Boris feels the heat

Outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has explained his absence from high-level crisis meetings of government officials aimed at providing responses to the nation’s current potentially fatal heatwave.

Mr Johnson has attracted criticism for remaining at the prime minister’s official country retreat Chequers to party with staff members while an emergency response committee has been holding several meetings in London to devise actions to mitigate the impact of the heatwave threatening to deliver temperatures of more than 40 degrees centigrade.

“It’s been a lot of hard work down here at Chequers, you know chaps and chapettes,” Mr Johnson told reporters at Chequers. (main picture)

“I haven’t been partying as some of you chaps and chapettes in the media have been reporting.

“There’s been no party or parties. I have been busy here – very, very busy – with non-stop staff meetings of the type I hosted at Downing Street during the height of the COVID pandemic.”

When asked who was heading the government’s response to the heatwave, Mr Johnson said his absence from London was not a problem because there were numerous other ministers in his government who could take charge.

“I’ve left behind many, many ministers who can run things just as well as I could, which should be a great comfort to the nation,” he said.

“It’s just that since I formed my latest cabinet after all those resignations I can’t quite recall any of their names.”

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Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has attacked the Albanese Government for what he said is its “backflip” on cutting support payments to casual workers needing to self-isolate once affected by the coronavirus.

“I said the Albanese Government would fail and this is a prime example,” Mr Dutton told reporters at a news conference in Brisbane.

“Continuing the support payments is a no-brainer. With the ongoing impact on casual workers of the requirement to isolate, ending the support payments should never have been contemplated.

“What sort of government would impose such financial and emotional hardship on the most vulnerable workers in our society by scrapping this type of financial support?” he told reporters before refusing to take questions.

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The White House has cancelled previously announced orders for three days of official mourning, a state funeral, plus a series of unofficial celebratory events after clarifying that information it received about the death of ex-President Donald Trump was fake news.

“Sadly the information we received related to Donald Trump’s ex-wife Ivana,” a White House spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said President Joe Biden swiftly authorised the official mourning period and a state funeral while on a visit to the Middle East after receiving sketchy information about “Trump’s death” but had now rescinded the order.

“President Biden was always happy to give his predecessor a state funeral even if he were still alive, but is now prepared to wait,” the spokesperson said.