Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer clash over housing and the cost of living at PMQs – UK politics live | Politics
Keir Starmer says the prime minister has “crumbled to landlords on his own backbenches” and ditched the policy of banning no-fault evictions “despite his government’s pledge”.
Referring to a a constituent called Annalisa, who along with her two children was evicted through a section 21 order, he says: “What message does that send her?”
Avoiding discussing the matter of no-fault evictions, Rishi Sunak says he has taken “significant action” for renters including capping holding deposits, ending rip off tenancy fees and delivering affordable homes.
This government is delivering for renters and is trying to ensure a new generations can buy their own home.
He asks Starmer to explain why Labour opposed moves to scrap EU-era rules on “nutrient neutrality” to allow 100,000 new homes to be built but is reminded by Lindsay Hoyle that it is prime minister’s question time, “it’s not opposition questions”.
I am sure Annalisa will take great comfort in that non-answer.
The PA news agency is reporting that Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is seeking legal advice amid contempt of Parliament concerns over a BBC interview with the alleged complainant of Conservative MP Peter Bone.
Former cabinet minister Liam Fox highlighted the story and said:
This is not in any way to judge the rights or wrongs of this but merely the principles of natural justice first, from an anonymous briefing, against a named Member of Parliament, on a day that the BBC accepted MPs would be voting upon it.
What I would like to know from you is whether this is an undue attempt to influence Members of Parliament on the day of a vote which should be our business in this House, and indeed whether it’s an attempt to manipulate Members of Parliament.
This doesn’t just relate to this case, this relates to any case that we may have to consider in the future and I would like to ask you to ask Mr Speaker – who has always defended the rights of this House – whether he will take legal advice on whether this particular report today constitutes a contempt for the House?
Deputy speaker Sir Roger Gale replied:
I’m not in a position to answer the specific question that he raises but I do know the director-general of the British Broadcasting Corporation will be in this building later today and if Mr Speaker chooses to ask to see him, I imagine he will make himself available.
I also know that Mr Speaker takes this very seriously indeed and that legal advice is being sought.
Here’s a roundup of the key developments of the day so far:
During PMQs, Keir Starmer said the prime minister had “crumbled to landlords on his own backbenches” and ditched the policy of banning no-fault evictions “despite his government’s pledge”. Referring to Andrew Cooper, the Conservative candidate for Tamworth, who said that people should “fuck off” if they were struggling with rising costs, Starmer said the British people wanted a chance to return the compliment to the government.
Rishi Sunak has said that there was “still work to be done” as he marked his first anniversary in No 10, and appeared to signal plans for another 12 months in power. Downing Street also released a slickly produced video to mark the occasion, which appeared to indicate that Sunak is in no hurry to call a general election.
Starmer met some of Labour’s Muslim MPs and peers, amid a backlash over his position on Gaza and Israel. About 12 Labour parliamentarians were believed to be in attendance, including at least one frontbencher. Keir Starmer is resisting calls from some in his party for a ceasefire in the Hamas-Israel conflict.
Starmer has been accused of having “gravely misrepresented” a meeting with Muslim leaders in Wales, amid anger among some in Labour over his remarks on the Israel-Hamas conflict. The leaders said they directly challenged Starmer on his statements about the Israeli government’s right to cut food, electricity and water to Gaza and his failure to call for an immediate ceasefire.
Sunak has rejected comments by the UN secretary general, António Guterres, on the Hamas attack on Israel, amid a diplomatic storm about the remarks. The prime minister is not, however, calling on the UN chief to resign, as called for by Israel’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan.
The immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, appeared to suggest that he thought UK visa-holders should be expelled for inciting antisemitism even if their conduct fell “below the criminal standard”. It comes after he told the Commons on Tuesday that the process of revoking visas and expelling foreign nationals who spread “hate and division” had already begun “in a small number of cases”.
Mandating ethnicity pay gap reporting would be “absolutely wrong”, Kemi Badenoch has told the Commons. The equalities minister said ethnicity pay gaps could not be measured in the same way as gender pay gaps, but said guidance was available for those employers who wished to undertake the practice.
Mandating ethnicity pay gap reporting would be “absolutely wrong”, Kemi Badenoch has told the Commons.
The equalities minister said ethnicity pay gaps cannot be measured in the same way as gender pay gaps, but said guidance was available for those employers who wished to undertake the practice, PA news reports.
And she rebuffed the SNP’s calls to mandate ethnicity pay gap reporting or devolve the powers to do so.
The SNP equalities spokesperson Kirsten Oswald told the Commons:
The UK government’s Inclusive Britain update report acknowledges the value of measuring the ethnicity pay gap, they have published guidance for employers noting that employers can use ethnicity pay gap calculations to consider evidence-based actions to address any unfair disparities.
But despite that, the UK government won’t legislate to mandate reporting.
So since employment law is a reserved matter, will the minister urge her government to do the right thing and mandate ethnicity pay gap reporting, or urge devolution of employment law to Scotland so the Scottish government can?
Absolutely not. This is something that we will not be devolving and it absolutely should not be mandatory. Ethnicity pay gaps cannot be measured in the same way as gender pay gaps.
You can measure a pay gap where a population is binary male and female, you cannot do that across a broad spectrum of ethnicity.
We have published guidance for those employers who want to do so, but it would be absolutely wrong to mandate it.
A spokesperson for the Labour leader was asked about a question to the prime minister, during PMQs, by the frontbencher Yasmin Qureshi.
The shadow minister for women and equalities asked:
This is collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza, for crimes they did not commit.
How many more innocent Palestinians must die before this prime minister calls for humanitarian ceasefire?
The spokesperson did not comment on whether Qureshi would be disciplined, with her question appearing to diverge from the position of the Labour leader.
Asked if Keir Starmer had confidence in her, the spokesperson said:
If I heard the question correctly, what Yasmin Qureshi was asking the prime minister was, she was asking the prime minister what were the conditions that would lead the prime minister to support a ceasefire. And that was the question she was asking.
Keir Starmer is continuing to resist calls from some in his party for a ceasefire in the Hamas-Israel conflict.
But the Labour leader has moved to back calls, including from the prime minister, for a move to humanitarian pauses in a bid to protect civilians.
A spokesperson for Starmer said:
We have said throughout that we would support any initiative to get more aid in and help get hostages out. We saw that Antony Blinken said last night that humanitarian pauses must be considered, that seems to be something that Downing Street is now echoing and we would obviously full support that position.
Asked about calls for a complete ceasefire, the spokesperson said:
We fully recognise that Israel has a right to defend itself, to go after the hostages and to act in accordance with humanitarian law in that process.
What we have also said is that we need to ensure that there is protection of civilian life, that we ensure all necessary aid supplies can get into Gaza and reach people who need them, and that continues to be our position.
Keir Starmer is currently meeting some of Labour’s Muslim MPs and peers, amid a backlash over his position on Gaza and Israel.
About 12 Labour parliamentarians are believed to be in attendance, including at least one frontbencher, PA news reports.
Some of them want to see Starmer call for a ceasefire – something he has not done.
A spokesperson for the Labour leader said:
We fully recognise that this is a very difficult time for a lot of people, there are strong feelings on all sides of the debate here and it is important that he takes the time to sit down and listen to people from all points of view, which he has sought to do throughout this process.
Rishi Sunak has said that there is “still work to be done” as he marked his first anniversary in Number 10, as he appeared to signal plans for another 12 months in power.
The prime minister and his allies used the one-year milestone to point to administration’s achievements since taking over from the fleeting Liz Truss premiership, PA News reports.
But the mood remains gloomy among the wider Tory party after a string of bruising byelection defeats and polling that places the Conservatives well behind Keir Starmer’s Labour.
In a statement published on Wednesday, Sunak said:
As I mark one year as prime minister, there are many moments that fill me with pride.
When I spoke about my priorities in January, I knew they were going to be tough targets to meet, but I made them because they’re what’s right for this country, its economy and its people.
And it’s why over the last 12 months we’ve been committed to meeting them – building a better, brighter future for all of us.
Downing Street also released a slickly produced video to mark the occasion, which appeared to signal that Sunak is in no hurry to call a general election.
A general election is due to be held before January 2025, with speculation over when the Tory leader will decide to go to the country. Recent polling has suggested that voters want an election sooner rather than later, with Labour overwhelmingly seen as the favourites to form the next government.
The 46-second video, published on the Downing Street YouTube channel, offers a rapid run through of Sunak’s policy priorities over the last 12 months.
It asks viewers:
So what can a country achieve in 52 weeks? Watch this space.
Downing Street said there is “no election date confirmed” when asked if Sunak was eyeing autumn next year.
Downing Street has argued that a ceasefire would only benefit Hamas as Rishi Sunak advocated for limited pauses to allow in aid.
The prime minister’s official spokesperson said:
A wholesale ceasefire would only serve to benefit Hamas.
Humanitarian pauses, which are temporary, which are limited in scope, can be an operational tool.
The National Farmers’ Union has taken aim at Labour for pledging to end the controversial badger cull.
In an interview with the Guardian, published last week, shadow farming minister Daniel Zeichner said he would eradicate bovine tuberculosis (bTB) without culling badgers.
NFU deputy president Tom Bradshaw said of the cull:
This is a strategy that is working which is why we were so concerned to hear reports that Shadow Farming Minister Daniel Zeichner says a Labour government will not include culling within its strategy to make England bTB free.
Bovine TB should not be a political issue; it is a disease that affects the lives of farming families and their cattle herds on a day-to-day basis. We have a joint ambition with government to be bTB free in England by 2038, and we must keep the policies in place to combat this disease, following the current science-led and successful strategy that shows wildlife control is working to significantly reduce bTB in cattle.
The Labour Party is being heavily lobbied by farming and landowner groups over it rural policy, and the Guardian revealed today that it has U Turned on a promise to grant a right to roam across the countryside in England after pressure from rural bodies.
Rishi Sunak has rejected comments by the UN secretary general, António Guterres, on the Hamas attack on Israel, amid a diplomatic storm about the remarks.
The prime minister is not however calling on the UN chief to resign, as called for by Israel’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan.
The prime minister’s official spokesperson said:
Obviously we don’t agree with that characterisation put forward. We are clear that there is and can be no justification for Hamas’ barbaric terrorist attack which was driven by hatred and ideology.
Guterres told a United Nations security council meeting in New York that it was important to recognise that “the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum”.
The spokesperson said that the UN a “as a body will continue to play an important role…. and that is supported by the UK government”.
Conservative MP Peter Aldous asked about the “ongoing national crisis” in NHS dentistry.
He asked when a plan on the issue will be published which will ensure that funds are ringfenced to deal with emergencies and to help clear the backlog.
Rishi Sunak replied saying that the government is investing £3bn into NHS dentistry, and says the dental recovery plan will be released soon, which will include action “to incentivise dentists to deliver even more NHS care”.