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

key points
  • 'The best tax cut right now is an inflation cut': Chancellor rules out short-term tax cuts
  • Rob Powell:Can the trusted accountant Hunt become the buccaneer champion of the UK economy?
  • Chancellor 'has his job cut' and economic hopes could be a '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 'give work a chance'
  • Live report byemily mee


That's all of our live coverage for today.

Thanks for joining us, and we'll be back this weekend for our Sophy Ridge Political Show on Sunday.

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

  • Chancellor Jeremy Hunt dismissed short-term tax cuts, saying "the best tax cut right now is an inflation cut."
  • He also insisted that HS2 will continue to go to London.
  • The Labor Party has reacted to Sir Rod Stewart's endorsement, with Keir Starmer joking that he will sing along with the star.


Rishi Sunak says government is 'committed to fulfilling all announced plans' for HS2

The Prime Minister appears to have backtracked on a report that HS2 may not reach central London.

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

"But beyond these very big rail schemes, which are obviously important, what I also hope to do is make sure that the government invests in local transport in the areas where people live, whether it's improving local roads or plugging potholes, putting more bus lanes, intersections, detours.

"All the day-to-day parts of transportation infrastructure that people care about, too. We're stepping in and delivering that, too."

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

"I don't see any conceivable circumstance where this wouldn't end in Euston," he said.


The Westminster Bills: 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 at Tortoise Media, have created a publicly available tool to give voters the opportunity to explore how much their MP has earned above base salary since the last election, how much they have declared in donations and from whom . .

It is an ongoing project, with new numbers and details being added as parliamentary records are updated in the coming months and years.

Here we round up the story so far.


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

The former health secretary was revealed to have given 3% of his £320,000. I'm a celebrity... Get me out of here! for charity.

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

His spokesman said the donation would be "more than his MPs' salary", which is £84,144.

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

Hancock lost the Conservative Whip for his appearance on the show, where he finished in third place.


Home Secretary criticized for 'cruel' decision to abandon Windrush recommendations

Suella Braverman was accused of creating "further pain and anguish" after deciding to withdraw three key promises the government had committed to after the Windrush scandal.

The Home Secretary has abandoned promises to establish an immigration commissioner, increase the powers of the independent chief border and immigration inspector and hold reconciliation events.

Baroness Floella Benjamin, who chairs the government's Windrush Commemoration Committee, said: "I was proud to oversee the creation of the Windrush National Monument as it was a way of acknowledging some of the mistakes, but the government backtracked on the recommendations of #Windrush Scandal is cruel and creates even more pain and anguish."

Meanwhile, actor David Harewood said Braverman's recidivism was "horrible".

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

"They're just on the defensive when it comes to collaborating, sharing and growing. If we go to Brexit and part ways with it, then let's all come together and create a new identity."

Former Home Secretary Priti Patel has accepted the 30 recommendations made by an inquiry into the 2020 Windrush scandal.

The scandal first broke two years earlier, when news broke that British citizens, mostly from the Caribbean, had been wrongfully detained, deported or threatened with deportation despite having the right to live in Britain.


Is this the shortest speech in parliament?

Just as a small relief: a Twitter user saw a particularly short speech by Chris Ruane of the Labor Party.


Some people use women's rights to hide transphobia - Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon said some opponents of gender recognition reform are using women's rights as a "layer of acceptability" for transphobia.

His comments follow the Westminster government blocking Scotland's Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which was set up to make it easier for transgender people to legally change their gender.

The constitutional dispute will likely go to court.

Speaking on Global's The News Agents podcast, Sturgeon said: "I've heard people, politicians, claim to be advocates for women's rights that I've never heard advocate for women's rights in the past.

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

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

"Now again, it's not everyone who opposes this bill. I want to be very clear about that. But there are people who oppose this bill who hide behind women's rights to make it acceptable. But because they're transphobic, you'll also find that they're deeply misogynistic, often homophobic, possibly some of them racist as well."


Keir Starmer jokes that he will sing at Rod Stewart's house

Jobs appear to be on the rise after Sir Rod Stewart said he should be given "a chance" in government.

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

"In all my years in this country, I've never seen a situation this bad... change the fucking 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 near here, so we're going to sing together later, me and Ang," he said.

"Well, Ang likes to sing more than me."

Starmer said he enjoyed the "headlines" created by Sir Rod's comments, adding: "But really, I think what led Rod Stewart to say that was two things: this real feeling that after 13 years everything It's broken all over the country." you can't get anything to work, and that's frustrating for everyone.

"But also when he said to this government 'move over, give Labor a chance to fix this', essentially I think there's a strong sense that this government has just been defeated now, they just don't have the energy."


Zahawi's predecessor asks him to resign pending investigation

Sir Jake Berry has asked the president of the Conservatoire, Nadhim Zahawi, to stand aside while he is investigated for his tax matters.

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

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

He argued that it could give the impression that Zahawi could tamper with the outcome of the investigation, saying: "The government needs to find a mechanism for ministers and parliamentarians who are under investigation in this way to step aside, clear their names and then return to government, if that's appropriate."

Mr. Berry, who was Tory chair under Liz Truss, predicted the investigation would be over in about 10 days.


Analysis: Politicians aren't offering a comprehensive solution on how to fix health care

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

And he only had to listen to the moving stories from the audience during a live Sky News program on the NHS at Coventry Hospital for the reality of this to be revealed.

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

Stories that drew gasps of horror and expressions of anguish from the audience as those around them recounted how they lost loved ones to a health system on its knees.

And as the stories of failure were shared, the obvious question that followed was whether the NHS could survive in its current form or needed to be radically rethought.

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

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