Rishi Sunak news latest: ‘Bonkers’ to let taxpayers fund MP Christmas parties, says senior Tory

Related: Chancellor to use ‘Brexit freedoms’ to turn UK into ‘next Silicon Valley’

Former Brexit secretary David Davis said the spending watchdog “missed the mood of the times” by telling MPs they could bill taxpayers for Christmas parties under “crazy” new guidelines.

The cost of food, drink and “celebratory decorations” can also be claimed, new rules from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) say.

“I’m quite surprised. But honestly, I think it’s crazy,” said Mr. Davis Talk TV. “It missed the mood of the time when they say that.”

“There are many things that we need to spend taxpayers’ money on in the form of offices and services and so on. I’m afraid Christmas celebrations seem a bit strange, especially this year.”

Labour’s Jess Philips also accused the watchog of being “irresponsible”, insisting “there was no noise from MPs about it and it’s stupid”.

Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds also said he doubted MPs would charge for food and drink for their staffers’ Christmas parties and suggested Ipsa had been “a bit naïve” in issuing the rule.


“Trickle-down” economics “put to the test,” says Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer said a “new business model” was needed as he laid out his plan, telling the CBI conference that the “trickle-down” economics had been “tested to the point of destruction”.

However, he said if the South East is allowed to go ahead “relocation cannot be the one word plan for the rest of Britain”.

“Professionals want growth through well-paying and secure basic jobs, self-sustaining communities, public services strong enough to help them thrive.

“Well, I promise you now that my Labor Government will care – must care – about productivity growth everywhere just as we have done in the past, about redistribution.

“We will do everything we can to increase our collective contribution, our productive capacity in every community.”

Emily AtkinsonNov 22, 2022 10:42 am


Tories have created a “vicious circle of stagnation,” says Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer said the Tories had “created an economy with weak fundamentals”.

While the war in Ukraine helped trigger the economic crisis, the government left the country unprepared, the Labor leader claimed.

“They have created a vicious circle of stagnation and that’s why every crisis hits Britain harder than the competition,” he told the CBI conference in Birmingham.

Emily AtkinsonNovember 22, 2022 10:35 am


British industry has become “lazy” in training workers, says David Davis

Former Brexit secretary David Davis accused UK industry of becoming “lazy” about training workers in recent decades.

“I used to be a director of a FTSE 100 company… I’ve always taken the view, we’ve always taken the view in this company, it was our job to educate our (workers),” he said TalkTV.

“I’m afraid British industry has become lazy over the last 20, 30 years.”

Emily AtkinsonNov 22, 2022 10:27 am


Starmer promises “clear economic leadership”

Sir Keir Starmer, speaking at the CBI conference in Birmingham, said he wanted a new partnership with the business community.

“This is a different Labor Party and there is no turning back, we are ready for a partnership.”

He said Labor will “give Britain the clear economic leadership it needs” and told business leaders the party will “work with you to move our country forward”.

“Not just a pro-business party, but a party that prides itself on being pro-business, that respects the profit contribution to our jobs, our growth and our tax base,” he said.

“It means that working people want both success and support, and understand that supporting private enterprise is the only way Britain can pay off in the world.

“For me, that is a matter of conviction and I have closed my party behind it.”

Emily AtkinsonNovember 22, 2022 10:20 am


Not “useful” for getting an “arbitrary” immigration destination, says Reynolds

Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said he didn’t think it would be “useful” to set an “arbitrary” target for immigration.

Asked how quickly Labor can fill gaps in the job market and what proportion of workers are from overseas, he said Sky news: “If you believe, as we do, that immigration has to be essentially about the needs of the economy, with this balance between the UK’s investment in skills and development and the influx of people, I don’t think that’s the Fall is useful to set any number.

“If you remember, when the… Conservative government had this net migration target of tens of thousands, I mean, they didn’t come close to that — they were hundreds of thousands of people away from that every year. So I don’t think that in and of itself is helpful.

“But I think if you have the kind of policies that we’re proposing today that Keir is articulating to the CBI, with that better balance, there would be less reliance on immigration alone as a means of meeting those needs.”

Emily AtkinsonNov 22, 2022 10:16 am


Chloe Smith will step down as MP in next election

Former Works and Pensions Secretary Chloe Smith has announced that she will no longer be a candidate for MPs in the next general election.

Ms Smith, who served in the Cabinet role during Liz Truss’ brief tenure at No 10, has held the Norwich North seat since 2009.

In a statement announcing her intention to step down after this Parliament, she said: “I am honored to be an MP for Norwich North. It’s a fantastic job for a fantastic place and it’s a special privilege to represent Norwich and Norfolk, where I come from.

(AFP via Getty Images)

“I am grateful to the thousands of Norwich citizens who have so often placed their trust in me.

“I also want to thank my team of volunteers who work so hard alongside me to help the community and have been so supportive, even through difficult personal times.

“I hope I’ve been able to make a difference locally and nationally. 2024, after 15 years of service, is the right time for me and my young family to step down.”

Emily AtkinsonNov 22, 2022 10:05 am


Expense watcher “naive” for issuing guidelines for Parliament’s Christmas party

Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds said he doubted MPs would charge for food and drink for their employees’ Christmas parties and suggested the expense watchdog was a “bit naïve” in issuing the rule.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) has said the ‘hospitality’ claims are permissible but must not include alcoholic beverages.

Mr. Reynolds said Times radio: “People didn’t ask about it. I don’t think anyone will use it.

“That’s our regulator … the independent body that runs the MPs’ expenses scheme, a staffing scheme and your office hire scheme and all that stuff, you know, to be honest, a bit naive, because when they publish stuff like that, you get it you a story like this.

“I understand why people treat it this way, but I doubt anyone will use it. People won’t have asked for it. And (maybe) Ipsa needs to be a little smarter about how they present what they’re doing on this one.”

Emily AtkinsonNov 22, 2022 9:54 am


Jeremy Hunt told me a Swiss-style deal with the EU is “not true,” says Senior Tory

Former Brexit secretary David Davis said Jeremy Hunt personally told him reports about the prospect of a Swiss-style relationship with the EU were “not true”.

The Sunday Times reported that “senior government officials” were planning to put the UK on a similar path to Switzerland.

Mr. Davis told TalkTV: “I was asked about it and I thought, ‘This is crazy’. I was there when the Swiss negotiated this deal, actually 20 deals as it turned out, and it was terrible for them.

“I called Jeremy and said, ‘What’s going on?’ And he said, ‘Oh god, that’s not true’. Then he said, ‘You must have missed something or over-interpreted something’.”

The former minister added: “In fact when I read the paper it was from a lot of anonymous people who frankly weren’t particularly well informed.”

Emily AtkinsonNovember 22, 2022 9:43 am


Christmas party rules ‘irresponsible’, says Jess Phillips

Labour’s Jess Philips accused the expense watcher of being “irresponsible” by telling MPs they could charge the taxpayer for Christmas parties and insisting “no one I know is going to use them”.

“I just want to say that no one asked for this,” the Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Protection wrote on Twitter.

“The leadership was not made by MPs and yet we are being pilloried for it. I think it’s really irresponsible to put out this guidance as if MEPs asked for it, when I’ve literally never heard anyone do it.”

She continued: “I will be having a Christmas party for my staff, it will be at my house where I will cook and pay for all food and drink. I repeat once again that there was no clamor for this from MPs and it is stupid.”

Emily AtkinsonNovember 22, 2022 09:32


Britain must use Brexit ‘freedoms’ to fill labor shortages, says Fox

Former International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said Britain should use its Brexit “freedoms” to fill gaps in the skilled workforce.

Mr Fox said the “point of Brexit” is not to “stop immigration” but “to give us control of immigration”.

“I think where there are areas of the economy where we need skilled people more quickly, then I think we should use these freedoms of Brexit to try to get that done,” he said Sky news.

He also said the country should seek “attractive avenues” to get people back to work.

When asked about the extent of vacancies in the UK, he said: “We also have a very large number of people who are unemployed, or an even larger number of people who are not economically active.”

He said the country must try to understand why “so many people have chosen not to work,” including people aged 55 and older, and “find attractive ways to get those people back into the economy, be it part-time or otherwise”. .

Emily AtkinsonNovember 22, 2022 09:22