Keir Starmer questioned new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak about the asylum system and Suella Braverman at PMQs today.
It comes as the government is under fire over the conditions at the Manston migrant processing centre, as NationalWorld revealed that the Home Office was made aware of issues with people being held for “unacceptable” periods of time months ago. While former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended his appearance on I’m a Celebrity Get Met Out of Here.
Read our liveblog, with all the latest updates and analysis, to find out what happened at PMQs. Email your thoughts and comments to [email protected]
What time is PMQs today?
Prime Minister’s Questions - which gives the opposition party leaders and backbench MPs the change to quiz Rishi Sunak - occurs every Wednesday in the House of Commons from 12noon.
It starts with Labour leader Keir Starmer asking the Prime Minister six questions, before the SNP and Liberal Democrat leaders also get the opportunity.
Backbench MPs from all parties are also able to ask Sunak questions.
You can watch PMQs today in full at the top of this live blog, or on NationalWorldTV.
Rishi Sunak going to Cop27
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has reversed on his decision to skip Cop27 and will attend the climate summit in Egypt next week, saying: “There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change.
“There is no energy security without investing in renewables. That is why I will attend @COP27P next week: to deliver on Glasgow’s legacy of building a secure and sustainable future.”
Covid groups urge ITV to axe Hancock from I’m a Celeb
Matt Hancock has been slammed by families bereaved by Covid-19 over his decision to appear on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, my colleague Imogen Howse reports.
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK has demanded that Hancock, who was Health Secretary at the time of the pandemic, be removed from the show.
The group said: “Matt Hancock isn’t a ‘celebrity’, he’s the former health secretary who oversaw the UK having one of the highest death tolls in the world from Covid-19 whilst breaking his own lockdown rules. The fact that he is trying to cash in on his terrible legacy, rather than showing some humility or seeking to reflect on the appalling consequences of his time in government, says it all about the sort of person he is.”
Hancock was forced to quit as Health Secretary in June 2021 after breaking coronavirus rules by having an affair in his ministerial office with aide Gina Coladangelo. He was widely criticised by the public and opposition parties for violating regulations that he had helped put in place.
The group continued: “Our families were ripped apart by Matt Hancock’s actions, and turning on the TV to see him being paraded around as a joke is sickening. If he had any respect for bereaved families, he would be sharing his private emails with the Covid Inquiry, not eating bugs on TV.”It concluded by asking ITV to do the “decent thing” and remove him from the programme.
Matt Hancock defends joining I’m A Celebrity cast
Matt Hancock has defended joining the cast of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, my colleague Claire Schofield reports, saying his decision was driven by a need to “deliver important messages to the masses”.
The former Health Secretary insisted “I haven’t lost my marbles” by deciding to appear on the popular ITV reality show and said it will allow him to “go to where the people are”.
His decision to join the cast has meant his whip has been removed, effectively expelling him from the parliamentary Conservative Party and forcing him to sit as an independent until it is reinstated.
The West Suffolk MP said his “first priority” is to his constituents as he flew more than 10,000 miles to join the show in Australia, which starts on Sunday (6 November).
Hancock said in an article for The Sun that the show is “a great opportunity to talk directly to people who aren’t always interested in politics”, adding that reality TV is an “honest and unfiltered” way to communicate with voters.
He wrote: “It’s our job as politicians to go to where the people are — not to sit in ivory towers in Westminster. There are many ways to do the job of being an MP. Whether I’m in camp for one day or three weeks, there are very few places people will be able to see a politician as they really are.”
He added: “So, the truth is, I haven’t lost my marbles or had one too many pina coladas. It’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to.”
Labour says Sunak going to COP27 to avoid embarassment
Ed Miliband, Labour’s Shadow Climate Change and Net Zero Secretary, has responded to Rishi Sunak’s U-turn on attending COP27.
He said: “The Prime Minister has been shamed into going to COP27 by the torrent of disbelief that he would fail to turn up. Rishi Sunak is going to avoid embarrassment not to provide leadership.
“His initial instinct tells us about all about him: he just doesn’t get it when it comes to the energy bills and climate crisis. Yet again we see a Prime Minister who only makes decisions for reasons of political management not the national interest.
“If the Prime Minister was really serious he would commit to Labour’s plans for a zero carbon power system by 2030, a National Wealth Fund to invest in green jobs and GB Energy - a publicly owned energy generation company to create jobs and wealth in Britain.”
Opinion: Rishi Sunak has decided that the climate crisis is important after all
Rishi Sunak has decided that the climate crisis is important after all, my colleague Nick Mitchell writes.
After Rishi Sunak had emerged victorious from the ludicrous week-long Tory leadership battle with quasi-candidate Boris Johnson and no-hoper Penny Mordaunt, he delivered a speech in Downing Street in which he promised to “lead our country into the future”. It was a conscious attempt to distance himself from the utter shambles that had gone before, under both Johnson’s and Liz Truss’ watch (despite the fact that he was in the heart of government for most of it).
Speaking just last week, on 25 October, his other promises, which are worth noting now, included a desire to “unite our country not with words, but with action” and “create a future worthy of the sacrifices so many have made”. How’s that going so far, just eight days later?
He has already made one screeching U-turn on a matter that you could argue is quite important to whether we have a future at all, the climate crisis. In a move that seemed monumentally misjudged at the time, on Friday, just three days into his reign, Sunak announced that he was going to be too busy to attend the COP27 climate summit in Sharm El Sheikh. A No10 spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister is not expected to attend COP27 and this is due to other pressing domestic commitments including preparations for the Autumn Budget. The UK will be fully represented by other senior ministers as well as COP President Alok Sharma.”
It’s hard to fathom why, even on the shallowest of political levels, this was deemed to be a good idea by his advisors. The nature of gatherings like COP, as we saw in Glasgow last year, is that the real work, the real crunch negotiations, take place amongst government negotiators, often before the summit itself. All Sunak needed to do was show face - drop in for a day or two, make a speech, glad-hand a few world leaders, say the right things and fly home.
PMQs has started
Keir Starmer starts by asking: “His Home Secretary says the asylum system is broken, who broke it?”
Rishi Sunak focuses on Brexit: “We can look at the record on migrants, what did this side of the house do?
“We gave the people a referendum on Brexit, we delievered on Brexit.” He says Labour don’t want this.
Starmer: Sunak ‘trying to ‘pass the blame'
Starmer comes back saying: “No one wants open borders on this side of the house. They’ve lost control. Four PMs in five years and it’s the same old same, same old.
“He stands there and tries to pass the blame, if the asylum system is broken and his lot have been in power for 12 years, how can if be anyone’s fault but theirs.”
Sunak: Labour have no plan
Sunak responds saying “people rightly want to see us getting a grip of migration”, to much cheers from the Labour side.
He says “let’s look at the record”, before pointing out that Starmer voted against the Rwanda plan and ending the free movement of people, presumably referring to Brexit.
Sunak says Labour have opposed every single measure to prevent migration and don’t have a plan.
Starmer: Rwanda plan cost £140m and no one has been sent
Starmer goes through the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, which Rishi Sunak supports.
“The Rwanda deal was launched in April, it cost the taxpayer £140m and rising,” Starmer says.
“The number of people sent to Rwanda - zero - since then the number of people who have crossed the Channel is 30,000. It’s not working is it, he hasn’t got a grip.”