Boris Johnson news – live: MPs offered guards after David Amess death as foreign aid cuts condemned

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MPs will be offered security guards at constituency surgeries from today, following the murder of Sir David Amess last Friday in Leigh-on-Sea.

The veteran politician was stabbed to death in a suspected terrorist attack while he was offering support to some of his constituents.

Home secretary Priti Patel and speaker Lindsay Hoyle wrote in a joint letter that a “trained and accredited security operative” would be available to every MP, as they are at risk from a “small minority of hostile individuals”.

Meanwhile, the chancellor’s plans to cut billions more from the foreign aid budget has been condemned by some of the government’s own advisers.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, they wrote that the UK needed to be “serious about” about helping poor nations to tackle pressing issues such as the climate crisis.

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Key Points

  • MPs to be offered security guard at constituency surgeries following Amess murder

  • Plan to cut billions more from foreign aid budget condemned

  • Labour accuses Boris Johnson of ‘selling out’ workers

  • Celebrities urge government to reconsider ‘anti-refugee’ bill

  • Tory reforms redistributed school cash from poor to wealthy areas, MPs find

07:45 , Rory Sullivan

Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live politics coverage from Westminster and beyond.

PM ‘selling out’ workers, says Labour

07:50 , Rory Sullivan

Keir Starmer has accused the prime minister of “selling out” workers by not doing more to end the “awful” practice of “fire and rehire”, writes Ashley Cowburn.

In an article for The Independent, the Labour leader said “unscrupulous bosses” were forcing staff to accept lower wages.

He pointed out that 3 million employees have been told to reapply for their positions since the start of the pandemic.

PM accused of ‘selling out’ workers over failure to support fire and rehire bill

Celebrities urge government to reconsider ‘anti-refugee’ bill

08:03 , Rory Sullivan

More than 40 celebrities have urged Boris Johnson to rethink the government’s “anti-refugee” Nationality and Borders Bill.

They said the proposed law, which is passing through parliament, would endanger people who are in “desperate need of safety”.

“Now is not the time to turn them away. Now is the time to offer our hand in kindness and protection. We urge you to think again,” they wrote.

My colleague Lamiat Sabin has more details:

Scores of celebrities urge Boris Johnson to ‘think again’ over ‘anti-refugee Bill’

UK to deepen investment ties with India

08:20 , Rory Sullivan

Foreign secretary Liz Truss will use a two-day visit to India to boost trade links between the countries.

She will also try to persuade India’s environment minister Bhupender Yadav to make further green pledges ahead of the Cop26 climate change conference.

“I want the UK and India to step up their partnership in critical areas like technology, investment, security and defence,” Ms Truss said.

Tory reforms reallocated school cash from poor to wealthy areas, MPs find

08:38 , Rory Sullivan

Tory reforms to education funding have reallocated cash from poorer to wealthier areas, a cross-party committee has found.

The Public Accounts Committee said the government’s formula had slashed funding in the most deprived areas by 1.2 per cent, but increased it by 2.9 per cent in the most affluent places.

This comes as the government continues to claim it is “levelling up” the country.

In response to the committee’s finding, Kate Green, the shadow education secretary, said: “With the gap in learning between children on free school meals and their peers widening throughout the pandemic it couldn’t be clearer the government has got the wrong priorities for school funding.”

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone reports:

Tory reforms redistributed schools cash from poor to rich areas

Inside Politics

09:00 , Rory Sullivan

Here’s Matt Mathers with a round-up of today’s main political stories:

Inside Politics: Javid warned of ‘tsunami of unmet need’ in social care

Kuenssberg to step down as BBC political editor, reports suggest

09:20 , Rory Sullivan

Laura Kuenssberg is in talks to step down as BBC political editor, it has been reported.

A source told the Guardian that the move would come as part of a wider reshuffle of senior figures.

One contender for Ms Kuennsberg job is Jon Sopel, who will soon finish his role as the broadcaster’s North America editor.

Laura Kuenssberg ‘in talks to step down as BBC political editor’

Parliament is crumbling

09:37 , Rory Sullivan

Over parliament’s recess periods, specialists have cumulatively spent 4,700 hours mapping out the building’s defects, including cracks and extensive water damage.

Politicians are set to decide in early 2023 how much taxpayers’ money should go towards restoring parliament.

Commons Leader Mr Rees-Mogg said: “We must be able to justify this project to taxpayers.

“That’s why it’s so important to understand and map out the restoration work needed to protect the building - so that the focus is on those essential works necessary to preserve the palace for future generations.”

Tory MPs call on Sunak to cut beer duty

09:56 , Rory Sullivan

More than 100 Tory MPs have urged the chancellor to reduce beer duty for draught pints, in a bid to help pubs compete with supermarkets.

Richard Holden, who is leading the campaign, said the hospitality sector was the most affected industry during the pandemic.

“A cut will not only significantly bolster our much-loved pubs across our towns and villages, but also have great knock-on effects for British agriculture and employment, especially for young people in our hospitality sector,” the North West Durham MP said.

His comments come the week before Rishi Sunak delivers the Budget.

MPs to be offered security guard at surgeries

10:10 , Rory Sullivan

Every MP will have access to a security guard at their constituency surgeries from today, following the killing of David Amess last week.

This comes after the home secretary Priti Patel confirmed the threat level against MPs had been upgraded to “substantial”.

In a joint letter from Ms Patel and speaker Lindsay Hoyle, politicians were told they were at risk from a “small minority of hostile individuals”.

As a result, a “trained and accredited security operative” would be available to all MPs, they wrote.

MPs ‘turn blind eye’ to extremism, claims Jenrick

10:29 , Rory Sullivan

Politicians have been too willing “to turn a blind eye” to extremism, the former housing minister Robert Jenrick has claimed.

Speaking to the BBC, the Newark MP said the country needed to be “less passive” in tackling the issue.

“I think for some reason, perhaps because of events, because ministers come and go, there hasn’t been the consistency and the focus that’s been necessary - and I think that’s what’s required now, as we renew our policy,” he said.

His remarks follow the murder of David Amess MP, who was killed last Friday in a suspected terrorist attack.

Starmer backs bill to end ‘fire and rehire'

10:50 , Rory Sullivan


Here’s Keir Starmer’s op-ed about why the government should back a bill to end the practice of firing and then rehiring staff on lower wages.

Barry Gardiner MP introduced a private member’s bill on the issue but thinks it will be filibustered by the government on Friday.

The Tories won’t support a bill to end ‘fire and rehire’ – why not? | Keir Starmer

Government advisers attack Sunak’s plan to cut billions more from foreign aid budget

11:12 , Rory Sullivan

The chancellor’s plan to make further cuts to the UK’s aid budget has been attacked by the government’s own climate change advisers, writes Rob Merrick.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, they wrote that such a move shows the UK is not “serious about” about helping poor nations to tackle the climate crisis.

Rishi Sunak’s plan to cut billions more from overseas aid attacked by advisers

Man accused of Amess murder to appear at Old Bailey

11:31 , Rory Sullivan

The man accused of murdering the MP David Amess in a terrorist attack will appear at the Old Bailey at 2pm today.

Ali Harbi Ali, 25 was remanded in custody at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Sir David was stabbed to death during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea last Friday.

Government ‘cowardly’ to filibuster fire and rehire bill, says Labour MP

11:52 , Rory Sullivan

A Labour MP has hit out at the government for “filibustering” his bill to end the practice of fire and rehire.

Barry Gardiner, who represents Brent North, said the tactic was “cowardly”.

“The bill will die. British workers will know this government would rather play politics than look after British families,” he said on Friday.

‘Trained’ guards to protect MPs at constituency surgeries

12:10 , Rory Sullivan

For those who missed my earlier post, MPs will be offered security guards at constituency surgeries from today.

This comes after the veteran politician Sir David Amess was murdered last week.

Ashley Cowburn has more details:

MPs to be offered ‘trained and accredited’ guards at constituency surgeries

Review of TDs security needed after Amess killing, says Taoiseach

12:33 , Rory Sullivan

A review of the security of Irish politicians is necessary after the murder of Sir David Amess MP, the Taoiseach has said.

The killing intensified TDs concerns about their own safety.

Like many of his British peers, Micheal Martin said face-to-face meetings are a “positive feature” of democracy, but added that politicians needed to be kept safe.

“I think we do need to review it in terms of what security is required,” he said.

Two minute silence held for David Amess

12:54 , Rory Sullivan

A two minute silence was held for the Southend MP David Amess on Friday, a week after he was murdered.

People gathered in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex to pay their respects.

Former Labour MP Frank Field is dying, peer reveals

13:16 , Rory Sullivan

The long-time Labour MP Frank Field is dying, one of his colleagues in the House of Lords has said.

He was the MP for Birkenhead for four decades and was briefly a minister under Tony Blair’s first government.

Speaking during a debate on assisted dying on Friday, Lady Meacher said: “Our colleague, Lord Field, who is dying, asked me to read out a short statement.”

She said he “would have spoken strongly in favour” of assisted dying, were he well enough to take part in the debate.

Archbishop of Canterbury opposes assisted dying bill

13:38 , Rory Sullivan

The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken out against the assisted dying bill during a debate in the House of Lords.

Justin Welby told peers that his position was shared by all the bishops in the chamber.

He said he believed the bill was “unsafe”, since not everyone “is kind and compassionate”.

“No amount of safeguards can perfect the human heart, no amount of regulation can make a relative kinder or a doctor infallible,” he said.

Labour peer Lord Adonis agreed: “The problem with the bill is it’s simply not possible to guard adequately against the abuse of the very elderly and very ill by greedy and manipulative relations and friends.”

But Baroness Cavendish opposed this view, saying doing nothing would mean consigning “more people to slow, agonising deaths”.

Tories accused of taking ‘cash for access’ over Gove dinner

14:00 , Rory Sullivan

The Conservatives have been accused of accepting “cash for access”, after property developers were allegedly offered dinner with housing minister Michael Gove for £4,000.

Witnesses say Mr Gove refused to sit next to them and was “visibly frustrated”.

My colleague Adam Forrest has the latest:

Michael Gove dinner ‘offered to developers for £4,000’ in cash-for-access claim

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