Johnny Mercer sacked by text message after row over NI veterans At least 13 bureaucrats had second jobs during time at Whitehall Liz Truss to hold showdown talks with Australia over trade negotiations Coronavirus latest news: India reaches record 2,000 Covid deaths in 24 hours amid warning hundreds of variants could be circulating Subscribe to The Telegraph for a month-long free trial Boris Johnson has said he makes "absolutely no apologies" for the series of text messages between him and Sir James Dyson, after it emerged he would "fix it" so that staff would not have to pay extra tax while building ventilators in the UK during the pandemic. The exchanges took place in March last year at the start of the pandemic, when the Government was appealing to firms to supply ventilators amid fears the NHS could run out. Responding to Sir Keir Starmer's opening salvo during a fiery PMQs, Mr Johnson said: "I make absolutely no apology at all for shifting heaven and earth and doing everything I possibly could, as I think any prime minister would in those circumstances, to secure ventilators for the people of this country." He added: "I just remind the House what we were facing in March last year, which was that we had a new virus which was capable of killing people in ways that we didn't understand. " The UK's "ventilator challenge" secured a further 22,000 devices, having started the crisis with just 9,000, he noted. During a subsequent exchange with SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford, the Prime Minister said there was "absolutely nothing to conceal about this", promising to "share all the details with the House, as indeed I have shared them with my officials immediately". Follow the latest updates below.