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Sunak news – live: Starmer says PM being bullied by party as senior Tories slam Simon Clarke’s ‘foolish’ coup

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has claimed Rishi Sunak is being “bullied” by his own MPs and he used PMQs to mock the prime minister after a fresh Tory civil war erupted.

Sir Keir said Mr Sunak was “endlessly” fighting with his own party and that the more “they slag him off behind his back, the louder they cheer in here”.

It comes after Liz Truss ally Sir Simon Clarke claimed the Conservative Party could face “extinction” unless the prime minister resigns.

Sir Simon, who served in the Treasury under Mr Sunak, made the intervention in the Daily Telegraph to urge his colleagues to sack the PM ahead of the looming general election, arguing he “has sadly gone from asset to anchor”.

Tory MPs have rounded on Sir Simon’s attempted coup, branding his move against Mr Sunak as “foolish” and “facile”. A senior Conservative MP told The Independent Sir Simon was “flying a kite that’s already broken” and they did not expect fellow right-wingers to join his rebellion.

However, the Conservative Democratic Organisation – led by allies of former prime minister Boris Johnson – are demanding a leadership vote for fear of “electoral disaster”.

Key Points

  • Starmer: Sunak being ‘bullied’ by Tories who ‘slag him off behind his back’ - PMQs

  • Simon Clarke warns of election massacre unless Rishi Sunak resigns

  • Senior Tories reject Clarke’s calls for Sunak to resign

  • Boris-backing group back Simon Clarke’s call

Watch: Tory rebel Simon Clarke 'completely wrong' to call for Sunak to go, says minister

Wednesday 24 January 2024 10:55 , Andy Gregory

Suella Braverman not involved in push against Sunak, claims rebel MP

Wednesday 24 January 2024 11:22 , Adam Forrest

Right-wing rebel Andrea Jenkyns – who is the other Tory MP to have admitted submitting a letter of no-confidence in Rishi Sunak – has warned the party is in the “last chance saloon”.

“I did [my letter of no confidence] in November and it’s last chance saloon,” she told GB News. “I think the only way of actually saving our country from the socialists and slippery Starmer is by changing leader – and time’s running out.”

The arch Boris Johnson loyalist said she expected a “trickle” of more letters to go in to the 1922 Committee, claiming other MPs would be “sleep” on whether to join her and Simon Clarke.

Ms Jenkyns also played down the idea Suella Braverman was plotting with Mr Clarke bring down Rishi Sunak. “I don’t think Suella [Braverman] is involved with this. I’d be very surprised if this has anything to do with Suella.”

Meanwhile, fellow Johnson fan Nadine Dorries encouraged MPs to get rid of Sunak, predicting a wipeout “if we don’t do something now”. She told GB News: “The Conservative Party wrote its suicide note the moment it removed Boris Johnson.”

Simon Clarke to be dropped from Liz Truss’s ‘Popular Conservatism’ launch

Wednesday 24 January 2024 11:45 , Joe Middleton

Jason Groves, the political editor of the Daily Mail, is reporting that Simon Clarke will be dropped from next month’s Popular Conservatism launch.

Popular Conservatism is a new faction being embarked upon by former prime minister Liz Truss as she seeks to exert influence on the manifesto for the next general election.

Sir Simon, a loyal Ms Truss ally, was listed as one of the speakers at the event a few days ago.

PMQs begins in a few minutes...

Wednesday 24 January 2024 11:57 , Joe Middleton

Rishi Sunak will be taking PMQs very soon and will surely face a few probing questions from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer about the fresh Tory civil war that erupted overnight.

Rishi Sunak with Simon Clarke MP (left) during a visit to the Nexus Building at the University of Leeds (PA)
Rishi Sunak with Simon Clarke MP (left) during a visit to the Nexus Building at the University of Leeds (PA)

And we’re off...

Wednesday 24 January 2024 12:02 , Joe Middleton

Rishi Sunak faces Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in the latest PMQs, and will also take questions from MPs.

Watch it live here: https://youtube.com/live/V3sx-foXQw8?feature=share

PMQs: Sunak offers best wishes to King Charles and Princess of Wales

Wednesday 24 January 2024 12:06 , Joe Middleton

Rishi Sunak starts proceedings by offering his best wishes to King Charles and Kate, the Princess of Wales, who are both suffering from ill health.

Sunak at PMQs today (Parliament TV)
Sunak at PMQs today (Parliament TV)

Watch live: Rishi Sunak faces Prime Minister’s Questions as senior Tory calls for his resignation

Wednesday 24 January 2024 12:08 , Joe Middleton

Watch live as Rishi Sunak faces Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, 24 January, after a senior Tory called for his resignation.

Sir Simon Clarke, who served in the Treasury while the now-prime minister was chancellor, said that Mr Sunak “is leading the Conservatives into an election where [they] will be massacred”.

“If we change the leader to a prime minister who shares the instincts of the majority and is willing to lead the country in the right direction, we will recover strongly in 2024,” the MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland wrote in the Telegraph.

Watch live: Rishi Sunak faces PMQs as senior Tory calls for his resignation

PMQs: Sunak’s had ‘quite a week’, says Starmer

Wednesday 24 January 2024 12:15 , Joe Middleton

Labour leader Keir Starmer has joined Mr Sunak in sending his best wishes to King Charles and the Princess of Wales.

He also paid tribute to Sir Tony Lloyd, the Labour MP who died last week.

Mr Starmer said Mr Sunak had “quite a week” and added that the more Tory MPs criticise him in private, the more they come out to support him in public.

Starmer: Sunak being ‘bullied’ by Tories who ‘slag him off behind his back’

Wednesday 24 January 2024 12:16 , Adam Forrest

Keir Starmer has claimed Rishi Sunak is being “bullied” by his own MPs and he used PMQs to mock the Tory leader over the latest bout of infighting.

“The difference is, I’ve changed my party – he is bullied by his,” the Labour leader told the Commons.

The Labour leader said Mr Sunak was “endlessly” fighting with his own party. He added: “The more they slag him off behind his back, the louder they cheer in here.”

Sir Keir also attacked Tory “division and chaos” – saying the internal wars amounted to “the longest episode of EastEnders ever put to film:”.

Sir Keir also mocked the Tory leader over the clip which showed him “collapsing in laughter when asked by a member of the public about NHS waiting lists”. He said: “His own MPs say he doesn’t understand Britain.”

Sunak: Starmer ‘doesn’t get Britain’s values - PMQs

Wednesday 24 January 2024 12:20 , Joe Middleton

Rishi Sunak has responded and said the Labour leader “doesn’t get Britain’s values”.

He said: “He talks about what Britain needs, what Britain wants, what Britain values. This from a man who takes the knee, who wanted to abolish the monarchy, who still doesn’t know what a woman is, and who just this week, one of his frontbenchers, said that they backed teaching divisive white privilege in our schools.

“Looking at his record, it’s crystal clear which one of us doesn’t get Britain’s values.”

Starmer swears at PMQs at he attacks free childcare failures - PMQs

Wednesday 24 January 2024 12:22 , Joe Middleton

Sir Keir Starmer has attacked Rishi Sunak over the chaos in rolling out the government’s promised expansion of free childcare.

As first revealed by The Independent, there are big problems with funding, staff shortages and nursery closures.

The Labour leader cited a report in The Times, which quote one source saying the rollout was a “complete s***show” over systemic problems, including major IT snags.

Sir Keir said: “He calls [problems] a ‘practical issue’. But I preferred the honesty of whichever of his colleagues briefed to The Times that it was a “complete s***show”.”

He added: “When will the prime minister finally realise that the biggest practical issue facing Britain is the constant, farcical incompetence of the government he leads?”

Starmer: Tory MPs are ‘giving up’ on Sunak - PMQs

Wednesday 24 January 2024 12:30 , Joe Middleton

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “He spouts so much nonsense no wonder they are giving up on him.”

He added the prime minister is insisting “everything is fine, people should be grateful to him.

“The trouble is no one is buying it. Does he actually understand why his own MPs say he doesn’t understand Britain and that he is an obstacle to recovery?”

Mr Sunak responded: “He calls it nonsense but these are his positions... he chose to represent a now proscribed terrorist group, he chose to campaign against the deportation of foreign national offenders, just like he chose to serve (Jeremy Corbyn).

“That’s his record, those are his values, and that is exactly how he should be judged.”

PMQs: Keir Starmer accuses Tory MPs of 'sl***ing off' Rishi Sunak behind his back

Wednesday 24 January 2024 12:36 , Joe Middleton

PMQs is over for another week

Wednesday 24 January 2024 12:39 , Joe Middleton

And that is it for now. Mr Sunak will head back to No 10 with an ever growing to-do list and rebellious MPs.

Meanwhile Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will count his lucky stars that the Tory party continues to self-implode on an almost daily basis.

Watch: Rishi Sunak sends ‘best wishes’ to King Charles and Princess of Wales over health concerns

Wednesday 24 January 2024 12:46 , Joe Middleton

Rishi Sunak sent his “best wishes” to King Charles III and the Princess of Wales regarding their health.

His Majesty is preparing to undergo treatment for an enlarged prostate this week, and Kate has spent a week in hospital being cared for as she recovers from abdominal surgery.

The 42-year-old princess is expected to remain hospitalised for between 10 and 14 days in total.

Charles, 75, has returned to Sandringham ready to undergo treatment after flying back from Scotland with the Queen on Friday (19 January).

He received his diagnosis on Wednesday having had a check-up after experiencing symptoms.

Sunak sends ‘best wishes’ to King Charles and Princess of Wales over health concerns

Sunak to give councils £500m in emergency bailout amid cash crisis

Wednesday 24 January 2024 13:06 , Tara Cobham

Local authorities in England are set to receive an emergency bailout from Rishi Sunak’s government following warnings that many councils are close to bankruptcy.

A ministerial statement due to be made this afternoon will confirm upper tier councils will be handed an additional £500m for children’s and adult social care.

Communities secretary Michael Gove is also expected to announce lower tier districts will receive a funding boost of approximately £30 to £40m.

Political Correspondent Adam Forrest reports:

Sunak to give councils £500m in emergency bailout amid cash crisis

Lee Anderson regrets Rwanda rebellion – and says he would take job back

Wednesday 24 January 2024 13:07 , Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent

Senior Tory Lee Anderson has now said he should have backed Rishi Sunak and voted for the Rwanda bill, reports Political Correspondent Adam Forrest.

The right-wing rebel – who quit as deputy chair over the bill and later abstained – even said he would take his old job back if Mr Sunak asked him.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Anderson should have been “brave” and sided with the PM. “I felt like I was letting my party down,” he said.

Asked if he would return to his old role if approached by Mr Sunak, Mr Anderson said: “Yeah, of course I would.”

He added: “I did wrong. Well, I say I did wrong, I acted on a point of principle. I had to resign. I had no choice. I bear no malice or anything, it’s just I know the rules.”

Simon Clarke should shut up unless he wants ‘extinction’ of Tory party, says MP

Wednesday 24 January 2024 13:07 , Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent

Senior Tory MP Stephen Hammond has said Sir Simon Clarke was “wrong” to call for Rishi Sunak to be replaced – advising him to “keep quiet” unless he wanted to kill the party, reports Political Correspondent Adam Forrest.

The leading moderate told Times Radio: “My strong advice to Simon is, this isn’t going to work. This is wrong. And I think it’ll be helpful for the Conservative party cause, if he does want to stop the extinction of the party, don’t say any more.”

Mr Hammond added: “The very worst thing we could do now is have another change of leader. That would make us look … well I think self-indulgence is probably the right term.”

No 10 refuses to deny Sunak has plans to bring back Anderson as Tory deputy chair

Wednesday 24 January 2024 13:18 , Tara Cobham

Downing Street has refused to deny Rishi Sunak has plans to bring Lee Anderson back as Tory deputy chairman, saying Number 10 has a “lot of time” for him despite his resignation over the Rwanda Bill.

Asked whether the prime minister would consider giving Mr Anderson his job back after he reportedly voiced regret over his abstention, Mr Sunak’s press secretary said it was “the PM’s prerogative to choose and when” who gets which jobs.

“I think we can say that we have a lot of time for Lee. He made it clear that he had concerns but actually he really supports getting this deterrent up and running so it’s good to see him talking about that today,” she said.

Mr Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith both quit as Conservative Party deputy chairs after siding with right-wing Tory MPs in backing the rebel amendments to Mr Sunak’s Rwanda bill.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with Lee Anderson MP for Ashfield (right) (PA)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with Lee Anderson MP for Ashfield (right) (PA)

Sir Simon is ‘in a different place to other MPs and won’t distract us’, says Downing St

Wednesday 24 January 2024 13:40 , Tara Cobham

Sir Simon Clarke is “in a different place to some other MPs” and his intervention “won’t distract us from getting on with what matters to people”, Downing Street said.

The Prime Minister’s press secretary said: “The PM is just focused on the job, getting on with the key priorities that he’s set out for the country and that’s where he’s spending his time at the moment.”

Asked whether Rishi Sunak would be talking with Sir Simon in the wake of his Telegraph op-ed, she said she would “never get into conversations between the Prime Minister and colleagues.”

Number 10 insisted the Conservatives are united on the “big issues” such as lowering tax where it is responsible to do so, describing Sir Simon as a “known critic.”

Asked whether Mr Sunak was worried about a wider revolt, she said: This is one MP. All I would say is Simon Clarke has set out his view in a paper today.

“We recognise that he’s in a different place to some other MPs that have come out today. He’s entitled to his view but that won’t distract us from getting on with what matters to people.”

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer trade personal insults during bruising PMQs

Wednesday 24 January 2024 14:00 , Tara Cobham

Rishi Sunak is being “bullied” by Tory MPs as they take part in the “longest episode of EastEnders ever put to film”, according to Sir Keir Starmer.

The Prime Minister countered by branding Labour leader Sir Keir a “human weathervane” and attacked his work as a lawyer as the pair traded personal insults in the House of Commons.

Mr Sunak arrived in the chamber to loud cheers from his MPs, just hours after former Cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke called for him to be replaced as leader to avoid a Conservative “massacre” at the general election.

Richard Wheeler reports:

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer trade personal insults during bruising PMQs

No 10: Simon Clarke is 'one MP'

Wednesday 24 January 2024 14:20 , Kate Devlin, Politics and Whitehall Editor

No 10 described Sir Simon as “one MP” who was "in a different place to some other MPs", reports Politics and Whitehall Editor Kate Devlin.

However, Downing Street would not be drawn on whether or not they thought he was a ‘lone wolf’.

But they said his intervention would not “distract us” Mr Sunak from getting on with “what matters to people".

Simon Clarke ‘wasting everyone’s time’, says Sunak ally

Wednesday 24 January 2024 14:39 , Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent

Senior Sunak allies said Sir Simon Clarke’s push against the PM had already fizzled out, with no-one new on the right calling for Sunak to be replaced, reports Political Correspondent Adam Forrest.

One senior figure told The Independent: “Clarke is wasting everyone’s time. It’s going nowhere.” Another called Sir Simon was an “outlier”, saying they were confident he was not be followed by other MPs on the right.

Robert Jenrick will not be joining Clarke rebellion

Wednesday 24 January 2024 15:00 , Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent

The Independent understands that Robert Jenrick – who led the recent right-wing rebellion over the Rwanda bill – will not be joining Sir Simon Clarke in calling for Rishi Sunak to be replaced, reports Political Correspondent Adam Forrest.

Liz Truss does not back Sir Simon’s intervention either. So it does not look like it will be building any head of steam.

The Independent understands that Robert Jenrick (left) – who led the recent right-wing rebellion over the Rwanda bill – will not be joining Sir Simon Clarke in calling for Rishi Sunak to be replaced (PA Archive)
The Independent understands that Robert Jenrick (left) – who led the recent right-wing rebellion over the Rwanda bill – will not be joining Sir Simon Clarke in calling for Rishi Sunak to be replaced (PA Archive)

Clarke rebellion ‘not shared by significant number’, says 1922 Committee source

Wednesday 24 January 2024 15:20 , Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent

Another senior Tory – source close to the 1922 Committee – told The Independent that Sir Simon’s actions were “entirely self-destructive and not shared by any significant number of people in the party”, reports Political Correspondent Adam Forrest.

Senior Tory Tobias Ellwood told The Independent: “The scale of backlash against Simon Clarke’s comments has been significant by its scale and reach across all wings of the Party.

“I suspect this may deter others from following such a reckless call for yet another leadership campaign so close to a general election.”

Boris-backing group back Simon Clarke’s call

Wednesday 24 January 2024 15:31 , Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent

The Conservative Democratic Organisation – led by allies of former prime minister Boris Johnson – have claimed many grassroots Tories are effectively “on strike” because of disillusionment with Rishi Sunak, reports Political Correspondent Adam Forrest.

The group’s chairman, former MEP David Campbell Bannerman, said: “Urgent change is needed. Sunak unfortunately has had his chance – and blown it.”

"Members demand a leadership vote as soon as possible so we can turn things around and avoid electoral disaster. We need new management.”

Britain under Tories is ‘longest episode of Eastenders ever,’ says Starmer

Wednesday 24 January 2024 15:45 , Tara Cobham

Sir Keir Starmer has said Britain under the Tories is the “longest episode of EastEnders ever.”

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, 24 January, the Labour leader said: “Safely ensconced in Westminster they get down to the real business of fighting each other to death. The country forced to endure their division and chaos, the longest episode of Eastenders ever put to film.”

It comes as the Conservatives faced more party infighting this week with a senior Tory calling for Rishi Sunak‘s resignation.

Holly Patrick reports:

Starmer: Britain under Tories is ‘longest episode of Eastenders ever’

Simon Clarke push against PM ‘odd and unhelpful’, says Kwasi Kwarteng

Wednesday 24 January 2024 16:00 , Tara Cobham

Former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has criticised Sir Simon Clarke’s “unhelpful” call for Rishi Sunak to be replaced, reports Political Correspondent Adam Forrest.

The key Liz Truss government figure – a close ally of Sir Simon and the former PM – told Times Radio the right-wing rebel was a “lone voice”.

“I don’t agree with Simon. I think it's the wrong time to change leader...and I think to change the leadership now, without a general election, would be very unwise.”

The only way that we’re going to avoid a total disaster is by staying united and backing the leader. It was an odd intervention … He’s very much a lone voice on this. And I think that it was an unhelpful intervention on his part.”

Labour MP accuses Sunak of having ‘blood of thousands of innocents on his hands’

Wednesday 24 January 2024 16:15 , Tara Cobham

Rishi Sunak was accused of having “the blood of thousands of innocent people on his hands” over his response to the Israel-Gaza war by a Labour MP.

Tahir Ali (Birmingham, Hall Green) claimed in the House of Commons that the Prime Minister had “boldly stated” confidence in Israel’s adherence to international law despite documents suggesting the Foreign Office had concerns.

The Labour leadership has distanced itself from his comments, with a party spokesman branding them “clearly inappropriate”.

Ben Hatton reports:

Labour MP accuses Sunak of having ‘blood of thousands of innocents on his hands’

Who is Sir Simon Clarke?

Wednesday 24 January 2024 16:30 , Tara Cobham

“Get a f***ing grip” is not the reaction Sir Simon Clarke will have been hoping for from fellow Tory MPs when he launched a putsch against Rishi Sunak on Tuesday night.

The long-standing ally of Liz Truss said his party risked an election “massacre” unless the current prime minister is ousted and that Mr Sunak has gone “from asset to anchor.”

His plan to replace Mr Sunak was given received short shrift in a Tory WhatsApp group, with the previously mentioned sweary riposte reportedly sent by Tory minister Andrew Bowie.

Joe Middleton reports:

Who is Sir Simon Clarke? The MP mocked for trying to start a rebellion against Sunak

Sir Simon reportedly watched football team get thrashed ahead of being rounded upon

Wednesday 24 January 2024 16:45 , Tara Cobham

Sir Simon Clarke MP went from watching his beloved football team Middlesborough get thrashed by Chelsea last night to being rounded upon by his fellow Conservative MPs today, according to ITV.

Lee Anderson ‘begging for his old job back’, say Lib Dems

Wednesday 24 January 2024 17:00 , Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent

The Lib Dems have mocked Lee Anderson after the senior Tory said he would be willing to accept the job of Conservative deputy chairman again after quitting last week, reports Political Correspondent Adam Forrest.

“It seems Lee Anderson must have invested in a pair of flip flops recently,” said Liberal Democrats’ home affairs spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael.

“First cowering from Labour jeers in the voting lobbies and now begging for his old job back,” he added. “For someone who wants to be seen as a conviction politician, these past weeks Anderson has shown very little.”

In pictures: Bruising PMQs as Sunak and Starmer among those trading barbs

Wednesday 24 January 2024 17:20 , Tara Cobham

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday (PA)
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday (PA)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday (PA)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday (PA)
SDLP Leader Colm Eastwood speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday (PA)
SDLP Leader Colm Eastwood speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday (PA)

And we’re off... another cack-handed plot by Tories with a death wish

Wednesday 24 January 2024 17:40 , Andrew Grice

Simon Clarke’s stark warning that the Conservatives will be “massacred” if Rishi Sunak leads them into the general election is the latest instalment of a plot to oust the prime minister.

The former levelling up secretary and Liz Truss fan’s attack on Sunak’s “uninspiring leadership” is more worrying for the PM than previous demands for yet another change of leader – by the maverick right-wing MP Andrea Jenkyns and David Frost, the Tory peer and former Brexit secretary. Clarke has more credibility than them. Nadine Dorries, the Boris Johnson cheerleader who wrote a book, The Plot, about his “assassination,” greeted news of his manoeuvre with: “And, we’re off.”

Frost is the frontman for the Conservative Britain Alliance of anonymous Tory donors, who have commissioned an opinion poll clearly designed to destabilise the PM.

Read more here:

And we’re off... another cack-handed plot by Tories with a death wish | Andrew Grice

No one likes that guy that’s shouting ‘iceberg’, says Simon Clarke

Wednesday 24 January 2024 18:00 , Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent

Sir Simon Clarke has responded to all the flak he’s been getting – describing himself to a disliked man shouting “iceberg” as he appeared to compare the Tories to the Titanic, reports Political Correspondent Adam Forrest.

“I totally respect the strong views that something like this evokes,” he told BBC News. “No one likes that guy that’s shouting ‘iceberg’, but I suspect that people will be even less happy if we hit the iceberg.

“And we are on course to do that. That is the point that I need to land with colleagues respectfully and calmly … I really worry that we’re on course for a shattering course.”

Sir Simon Clarke insists he acted alone in calling for Sunak to be replaced

Wednesday 24 January 2024 18:20 , Tara Cobham

Sir Simon Clarke has insisted he acted alone in calling for Rishi Sunak to be replaced and is not part of an orchestrated plot.

The former Cabinet minister repeatedly declined to say who he wants to become Tory leader, but said there are a “number of people who could do it”.

He told BBC News: “I don’t want to tarnish anyone by saying this. I’ve done this on my own, I’ve been really clear that I’ve done it deliberately on my own so I don’t make anyone else the subject of the sort of criticism that I’ve incurred.”

Sir Simon said he had been on the receiving end of some “pretty hostile comments” and insisted his attack on the Prime Minister was not about his own leadership ambitions.

“This is absolutely not about Simon Clarke,” he said.

Lee Anderson says he would take his old job back and regrets Rwanda revolt

Wednesday 24 January 2024 18:40 , Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent

Senior Conservative Lee Anderson has said he regrets not backing Rishi Sunak over the Rwanda bill and would take back his old job back if asked.

The controversial right-winger – who quit as deputy Tory chairman last week over the bill – said he would be willing to return if wanted by the PM.

And No 10 even hinted that Mr Sunak is open to bringing back Mr Anderson in the senior party role – despite all the turmoil of the past week.

Political Correspondent Adam Forrest reports:

Lee Anderson says he would take his old job back and regrets Rwanda revolt

Watch: Starmer accuses Tory MPs of ‘s***ing off’ Sunak behind his back

Wednesday 24 January 2024 19:00 , Tara Cobham

Sir Keir Starmer took a dig at Rishi Sunak and Conservative Party infighting at the beginning of Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, 24 January.

“I love this quaint tradition where the more they slag him off behind his back, the louder they cheer in here,” the Leader of the Opposition said, after the Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle urged Tory backbenchers to calm down.

The Labour leader made the remark in response to jeers from Tory MPs, after he mocked the Prime Minister laughing when a voter pleaded with him to fix the NHS waiting lists on Monday.

It comes after former cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke called for Mr Sunak to be ousted in an article for The Telegraph on Tuesday.

Rhys Jones reports:

Starmer accuses Tory MPs of ‘s***ing off’ Sunak behind his back

Iraq war veteran to stand as MP

Wednesday 24 January 2024 19:33 , Kate Devlin, Politics and Whitehall Editor

Colonel Tim Collins, who shot to fame for a rousing speech he gave his battalion on the eve of the Iraq war, is to run to become an MP this year, reports Politics and Whitehall Editor Kate Devlin.

Col Collins is to stand in North Down in his native Northern Ireland.

Last year he backed The Independent’s successful campaign to stop the deportation of an Afghan war hero, saying the UK owes a “duty of loyalty to our allies”.

He will stand for the Ulster Unionist Party in a seat currently held by Stephen Farry, who represents the Alliance Party.

Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie, who served alongside Col Collins in Iraq, told the Belfast Telegraph he was "very confident" the 63-year-old can win the seat.

Senior Tories dismiss ‘foolish’ call for Sunak to be ousted

Wednesday 24 January 2024 20:00 , Tara Cobham

Senior Tories have rallied round Rishi Sunak and warned against “foolish” infighting after former Cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke called for a change in leader.

Sir Simon warned that the Conservatives will be “massacred” at the general election unless the Prime Minister is replaced.

But Home Secretary James Cleverly and a string of current and former ministers slapped him down.

David Hughes reports:

Senior Tories dismiss ‘foolish’ call for Sunak to be ousted

Watch: ‘Foolish’ for Tory party to indulge in infighting, says James Cleverly

Wednesday 24 January 2024 21:01 , Tara Cobham

Watch: No one likes the guy shouting ‘iceberg’, says Tory rebel Simon Clarke

Wednesday 24 January 2024 22:00 , Tara Cobham

It is Starmer who ‘doesn’t get Britain’s values’, says PM

Wednesday 24 January 2024 23:00 , Tara Cobham

The Prime Minister said it is Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who “doesn’t get Britain’s values”.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Keir said: “The Prime Minister has had quite a week. From endlessly fighting with his own MPs to collapsing in laughter when he was asked by a member of the public about NHS waiting lists.”

After loud protest from the Tory benches, Sir Keir continued: “I love quaint tradition where the more they slag him off behind his back the (louder) they cheer in here.”

He said Mr Sunak has “accidentally” recorded a “candid video for Nigel Farage”, adding: “The only thing missing from that punishing schedule is any sort of governing or leadership. So was he surprised to see one of his own MPs say that he doesn’t get what Britain needs and he’s not listening to what people want?”

Rishi Sunak said: “He talks about what Britain needs, what Britain wants, what Britain values. This from a man who takes the knee, who wanted to abolish the monarchy, who still doesn’t know what a woman is, and who just this week, one of his frontbenchers, said that they backed teaching divisive white privilege in our schools.

“Looking at his record, it’s crystal clear which one of us doesn’t get Britain’s values.”

Is the West really looking at a Third World War?

00:00 , Tara Cobham

The chief of the general staff and head of the army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, has given a valedictory address in which he describes the current population of the UK as a “pre-war generation”, and one that must now get ready to take “preparatory steps to enable placing our societies on a war footing”.

A “national mobilisation” against Vladimir Putin’s Russia is the sort of language that would have been unthinkable, if not alarmist or satirical, only a few years ago, but the full-scale invasion of Ukraine and a consistently bellicose stance from the Kremlin has suddenly made such notions mainstream.

Read more here:

Is the West really looking at a Third World War?

PM ‘spouts so much nonsense no wonder Tory MPs are giving up on him’, says Starmer

01:00 , Tara Cobham

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the prime minister “spouts so much nonsense no wonder they [Tory MPs] are giving up on him”.

He added Rishi Sunak is insisting “everything is fine, people should be grateful to him.

“The trouble is no one is buying it. Does he actually understand why his own MPs say he doesn’t understand Britain and that he is an obstacle to recovery?”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “He calls it nonsense but these are his positions… he chose to represent a now proscribed terrorist group, he chose to campaign against the deportation of foreign national offenders, just like he chose to serve (Jeremy Corbyn).

“That’s his record, those are his values, and that is exactly how he should be judged.”

Sunak hands councils £600m in emergency bailout amid cash crisis

02:00 , Tara Cobham

Local authorities in England are to receive an emergency bailout from Rishi Sunak’s government following warnings that many councils are close to bankruptcy.

Communities secretary Michael Gove said upper tier councils will be handed an additional £600m, mostly for children’s and adult social care.

The cabinet minister said £500m would go on enabling councils to provide “crucial social care services for their local communities, particularly children”.

Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent reports:

Sunak hands councils £600m in emergency bailout amid cash crisis

Watch: Tory rebel Simon Clarke ‘completely wrong’ to call for Sunak to go, says minister

03:00 , Tara Cobham

‘It is behind him that the fire is coming in,’ Sunak says of Starmer

04:00 , Tara Cobham

Rishi Sunak suggested shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves was responsible for branding Labour’s £28 billion green investment pledge as an albatross “around their neck” after facing claims he was being bullied by his own MPs.

Sir Keir Starmer told the Commons: “It is not the side lines, it is behind him that the fire is coming in. He can try and blame the Labour Party all he wants, the difference is I have changed my party, he is bullied by his party.

“Has he found the time in his busy schedule to work out why thousands of parents are being told by their nurseries that they won’t get free childcare that he promised them?”

After Sir Lindsay Hoyle called for order from the shouting Labour benches, Mr Sunak said: “We do know that he is committed to his 2030 decarbonisation promise, which they say will cost £28 billion but I was reading about it this week.

“He says he has changed the party, one of his team called it an albatross hanging around their neck, that might have been the shadow chancellor maybe, but he said they are doubling down on it.

“All this ahead of a crunch meeting we are told this week for them to work out how they are going to pay for it. I can save them some time because we all know the answer, higher taxes for the British people.”

Watch: Sunak sends ‘best wishes’ to King and Princess of Wales during PMQs

05:00 , Tara Cobham

‘Foolish’ for Tory party to indulge in infighting, says James Cleverly

06:00 , Tara Cobham

James Cleverly has said it would be “foolish” for the Tory party to indulge in infighting following Sir Simon Clarke’s call for Rishi Sunak to be replaced.

“I know Simon very well, I like him and respect him. I could not disagree with him more on this particular issue,” the home secretary said, defending the prime minister.

Mr Cleverly added that Mr Sunak was succeeding in his efforts to reduce inflation and cut the number of people arriving on small boats.

Oliver Browning reports:

‘Foolish’ for Tory party to indulge in infighting, says James Cleverly

No one likes the guy yelling ‘iceberg’, says Tory who called for Sunak’s ousting

07:00 , Tara Cobham

Sir Simon Clarke has compared himself to a man shouting “iceberg” in the face of approaching oblivion as he came under fire from senior Conservatives for demanding Rishi Sunak’s replacement.

The former Cabinet minister insisted he was acting alone rather than as part of an orchestrated plot as he acknowledged a “pretty hostile” response from many Tory MPs.

Home Secretary James Cleverly was among a string of current and former ministers slapping down Sir Simon for his attack on Mr Sunak.

Sam Blewett reports:

No one likes the guy yelling ‘iceberg’, says Tory who called for Sunak’s ousting