Political News - Latest: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt gives a major speech on plans for the economy - as Labor jokes about Zahawi's fiscal affairs (2023)

Important points
  • "The best tax cut at the moment is a reduction in inflation": Chancellor rules out short-term tax cuts
  • Rob Powell:Can the trusted accountant Hunt become the champion of the British economy?
  • The chancellor "cut his job" and economic hopes could be a "pipe dream".
  • Hunt insists HS2 will go to central London
  • Rishi Sunak refuses to say he has full confidence in Nadhim Zahawi
  • No penalties for 'innocent' tax mistakes, HMRC chief tells MPs
  • The dispute over Zahawi's tax affairs explained
  • Sir Rod Stewart calls Sky News NHS and says 'try Labour'
  • Live reports fromemily with


That's all of our live coverage for today.

Thanks for following us and we'll be back for our Sophy Ridge Politics Show on Sunday this weekend.

Before you go, here's a reminder of what happened today:

  • Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has ruled out short-term tax cuts, saying the best tax cut right now is to reduce inflation.
  • He also insisted that HS2 will continue to go to London.
  • Labor have reacted to supporting Sir Rod Stewart, with Keir Starmer joking that he will "sing" with the star.


Rishi Sunak says the government is committed to implementing all announced plans for HS2

The Prime Minister appears to have rejected a report that HS2 might not go to central London.

Speaking to broadcasters this afternoon, Sunak said: "The government is committed to implementing all the plans announced with the railway.

“But in addition to these very large rail projects, which are obviously important, I also want to make sure that the government invests in public transportation in the areas where people live, whether it's better local roads or we're filling potholes, building more bus lanes, crossroads and bypasses.

"All the day-to-day parts of transportation infrastructure that people care about as well. We also jump in and deliver them."

Earlier, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt also appeared to dismiss the report.

"I can't see any conceivable circumstance where that wouldn't end up at Euston," he said.


The Westminster Beads: The Story So Far

The Westminster Accounts is an experiment in transparency and public accountability that aims to shed light on how money moves through the political system.

Sky News, in collaboration with our partners Tortoise Media, have developed a publicly available tool to allow voters to find out how much their MP has earned above base salary since the last election, how much they have declared in donations and by whom.

It is an ongoing project with new figures and details to be added in the coming months and years as parliamentary records are updated.

Here we gather the story so far.


Matt Hancock donated £10,000 of his £320,000 I'm a Celeb fee to charity

It has been revealed that the former Health Secretary has donated 3% of his £320,000 to the 'I'm a celebrity...Get me out of here' programme! for welfare

Hancock was paid £320,000 for his three-week stay in the jungle and said he would pay part of his fee to charity.

His spokesman had said the donation was "more than his MPs' salary", which stands at £84,144.

But they have since clarified that the £10,000 donated is more than his salary during his time in the jungle.

Mr. Hancock lost the Conservative Whip for his performance on the show, where he placed third.


The Home Secretary criticized the "cruel" decision to abandon the Windrush recommendations

Suella Braverman has been accused of causing "further pain and injury" after she decided to abandon three key commitments the government pledged to make in the wake of the Windrush scandal.

The interior minister dropped promises to establish an ombudsman for immigrants, strengthen the powers of the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration and hold reconciliation events.

Baroness Floella Benjamin, chair of the Government's Windrush Memorial Committee, said: "I was proud to oversee the construction of the Windrush National Monument as it was a way of acknowledging some of the injustices, but the Government - following the recommendations of the #Windrush -Remove the scandal is cruel and has caused even more grief and pain”.

Meanwhile, actor David Harewood said Ms Braverman's blowback was "terrible".

He told LBC: "I think we are flirting dangerously at the moment with ideologues who have no qualms about bringing people together.

“They are just on the defensive when it comes to collaboration, sharing and growth. If we go to Brexit and somehow separate from it, let's all come together and create a new identity."

Former Home Secretary Priti Patel had accepted all 30 recommendations from a 2020 inquiry into the Windrush scandal.

The scandal first arose two years earlier when it was revealed that British citizens, mainly from the Caribbean, had been mistakenly arrested, deported or threatened with deportation despite having the right to live in Britain.


Is that the shortest speech in Parliament?

Just for a bit of relief: a Twitter user saw a particularly short speech by Labour's Chris Ruane.


Some people use women's rights to hide transphobia: sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has said that some opponents of gender recognition reform are using women's rights as a "cloak of acceptance" for transphobia.

His comments follow the Westminster government blocking Scotland's gender recognition reform bill, which should make it easier for trans people to legally change their gender.

The constitutional dispute is likely to go to court.

In an interview with Global's The News Agents podcast, Ms Sturgeon said: "I've heard people, politicians, claiming to be women's rights advocates that I've never heard of in the past claiming they advocate for women's rights. Women rights.

"In fact, I've heard some supportive policies... that go against women's rights...

“There are some people who I think have decided to use women's rights as a kind of cloak of acceptance to cover up what transphobia is.

"Well, again, that's not all that is challenging this law. I want to be very clear about that. But there are people who have challenged this law, who dress up women's rights to make it acceptable, but who are just as transphobic. You'll also find them deeply misogynistic, often homophobic, and possibly some of them racist as well."


Keir Starmer jokes he's going to 'sing' at Rod Stewart's house

Labor appears to be in full swing after Sir Rod Stewart said it should be "tested" in government.

The singer made a surprise call to our NHS phone yesterday, where he said: "Personally, I've been a Conservative for a long time, but I think this government should step down now and give Labor a chance, it's heartbreaking."

"In all my years in this country I've never seen it so bad...Change the damn government."

Speaking to LBC radio this morning, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer joked that he and his deputy Angela Rayner would meet Sir Rod later.

The couple are visiting the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex.

"Rod Stewart lives around here, so we'll sing together later, me and Ang," he said.

"Well, Ang is more passionate about singing than I am."

Starmer said he was grateful for the "headlines" created by Sir Rod's comments, adding: "But actually I think what led Rod Stewart to say was two things; this real feeling that after 13 years, almost everything in the country is broken, you just can't make anything work, and it's frustrating for everyone.

"But even when he told this government 'back off, give Labor a chance to fix this', I think there's essentially a strong feeling that this government is just banged up now, it just doesn't have the energy."


Zahawi's predecessor asks for his resignation during the investigation

Sir Jake Berry has urged Tory leader Nadhim Zahawi to resign while his tax affairs are investigated.

Sky News understands that Mr Zahawi paid a fine to HMRC, reportedly up to £4.8m, including a 30% penalty, as part of a settlement over his taxes.

Speaking on BBC Question Time, Berry said it was "untenable" for Zahawi to remain in office during the investigation.

Arguing that this could create the impression that Zahawi could change the outcome of the investigation, saying: "The government needs to find a mechanism for ministers and parliamentarians who are being investigated in this way to resign, clear their name and then return to government. where appropriate".

Berry, who was a Conservative leader under Liz Truss, predicted that the investigation would be completed in about 10 days.


Analysis: Politics does not offer a comprehensive solution to repair the health system

The NHS is in its worst crisis in 75 years, health experts say.

And you only had to listen to the harrowing stories from the audience during a live broadcast of Sky News on the NHS at Coventry Hospital to reveal the reality.

There was James, whose wife died after waiting too long for an ambulance, and Sarah, whose mother died of an infection in hospital after waiting too long to be released to community care.

Stories that evoked horror and dismay in audiences as those around them recounted how they lost loved ones to a healthcare system on its knees.

And as stories of failure were shared, the obvious question was whether the NHS can survive in its current form or needs a radical rethink.

you can read ourspolitical editor Beth RigbyFull piece below...

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