politics

Labour says Truss’s comments on British workers needing more graft are a ‘total disgrace’ – UK politics live <p>Yvette Cooper says the frontrunner’s remarks are ‘out of touch’, as Sunak and Truss prepare for Belfast hustings</p><p>British workers “are amongst the hardest-working in the world”, Conservative former cabinet minister Sajid Javid said.</p><p>Asked about Tory leadership contender Liz Truss’s claim that British workers need to produce “more graft”, he told Sky News:</p><p>That comment, as I understand it, was made a number of years ago; I don’t know the exact context that was made in.</p><p>What I also heard her say, just in that snippet that you played there, was that the productivity in the UK versus other comparable countries is generally lower and that’s been a longstanding UK problem and that doesn’t happen because British workers don’t work hard; British workers are amongst the hardest-working in the world.</p><p>I think what she’s talking about is business and investment, because to increase productivity the government of course has a huge role to play – there’s capital investment, things like infrastructure investment, for example, those areas that get more of it generally of course can do better in terms of productivity.</p><p>It’s also about skills investment and making sure that we’re investing in skills across the country, not just in the capital or the south-east but right across the country, and that is what’s going to make the difference, and Liz has a plan for that.</p><p>I think it reveals what she really thinks. This comes after the proposal she put forward to cut public sector pay in the north and other parts of the country.</p><p>So teaching assistants or nurses here in Yorkshire would get paid less than people in London or the south-east.</p><p>(She) has absolutely no idea that people are working incredibly hard – people who are getting up to go to their shifts right now, watching your programme just before they go to work, working incredibly hard to try and make ends meet, who are facing these nightmare inflation figures, the soaring energy bills and doing their best to keep everything together.</p><p>This insult just shows, I think, that [Truss] does not understand working people right across the country. It’s deeply wrong of her to say this.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/17/labour-british-workers-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-tory-leadership-race-belfast-hustings-uk-politics-live">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/17/labour-british-workers-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-tory-leadership-race-belfast-hustings-uk-politics-live politics @worldnewstheguardian

Covid vaccine announcement ‘helps take pressure off people’s other concerns’, says minister – UK politics live <p>Latest updates: government has taken people’s concerns over energy bills into vaccination rollout, says public health minister Maggie Throup</p><p>People haven’t seen the full extent of what the government is doing to help with the cost of living crisis, Maggie Throup has said, amid increasing criticism and accusations that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/aug/15/boris-johnsons-summer-of-fun-what-has-the-pm-been-doing">Boris Johnson is a ‘lame-duck’ prime minister</a>. </p><p>The public health minister told ITV’s Good Morning Britain:</p><p>We’ve already put together a 37 billion (package) that is being rolled out and there’s lots of different aspects of that: helping pensioners; helping those on low pay; helping people generally, and people haven’t seen the full extent of that.</p><p>Only last week the prime minister’s assistant secretary and the chancellor met with energy companies and they started talking, and also the civil service (has) put together different options to put in front of whoever it is in September, to make sure that very quickly we know exactly how people are going to be helped.</p><p>I think it is quite right that we wait for the outcome of the election, we haven’t gotten to go. And I don’t think any candidate should stand down because until we know the actual results on the day, everything’s to play for.</p><p>Well, that is a concern, it’s something that we’ve taken into consideration when we looked at our vaccination programmes.</p><p>We are rolling out the Covid jab, we’re also rolling out the flu jab, providing as much protection as we can to those who are most vulnerable, and where possible will be co-administrating the flu and the Covid jab so people can have both jabs at one go.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/16/cost-of-living-crisis-covid-vaccine-conservative-leadership-liz-truss-rishi-sunak">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/16/cost-of-living-crisis-covid-vaccine-conservative-leadership-liz-truss-rishi-sunak politics @worldnewstheguardian

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQuceU3x2Ww politics @whitemenarepeopletoo

Energy bills crisis grows as chancellor says government is ‘looking at all the options’ – UK politics live <p>Latest updates: Nadhim Zahawi says it will be for next prime minister to take decisions as Rishi Sunak pledges support for vulnerable</p><p>In a further defence of Labour’s record in opposition on cost of living, shadow business secretary <strong>Jonathan Reynolds</strong> claimed that the party have been stating their position “consistently and regularly”. </p><p>He told the BBC: </p><p>I think you have got to say that in opposition you have got to make the point consistently and regularly, not just for an intervention but for exactly what you would do. </p><p>That is what we have had from Keir [Starmer] and the Labour Party from the beginning of this year.</p><p>I think when you are in opposition it is not just about calling for something to happen, it is about putting forward exactly what you would do on a costed basis.</p><p>We set out our plans for a windfall tax to help people with their energy bills in January of this year.</p><p>We set out a programme for a national insulation programme to reduce energy consumption in September last year.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/12/energy-bills-crisis-rishi-sunak-liz-truss-labour-uk-politics-latest">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/12/energy-bills-crisis-rishi-sunak-liz-truss-labour-uk-politics-latest politics @worldnewstheguardian

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss compete for Tory members’ support in Cheltenham leadership hustings – as it happened <p>The two candidates are bidding for support from Conservative party members ahead of the final vote for the next PM</p><p><strong>Gordon Brown</strong>, the former Labour prime minister, has used an article in today’s Guardian to propose that the government should halt the increases in the energy price cap planned for later this year and next year and, if necessary, take energy companies into public ownership to ensure that they keep prices down.</p><p>Alongside <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/aug/08/ed-davey-calls-for-energy-furlough-scheme-to-avoid-october-price-cap-rise">the Lib Dem plan</a>, with which it has some similarities (they also want a price cap freeze, and more money raised through a windfall tax), it is the most radical and ambitious proposal on the table to tackle the energy bills crisis.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/11/tory-leadership-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-brexit-economy-uk-politics-latest">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/11/tory-leadership-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-brexit-economy-uk-politics-latest politics @worldnewstheguardian

Tory leadership: Truss receives boost as former minister defects from Sunak camp – UK politics live <p>Latest updates: Chris Skidmore says former chancellor ‘changing position’ too much as he backs Truss’s campaign</p><p>Good morning. Last week my colleague <strong>Aubrey Allegretti</strong> reported on how the Liz Truss team were <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/aug/04/rats-deserting-sinking-ship-truss-team-seeks-endorsements-from-sunaks-side">hoping to get endorsements from Conservative MPs who had committed in public to backing Rishi Sunak</a>. This sort of public vote-switching by MPs in a leadership contest is rare, because the MP involved looks duplicitous and indecisive and because MPs tend to know the candidates very well, which means they don’t change their minds easily. The story suggested the Truss camp might have been getting over-confident in their briefing.</p><p>But (as usual) Aubrey was absolutely right, and<a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2022/08/09/first-tory-mp-switches-support-rishi-sunak-liz-truss-leadership/"> in an article for the Daily Telegraph</a>, <strong>Chris Skidmore</strong>, the former universities minister, has explained why he is defecting from the Sunak camp and backing Truss. He blames Sunak’s “constantly changing position”, especially on the economy. He says:</p><p>The status quo cannot be an option. Initially, I had backed Rishi Sunak during the MPs’ stage of the contest. Yet over the past few weeks, I have grown increasingly concerned by his campaign’s consistently changing position, especially <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2022/07/26/rishi-sunak-accused-screeching-u-turn-tax-cuts/">on the economy</a>, to chase votes. I am convinced that we need a bolder, more positive approach to the UK’s future.</p><p>Above all, we need a leader who will unite the party. Liz Truss has demonstrated that she has the leadership and personal ability to bring us all together. We cannot afford to be seen as a divided party, and I now believe that Liz is the best person to unite us and the country in meeting the challenges we face.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/10/liz-truss-rishi-sunak-conservative-leadership-race-chris-skidmore-defects-energy-prices-uk-politics-latest">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/10/liz-truss-rishi-sunak-conservative-leadership-race-chris-skidmore-defects-energy-prices-uk-politics-latest politics @worldnewstheguardian

Truss’s cost of living policies could be ‘electoral suicide note’ for Tories, says Raab – UK politics live <p>Latest updates: Sunak supporter Dominic Raab says voters would not forgive party for not helping vulnerable, as candidates prepare for fifth debate</p><p>Good morning. At 7pm this evening Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will speak at the fifth official Conservative party hustings. Tom Newton Dunn from TalkTV is in the chair, and the event may give some insight into how both candidates appeal in “red wall” territory. The Tories won Darlington in 2019, but until then it had been a Labour seat since 1992. It is a key target seat for the opposition.</p><p>Truss and Sunak will also come under pressure to clarify exactly what they would do to help people cope with crippling energy bills later this year. A column in the Sun yesterday said Britain was <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/08/rishi-sunak-liz-truss-cost-of-living-conservative-tory-leadership-uk-politics-live?page=with:block-62f10cf58f08adcf60a324d3#block-62f10cf58f08adcf60a324d3">“on the brink of a full-blown calamity of wartime proportions”.</a> In a statement released overnight<strong> Sunak</strong> went further than he has gone before in saying that essentially he would replicate the support package he announced earlier this year as chancellor. He said:</p><p>People need proven methods that will deliver for them quickly. So I will use the framework I created to provide further support and give millions of people the peace of mind they desperately need ahead of the winter.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/09/liz-truss-rishi-sunak-cost-of-living-crisis-conservative-leadership-tv-debate-uk-politics-latest">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/09/liz-truss-rishi-sunak-cost-of-living-crisis-conservative-leadership-tv-debate-uk-politics-latest politics @worldnewstheguardian

Sunak says Truss’s anti-handout approach to cost of living crisis ‘won’t touch the sides’ – UK politics live <p>Follow all the latest political developments as the Conservative leadership race continues </p><p>When Nick Robinson put it to Brandon Lewis on the Today programme that a worker on the national living wage would only gain £59 from Liz Truss’s plan to reverse the national insurance increase (see<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/08/rishi-sunak-liz-truss-cost-of-living-conservative-tory-leadership-uk-politics-live?page=with:block-62f0c2468f08cf8820ede2ff#block-62f0c2468f08cf8820ede2ff"> 9.41am)</a>, he seemed to be quoting from figures provided by the Rishi Sunak campaign. For the record, here is the chart the Sunak team distributed to journalists at the weekend with the full details.</p><p>As chancellor Sunak raised national insurance to fund what he called the health and social care levy, an extra stream of money for NHS and for social care.</p><p>Apart from the specific details that Liz has already outlined that giveit some help to people - I appreciate it doesn’t fully solve the problem, this is a big, international, global inflation and energy price change that we’re facing - she also wants to bring forward an emergency budget.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/08/rishi-sunak-liz-truss-cost-of-living-conservative-tory-leadership-uk-politics-live">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/08/rishi-sunak-liz-truss-cost-of-living-conservative-tory-leadership-uk-politics-live politics @worldnewstheguardian

PM and chancellor ‘completely on top’ of economy despite being on holiday, says Kwasi Kwarteng – UK politics live <p>Business secretary defends absence of Boris Johnson and Nadhim Zahawi as a UK recession looms</p><p><strong>Lord Robert Hayward, </strong>a Conservative peer and elections analyst, said Rishi Sunak’s performance in last night’s debate caused “a stop in terms of the momentum in one direction” of the leadership campaign.</p><p>Last night marked the first time Sunak had “clearly led” in a debate, Hayward told Sky News this morning, adding that Truss had struggled when asked about her policy U-turn on public sector pay.</p><p>There’s no question in my mind and the vote of the audience, it was the first time that he had clearly led in a debate.</p><p>Liz has had the best of the last few days, no question about it, with the series of endorsements from different major personalities. I think what happened last night was there was a stop in terms of the momentum in one direction.</p><p>It won’t necessarily have reversed it, but there will be this morning a different sense of messaging that is around.</p><p>The job of the Bank was to deal with inflation. They’ve got a 2% inflation target, that’s actually their mandate. And now inflation is getting double digits. So clearly, something’s gone wrong.</p><p>I think there is an issue about how the Bank is operating because clearly if I say to you 2% is your target, and you say to me, ‘Well, actually it’s going to hit 13%,’ I would quite rightly say something’s gone wrong. We’ve got to look at how you’re performing.</p><p>I think there is an argument to suggest the rate should have probably gone up slightly sooner.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/05/kwasi-kwarteng-boris-johnson-nadhim-zahawi-economy-recession-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-tory-leadership-uk-politics-live">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/05/kwasi-kwarteng-boris-johnson-nadhim-zahawi-economy-recession-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-tory-leadership-uk-politics-live politics @worldnewstheguardian

Sajid Javid says Liz Truss ‘best placed to unite the party’ in blow to Rishi Sunak - UK politics live <p>Former chancellor endorses Truss in leadership race as the candidates prepare for Sky debate this evening</p><p>Good morning. <strong>Sajid Javid</strong> has endorsed<strong> Liz Truss </strong>as the next Conservative Party leader in a damaging blow to <strong>Rishi Sunak</strong>’s campaign, claiming that Truss is “best placed to unite the party” at a time when the Tories have “been in not a very good place”.<br></p><p>Javid told LBC this morning:</p><p>We need to fix things and to get a new leader in place as quickly as possible. But most importantly, that leader needs to be the right person to deal with the challenges that we have.</p><p>Like all Conservative party members, I have to make a choice. My choice is Truss. The reason I’ve made that decision is for three reasons: I think she’s best placed to unite the party and she’s already showing that with the broad support that she’s getting from MPs. </p><p>I think she’s got a better plan for fixing the economy. I think that is going to be absolutely crucial. </p><p>I fought for strong fiscal rules in our last manifesto. But the circumstances we are in require a new approach. Over the long term, we are more likely to be fiscally sustainable by improving trend growth.</p><p>Only by getting growth back to pre-financial crisis levels can we hope to support the high-quality public services people rightly expect.</p><p>Some claim that tax cuts can only come once we have growth. I believe the exact opposite – tax cuts are a prerequisite for growth.</p><p>Fixing the economy is absolutely central, not just to deal with the cost-of-living challenges but to pay for all the public services, in the long-term, that we all rely on.</p><p>I think the only way we can do that is to improve our long-term growth rate. We need to get it back to where we were pre-financial crisis, we’re a long way off.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/04/sajid-javid-liz-truss-conservative-party-rishi-sunak-tory-leadership-race-uk-politics-live">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/04/sajid-javid-liz-truss-conservative-party-rishi-sunak-tory-leadership-race-uk-politics-live politics @worldnewstheguardian

Brandon Lewis defends Liz Truss’s civil service pay U-turn as poll shows lead against Rishi Sunak - UK politics live <p>YouGov poll gives Truss large lead against Sunak as hopefuls prepare for third hustings in Cardiff</p><p>Tory MP <strong>David Davis, </strong>who is backing <strong>Rishi Sunak</strong>, has played down the significance of recent polls showing <strong>Liz Truss</strong> clearly leading in the leadership contest. </p><p>He told Sky News:</p><p>To be fair to the polls, these are difficult to do - how do you find Tory members? You know we don’t publish their names. You ring someone up - ‘Are you a Tory member?’, ‘Well, I voted Tory so that makes me a Tory member’, ‘No, it doesn’t.’</p><p>I think the public will come to a view on judgment on that. It’s very, very important in this process.</p><p>They started by accusing journalists of misrepresenting it, and the journalists then quite properly read back their press statement - it was very, very obvious. And now they are accusing us of misrepresenting it.</p><p>No. This is what they said. The people who misrepresented them was themselves.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/03/conservative-leadership-race-liz-truss-civil-service-pay-poll-lead-rishi-sunak-hustings-uk-politics-live">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/03/conservative-leadership-race-liz-truss-civil-service-pay-poll-lead-rishi-sunak-hustings-uk-politics-live politics @worldnewstheguardian

Conservative party members begin to receive ballots for final leadership vote – UK politics live <p>Nadhim Zahawi formally backs Liz Truss as ballot papers to go out</p><p>Rishi Sunak has committed to taking 4p off income tax within seven years if he becomes prime minister, in a last-ditch attempt to win over Conservative party members as postal ballots begin dropping on doormats.<br></p><p>The former chancellor insisted his “radical but realistic” plan was consistent with his record in office and his leadership campaign, despite having strongly criticised his rival for promising “morally wrong” tax and spending plans which would increase borrowing.</p><p>I don’t think embarking on a spree of excessive borrowing at a time when inflation and interest rates are already on a rise would be wise.</p><p>Liz understands that the status quo isn’t an option in times of crisis. To quote the excellent economist Sam Bowman, we need a ‘booster’ attitude to the economy, not a ‘doomster’ one, in order to address cost-of-living woes and the challenges on the world stage.</p><p>Liz will overturn the stale economic orthodoxy and run our economy in a Conservative way.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/01/tory-leadership-race-rishi-sunak-lizz-truss-vote-keir-starmer-uk-politics-live">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/aug/01/tory-leadership-race-rishi-sunak-lizz-truss-vote-keir-starmer-uk-politics-live politics @worldnewstheguardian

Ben Wallace says he is backing Liz Truss because she understands ‘threats’ faced by UK – live <p>Defence secretary says Tory leadership hopeful recognises need for proper defence funding</p><p>Rishi Sunak was not in support of the multi-year defence settlement, Ben Wallace has said.</p><p>The defence secretary, who is supporting Liz Truss in the Conservative Party leadership contest, was asked by LBC’s Nick Ferrari how obstructive the former chancellor was in granting more cash to the armed forces.</p><p>I mean, the multi-year settlement that we got was not what the Treasury had wanted. They wanted a one-year settlement. This was back in 2019, I think. And it was vital that we got a multi-year settlement. And the prime minister effectively asserted his authority and made sure that’s what happened.</p><p>The prime minister did. It was the prime minister’s determination that we got a multi-year settlement, that we got one when we desperately needed one, and we got 24 billion extra.</p><p>And that investment I’m keen continues. I don’t want it to be a sort of boom or bust, which has often happened to defence, and that’s why it gets into big trouble.</p><p>We need a Labour leadership that is prepared to stand up and does not look the other way when BT workers are going to foodbanks.</p><p>Let’s be absolutely clear - it is not good enough, it is not good enough for the Labour Party to say that we probably won’t be able to give you a pay rise in line with inflation. Because that means the Labour Party is committed to cut people’s wages in real terms and that is totally unacceptable.</p><p>If I’m sacked for having said that live on TV and not supposed to [have] been on that picket line then people need to have a really hard think about what the Labour Party is for.</p><p>Because for me the clue is in the name: Labour. On the side of working people.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/29/tory-leadership-rishi-sunak-liz-truss-keir-starmer-uk-politics-live">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/29/tory-leadership-rishi-sunak-liz-truss-keir-starmer-uk-politics-live politics @worldnewstheguardian

UK politics live: Labour left accuses Keir Starmer of double standards over Sam Tarry sacking <p>Latest updates: Labour party embroiled in row over leader’s stance on strikes after shadow transport minister was sacked after joining picket line</p><p>Good morning. Tonight Liz Truss will debate Rishi Sunak at the first of <a href="https://www.conservatives.com/hustings">the official hustings</a> being organised by the Conservative party for members. <strong>Nadine Dorries</strong>, the culture secretary and Truss supporter, has been on the broadcast round this morning and, despite reportedly being told by Truss’s team <a href="https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/liz-truss-nadine-dorries-public-attacks-rishi-sunak-1762897">to tone down her comments about Sunak</a>, she has found it hard to resist, and her interviews have included various studs up attacks on the former chancellor. On LBC she accused him of “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jul/26/rishi-sunak-tory-leadership-debate-aggressive-style-mansplaining">mansplaining</a>” in the BBC debate on Monday, and said it was a “terrrible look”. And on BBC Breadkfast she defended her decision to have a go at him over his expensive clothes, saying “it’s about judgment, and it’s about who voters can relate to”.</p><p>But the Labour party is going through a bout of internal fighting too, triggered by Keir Starmer’s decision last night to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jul/27/sam-tarry-sacked-labour-frontbench-rail-strike-picket-line-keir-starmer">sack Sam Tarry as shadow transport minister</a> after he joined an RMT picket line (defying orders from Starmer) and then proceeded to give a series of interviews that had not been authorised by the leadership and in which he flatly contradicted party policy on public sector pay (the real reason why he was sacked, Labour says). My colleague <strong>Jessica Elgot </strong>has all the details here.</p><p>Rachel Reeves went on an interview and made up policy on rail nationalisation which had to be contradicted by the shadow spokesperson on transport within hours. I didn’t see Rachel Reeves being sacked. </p><p>Just at a time when the Tories are tearing themselves apart, and we’ve got the maximum opportunity, I think, to gain an advantage in the polls that will build the support to take us into a government, we’re having this completely unnecessary row.</p><p>Sam went on the picket lines like shadow minister after shadow minister over the years in support of workers who are asking for a decent pay rise. It’s a just cause ...</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/28/uk-politics-live-conservative-tory-leadership-rishi-sunak-liz-truss-debate-hustings-labour-keir-starmer-sam-tarry">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/28/uk-politics-live-conservative-tory-leadership-rishi-sunak-liz-truss-debate-hustings-labour-keir-starmer-sam-tarry politics @worldnewstheguardian

Sunak accused of ‘screeching U-turn’ by Truss campaign after proposing cutting VAT on fuel bills – UK politics live <p>Latest updates: Tory leadership candidates clash over tax cuts as Truss speaks on national crime targets</p><p><strong>Grant Shapps</strong>, the transport secretary, has challenged Keir Starmer to sack Sam Tarry, a shadow transport minister, for joining an RMT picket line this morning. Ahead of the last rail strike, Starmer told his frontbenchers they should not join picket lines, although two frontbenchers and three ministerial aides who did defy the order were not reprimanded.</p><p>Tarry has been giving interviews this morning defending the rail workers, and his right to support them.</p><p>It’s clearly in direct defiance of Sir Keir Starmer who told his front bench that they shouldn’t be [on picket lines]. No doubt he’ll want to remove him from his job.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/27/rishi-sunak-liz-truss-conservative-leadership-race-tax-cuts-uk-politics-live">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/27/rishi-sunak-liz-truss-conservative-leadership-race-tax-cuts-uk-politics-live politics @worldnewstheguardian

UK health department played ‘fast and loose’ when awarding Covid contracts to Randox <p>Commons public accounts committee issues damning report into £777m spent with firm that employed Owen Paterson as lobbyist</p><p>Ministers and government officials played “fast and loose” when awarding £777m in Covid contracts to a healthcare firm that employed the Conservative MP Owen Paterson as a lobbyist, the head of parliament’s spending watchdog has said.</p><p>In a damning report, the House of Commons public accounts committee (PAC) concluded that the government made a series of failures, making it impossible to know if the contracts had been awarded properly to Randox.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jul/27/uk-health-department-played-fast-and-loose-when-awarding-covid-contracts-to-randox">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jul/27/uk-health-department-played-fast-and-loose-when-awarding-covid-contracts-to-randox politics @worldnewstheguardian

Tory leadership race continues after Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak clash in TV debate – UK politics live <p>Follow all the latest politics news and developments in the Conservative leadership contest</p><p>Good morning.</p><p>Last night Tory leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak clashed in a fierce TV debate over tax cuts, China and inflation. <br><br>This morning, politicians have been sharing their views. One of Truss’ supporters, Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News there had been “aggressive moments”, while conceding that the overall tenor had been “respectful”.</p><p><em> I think there were some pretty aggressive moments at the outset from Rishi towards Liz in terms of interrupting her as she tried to set out her case, but by and large I think the debate was held in a reasonable spirit reflecting, obviously, the importance of the issues.</em></p><p><em>I watched as much as I could bear of it, because it showed just the two contenders taking lumps out of each other, talking over each other, talking about clothing and earrings instead of the health service.</em></p><p><em>So if ever there was an example of a party that is absolutely lost the plot, lost any sense of purpose then it was that debate last night.</em></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/26/tory-leadership-race-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-tv-debate-uk-politics-live">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/26/tory-leadership-race-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-tv-debate-uk-politics-live politics @worldnewstheguardian

Starmer dismisses Tory leadership contest as ‘Thatcherite cosplay’ – UK politics live <p>Latest updates: Labour leader to say growth matters to party as much as redistribution in speech about economic growth</p><p>Good morning. <strong>Keir Starmer </strong>will make a speech this morning arguing that a key problem facing Britain is that, for at least a decade, growth has been feeble. It is an argument that Starmer and his shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, have been making for some time (the trend rate of growth was higher before the financial crash, when Labour was in power, and low growth ultimately means lower living standards and less money for public services). But suddenly this territory is now rather croweded. In the Tory leadership contest Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are both promising to unleash growth, and some of Truss’s comments in particular <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/21/tory-leadership-race-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-latest-politics-live?page=with:block-62d8f9d28f0883b6bb6b1433#block-62d8f9d28f0883b6bb6b1433">about how dismal the government’s record has been over the last decade</a> could be copy and pasted straight into a Starmer speech.</p><p>Starmer will address that point in his speech. According to extracts released in advance, here are two of the points he will make.</p><p>You will see a clear contrast between my Labour party and the Thatcherite cosplay on display tonight [in the Tory leadership debate]. The difference between a Labour party ready to take Britain forward. And a Tory party that wants to take us back into the past.</p><p>Between Labour growth and Tory stagnation. That will be the choice at the next election and we are ready.</p><p>The approach to growth I have set out today will challenge my party’s instincts.</p><p>It pushes us to care as much about growth and productivity, as we have done about redistribution and investment in the past. Not to hark back to our old ideas in the face of new challenges.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/25/conservative-leadership-contest-keir-starmer-economic-growth-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-uk-politics-live">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/25/conservative-leadership-contest-keir-starmer-economic-growth-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-uk-politics-live politics @worldnewstheguardian

Rishi Sunak has time to win over Tory members and is not making promises he can’t keep, leading supporter says – UK politics live <p>Chair of the Commons education committee defends former chancellor’s record on the economy and insists he was not disloyal to Boris Johnson </p><p>In his Sky News interview <strong>Robert Halfon,</strong> the Rishi Sunak supporter and Tory chair of the Commons education committee, also insisted that inflation was “the number one enemy of the cost of living” and that Sunak, not Liz Truss, had the best policies to bring it down.</p><p>Asked about Truss’s claim <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/21/tory-leadership-race-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-latest-politics-live?page=with:block-62d8f9d28f0883b6bb6b1433#block-62d8f9d28f0883b6bb6b1433">that Sunak’s high taxes had stifled growth</a>, he replied:</p><p>I don’t accept that narrative at all. Yes he did put up corporation tax but don’t forget we spent £400bn during Covid. I mentioned the £80bn of debt interest that we have. We’re £2trn in debt overall. You have to pay some of that money back. </p><p>But he also cut taxes. He cut national insurance tax for 70% of households. He also cut business taxes for hospitality, retail and leisure.</p><p>It’s very early days of the contest. We just finished the MP elections and the former chancellor is going to be going around the country meeting members. I believe, when Rishi Sunak makes his case, more members will come and support him because they know he’s not making promises he can’t keep - and that’s the important thing.</p><p>Rishi Sunak was very loyal to the prime minister. He resigned when he just thought things had gone too far. He had differences with the prime minister over the economy but he was there til almost the very end. He was loyal right through the Partygate episode. Another MP went to see him and he refused to countenance any kind of disloyalty to the prime minister.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/22/rishi-sunak-tory-leadership-election-liz-truss-uk-politics-live">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/22/rishi-sunak-tory-leadership-election-liz-truss-uk-politics-live politics @worldnewstheguardian

Tory leadership race live: Liz Truss blames Treasury’s ‘economic orthodoxy’ for UK’s stunted growth <p>Foreign secretary tells BBC her tax cut plans would cost roughly £38bn a year as she lays out campaign against Rishi Sunak</p><p>The first report from the<strong> Commons privileges committee</strong> relating to its inquiry into whether Boris Johnson lied to MPs about Partygate is out – and some of its contents will be worrying for Downing Street.</p><p>The committee, which is chaired by the Labour MP Harriet Harman, has not even started the main work on its investigation, but it has published <a href="https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/23198/documents/169500/default/">a 39-page report</a> setting out how it will proceed. This shows that the MPs are being exceptionally thorough – which is not surprising because an inquiry of this kind is unprecedented in modern times.</p><p>Among the documents published today is a formal determination from Commons Speaker Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, following independent legal advice, regarding the interpretation of the Recall of MPs Act 2015 in the hypothetical event that the privileges committee were to recommend the sanction of suspension.</p><p>The Speaker has ruled that the committee of privileges is a committee concerned with the standards of conduct of individual MPs, and therefore any suspension of the requisite length (10 sitting days or 14 calendar days) following on from a report from that committee will attract the provisions of the Recall of MPs Act. </p><p>The report also includes a paper from the clerk of the journals, discussing the definition of a contempt in the context of the committee’s inquiry. The committee agrees with the clerk of the journals that the focus of the house’s jurisdiction is on whether or not an action or omission obstructs or impedes or has a tendency to obstruct or impede the functioning of the house, with the consequence that, looking at contempt in broad terms, intention is not necessary for a contempt to be committed. The clerk’s memo explains that while “much of the commentary has focussed on whether Mr Johnson “deliberately” or “knowingly” misled the Committee”, “this wording is not in the motion”. </p><p>In her paper, the clerk of the journals adds: “It is for the committee and the house to determine whether a contempt has occurred and the intention of the contemnor is not relevant to making that decision. Intent has been considered relevant when a committee has been considering whether or not there should be penalties for a contempt, or the severity of those penalties”; her paper gives examples of previous cases in which committees have considered intent in the course of assessing the seriousness of the behaviour concerned. </p><p>The fact is we’ve had economic policy – not just under this government, for the past two decades – there’s been a consensus on our economic policy, and it hasn’t delivered economic growth ....</p><p>We have had a consensus of the Treasury, of economists, of the Financial Times, of other outlets, peddling a particular type of economic policy for the last 20 years. And it hasn’t delivered growth ...</p><p>I was then told this idea of borrowing to grow the economy then let it pay for itself is ludicrous ... What have we just heard [from the Tory leadership contest is] let’s borrow to grow the economy. </p><p>It’s extraordinary they’re repeating my agenda but at the same time, doing it in a way which, to be frank, I think is completely unrelated to the real world we’re living in which is the immediate crisis of the cost of living and climate change.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/21/tory-leadership-race-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-latest-politics-live">Continue reading...</a> https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jul/21/tory-leadership-race-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-latest-politics-live politics @worldnewstheguardian