London politics latest live: Rishi Sunak says Suella Braverman ‘getting on with the job’ as he is pressed on ‘broken’ asylum system

Rishi Sunak has said Home Secretary Suella Braverman is “getting on with the job” as he faced a barrage of questions about the “broken” asylum system at PMQs.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "His Home Secretary says the asylum system is broken. Who broke it?"

Mr Sunak responded: "We can look at the record on migration policy."

The remark was met with a wall of noise from the Labour benches before Mr Sunak continued: "What did we on this side of the House do?

"We gave the British people a referendum on Brexit. We delivered Brexit. We ended the free movement of people. That's our record on migration policy. It's not something the honourable gentleman supported. He opposed it at every turn and it's not what the British people want."

Earlier on Wednesday Mr Sunak announced a U-turn on attending Cop27 in Egypt - saying he will now attend.

The Prime Minister wrote in a tweet: “There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change. There is no energy security without investing in renewables. That is why I will attend next week: to deliver on Glasgow’s legacy of building a secure and sustainable future.”

‘No simple solutions’ to overcrowding at Manston

08:11 , Miriam Burrell

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said that the intense pressure at the Manston migrant processing centre will not be solved overnight.

Hundreds of migrants have been moved out after fears the overcrowding became dangerous when 4,000 were at the site on Monday.

Mr Harper told Sky News that work was ongoing to get migrants from the site quicker but said “it is reasonable to say it is not going to happen overnight”.

“There are no simple solutions here. They’re very difficult. The Government is putting the steps in place to procure more accommodation.”

Mark Harper (UK Government)
Mark Harper (UK Government)

'Lack of consultation’ over asylum seekers in hotels

08:21 , Miriam Burrell

A council leader has accused the Home Office of showing a “total lack of consultation and engagement” over hosting asylum seekers in hotels.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council chief executive Sheila Oxtoby told BBC Radio 4 that two properties running as successful hotels in a prime tourism area have been selected to accommodate asylum seekers.

“That’s what we object to – the method and process upon how they have been selected and the total lack of consultation and engagement with us as the local council.”

Ms Oxtoby added there were limits to the number of refugees that her council would take and urged the Government to recognise immigration is a “national issue”.

Transport Secretary: Matt Hancock failing in his job

08:34 , Miriam Burrell

Matt Hancock is failing in his job as an MP by going on I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, a Transport Secretary Mark Harper has said.

He slammed the former Health Secretary for agreeing to fly to Australia to take part in the jungle show.

He told Sky News: “As a former Chief Whip, I very much support the decision the Chief Whip has taken which is Members of Parliament’s first responsibility when Parliament is sitting is to serve their constituents.

“The Chief Whip has made the position clear which he has made a decision that going on ‘I’m a Celebrity’ is not compatible with doing your job properly as a Member of Parliament.”

Read more here.

Matt Hancock (AP)
Matt Hancock (AP)

What's happening at the Manston migrant centre?

09:00 , Miriam Burrell

Hundreds of migrants have been moved out of the Manston migrant processing centre in Kent following concerns it had become dangerously overcrowded.

It came after the situation was branded a “breach of humane conditions” on Monday, with 4,000 people being held at the temporary site.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman told the Cabinet that “large numbers” of people were being taken from Manston to other accommodation, in a bid to “help relieve pressure”.

Some families were said to have been sleeping on the floor and there were reports of outbreaks of disease.

Read more here.

A coach arrived at the facility in Kent (PA)
A coach arrived at the facility in Kent (PA)

Home Secretary referred to watchdog over email blunder

09:06 , Miriam Burrell

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been referred to a financial watchdog by Labour over concerns of a breach of insider trading laws.

Shadow city minister Tulip Siddiq has asked the Financial Conduct Authority to investigate the leaking of information that led to Ms Braverman’s resignation.

Without authorisation, Ms Braverman sent draft immigration policy to Tory backbencher Sir John Hayes from a personal email address, inadvertently also sending it to a staff member of another Conservative MP.

Ms Siddiq questioned whether the minister sharing “highly sensitive” information regarding “growth visas” could have been a breach under market abuse regulation.

Read more here.

Suella Braverman (AP)
Suella Braverman (AP)

Rail strikes: Mark Harper ‘very happy’ to meet unions

09:25 , Miriam Burrell

The new Transport Secretary has said that he is “very happy” to meet with trade union leaders amid ongoing rail strikes.

Mark Harper told LBC: “The negotiations are obviously going to take place between the unions and the employers’, Network Rail and the train operating companies.

“But I think it’s helpful for ministers to meet trade union leaders and to listen to their concerns.

“I’m very happy to do that and my department will be reaching out to those trade union leaders in due course.”

Rail strikes are taking place next week.

PM heading to Cop27

10:04 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak has confirmed he will be attending Cop27 next week.

U-turn from PM over Cop27

10:11 , Miriam Burrell

In a dramatic U-turn the Prime Minister has announced he will be attending the Cop27 climate change summit in Egypt next week.

Rishi Sunak last week insisted he must focus on the “depressing domestic challenges” rather than go to Cop2, drawing widespread criticism, including from within the Tory ranks.

Just yesterday the PM’s official spokesman said Mr Sunak’s attendance in Sharm El-Sheikh was dependent on preparations for the autumn budget, due on November 17.

But on Wednesday Mr Sunak confirmed he will attend, to “deliver on Glasgow’s legacy of building a secure and sustainable future”.

Cop27 ‘embarrassing misstep’ for PM

10:18 , Miriam Burrell

Green MP Caroline Lucas has called the prime minister’s U-turn on attending Cop27 “an embarrassing mis-step on the world stage”.

She tweeted: “Now he urgently needs to increase UK ambition on emission reduction targets and pay we owe to global climate funds”.

What is Cop27?

10:25 , Miriam Burrell

The Cop27 climate-change conference will begin on Sunday, November 6 and end on Friday, November 18.

Cop stands for Conference of the Parties, and the summit is attended by countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

World leaders, accredited non-profits, the press, and members of observer organisations will attend the conference in and around the UN offices of the host country.

The King will not be attending this year, despite being there last year.

Read more here.

Reaction to PM’s attendance at Cop27

10:32 , Miriam Burrell

Shadow Climate and Net Zero Secretary Ed Miliband said the prime minister has been “shamed” into attending Cop27 “by the torrent of disbelief that he would fail to turn up”.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said Rishi Sunak has been “dragged kicking and screaming into doing the right thing”.

Meanwhile, president of Cop26 Alok Sharma said he is “delighted” Rishi Sunak will now be at the conference.

‘We need action rather than attendance’

10:45 , Miriam Burrell

Liberal Democrat climate change spokeswoman Wera Hobhouse said: “This whole debacle has shown the environment is simply not a priority for Rishi Sunak. He’s only going after being embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance.

“We need action rather than just attendance from the Prime Minister.

“Building more renewables, the cheapest and most popular form of energy and insulating our cold and draughty homes will accelerate progress towards net zero, cut energy bills and increase the UK’s energy security.”

Wera Hobhouse (PA Archive)
Wera Hobhouse (PA Archive)

‘Extremely difficult’ for Tories to win next election - pollster

11:23 , Miriam Burrell

The Tories will find it “extremely difficult” to win the next general election despite some recovery signs under Rishi Sunak, polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice says.

The president of the British Polling Council said that while Mr Sunak is significantly more popular than his party, voters were unlikely to forgive the Tories for the financial crisis unleashed under Liz Truss.

“No government that has presided over a financial crisis has ever survived at the ballot box. Voters don’t forget governments being forced to do a U-turn by financial markets,” he said.

Pictured: PM leaves Downing St for PMQs

11:39 , Miriam Burrell


What to expect from PMQs

11:48 , Miriam Burrell

It’s Rishi Sunak’s second PMQs and first full week as prime minister.

He is likely to be grilled about his last-minute decision to attend Cop27, which has been slammed as an “embarrassing” U-turn from last week when he said he wouldn’t go.

Mr Sunak could front questions about the migrant crisis, and of Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s suitability for the job.

He was asked repeatedly about her re-appointment by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer last week.

More detail may be sought about Mr Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s reported plans to increase taxes to fill a £50bn fiscal hole.

PMQs begins

12:02 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak was asked about Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s email blunder.

He said Ms Braverman took accountability for her actions, and set out a full sequence of events in a letter to the Labour chairman.

“She is now getting on with the job,” he told the House of Commons.

PM asked about scammers

12:04 , Miriam Burrell

The Prime Minister was asked about what the Government is doing to crack down on scammers.

Rishi Sunak said the Govenment will be shortly publishing its fraud strategy.

Border control ‘serious, complex issue’

12:06 , Miriam Burrell

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer asked: “If Britains’s asylum system is broken, how can it be anyone’s fault by the Tories?”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said people rightly want to see the Tories “getting a grip” on asylum seekers coming to the UK.

He said border control is a “serious, complex issue”.

Mr Sunak said he and Home Secretary Suella Braverman “are on the same page” when it comes to immigration.

‘Not enough’ asylum applications processed

12:09 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak admitted “not enough” asylum cases have been processed.

The Prime Minister said they have increased processing officials by 80 per cent.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said four per cent of people arrriving in small boats have had their applications processed.

Migration ‘serious and escalating problem'

12:12 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak said the number of migrants arriving in the UK is a “serious and escalating problem” but he will make sure it will be dealt with in compassion.

Sir Keir Starmer suggested the prime minister sack the Home Secretary and scrap the Rwanda scheme.

Mr Sunak said national security is important and said “it is a Conservative country that will keep this country safe”.

Avian flu outbreak set to be worst on record

12:13 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak said outbreaks of avian flu this year are on track to be some of the worst on record.

He said the Government has toughened biosecurity measures on poultry farms.

He confirmed the Government will now pay compensation from the outset of culling, rather than at the end.

Broadband connectivity

12:17 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak was asked for an update on the £5m project to roll out better broadband connectivity to rural areas.

He said 71 per cent of UK premises now have access to broadband.

Migrants in hotels

12:20 , Miriam Burrell

MP Scott Benton said taxpayers are footing the £5.6m bill per day to accomdate migrants in hotels.

Rishi Sunak said it is the Government’s priority to defend UK’s borders and crack down on migration.

PM questioned on mortgage rates

12:23 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak was asked if he will persuade Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to assist those who took out mortgages in good faith and are now at risk of losing homes due to unafforable increases.

The Prime Minister said public finances need to be put in a “sustainable footing”, and in the short-term there is support available through the welfare system.

‘Britain’s broke’, MP says

12:26 , Miriam Burrell

MP Chris Bryant with the highest peacetime tax rates, food inflation and mortgage rates rising, “Britain’s broke”.

Rishi Sunak blamed the cost of living crisis on the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, and said the challenges are “global in nature”.

He said the Government will “deliver a strong economy for the British people”.

‘Criminal gangs have business model to die for'

12:33 , Miriam Burrell

MP Sarah Jones said the asylum system is so broken “that criminal gangs have business model to die for”.

Rishi Sunak said it’s because of the unprecedented number of people arriving illegally in the UK.

“We have to stop illegal migration and the exploitation of vulnerable people abroad,” he said.

PM admits work to do on migration

12:41 , Miriam Burrell

The Prime Minister has admitted there is a “serious and escalating problem” connected to migration and “not enough” asylum claims have been processed.

Rishi Sunak told the Commons that “significant action” has been taken by the Home Secretary since September 30, including “more hotels with 4,500 new beds, appointing a senior general to control the situation at Manston, and indeed increasing the number of staff there by almost a half.

“These are significant steps to demonstrate we’re getting a grip of this system, but this is a serious and escalating problem. We will make sure we control our borders and we will always do it fairly and compassionately because that’s the right thing.”

‘Fairness and compassion’ to guide spending decisions

12:47 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak has insisted that “fairness and compassion” will be at the heart of spending decisions in the upcoming autumn statement.

At PMQs SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “People just need a straight answer to a simple question: will he keep his promise and lift benefits and pensions in line with inflation?”

Rishi Sunak replied that it “would not be right to comment on individual policy measures” before the autumn statement, adding: “I think everyone knows we do face a challenging economic outlook and difficult decisions will need to be made.

“What I would say is that we will always, as my track record as chancellor demonstrates, have fairness and compassion at the heart of everything we do.”

Labour reacts to PMQs

12:54 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak has been criticised by Labour MPs for deflecting questions from Sir Keir Starmer.

Immigration: No ‘word of welcome’ from Labour

13:00 , Miriam Burrell

SNP Shadow Culture Secretary John Nicolson said Sir Keir Starmer is quick to attack the Tories on their immigration policy, but said there was no “word of welcome from Labour” in the PMQs exchange “for those fleeing persecution and seeking sanctuary on our shores”.

Sunak ‘made good progress’ with Chancellor

13:13 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak decided to attend the Cop27 summit in Egypt after making “good progress” with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt on this month’s autumn statement, Downing Street has said.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We wanted to make sure we were making good progress on the Government’s domestic agenda and the autumn statement in particular.

“Following discussions with the Chancellor this week he has now agreed to attend. The Prime Minister feels there is sufficient space to make this trip.”

Rishi Sunak during PMQs (AFP via Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak during PMQs (AFP via Getty Images)

Ed Miliband says Rishi Sunak ‘shamed’ into going to COP27

13:40 , Barney Davis

Shadow climate secretary Ed Miliband said the Prime Minister was shamed into going by the “torrent of criticism that there was, Boris Johnson going to Cop, his own Cop president Alok Sharma saying he was wrong not to go”.

“He’s not going to provide leadership, he’s going out of embarrassment, that’s not a great position for Britain to be in.

“There should be no question about our Prime Minister going to Cop, this is the most important environmental event that takes place each year, we should not be abdicating the world stage, and that’s what Rishi Sunak was planning to do until he was forced into going.

“The Prime Minister has clearly been shamed into going to Cop27 and the fact that he had to be dragged kicking and screaming to going to this important summit shows he just doesn’t get it when it comes to the link between the climate crisis and energy bills crisis that we face.

Mr Miliband said it was “all about political management” and Mr Sunak’s reluctance to go showed the wrong instincts that the conference did not matter and a failure to understand that it was possible to tackle the climate crisis and the energy crisis together.

Ian Blackford tells Commons Brexit is ‘massive act of economic self-harm’

14:00 , Barney Davis

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford spoke of the “massive act of economic self-harm” of Brexit.

He said: “The evidence of the damage being done by Brexit is mounting by the day and yet from those that forced this on Scotland not one word of contrition, not one word of apology has ever been offered for the massive act of economic self-harm that has been inflicted on all of us.”

Asked by Conservative MP Luke Evans (Bosworth) if an independent Scotland would join the euro, “ceding some of his control over the fiscal situation that he wants to deal with”.

Mr Blackford replied: “The key difference is that Europe is a partnership of equals… when Scotland becomes independent as it will, that we will retain the pound… The fact is we will keep the pound until such time that a number of economic tests that are met, that would allow us to have a Scottish pound, that’s what will happen.”

He added: “In order to join euro you need to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) for a two-year period. Joining the ERM is voluntary, you cannot be forced into the euro.

“Our position is very clear, our position is that we will deliver the fiscal programme that will deliver jobs for Scotland, create the circumstances for investment, drive up living standards, that is what we want with independence and we will make sure that we have the answer to the currency situation that delivers for our people.”

Rishi Sunak to launch ‘bonfire of pledges'

14:15 , Barney Davis

Downing Street has announced that Rishi Sunak may U-Turn on some leadership campaign pledges. The new PM will “take the time” to see what is “deliverable or possible” with the current economic backdrop.

The PM’s spokesman said: “We’re looking at the PM’s leadership campaign pledges and working out whether now is the right time to bring them forward.”

Sunak has already abandoned his Tory leadership pledge to impose a £10-fine for patients who miss NHS appointments.


Climate expert claims ‘dent’ in UK’s reputation after COP27 furore

14:25 , Barney Davis

Rachel Kyte, a former UN special representative on sustainability and a climate change expert, welcomed Rishi Sunak’s decision to attend Cop27 but said a “dent” had been made in the UK’s global reputation.

She told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme: “He should always really have been going, but now he’s going now we have a chance to let him clearly lay out a coherent policy position from the UK Government and begin to establish the relationships which will be essential for him, not just for climate, but for other areas of policy where the UK needs friends.

“I think the rest of the world was just scratching its head – how could the current Cop presidency not go to the next Cop.

“A little bit of a dent on our reputation for pragmatism, but at the end of the day he’s going and that’s all that matters.”

Albanian prime minister hits back at Braverman comments

15:24 , Miriam Burrell

Albanian prime minister Edi Rama has told Home Secretary Suella Braverman to “stop discriminating” against Albanians to “excuse policy failures” as she targets them during the immigration crisis.

He tweeted: “Targeting Albanians (as some shamefully did when fighting for Brexit) as the cause of Britain’s crime and border problems makes for easy rhetoric but ignores hard fact.

“Repeating the same things and expecting different results is insane (ask Einstein!)

“UK should fight the crime gangs of all nationalities and stop discriminating v Albanians to excuse policy failures.

“Albania is not a rich country and was for a very long time a victim of empires, we never had our own.

“We have a duty to fight crime at home and are doing so resolutely, as cooperating closely with others too. Ready to work closer with UK but facts are crucial. So is mutual respect.”

Goodbye and good evening

16:10 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

That ends our live blog for today. Thanks for following along.

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