Rishi Sunak news - live: PM to face Starmer at PMQs as Royal Mail strikes

Prime minister Rishi Sunak is set to lock horns with Sir Keir Starmer today at Prime Minister’s Questions as he appears set to make a U-turn on his pledge to ban on-shore wind farms.

Mr Sunak has faced burgeoning rebellion from within the Tory party ranks over his plans to ditch former Cabinet minister Simon Clarke’s amendment to the Levelling Up Bill, which would allow wind farms in rural areas where there is local consent.

It comes as postal workers, university lecturers and sixth-form college staff have set in motion a fresh wave of strikes today as the year of industrial unrest continues to snowball into the winter months.

Picket lines were mounted outside universities, colleges and Royal Mail centres across the country on Wednesday amid warnings of further planned walkouts in the run-up to Christmas.

Elsewhere, Saffron Cordery, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers, has indicated that the army will be “incredibly welcome” to help support the health service this winter after The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) scheduled its own walkouts on 15 and 20 December.

The comments came after Unison announced last night that paramedics and other ambulance workers had backed taking industrial action.

Key points

  • Royal Mail and education workers stage fresh walkouts

  • Army urged to prop up NHS as winter of discontent looms

  • Nurses, Royal Mail and even coffin-makers: Every strike likely to affect UK by end of 2022

  • Labour calls on government to close £17bn ‘loopholes’ in energy windfall tax

  • Former head of UK counter-terror policing calls Suella Braverman’s comments on migrants ‘inexplicable’

Revealed: Hancock paid £45,000 for 'Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins’ appearance

15:05 , Emily Atkinson

Matt Hancock was paid £45,000 to appear on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, it has been revealed.

The former health secretary declared the payment in an update to the MPs’ Register of Interests published on Wednesday.

The entry also revealed he spent 80 hours filming the programme while Parliament was in recess between September 24 and October 8, shortly before heading to Australia to appear in I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

Mr Hancock is yet to declare the amount he was paid to appear on I’m A Celebrity, which finished on Sunday, but reports have suggested his fee for the show was significantly higher.

Sunak will appoint ethics adviser ‘very soon’, minister insists

14:50 , Adam Forrest

Junior minister at the Cabinet Office Alex Burghart said Rishi Sunak would appoint an ethics advisor “very soon”.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner pressed the government to appoint a new watchdog for ministerial interests, a job vacant since the resignation of Lord Geidt in June. “How many times have I heard ‘soon’?” she said, before adding: “jam tomorrow, manana, manana”.

“We’re going to have an independent adviser, they’re going to have the powers that they need, and they are going to be appointed very soon,” said Mr Burghart.

Badenoch rejects Eustice’s criticism of Australian free-trade deal

14:35 , Emily Atkinson

Kemi Badenoch rejected a former minister’s criticism of the Australian free-trade deal, but acknowledged that deadlines can be “unhelpful” in negotiations.

Earlier this month former environment secretary George Eustice said the deals negotiated with Australia and New Zealand included provisions that were not in the economic interests of the UK, with the Government giving away “far too much” to secure the post-Brexit agreements.

The new International Trade Secretary said: “I disagreed with what he said about it not being a good deal for the country. That is absolutely not true. I do think deadlines can be incredibly unhelpful in negotiations. We saw this with Brexit.”

“But if the other side knows you have a deadline, they are able then to hold out or be more difficult which creates an incentive to create more concessions.”

Asked if she would have negotiated the same deal with Australia, she rejected the premise of the question that the UK had conceded ground on the deal.

“We haven’t given anything away,” she said, arguing that trade negotiations are not “tit-for-tat” or “zero sum”. “The deal isn’t even in place yet and we’re already talking it down,” she told the International Trade Committee. She said that Australia was an ally and should not be discussed as a country that is “going to ruin our economy”.

Government has already scrapped 140 EU environment regulations since Brexit, Thérèse Coffey says

14:20 , Emily Atkinson

The government has already scrapped 140 European environmental regulations since Britain left the EU, Thérèse Coffey has said.

The environment secretary told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday morning that more rules would be scrapped over the coming 12 months, with reducing “bureaucracy” the focus.

Ms Coffey said she was also keen to overturn regulations where the UK government had previously opposed a rule at EU level but then been outvoted by other countries.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has more:

Government has scrapped 140 environment regulations since Brexit, Therese Coffey says

Watch: Tory MP provides update on investigation into Dominic Rabb bullying scandal

14:05 , Emily Atkinson

Nurse pay rise demand ‘unreasonable and unaffordable’, says Sunak

13:50 , Emily Atkinson

Responding to a question about nurses pay, prime minister Rishi Sunak told the Commons: “I have nothing but admiration and gratitude to our nurses for all the work they do. But it is simply unreasonable and unaffordable to have a 19 per cent pay rise.”

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Watch: Tories are used to Marcus Rashford 'running rings around them’, says MP

13:35 , Emily Atkinson

Sunak criticises ‘unacceptable deterioration’' in Avanti’s service

13:20 , Emily Atkinson

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said there has been an “unacceptable deterioration” in Avanti’s service.

Conservative former minister Esther McVey (Tatton) mentioned the train service between her constituency and London, saying it “was always hourly, direct and took one hour 50”.

She told the Commons: “Now you’d be very lucking if you got a direct train and the journey time is... often double, and that’s not restricted to strike days, that’s day in day out on Avanti trains.” She asked “what the Government’s going to do to sort this out and get the west coast service back to what it used to be because the service at the moment is completely unacceptable”.

Mr Sunak said: “My right honourable friend is absolutely right about the unacceptable deterioration in the quality of Avanti’s service.

“The Transport secretary is rightly monitoring and holding them to account. There is a plan to increase the number of trains... to more than 100 additional drivers, and restoring the full direct service between Manchester and London.”

He added the plan needs “trade union cooperation”.

Starmer mocks Sunak over operation ‘get tough’

13:05 , Emily Atkinson

The Labour leader mocked the prime minister as how “tough” he is going to get with his backbenchers who are “blocking the new homes this country so badly needs”.

Sir Keir Starmer said: “The simple fact is this: every year the age at which people can buy their first home goes up. At this rate under this government, a child born in the UK today wouldn’t be able to buy their first home until they are 45.

“I love my kids, but I don’t want to cook them dinner in 30 years time.

“I’ve heard he is having a relaunch, apparently it’s called operation ‘get tough’. So how tough is he gonna get with his backbenchers who are blocking the new homes this country so badly needs?”

Rishi Sunak replied: “We are delivering record numbers of new homes under this government. He talks about toughness, he’s too weak to stop dozens of his own MPs joining the picket lines. If he wants to support those hard-working families and show some leadership, why doesn’t he confirm right now that no Labour MPs are going to join those picket lines?”

Brexit partly to blame for high inflation, says Bank of England economist

12:50 , Emily Atkinson

Brexit is partly to blame for high levels of inflation in the UK, the Bank of England’s chief economist has said.

Huw Pill said Britain’s exit from the EU was having an impact on prices, as food inflation surged to 12.4 per cent to hit a new record high during the cost of living crisis.

“Brexit plays a part, but I don’t think it’s the whole story and probably only part of the story. But to my mind it has had some effect,” Mr Pill said on Wednesday.

Our political correspondent Adam Forrest reports:

Brexit partly to blame for high inflation, says Bank of England economist

12:42 , Emily Atkinson

Sir Keir Starmer has offered to lend Rishi Sunak the Labour votes he needs to pass the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill with mandatory housing targets.

The Labour leader told the Commons: “Every week, he hands out cash to those that don’t need it. Every week he gets pushed around and every week he gets weaker.

“But I can help him with this one, he doesn’t need to do another grubby deal. If he wants to defeat that amendment from his anti-growth backbenchers on national targets for housing, Labour will lend him the votes to do so. Country before party, that’s the Labour way. Why doesn’t he try it?”

The PMr replied: “Too weak to confirm no one on the picket line.

“It’s the same old Labour ideas, more debt, more inflation, more strikes and more migration. He tells his party what they want to hear. I’ll take the difficult decisions to this country and that’s the choice, it’s the politics of yesterday with him or the future of the country with me.”

12:35 , Emily Atkinson

The prime minister accused the Labour leader of attacking “the hard-working aspiration of millions” over his criticism of tax breaks for private schools.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “His Levelling Up secretary... who after all was education secretary for four years, said you could scarcely find a better way of ending burning injustices than scrapping these handouts.”

He added: “Just done the road in Southampton... four in every 10 pupils failed their English or maths GCSE this year... is that £6 million of taxpayers’ money better spent on rifle ranges in Winchester or driving up standards in Southampton?”

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said: “He talks about school standards - it’s under a Conservative government and thanks to the reforms of the former education secretary that now almost 90% of schools are good or outstanding.

“Whenever he attacks me about where I went to school, he is attacking the hard-working aspiration of millions of people in this country, he’s attacking people like my parents.

“This is a country that believes in opportunity not resentment. He doesn’t understand that and that’s why he’s not fit to lead.”

Rishi Sunak calls Labour plan to end private school tax breaks an ‘attack on aspiration’

12:33 , Emily Atkinson

Rishi Sunak has accused Labour of an “attack on aspiration” as he defended tax breaks that hand hundreds of millions of pounds to the UK’s top private schools.

In noisy clashes in the Commons, Keir Starmer demanded an end to the handouts which have helped give Winchester College – the prime minister’s former school – “a rowing club and extensive art collection”.

He contrasted the college’s vast wealth with poor school results in Mr Sunak’s home city in Southampton, where four in ten pupils failed English or maths at GCSE.

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick reports:

PM calls Labour plan to end private school tax breaks an ‘attack on aspiration’

12:31 , Emily Atkinson

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer took aim at the PM’s old private school and asked why it receives “taxpayers’ money”.

“Winchester College has a rowing club, a rifle club, an extensive art collection, they charge over £45,000 a year in fees. Why did he hand them nearly £6 million of taxpayers’ money this year in what his Levelling Up Secretary (Michael Gove) calls egregious state support?”

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said: “I’m pleased he wants to talk about schools, because we have recently announced billions more funding for our schools.

“We’re helping millions of the most disadvantaged children catch up with their lost learning. And we’re driving up school standards.

“During Covid, he wanted to keep schools closed. We shouldn’t be surprised because I listen to parents and he listens to his union paymasters.”

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(Reuters)

12:16 , Emily Atkinson

“Brexit is now the elephant in the room that neither the Tories nor Labour are willing to confront,” says the SNP’s Ian Blackford.

The SNP Commons leader later went on to accuse Sir Keir Starmer of “desperately trying to out-Brexit the Tories.”

Watch: Rishi Sunak claims Keir Starmer only listens to his ‘union paymasters’

12:14 , Emily Atkinson

12:13 , Emily Atkinson

Sir Keir Starmer refuses to say if Labour MPs will join strike picket lines.

“He tells his party what they want to hear,” Rishi Sunak says.

“It’s the politics of yesterday with him or the future of the country with me.”

12:10 , Emily Atkinson

Rishi Sunak has accused Labour of “resentment” over its policy to end tax breaks for private schools.

The Labour leader has said he plans to use the tax revenue to fund a schools catch-up programme.

12:02 , Emily Atkinson

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has entered the Commons chamber for Prime Minister’s Questions.

The PM is set to lock horns with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer today as he appears set to make a U-turn on his pledge to ban on-shore wind farms.

Mr Sunak has faced burgeoning rebellion from within the Tory party ranks over his plans to ditch former Cabinet minister Simon Clarke’s amendment to the Levelling Up Bill, which would allow wind farms in rural areas where there is local consent.

Former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss are among the backbenchers resisting Mr Sunak’s potential row back.

In pictures: Royal Mail services grind to halt as postal workers strike across country

11:55 , Emily Atkinson

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Royal Mail workers strike outside the Royal Mail office in north London

11:30 , Emily Atkinson

Mark Dolan, London divisional rep for the Communication Workers Union (CWU) is among the postal workers on strike outside the Royal Mail Islington Delivery Office in north London.

He told the PA news agency: “This is our 11th day of strike action and the action we are taking today is about saving this Great British institution, 500 years’ service that we give to the public, and also the destruction of our terms and conditions.

“The company, following Covid, made over £700 million and they made that money off the backs of our membership who during Covid put their own lives on the line connecting the country, delivering test kits and we were hailed as key workers during Covid.

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“And yet, 18 months’ later, the company have announced they have got no money, they gave most of the profits away to shareholders and the people who sit on the board of Royal Mail.

“And they have now told the workforce they can only afford a 2 per cent pay rise in a cost-of-living crisis with inflation in double figures -but more seriously than that they’ve announced tax on the service we deliver, they’ve announced 10,000 job cuts, they also yesterday announced the real threat of compulsory redundancies, attacks on our terms and conditions, it’s unacceptable.”

Watch: Royal Mail boss claims striking workers are trying to 'destroy Christmas'

11:20 , Emily Atkinson

NHS would ‘welcome’ Army help to prop up service during strikes, says health chief

11:10 , Emily Atkinson

Emergency help from the Army to prop up the NHS during winter strikes would be “incredibly welcome”, a health service leader has said.

Health and defence officials are drawing up a contingency plan as ambulance drivers agreed to join nurses on the picket lines in the weeks ahead.

Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive of NHS Providers, said it will be an “incredibly testing time” for the health service due to industrial action.

Our political correspondent Adam Forrest reports:

NHS would ‘welcome’ Army help during strikes, says health chief

Enough is enough, says National Education Union

10:58 , Emily Atkinson

“Enough is enough”, say sixth-form college workers who took to the picket line today in a dispute over pay.

Speaking at the National Education Union protest outside City and Islington College in Islington, north London, Dr Mary Bousted, NEU joint general secretary, told the PA news agency: “I’m here to support the NEU members who are taking industrial action against the decimation of their terms, their pay, their working conditions and the funding for sixth form colleges which will be less in 2025 than it was in 2005 in real terms.

“They have seen their pay decline by 24 per cent, courses are being axed, support services in the college being axed, pastoral services - a whole range of services which enable them to teach effectively have been axed because of the terrible funding.

“This is a government that talks about growth but deliberately underfunds a sector which is the absolute bedrock of growth particularly in terms of skills.

“That’s why we’re here, enough is enough.”

Nurses, Royal Mail and even coffin-makers: Every strike likely to affect UK by end of 2022

10:47 , Emily Atkinson

As inflation has climbed steadily throughout year, workers have seen rising prices eroding their earnings – just as employers have been trying to make savings or modernise working practices to cope with increasing costs.

The result? Clashes over pay, redundancies, pensions and terms and conditions.

A new “winter of discontent” had begun even before Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement on 17 November, which left householders everywhere feeling even worse off.

My colleague Jane Dalton catalogues the professions and industries for which strike dates have already been announced:

From nurses to postal workers - every strike likely to affect UK by end of 2022

Army urged to prop up NHS as winter of discontent looms

10:37 , Emily Atkinson

Saffron Cordery, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers, has indicated that the army will be “incredibly welcome” to help support the NHS this winter after The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) scheduled its own walkouts on 15 and 20 December.

Asked if soldiers could be called in to help, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is something that has been raised over the past couple of days and I think that it will be incredibly welcome for the army to play a role.

“But I think it is probably clear that that will be a role at the margins, for example, the army did help out during the pandemic but it was on issues such as helping with the vaccination drive.

“I think what we have got to remember is we will really welcome their support but that won’t play a central role in keeping the ambulance service going.”

Royal Mail and education workers stage fresh walkouts

10:32 , Emily Atkinson

Postal workers, university lecturers and sixth-form college staff have set in motion a fresh wave of strikes today as the year of industrial unrest continues to snowball into the winter months.

Picket lines were mounted outside universities, colleges and Royal Mail centres across the country on Wednesday amid warnings of further planned walkouts in the run-up to Christmas.

National Education Union (NEU) teacher members who work in 77 sixth-form colleges in England are striking in a dispute over pay after suffering a real-terms pay cut of an estimated 20 per cent since 2010, it said.

Meanwhile, a respresentative for the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has said Royal Mail workers were taking a stand to protect “this great public” institution against being turned into “another gig economy service.”

Grant Shapps attacked over ‘nonsense’ claim wind turbines too big to build onshore

09:46 , Emily Atkinson

Environmental groups condemned business secretary Grant Shapps for claiming wind turbines are “so big” they cannot be built on land.

Mr Shapps defended Rishi Sunak’s de facto ban on new onshore wind development – claiming turbines are “so large they can’t even be constructed onshore”.

The minister said: “They are so big, the turbines wouldn’t be able to be carried by roads. They have to be put offshore. These single turbines are seven football pitches in scope as they turn. They’re not buildable onshore.”

Our political correspondent Adam Forrest reports:

Grant Shapps claims wind turbines ‘too big’ to build onshore

John Rentoul: Talk of a ‘white list’ takes us back to the 90s – and it didn’t work then either

09:28 , Emily Atkinson

We have been here before, so we know it doesn’t work, writes John Rentoul. The very term “white list” is unfortunate in the context of immigration and asylum. But that wasn’t the only problem with the policy pursued by Tony Blair’s government.

Talk of a ‘white list’ takes us back to the 90s | John Rentoul

Senior Tory MP warns of potential invasion of Taiwan by China

09:08 , Emily Atkinson

The chair of the Commons Defence Committee has said it is important to prepare for a potential invasion of Taiwan by a “more aggressive, more assertive” China.

Tobias Ellwood, who is part of a delegation of MPs visiting Taiwan, said the West cannot afford to lose “another democratic partner” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

MPs from the Foreign Affairs Committee are visiting Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, until Saturday and meeting dignitaries amid strained UK relations with Beijing.

“President Xi (Jinping) has made it clear that it (China) will use forces necessary to take this island and I think there are lessons to be learned from Ukraine,” Mr Ellwood told Sky News from Taipei.

“China is now getting more aggressive, more assertive, and if President Xi fulfils his promise, the impact would be huge.”

It would give China momentum to further pursue its authority authoritarian agenda, he said.

“How would the west look after that - losing another democratic partner? So it’s so important to understand what is going on here and prepare for what might be coming over the hill.”

Watch: Ed Miliband calls Tory MPs ‘dinosaurs’ over onshore wind farm stance

08:50 , Emily Atkinson

Government condemned for ‘poor and misleading’ graph exaggerating nurses’ pay rises

08:35 , Emily Atkinson

The UK Statistics Authority criticised a graph used by health secretary Steve Barclay’s department which showed “how nurses’ pay has gone up”.

It comes as NHS ambulance workers across England joined nurses in agreeing to strike before Christmas. Unison members voted in favour of strikes over pay and staffing levels.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said up to 100,000 nurses will stay off work on 15 and 20 December unless the government starts to engages with pay demands in detail.

Our political correspondent Adam Forrest reports:

Government condemned for ‘misleading’ graph on nurses’ pay rises

Labour stands shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine, says shadow minister

08:21 , Emily Atkinson

Labour’s Stephen Kinnock called the Ukraine-Russia conflict a “war between democracy and dictatorship” as he backed first lady Olena Zelenska’s call for the formation of a special tribunal to punish Russian war crimes.

“Labour stands shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine,” the shadow minister for immigration told Sky News this morning.

Ellwood calls on UK to ‘honour’ Ukraine’s request for a special tribunal

08:10 , Emily Atkinson

The chair of the Defence Select Committe has backed calls from Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska for the formation of a special tribunal to punish Russian war crimes.

Tobias Ellwood MP told Sky News this morning that he believed the UK should “absolutely honour” Ukraine’s request.

“It’s something Britain has done in the past, in places like Rwanda and Bosnia,” he said.

Insisting the UK must again instate such a tribunal, Mr Ellwood said the move would not just be about “beating Russia on the battlefield, it’s making sure that any individual soldiers that perform these absolutely horrendous atrocities are held to account.

“We are a trusted and fair nation,” he told the broadcaster, saying a tribunal on the war in Ukraine “is another example of where Britain can lead from the front again.”

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Tobias Ellwood praises Sunak’s rhetoric on China

07:50 , Emily Atkinson

Tobias Ellwood, who chairs the the Defence Select Committee, has praised Rishi Sunak for vowing to “evolve” the UK’s stance towards the China.

“I really welcome this speech. It was the first foreign policy statement on China I think for many, many years,” the Tory MP told Sky News.

“The so-called goldern era of relations with China is now over. This idea that if we simply do more trade with China, they’re going to open up to political reform – that clearly isn’t going to happen.

“China under president Xi is pursuing a competing vision with the West. He’s taking advantage of the timid West that’s unwilling, to date, to call China out,” he said.

“China’s expanding authoritarian influence is enormous across the world.

“It needs us to fuel its own economy,” he added, highlighting the importance of calling out China as it moves closer to “looking like a police state out” and standing “up for our rights and values, and the international rule of law.”

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Postal and education workers take part in fresh wave of strikes

07:30 , Namita Singh

A fresh wave of strikes will be held today as the year of industrial unrest continues across the country.

Royal Mail workers, university lecturers and sixth-form college staff will take action on one of the biggest walkouts on the same day.

Picket lines will be mounted outside universities, colleges and Royal Mail centres while more strikes are planned in the run-up to Christmas.

Read the details in this report:

Postal and education workers take part in fresh wave of strikes

Explained: David Miliband might struggle to find room in today’s Labour

07:10 , Namita Singh

It seems to surprise people that David Miliband, fresh faced and energetic, is 57 years of age – one year younger than Nigel Farage, whose prolific intake of English ale and Rothmans fags is written all over his prematurely-aged frogface.

Talk of comebacks swirl around both these political veterans, with only the flimsiest of denials. Mr Miliband quit parliament in 2013, a couple of years after he lost the Labour leadership race to his brother.

Asked on Andrew Marr’s LBC show about a return, he merely replied: “That’s not been decided yet. That’s not done.” He’s available, in other words.

Our associate editor Sean O’ Grady argues that while Keir Starmer’s party has moved on from Brexit, Mr Miliband clearly hasn’t.

David Miliband might struggle to find room in today’s Labour

Government accused of extreme ‘foolishness’ in autumn Budget

06:50 , Namita Singh

The government has been accused of “extreme foolishness” by an economist as the House of Lords debated the autumn statement.

The statement, announced by chancellor Jeremy Hunt on 17 November, increased the tax burden but put off public spending cuts until 2025.

Bringing the rise forward by a year could raise more than £9bn for the Treasury, analysts have suggested (Aaron Chown/PA Wire)
Bringing the rise forward by a year could raise more than £9bn for the Treasury, analysts have suggested (Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

Labour peer and economist Lord Eatwell said: “Over the past three months, the government has subjected the British economy to two episodes of extreme foolishness.

“First, the Truss-Kwarteng episode, going for growth without a coherent strategy, just throwing money at the wealthy.

“Unfortunately for Britain, the ideology and economic reality didn’t mix - the result: all Britain is worse off and the poorest suffer most.

“Then, the Sunak-Hunt episode, described by financial market experts as a massive over-reaction.

“This time, political intent was dressed up as technical economics, again no coherent growth strategy, raising taxes to an all-time high and declaring there will be massive expenditure cuts in 2024 and ‘25.”

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Fox accused the government of “cynical politics” for choosing to borrow now and make spending cuts later - after the next general election.

He said: “I would judge Chancellor Hunt has either adopted a Micawber strategy - ‘something might turn up’ – or something I would call the advanced Liam Byrne strategy. Hunt has already left a note for the next incoming chancellor that says ‘there’s no money left’.”

Britain must be a ‘world leader’ in justice for Ukraine, Olena Zelenska tells MPs

06:30 , Namita Singh

Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska has urged Britain to become a global leader in helping her country achieve “justice” against Russia, as she addressed an audience of MPs and peers that included Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer.

The speech, in a parliamentary committee room, came as part of a visit to London by Ms Zelenska as she urged the UK and other allies to seek justice against alleged Russian war crimes.

Her visit focused on the use of sexual violence and rape by Russian forces in the months-long war, which is now heading into a long winter.

More about her speech in this report:

Britain must be a ‘world leader’ in justice for Ukraine, Olena Zelenska tells MPs

UK car industry pleads for government action to secure future

06:10 , Namita Singh

The British car industry is warning government that “rapid action” is needed to secure the long term future of what is still a major part of the economy, and a major employer and exporter.

The industry has had to contend with the demands of Brexit and the pandemic in recent years, as well as the war in Ukraine and its knock-on economic impact on disposable incomes.

Lately, the severe shortage of semi-conductors from China and Taiwan, which has stymied recoveries in production levels, has begun to ease, and sales and revenues have picked up.

However, the industry now faces fresh challenges, reports our associate editor Sean O’Grady:

UK car industry pleads for government action to secure future

Ambulance workers to strike before Christmas

05:50 , Namita Singh

Ambulance workers across England are set to strike before Christmas after voting in favour of industrial action over pay and staffing levels.

Unison said thousands of 999 call handlers, ambulance technicians, paramedics and their colleagues working for ambulance services in the North East, North West, London, Yorkshire and the South West ​are to be called out on strike.

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: “The decision to ​take action and lose a day’s pay is always a tough call. It’s especially challenging for those whose jobs involve caring and saving lives.

“But thousands of ambulance staff and their NHS colleagues know delays won’t lessen, nor waiting times reduce, until the government acts on wages. That’s why they’ve taken the difficult decision to strike.”

Report:

Ambulance workers to strike before Christmas

Britain’s world standing ‘badly tarnished’ since Brexit, says David Miliband

05:30 , Namita Singh

Britain’s international standing in a turbulent world has been severely tarnished through delusions, hubris and a cavalier attitude to the rule of law, former foreign secretary David Miliband has warned.

The actions of successive British governments since Brexit and assumptions of superiority have left the country with the task of rebuilding trust and credibility with the European Union and wider afield, he said.

Where has Britain’s geopolitical strategy gone awry, our world affairs editor Kim Sengupta reports:

Britain’s world standing ‘badly tarnished’ since Brexit, says David Miliband

Students face ‘hardship’ as botched inflation rise leaves them £1,000 worse off

05:10 , Namita Singh

England’s poorest students will lose £1,000 because the government botched inflation forecasts, experts say, plunging them into “significant hardship”.

Ministers are under fire for setting the level of maintenance loans for this academic year when prices were expected to rise by just 2.3 per cent – not the 10.2 per cent now expected.

It means students who rely on the loans to live while studying will be “left in the cold”, even as other groups receive extra financial help, the Institute for Fiscal Studies is warning.

Deputy political editor Rob Merrick reports:

Students face ‘hardship’ as botched inflation rise leaves them £1,000 worse off

Former head of UK counter-terror policing calls Suella Braverman’s comments on migrants ‘inexplicable’

04:50 , Namita Singh

The former head of UK counter-terror policing has called Suella Braverman’s language on migrants “inexplicable” and compared it to Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech.

Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Neil Basu, who is the country’s most senior non-white police officer, said the racist and anti-immigration address in 1968 had made his parents’ lives “hell” as a mixed-race couple.

In an interview with Channel 4 News before his departure from Scotland Yard, he was asked about Ms Braverman’s statement that sending asylum seekers to Rwanda was her “dream”.

Read the details in this report from our home affairs editor Lizzie Dearden:

Former terror police chief hits out at Braverman’s comments on migrants

Labour calls on government to close £17bn ‘loopholes’ in energy windfall tax

04:40 , Namita Singh

Labour today accused the government of “botching” its windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas companies by leaving loopholes which the party calculates will cost the public finances £17bn.

In a challenge to Jeremy Hunt, Labour is today tabling an amendment to the bill enacting the chancellor’s autumn statement, demanding that he spell out the full cost of windfall tax allowances for fossil fuel firms.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports:

Labour calls on government to close £17bn ‘loopholes’ in energy windfall tax

04:24 , Namita Singh

Welcome to The Independent’s UK politics blog for Wednesday, 30 November 2022, where we provide the latest from Westminster.