Politics live: 'Blinkered' Matt Hancock under fire over I'm A Celebrity... appearance as Number 10 joins chorus of criticism (2023)

Key points
  • Matt Hancock has Tory whip suspended after signing up for reality TV show
  • Former health secretary's move sparks backlash
  • Ali Fortescue:Forays into reality TV are tricky for any serious politician
  • Minister says Suella Braverman has support of cabinet
  • Home Office told to 'get a grip' of issues at Manston migrant centre after report exposes conditions
  • Braverman condemned for describing number of migrants crossing Channel as 'an invasion'
  • Minister distances himself from this language| He saw people sleeping on mats at Manston
  • 'Rough' tax rises on the way, Treasury suggests
  • Tamara Cohen: Briefings on tax rises show Sunak does not want to make the same mistakes as Truss


Poll finds majority believe government doing too little to combat global warming

Around six in 10 people think the UK is not doing enough to tackle climate change, according to a new poll.

A new poll conducted for the Cafod aid agency shows that almost half of those asked believe the government is not committed to its climate goals.

More than a third also thought the UK is not providing sufficient support to poorer countries, which is likely to be a key objective discussed at the upcoming COP27 in Egypt.

The UK government has set a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by the end of 2050 and hosted COP26 summit in Glasgow last year.

Yet since then,ministers have approved more than 100 new licencesfor North Sea oil and gas drilling.

And Rishi Sunak has sparked controversy byrefusing to confirm he will attend the UN's climate conferencein Sharm el Sheikh which starts on 6 November.

You can read more here:


'No clarity' on Stormont crisis after meeting NI secretary, says Sinn Fein

The Northern Ireland secretary has given "no clarity" on how he'll deal with the Stormont crisis, Michelle O'Neill has said.

A 24-week deadline for establishing a working power-sharing executive following May's election expired on Friday.

The UK government now has a legal responsibility to call a fresh election within 12 weeks.

A DUP boycott in protest at the Northern Ireland Protocol has prevented an administration being formed.

Ms O'Neill, Sinn Fein's vice president, said her meeting on Tuesday with Chris Heaton-Harris yielded no answers about what he intends to do.

You can read more here:


Sunak scraps government plan to axe 91,000 civil service jobs

The government had been preparing to axe a fifth of civil service jobs under plans drawn up by then-cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg.

But Rishi Sunak has reversed the plan, instead telling civil servants that he and the chancellor will ask individual departments to "maximise efficiency within budgets".

The prime minister criticised the "top-down targets" set under Boris Johnson, writing: "Together, we must make sure every taxpayer pound goes as far as it possibly can.

"I do not believe that top-down targets for civil service headcount reductions are the right way to do that."

Mr Sunak will be looking into spending cuts and tax rises as he tries to plug the £40bn gap in public finances.


Defence secretary admits he lives 'in the real world' after pushing for spending boost

Ben Wallace has made it known previously that lifting defence spending to 3% of national income by 2030 is a red line for him.

But his tone on the matter appears to have changed somewhat as the government grapples with how to fill a £40bn hole in public spending.

The defence secretary said he would like to see spending on his remit to go up "by significant amounts", but acknowledged he lives "in the real world".

"I'm confident that the argument has been made that defence needs to come back up the priority in investment, the next argument is how much by, and obviously as defence secretary, I would like by significant amounts," he told the Lords International Relations and Defence Committee.

"But I also live in the real world and the next two years there is a spending challenge we have to meet. I've got my envelope."

He described inflation as his "biggest enemy", saying he is "particularly vulnerable to inflation and exchange rate pressures".

"So I would like to get through that and then plan into the longer term," he added.


Hancock will be asked to explain why he didn't notify public body about I'm A Celebrity... appearance

The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACAB) has said it will write to former health secretary Matt Hancock about his forthcoming appearance on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!.

He will be asked to explain why he did not make an application to them before agreeing to take part in the reality show.

The ACAB said the ministerial code required Mr Hancock to talk to it first.

He had the Conservative whip suspended after it emerged he would appear on the programme.


Senior Conservative calls for ministers to have phones taken off them in meetings

Ministers should have their phones taken off them in meetings for security purposes, Conservative former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said.

Speaking in the Commons, the MP for Chingford & Woodford Green said that there was "no question" that the government had "become incredibly sloppy about any idea of security".

"The carrying of telephones into meetings, just switched off, is a security risk because they can be switched back on and used as microphones," he said.

"We know that, yet we still and in government, I've seen government ministers carrying telephones into meetings in their back pocket, that should be stopped, all those phones should be taken off them."

He also called for China to be treated "as a threat", and criticised a lack of government advice to the families of sanctioned individuals when they have to travel.

The comments come after the government was urged to carry out an urgent investigation after reports emerged that a phone belonging to Liz Truss was hacked by Russia.

Agents suspected of working for Vladimir Putin allegedly hacked the former prime minister's personal phone during the summer Tory leadership campaign, gaining access to details of negotiations with key international allies.

Private messages between the then foreign secretary and cabinet minister Kwasi Kwarteng were also accessed, according to the Mail on Sunday.

You can read more about the report here...


Counter-terror police take over investigation into Dover petrol bombing

Counter-terrorism police have taken over the investigation into the petrol bombing at a Dover migrant facility on Sunday.

In a statement, Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) named the suspect, who was found dead afterwards, as Andrew Leak, 66, from High Wycombe.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said at that point the incident was "not currently" being treated as a "terrorist incident".

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said that decision "doesn't make sense".

However, the incident has not been designated a terrorist incident.

Detective Chief Superintendent Olly Wright ofCTPSE said: "We understand that when Counter Terrorism Policing become involved, it can be worrying for some people, but I would like to reassure people that there is nothing to suggest any ongoing wider threat at this time.

"What appears clear is that this despicable offence was targeted and likely to be driven by some form of hate-filled grievance, though this may not necessarily meet the threshold of terrorism.

"At this point, the incident itself has not been declared a terrorist incident, but this is being kept under review as the investigation progresses."


Politicians who have traded Westminster for reality TV

As we've been reporting today, Matt Hancock is set to appear on the upcoming series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

The former health secretary is by no means the first politician to swap the green benches of Westminster for the bright lights of show business.

Here are a few others who have had a shot at reality TV glory:


Councils take Home Office to High Court for block-booking hotel rooms for asylum seekers

Councils are taking High Court action against the Home Office to stop it booking out hotel rooms for asylum seekers.

The government has been under intense pressure to reduce numbers atManston immigration processing centre in Kent, where there are reports of overcrowding, diphtheria and MRSA.

Immigration minister Robert Jenricktold Sky News on Tuesday that more hotel rooms are being procured at pace to temporarily accommodate migrants.

But several councils say they have been forced into seeking High Court injunctions after local hotel rooms were block-booked without any prior consultation.

You can read more here:

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