UK should ‘not take lectures from anybody’ about green policies record, says Rishi Sunak – politics live | Politics

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UK should ‘not take lectures from anybody’ about green policies record, says Sunak

The UK should “not take any lectures from anybody” about its record on green policies, Rishi Sunak has said.

It was put to the prime minister on LBC Radio that the UN chief has called countries increasing the production of fossil fuels “truly dangerous radicals”.

Sunak replied:

What I would say, not just to him but more generally, is let’s look at the record. Which G7 country out of the large countries of America, Italy, France, Germany, us, Canada, Japan – which of those countries has decarbonised fastest over the past years or decades? Which one? It’s the UK, right?

So, we should not take any lectures from anybody about our record. Our record is fantastic.

He said that on the question of granting new North Sea oil and gas licences:

I 100% believe that what I’m doing is right.

The UK should “not take any lectures from anybody” about its record on green policies, Rishi Sunak has said.

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It was put to the prime minister on LBC Radio that the UN chief has called countries increasing the production of fossil fuels “truly dangerous radicals”.

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Sunak replied:

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What I would say, not just to him but more generally, is let’s look at the record. Which G7 country out of the large countries of America, Italy, France, Germany, us, Canada, Japan – which of those countries has decarbonised fastest over the past years or decades? Which one? It’s the UK, right?

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So, we should not take any lectures from anybody about our record. Our record is fantastic.

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He said that on the question of granting new North Sea oil and gas licences:

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I 100% believe that what I’m doing is right.

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Housing asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm “floating prison” would be “inhumane” and risks “retraumatising” people who have escaped war zones and other “horrors”, the leader of a refugee charity has warned.

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Steve Smith, the chief executive of Care4Calais, also expressed his fear that the barge being prepared to accommodate more than 500 refugees at Portland, Dorset,was an “accident waiting to happen” because of insufficient fire safety on board, with the government putting money as a “higher priority than people’s lives”.

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Smith said that the charity was currently assisting 11 people who had received letters from the Home Office advising them that they would be moved to the vessel.

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The letter states:

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You are not being detained under immigration powers, and this is not detention accommodation. You are free to leave the site, but we would request that you sign in and out of the site when you leave and return, so we can assure your safety.

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It adds that facilities on board will include an on-site nurse, recreational space, voluntary sector activities, English classes, entertainment areas, a worship room, and private space for consultations and to make phone calls and wifi access.

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The government has said there is “no timeframe” for the arrival of the first refugees to the Bibby Stockholm while final safety checks are being carried out.

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Smith told the PA news agency:

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The obvious fire hazard of moving a large number of people across to the Bibby is clearly causing a delay.

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We know the Bibby barge was intended for 220 people, we know the intent is to put 506 residents aboard but, by the time you add security staff and other staff, that would come to 546.

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Now you have a barge with narrow corridors with three decks, with terms of crowding people in into what were originally single person rooms with two and in some of the larger rooms up to six, doubling those on board

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“If you’re on the far side of this barge and on the upper storey and there are only two fire escapes and that’s where you are when a fire breaks out, you can imagine the absolute chaos and pandemonium as panicked individuals crammed in narrow corridors try to get out.

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They are not able to escape on the water side and if they do, what if they can’t swim, jumping into the water without lifejackets.

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This is an absolute accident waiting to happen, it looks like the government is prepared to save money, making it a higher priority than people’s lives.

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Among those being supported by the charity are the survivors of torture, people with disabilities and people who have experienced trauma at sea.

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He said:

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Housing any human on a ‘floating prison’ like the Bibby Stockholm is unacceptable. Doing so to people like this is completely inhumane.

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Our concern in many cases, probably most cases, is that these will be individuals who have crossed the Channel in flimsy boats and they don’t do this for fun.

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They will have probably had a fairly terrifying journey from the place of origin which could be something like Afghanistan where, having survived the war, perhaps having fought on the side of British troops there.

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Individuals like that who have been through all these horrors have been through unwelcoming and sometimes hostile countries like the Balkans and Libya to get to Calais, sleeping rough, braving the Channel under really difficult circumstances and then to be put further on a boat, this has all the potential for re-traumatising.

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Smith said that speeding up the asylum process by prioritising those from high-risk countries such as Afghanistan and providing a safe passage system similar to that put into place for Ukraine would reduce the need for centres like the Bibby Stockholm.

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He said:

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What can we do? Speed up asylum claims process, clear the backlog, provide safe passage, allow people to start working and integrate better into the community and then concerns about it costing us £6m a day start to dissipate.

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Rishi Sunak has said Nadine Dorries’ constituents are not being properly represented as the Tory MP remains in the post despite saying she would resign.

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The prime minister told an LBC call-in:

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I think people deserve to have an MP that represents them wherever they are.

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It’s just making sure your MP is engaging with you, representing you, whether that’s speaking in parliament or being present in their constituencies doing surgeries, answering your letters.

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That’s the job of an MP and all MPs should be held to that standard.

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Asked if that meant Dorries was failing her constituents, Sunak said:

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Well, at the moment, people aren’t being properly represented.

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Rishi Sunak acknowledged NHS waiting lists in England have increased, but he opted to blame industrial action for the situation.

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After Nick Ferrari said the waiting list was 7.2 million when Sunak came into office, the prime minister added on LBC:

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Yeah, and now it’s 7.9 [million] give or take.

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But if you look at what happened Nick, I’ll just be totally honest with everybody, if you look at what happened we were actually making progress, we eliminated the number of two-year waiters – people waiting a really long time – we practically eliminated the number of people waiting one-and-a-half years, and we were making progress on bringing the overall numbers down.

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What happened? We had industrial action, we’ve got strikes.

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I’ve taken a very firm but fair point of view, we’ve accepted the recommendations from independent pay review bodies, I’m delighted that the nurses and a million other NHS workers have accepted the Government’s pay offer and they’re working really hard to deliver for patients, but unfortunately we still have groups of people who are not doing that and they’re striking – and that is the reason that the waiting lists are going up.

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It’s as simple as that.

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Not everyone agrees with that assessment. Critics say the increase in waiting lists is actually down to Tory mismanagement of the health service.

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The British Medical Association (BMA) – the union behind ongoing junior doctor and consultant strikes – previously pointed out that waiting lists have been rising for the past 13 years.

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Grant Shapps has insisted that the Bibby Stockholm barge that will house asylum seekers is not a “deathtrap”.

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The first 50 people were due to be moved onto the 222-bedroom Bibby Stockholm in Portland, Dorset this week but a Home Office source confirmed that there would be further delays in the use of the barge until sign off from health and safety officials is obtained.

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The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said it is planning to write to the Home Office about overcrowding and access to fire exits on the vessel.

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Rishi Sunak is now under increasing pressure to explain why the government persists in planning to use the barge, which has been condemned by refugee organisations for being costly, cruel and inhumane.

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“As the only professional voice, firefighters believe the Bibby Stockholm to be a potential deathtrap,” FBU’s assistant general secretary, Ben Selby, told the Guardian.

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The barge has 222 cabins along narrow corridors over three decks, with two main exits. The evacuation point for those onboard is a compound on the quayside, which councillors have described as “completely inadequate” for about 550 people.

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Councillors who visited the barge last week were told there were no lifejackets onboard and have expressed concerns that locked gates could cause a crush in an emergency.

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The energy secretary, however, sought to refute the FBU’s warning, telling ITV’s Good Morning Britain:

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It certainly won’t be a deathtrap.

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This actual ship was previously used by Germany to house migrants, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be absolutely safe. Ships are used to transport people all the time and there’s no inherent reason why that [not being safe] would be the case.

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That’s actually why these final safety checks are being carried out.

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Grant Shapps has said it would be “irresponsible” not to grant new oil and gas licences in the North Sea and insisted the UK will “still meet our net zero targets”.

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The energy security secretary told Times Radio that the North Sea basin was very mature and was “effectively running out”.

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He said:

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The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] says that in order to meet the goals of 1.5% [degrees Celsius], no more than 1.5% warming, we would need to reduce by 4% a year the amount of oil and gas.

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We are, even with these licences, on a trajectory to reduce by 7% a year because we’re running out of oil and gas in the North Sea.

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So, you can see that having these licences is entirely compatible with and actually irresponsible not to grant them if we’re going to both secure the energy security of British homes and businesses, but also get to net zero.

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So, it’s a very sensible, rational thing for us to be doing.

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He told GB News that he was meeting with energy companies “who are going to invest £100bn in renewables” at No 10 today.

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He said:

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Everyone supports this country’s transition to net zero but we cannot get there by telling people ‘we’re simply going to stop using oil and gas’.

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The only way to do that would be to tell people ‘don’t put your gas boiler on, don’t drive a petrol car’, and do that almost instantaneously.

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Unless you do that, what you’re really saying is ‘we’re not going to dig our own oil and gas, we’ll import instead’.

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Yes, we’ll have more oil and gas licences, but we’ll still meet our net zero targets because we’re also massively investing in all these renewables as well.

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Shapps denied the government had not been doing anything to boost UK energy security.

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He said:

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We’ve been moving very fast. This is just the latest round of investment into renewables by some of the very biggest energy companies in the land.

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I will be looking after the politics blog today. If you have any tips or suggestions, please get in touch: [email protected]

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Key events

Nadeem Badshah

Nadeem Badshah

Kemi Badenoch has suggested electric vehicle mandates could hamper investment in Britain and lead to job losses, in a sign that another of the government’s green pledges is in doubt.

The business secretary was discussing the automotive industry’s concerns about a rule to be introduced in January that will require manufacturers to ensure at least 22% of new sales in the UK are of emissions-free models, rising each year to reach 80% by 2030.

A manufacturer will be fined £15,000 for every polluting car sold over the limit, unless it can buy in extra allowances from another company.

A spokesperson for Badenoch told Politico:

If major car companies employing thousands of people are saying that there’s a problem, then it’s her job to look at ways to ease that problem.

Toyota has called the proposed production deadline “challenging” while Ford said the rule poses a “threat” to its business and investment plans.

The zero-emissions vehicle mandate is part of a series of rules to phase out petrol and diesel engine cars in an attempt to reach the government’s legal target of making the UK a net zero carbon emitter by 2050.

The UK ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars is due in 2030. However, there are widespread concerns over whether Britain has adequate infrastructure and capacity for the growth of electric vehicles.

Read more here:

Jillian Ambrose

The bosses behind Britain’s multibillion-pound clean energy rollout will gather in Downing Street to discuss the government’s plan for green economic growth later on Wednesday.

Grant Shapps, the energy secretary, is expected to meet the leaders of energy companies including EDF, SSE, Shell and BP, which are poised to invest billions in low- and zero-carbon projects.

Shapps will convene the summit at No 10 days after the prime minister ignited a row with green groups, opposition parties and the Conservative party’s backbench MPs over his plans for “maxing out” the North Sea’s reserves.

Alongside the talks over the energy companies’ plans to invest more than £100bn in the UK economy, which could create jobs around the country, Shapps is expected to call on the firms to help the government boost the UK’s energy security.

He is also expected to discuss plans to crack down on “disruptive protest groups” who may target critical energy infrastructure, according to a government statement.

Shapps was forced to defend the government’s stance on North Sea drilling, before the energy summit, against criticism that the plans are incompatible with Britain’s plans to become a net zero economy.

Read the full story here:

Rishi Sunak has said he is confident he can win over his climate-conscious daughters with his argument that the UK can reach net zero while continuing to drill for oil and gas.

The prime minister said his children are not “eco-zealots”, when asked how he would tell them that he is issuing hundreds of new oil and gas licences.

Sunak told LBC Radio:

I’ll explain it to them in exactly the way I have, and we have good chat around our table about all these things.

We are going to get to net zero, that’s my commitment. But even when we’re there, we will still need fossil fuels. So is it better to have them from here at home, supporting people’s jobs, the economy, public services like the NHS, and being less reliant on Vladimir Putin?

And by the way, fewer carbon emissions rather than shipping things to here from halfway around the world?

I think those are all just sensible, practical reasons. So yes, that is the right thing to do.

Asked if he is confident he can win over his daughters, Sunak said:

I am, because I think on this topic, like most people they don’t approach it as some kind of … they’re not eco-zealots. They actually, I think, are open to sensible, practical arguments.

UK should ‘not take lectures from anybody’ about green policies record, says Sunak

The UK should “not take any lectures from anybody” about its record on green policies, Rishi Sunak has said.

It was put to the prime minister on LBC Radio that the UN chief has called countries increasing the production of fossil fuels “truly dangerous radicals”.

Sunak replied:

What I would say, not just to him but more generally, is let’s look at the record. Which G7 country out of the large countries of America, Italy, France, Germany, us, Canada, Japan – which of those countries has decarbonised fastest over the past years or decades? Which one? It’s the UK, right?

So, we should not take any lectures from anybody about our record. Our record is fantastic.

He said that on the question of granting new North Sea oil and gas licences:

I 100% believe that what I’m doing is right.

Rishi Sunak has faced heavy criticism from a junior doctor for insisting that striking doctors are to blame for record high NHS waiting lists.

Olivia, an A&E doctor, hit out at his “amazing” claim during a radio phone-in, telling him that staff were leaving the NHS in droves and reminding him that staff retention was the bedrock of patient safety.

Sunak sought to argue that the wave of industrial action by NHS workers was behind the long delays patients are facing before getting treatment.

But waiting times had already hit record highs when the unprecedented wave of strike action began with nurses walking out in December last year.

Olivia, from Newcastle, who did not give her second name, told him live on LBC:

I think it’s amazing we’re blaming the increase in waiting lists on doctors going on strike.

You’re losing staff because we are undervalued and it’s not just doctors, it’s everyone, we’re all leaving.

You’re the prime minister, you’re the government, your staff aren’t happy – that’s your fault. And ultimately that’s not good for patients because retaining staff is one of the bedrocks of making sure you have good patient safety.

Sunak had argued junior doctors and consultants were to blame for not accepting pay deals like other medical staff have done.

He said:

That’s what’s causing the waiting lists to go up, I don’t think that’s right.

I would say to them I’m very grateful and respectful of the incredible job you do but we all have a shared mission to bring the waiting lists down.

Rishi Sunak, asked if asylum seekers will be housed on the Bibby Stockholm barge next week, told LBC’s Nick Ferrari:

The Bibby Stockholm will be in operation as soon as it’s passed all the checks and regulations – as soon as possible – that’s the key thing.

The prime minister highlighted the Illegal Migration Act before adding:

We’re making a difference, I’m going to keep going on this … I’m going to throw everything at it.

Sunak said there was “an array of people that want me to fail”, which he said included Labour, criminal gangs and “dodgy lawyers”, who he said were a “subset, a minority, of lawyers”.

He went on:

There are lots of people who are lined up to try and stop me, but I’m going to keep going until we stop the boats.

Housing asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm risks ‘retraumatising’ people who have escaped war zones, says refugee charity

Housing asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm “floating prison” would be “inhumane” and risks “retraumatising” people who have escaped war zones and other “horrors”, the leader of a refugee charity has warned.

Steve Smith, the chief executive of Care4Calais, also expressed his fear that the barge being prepared to accommodate more than 500 refugees at Portland, Dorset,was an “accident waiting to happen” because of insufficient fire safety on board, with the government putting money as a “higher priority than people’s lives”.

Smith said that the charity was currently assisting 11 people who had received letters from the Home Office advising them that they would be moved to the vessel.

The letter states:

You are not being detained under immigration powers, and this is not detention accommodation. You are free to leave the site, but we would request that you sign in and out of the site when you leave and return, so we can assure your safety.

It adds that facilities on board will include an on-site nurse, recreational space, voluntary sector activities, English classes, entertainment areas, a worship room, and private space for consultations and to make phone calls and wifi access.

The government has said there is “no timeframe” for the arrival of the first refugees to the Bibby Stockholm while final safety checks are being carried out.

Smith told the PA news agency:

The obvious fire hazard of moving a large number of people across to the Bibby is clearly causing a delay.

We know the Bibby barge was intended for 220 people, we know the intent is to put 506 residents aboard but, by the time you add security staff and other staff, that would come to 546.

Now you have a barge with narrow corridors with three decks, with terms of crowding people in into what were originally single person rooms with two and in some of the larger rooms up to six, doubling those on board

“If you’re on the far side of this barge and on the upper storey and there are only two fire escapes and that’s where you are when a fire breaks out, you can imagine the absolute chaos and pandemonium as panicked individuals crammed in narrow corridors try to get out.

They are not able to escape on the water side and if they do, what if they can’t swim, jumping into the water without lifejackets.

This is an absolute accident waiting to happen, it looks like the government is prepared to save money, making it a higher priority than people’s lives.

Among those being supported by the charity are the survivors of torture, people with disabilities and people who have experienced trauma at sea.

He said:

Housing any human on a ‘floating prison’ like the Bibby Stockholm is unacceptable. Doing so to people like this is completely inhumane.

Our concern in many cases, probably most cases, is that these will be individuals who have crossed the Channel in flimsy boats and they don’t do this for fun.

They will have probably had a fairly terrifying journey from the place of origin which could be something like Afghanistan where, having survived the war, perhaps having fought on the side of British troops there.

Individuals like that who have been through all these horrors have been through unwelcoming and sometimes hostile countries like the Balkans and Libya to get to Calais, sleeping rough, braving the Channel under really difficult circumstances and then to be put further on a boat, this has all the potential for re-traumatising.

Smith said that speeding up the asylum process by prioritising those from high-risk countries such as Afghanistan and providing a safe passage system similar to that put into place for Ukraine would reduce the need for centres like the Bibby Stockholm.

He said:

What can we do? Speed up asylum claims process, clear the backlog, provide safe passage, allow people to start working and integrate better into the community and then concerns about it costing us £6m a day start to dissipate.

Rishi Sunak has said Nadine Dorries’ constituents are not being properly represented as the Tory MP remains in the post despite saying she would resign.

The prime minister told an LBC call-in:

I think people deserve to have an MP that represents them wherever they are.

It’s just making sure your MP is engaging with you, representing you, whether that’s speaking in parliament or being present in their constituencies doing surgeries, answering your letters.

That’s the job of an MP and all MPs should be held to that standard.

Asked if that meant Dorries was failing her constituents, Sunak said:

Well, at the moment, people aren’t being properly represented.

Rishi Sunak says NHS waiting lists in England have increased but blames industrial action

Rishi Sunak acknowledged NHS waiting lists in England have increased, but he opted to blame industrial action for the situation.

After Nick Ferrari said the waiting list was 7.2 million when Sunak came into office, the prime minister added on LBC:

Yeah, and now it’s 7.9 [million] give or take.

But if you look at what happened Nick, I’ll just be totally honest with everybody, if you look at what happened we were actually making progress, we eliminated the number of two-year waiters – people waiting a really long time – we practically eliminated the number of people waiting one-and-a-half years, and we were making progress on bringing the overall numbers down.

What happened? We had industrial action, we’ve got strikes.

I’ve taken a very firm but fair point of view, we’ve accepted the recommendations from independent pay review bodies, I’m delighted that the nurses and a million other NHS workers have accepted the Government’s pay offer and they’re working really hard to deliver for patients, but unfortunately we still have groups of people who are not doing that and they’re striking – and that is the reason that the waiting lists are going up.

It’s as simple as that.

Not everyone agrees with that assessment. Critics say the increase in waiting lists is actually down to Tory mismanagement of the health service.

The British Medical Association (BMA) – the union behind ongoing junior doctor and consultant strikes – previously pointed out that waiting lists have been rising for the past 13 years.

A byelection to replace Margaret Ferrier will take place “as quickly as possible”, an SNP MP has said.

Ferrier lost her seat on Tuesday after results of a recall petition in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency was announced, with a new vote expected in the coming months to replace her.

Brendan O’Hara, the SNP’s chief whip at Westminster, will now be tasked with filing a writ with the speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, to officially vacate the seat.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland on Wednesday, the SNP MP David Linden said the party would seek a byelection “at the earliest possible point”.

He said:

The SNP chief whip Brendan O’Hara will move the writ the first week that parliament returns from summer recess – that’s the earliest possible point we can do it – and we aim to do that and ensure that we have that byelection as quickly as possible.

Rishi Sunak has said inflation is not falling as fast as he would like, but said he believes people can “see light at the end of the tunnel”.

The prime minister, appearing on LBC’s Nick Ferrari programme, said of his five priorities: “The most important one is inflation,” adding that he plans to halve inflation and said the government was making progress.

Is that as fast as I’d like? No. Is it as fast as anyone would like? No. But the numbers most recently that we had show that we’re heading in the right direction, inflation is coming down, and I think people can see light at the end of the tunnel.

But, look, we’ve got to stick to the plan, it’s not easy to bring down inflation. It requires me to make difficult but responsible decisions on behalf of the country.

They’re not easy, I get flak for them, but I’m going to do them because they’re the right thing for everybody in the long-term, and I’m determined to stick to the course and bring down inflation for everyone.

Bibby Stockholm barge not a “deathtrap”, Grant Shapps insists

Grant Shapps has insisted that the Bibby Stockholm barge that will house asylum seekers is not a “deathtrap”.

The first 50 people were due to be moved onto the 222-bedroom Bibby Stockholm in Portland, Dorset this week but a Home Office source confirmed that there would be further delays in the use of the barge until sign off from health and safety officials is obtained.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said it is planning to write to the Home Office about overcrowding and access to fire exits on the vessel.

Rishi Sunak is now under increasing pressure to explain why the government persists in planning to use the barge, which has been condemned by refugee organisations for being costly, cruel and inhumane.

“As the only professional voice, firefighters believe the Bibby Stockholm to be a potential deathtrap,” FBU’s assistant general secretary, Ben Selby, told the Guardian.

The barge has 222 cabins along narrow corridors over three decks, with two main exits. The evacuation point for those onboard is a compound on the quayside, which councillors have described as “completely inadequate” for about 550 people.

Councillors who visited the barge last week were told there were no lifejackets onboard and have expressed concerns that locked gates could cause a crush in an emergency.

The energy secretary, however, sought to refute the FBU’s warning, telling ITV’s Good Morning Britain:

It certainly won’t be a deathtrap.

This actual ship was previously used by Germany to house migrants, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be absolutely safe. Ships are used to transport people all the time and there’s no inherent reason why that [not being safe] would be the case.

That’s actually why these final safety checks are being carried out.

Grant Shapps says it would be ‘irresponsible’ not to grant new oil and gas licences

Nicola Slawson

Nicola Slawson

Grant Shapps has said it would be “irresponsible” not to grant new oil and gas licences in the North Sea and insisted the UK will “still meet our net zero targets”.

The energy security secretary told Times Radio that the North Sea basin was very mature and was “effectively running out”.

He said:

The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] says that in order to meet the goals of 1.5% [degrees Celsius], no more than 1.5% warming, we would need to reduce by 4% a year the amount of oil and gas.

We are, even with these licences, on a trajectory to reduce by 7% a year because we’re running out of oil and gas in the North Sea.

So, you can see that having these licences is entirely compatible with and actually irresponsible not to grant them if we’re going to both secure the energy security of British homes and businesses, but also get to net zero.

So, it’s a very sensible, rational thing for us to be doing.

He told GB News that he was meeting with energy companies “who are going to invest £100bn in renewables” at No 10 today.

He said:

Everyone supports this country’s transition to net zero but we cannot get there by telling people ‘we’re simply going to stop using oil and gas’.

The only way to do that would be to tell people ‘don’t put your gas boiler on, don’t drive a petrol car’, and do that almost instantaneously.

Unless you do that, what you’re really saying is ‘we’re not going to dig our own oil and gas, we’ll import instead’.

Yes, we’ll have more oil and gas licences, but we’ll still meet our net zero targets because we’re also massively investing in all these renewables as well.

Shapps denied the government had not been doing anything to boost UK energy security.

He said:

We’ve been moving very fast. This is just the latest round of investment into renewables by some of the very biggest energy companies in the land.

I will be looking after the politics blog today. If you have any tips or suggestions, please get in touch: [email protected]

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