Partygate: Jeremy Hunt declines to say Boris Johnson is an honest man
Asked by Sophie Raworth on the BBC’s Sunday Morning program in the light of the partygate scandal, Mr Hunt said twice replied “talking about personalities is not a helpful thing to do”.
On the issue of whether Mr Johnson was the best person for the job, Mr Hunt said: “I hope he can turn things around.” He did say, however, that he thought that Tory MPs should support the prime minister “in the situation we are now in” with the war in Ukraine.
Earlier, it was revealed that Boris Johnson will meet DUP leaders tomorrow to urge a return to powersharing in Northern Ireland as the government seeks to calm a dispute with the European Union over post-Brexit trade rules.
The prime minister will visit Belfast on Monday for the first time since the Stormont elections earlier this month where Sinn Fein made history by becoming the first nationalist party to win power in the assembly.
Hunt blames lack of ‘workforce planning’ for NHS pressures
Jeremy Hunt said tackling the “chronic failure of workforce planning” is the most important task in relieving pressure on NHS frontline services.
The former health secretary and current chair of the Health and Social Care Committee told Sunday Morning on BBC One: “I think that would be the biggest single thing that could relieve pressure for people on the front line who are so stressed at the moment, will be to sort out that workforce planning.”
He denied that Brexit has made it harder to staff the health service, saying: “We have an NHS visa which means that it’s very easy for any doctors who want to come here to do so.”
Mr Hunt said that in his new book, Zero: Eliminating Unnecessary Deaths in A Post-Pandemic NHShe addressed his own failures as health secretary, including securing long-term funding for the social care system.
Referring to reports of people waiting an hour for an ambulance when they have had a heart attack, he said: “Obviously if you can’t discharge people from hospitals into the care system, then hospitals don’t have the capacity to deal with people who come in in an emergency, and that remains an unsolved problem.”
Liam James15 May 2022 12:45
Michael Gove ‘tells Lords to leave London during refurbishment’
The House of Lords should relocate outside of London rather than moving to a building nearby during refurbishment works, Michael Gove has reportedly told the Lord Speaker.
The Leveling Up Secretary is said to have written to Lord McFall of Alcluith suggesting locations including Stoke-on-Trent, Burnley and Sunderland.
In the letter, reported in the Sunday Times, Mr Gove said he knows “cities and towns across the United Kingdom would be pleased to extend their hospitality to peers”.
He is reported to have written: “As the minister responsible for leveling up, it is clear to me that the House of Lords moving elsewhere, even for a temporary period, would be widely welcomed.
Adding: “I propose to establish dedicated liaison points for you in my department to support you in identifying a suitable location for the House of Lords in the north, midlands, southwest, Scotland or Wales. I would, of course, be happy to meet you to discuss this.”
Liam James15 May 2022 12:20
Thatcher statue egged within hours
A statue of Margaret Thatcher has been egged less than two hours after it was installed in her home town.
A protester threw eggs from behind a temporary fence surrounding the memorial, with a cry of “oi” heard after one hit part of the monument.
Thousands of people online had threatened to egg the statue ahead of its installation in Grantham, Lincolnshire.
New statue of Margaret Thatcher egged
Liam James15 May 2022 11:54
Watch: Finland announces ‘historic’ decision to join Nato
Here’s Finnish president Sauli Niinisto and prime minister Sanna Marin making the announcement in Helsinki:
Finland announces ‘historic’ decision to join Nato
Liam James15 May 2022 11:40
Finland to apply for Nato membership
Finland’s president and government announced Sunday that the Nordic country intends to apply for membership in NATO, paving the way for the 30-member western military alliance to expand amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.
President Sauli Niinisto and prime minister Sanna Marin made the announcement at a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki.
The Finnish Parliament is expected to endorse the decision in coming days, but it is considered a formality.
Boris Johnson visited Finland and Sweden, which also plans to join, this week to show Britain’s support.
Liam James15 May 2022 11:38
Windfall tax refusal ‘shameful’, says Miliband
It is “shameful” the government refuses to put a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, Ed Miliband has said.
On Tuesday, Labor will put forward an amendment to the Queen’s Speech for a one-off windfall tax to help families with the cost-of-living crisis.
Mr Miliband, shadow secretary of state for climate change and net zero, told Sunday Morning on BBC One: “We are going to give Conservative MPs, the whole House of Commons, a chance to vote on Tuesday on the windfall tax.
“I talked about the social emergency in this country. I think it is obscene, frankly, that we have as a result of soaring energy bills, oil and gas companies making billions of pounds in our country, and the government refuses to put a windfall tax on them.
“It is shameful, it should shame them.”
The government has not committed to introducing a windfall tax but Rishi Sunak said such a measure was being considered.
Mr Miliband was also asked if Labor would re-nationalise energy if in power. He said the party would not buy the big six energy companies.
Liam James15 May 2022 11:22
Coveney says Lord Frost Ukraine comments not helpful
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney criticized former Brexit minister Lord Frost last week for referencing Boris Johnson’s actions on Ukraine and urging him to demonstrate similar “leadership” to rip up the protocol.
“What we are getting there is a senior figure in the Conservative Party calling on his prime minister to break international law and to create huge problems for Britain’s neighbor here in Ireland, and, of course, unnecessary tension with the EU at a time when we all need to be working together to solve problems,” said Mr Coveney.
He said the conflict in Ukraine made it more important for the EU and UK to work together.
“We have huge challenges to overcome together,” he said.
Liam James15 May 2022 11:06
UK would meet consequence if NI protocol scrapped – Coveney
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said there would be a “consequence” if the UK moved to override the Northern Ireland protocol – though he insisted the EU was not issuing threats.
“The EU isn’t threatening anything,” he said. “I think for us to focus on how the EU would respond to the British government deliberately breaching international law is probably where we shouldn’t be right now.
“Instead, we need to be trying to avoid that situation. But I think everybody understands if the British government decides to set aside international law to create significant uncertainty on the island of Ireland in terms of single market membership, and a whole range of other things, … of course there’s a consequence, the EU is forced to respond, but that is not where we want to be.
“Where we want to be is good neighbours, good friends and solving problems together. I would encourage the influencers within the British government to ensure that that’s the course that they decide to take.”
Britain has been threatening to “tear up” the protocol over trade concerns but the EU has criticized the approach of ministers in London as unconstructive.
Liam James15 May 2022 10:58
Kwarteng echoes Ukraine’s eurovision hopes
Kwasi Kwarteng echoed Ukraine’s statement saying it believes it can hold the Eurovision contest next year – and adds “I look forward to watching it there”.
Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest last night with folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said after the win he hopes to one day host the contest in Mariupol, a Ukrainian city destroyed by the Russian invasion.
He said: “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe! Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision!
“We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt! I am sure our victorious chord in the battle with the enemy is not far off.”
Liam James15 May 2022 10:38
Thatcher statue in place
A statue of Margaret Thatcher has now been erected in her home town of Grantham,
The statue was originally planned to go up in Parliament Square in London but was moved for fear of vandalism.
However, thousands of people online have shown interest in an “egg-throwing competition” at the Grantham site.
Liam James15 May 2022 10:20