutely essential for work purposes."

    While the guidance for England varied, at the time of one of the key gatherings it was that "only absolutely necessary participants should physically attend meetings" and they should maintain social distancing.

    There was nothing in the guidance from the time that implied that leaving drinks or other forms of socialising at work were allowed.

    We also learn from the committee's interim report that there was tailored guidance issued to Downing Street staff laying out the rules and guidance for their workplace, including on social distancing.

    That guidance has not yet been made public.

    You can read more about it here.

  7. Could Budget measures increase immigration?

    Reality Check

    Earlier, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was asked on Radio 4’s Today programme about the Budget’s impact on migration to the UK.

    He said: “There are no measures in the Budget that… increase immigration.”

    But one of the measures it includes is adding five types of construction workers - including bricklayers, carpenters and plasterers - to the shortage occupation list.

    This list includes jobs for which it is easier to get a skilled worker visa to come to the UK.

    Presumably the government is hoping this will increase the number of construction workers coming to the UK.

    Budget documents say it is part of measures “to help ease immediate labour supply pressures”.

  8. Is childcare funding going up by 30% an hour?

    Reality Check

    Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was quizzed on BBC Breakfast about payments for nurseries providing government-funded childcare.

    Presenter Nina Warhurst said nurseries were complaining that the increase to £5.50 an hour to cover free childcare for three- and four-year-olds was not enough.

    The chancellor replied: “What the sector asked for before the Budget was a 30% rise and that’s what we’ve delivered.”

    The 30% that he was referring to was the increase in funding for two-year-olds, which is going up from £6 to £8 an hour.

    But what he was asked about was the funding for three- and four-year-olds, which is going up from £5.29 to £5.50 an hour – that’s about 4%, not 30%.

  9. How much extra will nurseries be paid?

    Reality Check

    While the chancellor has increased the amount of free childcare available for pre-school children, the nurseries have been calling for more money to pay for those children who already get government-funded provision.

    Jeremy Hunt said he would increase that funding “by £204m from this September rising to £288m next year. This is an average of a 30% increase in the two-year-old rate this year.”

    We got in touch with the Treasury to ask for more details and they told us that the amount paid for two year olds is going up from £6 to £8 an hour, which is what the chancellor was referring to.

    But funding for three and four year olds is going up from £5.29 to £5.50 an hour, which is only about 4%.

    The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimated this afternoon that the extra £288m is about a 7.5% increase in the current budget.

  10. Fastest growth in the G7?

    Reality Check

    Chancellor Jeremy Hunt wants this to be seen as a Budget for growth, so expect competing claims about how much the UK economy has actually been growing in the Commons.

    The government is likely to point to the UK’s GDP growth for 2022, which at 4.0%, was faster than the other countries in the G7 group of big economies.

    Labour is likely to cite the forecast from the International Monetary Fund that the UK economy is going to shrink by 0.6% in 2023, much worse than other comparable economies.

    But that forecast, made in January, is already a bit out of date, because UK economic data so far in 2023 has been better than expected.

    Also expect Labour to talk about how the UK economy is still not back to where it was before the pandemic, unlike the rest of the G7 countries, as you can see in this chart.

    Chart showing GDP growth for G7 countries compared with before the pandemic. The UK is the only one not to have returned to pre-pandemic levels.
  11. What is the Dublin asylum agreement?

    Reality Check

    Both leaders were asked at the press conference about the possibility of returning migrants who arrive in the UK on small boats, to France.

    Neither answered this directly but President Macron noted: "The Dublin agreement can’t be implemented any more".

    He was referring to EU law setting out which country is responsible for looking at a person's asylum application (usually the first EU country they arrived in).

    Before Brexit, the UK could return some asylum seekers this way but the numbers were pretty small.

    Between 2015 and 2020, the UK made 30,713 requests for transfers of asylum seekers to other EU countries, but only transferred 1,763 of them.

    It accepted 3,961 transfers from other EU countries over the same period.

  12. Have migrant returns doubled?

    Reality Check

    Talking about migrants, Rishi Sunak told MPs: “As a result of the plans we’ve brought forward we have almost doubled the number of people returned this year.”

    The government has not yet published figures for the number of migrants returned this year. The most recent publicly-available figures we have go up to the end of September 2022.

    We know that in the year to September 2022 there were 3,531 enforced returns and another 8,894 voluntary returns.

    That compares with 2,851 enforced returns and 6,005 voluntary returns in the year to the end of September 2021.

    So the latest available figures are not double the previous year and there is likely to have been some Covid impact on the older figures.