Tory party conference LIVE: Alok Sharma praises Greta Thunberg ahead of Cop26

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·19-min read
Tory party conference LIVE: Alok Sharma praises Greta Thunberg ahead of Cop26
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Alok Sharma celebrated Greta Thunberg ahead of Cop26 in Glasgow next month.

Earlier on, Health Secretary Sajid Javid outlined his plans for the NHS during his Conservative Party conference speech on Tuesday.

He said his priorities include getting the UK out of the pandemic and tackling the “huge backlog” of appointments.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel have used their speeches to focus on law and order issues in wake of Insulate Britain protests and the brutal murder of Sarah Everard.

Key Points

  • ‘Get back to work or get gossiped about’, says Boris Johnson

  • Dominic Raab - Women’s safety ‘number one priority’

  • Priti Patel announces major inquiry into murder of Sarah Everard

19:05 , Lily Waddell

Alok Sharma praises Greta Thunberg

The politician said he hopes to see young people attending Cop26 in Glasgow.

Speaking at the Conservative conference, he praised Greta Thunberg and the power her words have had on him.

He said: “I hope we will see young people coming. Greta Thunberg, I first heard her speak in 2019, I was there together with the Prime Minister.

“I felt uncomfortable not because it was Greta speaking but because of what she was saying. She was holding a mirror up to our generation. That’s why, at our Cop26, we need it to be a success.”

18:59 , Lily Waddell

Alok Sharma speaks about Cop26

The President for COP26 spoke at the Conservative party conference on Tuesday.

He addressed issues facing nations involved in Cop26 in Glasgow next month.

“Climate is a great leveller,” he said.

“The decisions these world leaders make is going to impact most on your children and your grandchildren.

“That’s why we need to get it right. The message was very clear, they need world leaders. We need them to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.”

Sajid Javid: ‘No reform is easy, otherwise it would’ve been done’

17:10 , Anthony France

Sajid Javid said 2022 would be a “year of renewal and reform” for the NHS, telling his party conference: “In the past, some governments chose cash, others chose reform. That’s a false choice. You can’t have one without the other.

“So yes, we will continue to prioritise funding for the NHS in the wake of this global pandemic. But I also promise you this: 2022 will be a year of renewal and reform.”

The Health Secretary reiterated that retired general Sir Gordon Messenger will lead a review of leadership and management in health and social care.

He went on: “No reform is easy, otherwise it would’ve been done already. But if we get it right, no, when we get it right, we won’t build back the way things were.

“We’ll build a future where our health and social care systems are integrated more seamlessly together.

“Where British life sciences lead the world on new treatments. Where we have not only the best surgeons, but robots performing life-saving surgeries.”

Sajid Javid says health and social care ‘begins at home'

17:04 , Anthony France

Sajid Javid said people should not always go first to the State for health and social care but to family instead.

He said: “The State was needed in this pandemic more than any time in peacetime. But Government shouldn’t own all risks and responsibilities in life. We as citizens have to take some responsibility for our health too.

“We shouldn’t always go first to the State. What kind of society would that be?

“Health – and social care – begins at home. Family first, then community, then the State.

“If you do need support, we live in a compassionate, developed country that can afford to help with that. There are few higher callings than to care for another person.”

Mr Javid went on to recall his work volunteering in a care home.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid: ‘NHS waiting list will get worse before it gets better'

17:00 , Anthony France

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the NHS waiting list “will get worse before it gets better”, noting it is projected to “grow as high as 13 million”.

Mr Javid went on: “No government, no health secretary, no society can accept that. That’s why we have prioritised elective recovery – check-ups, scans, surgeries – with the biggest catch-up fund in the history of the NHS.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid: ‘Priorities are Covid, recovery, reform'

16:57 , Anthony France

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said his priorities include getting the UK out of the pandemic and tackling the “huge backlog” of appointments.

He told the Conservative Party conference in Manchester: “My priorities are simple: Covid, recovery, reform.

“Covid – getting us, and keeping us, out of the pandemic.

“Recovery – tackling the huge backlog of appointments it has caused.

“And reform of our health and social care systems for the long-term.”

Mr Javid said the “vaccine wall” has “held firm” so far.

Health secretary Sajid Javid takes to the stage

16:16 , Rachael Burford

Sajid Javid has taken to the stage for his conference speech.

The Health Secretary starts off with a joke about how his mother was desperate for him to become a GP.

“She said, well you didn’t quite make it as a GP but at least you’re working in health care”, he says.

Mr Javid also pays tribute to the NHS workers who have worked throughout the pandemic.

“We stand and salute you.”

Medals for Afghanistan evacuation soldiers

15:38 , Rachael Burford

Military personnel who were involved evacuating people from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover could be awarded medals, the Defence Secretary has said.

Ben Wallace said he was reflecting on the efforts of the soldiers involved in Operation Pitting in Kabul,.

Speaking at a Policy Exchange fringe event at the Conservative Party conference, he said the armed forces had shown they could perform in a “high-stress environment” as they presided over the evacuation of hundreds of British nationals and Afghans who had supported the UK during the war efforts there.

“We will reflect on whether there is medallic recognition specifically for it,” he said.

“Remember, there is always medallic recognition for the gallantry and organisational skills that are demonstrated in whatever conflict that is for our service personnel, so that is a separate programme.

“But we will obviously reflect on that.”

“Covid, recovery and reform” - Sajid Javid set to outline NHS reform

15:16 , Rachael Burford

We’re about 45 minutes away from Sajid Javid’s speech to the conference.

The Health Secretary is set to pledge 2022 will be a "a year of renewal and reform" for the health service.

He is also due to lay out plans to cut waiting times and boost NHS efficiency in the wake of the pandemic.

It is expected that he will announce his three priorities are: "Covid, recovery and reform".

"Covid - getting us, and keeping us, out of the pandemic," he is due to say.

“Recovery - tackling the huge backlog of appointments it has caused. And reform of our health and social care systems for the long-term."

Tony Blair: Africa needs support in drive for net zero carbon emissions

14:55 , Rachael Burford

Tony Blair has said there is an “urgent need” for more action from high income countries to help Africa lower its carbon emissions.

Writing in the Evening Standard ahead of the COP26 summit, the former Prime Minister says it is clear that while the science of climate change is settled, “whether we will do enough to tackle it remains an urgent and unanswered question”.

Read more HERE.

Former prime minister Tony Blair (PA Wire)
Former prime minister Tony Blair (PA Wire)

UK officials hold talks with senior members of the Taliban in Afghanistan

13:22 , Sarah Harvey

Meanwhile outside of Manchester, UK officials have held talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan in part to prevent the country from becoming "an incubator for terrorism".

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said Sir Simon Gass, the Prime Minister's High Representative for Afghan Transition, and Charge d'Affaires of the UK Mission to Afghanistan in Doha Dr Martin Longden travelled to the country and met with senior members of the organisation.

A Government spokesperson said: "Sir Simon and Dr Longden discussed how the UK could help Afghanistan to address the humanitarian crisis, the importance of preventing the country from becoming an incubator for terrorism, and the need for continued safe passage for those who want to leave the country.

"They also raised the treatment of minorities and the rights of women and girls.

"The Government continues to do all it can to ensure safe passage for those who wish to leave and is committed to supporting the people of Afghanistan."

The Taliban has been in control in Afghanistan since the fall of the western-backed government in August.

Priti Patel announces major inquiry into murder of Sarah Everard

12:21 , Rachael Burford

Priti Patel has announced a major new inquiry into the murder of Sarah Everard.

The two-part investigation will examine the issues raised by the conviction of Met officer Wayne Couzens for her kidnap, rape and killing.

The first part will look at Couzens’ previous behaviour to establish a “definitive account” of his conduct leading up to his conviction, as well as any opportunities missed, drawing on investigations by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The second part will consider any specific issues raised by the first part, which could include wider issues across policing, such as vetting practices, professional standards and discipline, and workplace behaviour.

In her keynote speech, Ms Patel said that those targeting women and girls would “feel the full force of the law” upon them.

Read more from our political editor Nicolas Cecil HERE.

‘No apology’ for securing borders, says Priti Patel

12:14 , Rachael Burford

“France is a safe country, not one riven by war or conflict,” says the Home Secretary.

“There is no reason why any asylum seeker should come to the United Kingdom directly from France.

“I make no apology for securing our borders and exploring all possible options to save lives by ending these horrific journeys.”


Illegal Immigration

12:10 , Rachael Burford

“What is happening in the Channel with small boats is unsafe, unfair, and unacceptable. From the vast camps outside Calais of mainly male, economic migrants,” says Ms Patel.

“To the shocking images of people crammed onto flimsy boats crossing the Channel, exploited by people smugglers. Vile criminals characterised by ruthlessness and greed, who even threaten to drown small children to line their pockets.” ...

“My New Plan for Immigration is already making its way through Parliament. At the heart of this Plan is a simple principle. Control. That is not unreasonable.

“Through our New Plan for Immigration, Britain will be fair but firm and we will continue to be outward facing.”

On Insulate Britain Protests

12:08 , Rachael Burford

“Freedom to protest is a fundamental right our party will forever fight to uphold.

“But it must be within the law. Measures already going through parliament will ensure these criminals can be brought to justice for the disruption they are causing.”

The Home Secretary announces:

•An increase in the maximum penalties for disrupting a motorway

•Criminalising interference with key infrastructures such as roads, railways and the free press

•New powers for police and courts to deal with the small minority of offender’s intent on travelling around the country, causing disruption and misery across our communities

“This Conservative Government is taking the tough decisions needed to cut crime and make our streets and communities safer,” she says.

‘Enough is enough’ -Violence against Women and Girls announcement

12:04 , Rachael Burford

“The safety and security of our citizens is paramount,” says the Home Secretary.

“ Without safety and security, there can be no freedom. Our approach to crime will always be based upon seeking justice for victims and survivors, whilst ensuring perpetrators feel the full force of the law.

“I know all our thoughts remain with Sarah Everard’s family and friends.

“Her murderer was a monster. His explicit intention was to instil fear and terror in women and girls. I say this as Home Secretary, but also as a woman.

“Such unconscionable crimes and acts of violence against women and girls have no place in our society. And that is why I have redoubled my efforts to ensure women and girls feel safer.”

Inquiry into Sarah Everard murder

12:00 , Rachael Burford

Priti Patel starts by talking about the murder of Sarah Everard.

She announces a major new inquiry into the killing.

Priti Patel due on stage

11:57 , Rachael Burford

Standing room only in the conference auditorium just before Home Secretary Priti Patel is due to take to the stage here in Manchester.

The crowd is spilling out of the room.

 (Evening Standard)
(Evening Standard)

Boris bikes

11:20 , Rachael Burford

Boris Johnson tested a range of green technology during his morning visit to the Manchester conference centre, including an e-bike.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Dominic Raab - Women’s safety ‘number one priority’

10:54 , Rachael Burford

Making sure women feel safe walking home at night is the Government’s “number one priority”, Dominic Raab said today.

The justice secretary said he was “shocked and horrified” by the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa in London and new plans will “transform” the way the criminal justice system treats violence against women.

At the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, he said: “Making our communities safer, so that women can walk home at night without having to look over their shoulder, as your Justice Secretary, that is my number one priority. We will transform the way the justice system treats violence against women.”

Mr Raab added that plans include reforms on the time it takes to examine phone evidence in cases of rape and sexual assault.

Dominic Raab (PA Wire)
Dominic Raab (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson defends £20 cut to Universal Credit

10:25 , Rachael Burford

The PM this morning defended the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit, arguing that the taxpayer should not subsidise low wages through the benefits system.

He set out a vision for the UK to be a “high skill, high wage” economy, arguing that cheap labour from overseas has allowed businesses to avoid investing in their workforces and infrastructure.

The removal of the £20 Universal Credit uplift - a temporary measure introduced during the pandemic - will occur tomorrow, the same day the Prime Minister addresses the Tory conference in Manchester.

“I understand that people feel times are difficult at the moment because we have got an economy that’s coming out of a very tough period with the Covid pandemic and it’s growing strongly now,” he told LBC Radio.

“We’ve got the fastest economic growth in the G7.”

Monday at Conservative Party conference

09:25 , Rachael Burford

Yesterday saw Michael Gove, the new levelling up secretary, lay out his most detailed account to date of what the Government’s levelling up policy actually means.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak signalled that further spending pledges would need to be funded by tax rises rather than borrowing.

A male activist was expelled from the conference for allegedly assaulting a woman at the Midland Hotel bar.

Five people were arrested after former Tory party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith was allegedly assaulted by being hit on the head with a traffic cone.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith (PA Archive)
Sir Iain Duncan Smith (PA Archive)

Stanley Johnson: Greta Thunberg ‘remarkable young lady’

08:51 , Rachael Burford

Boris Johnson may have branded environmental protesters “irresponsible crusties” this morning, but his father Stanley does not quite agree.

The senior Mr Johnson, who was recently pictured wearing an Extinction Rebellion badge, described Greta Thunerg as a “remarkable young woman”.

But said Insulate Britain campaigners who have been closing roads around the capital in recent week were “making a mistake” by “antagonising ordinary people”.

Read more here:

Stanley Johnson (PA Archive)
Stanley Johnson (PA Archive)

PM addresses rising inflation, taxes and cost of living

08:38 , Rachael Burford

“I think that for the British economy and the British people, this is the right way forward,” Boris Johnson said.

He added the market would address current demand-led shortages and the shift away from fossil fuels would have a long-term effect on energy bills.

“This Government is going to fix it for the long-term by making investments in renewable power that we can rely on in this country,” he said.

“This Government is doing the difficult, long-term things. We got Brexit done, which was a very difficult thing to do, and we are now going to address the big, underlying issues that face the UK: long-term lack of productivity, long-term lack of investment in energy and infrastructure.

“We are going to fix that. That will have a big downward pressure on costs and that is the way to tackle inflation.”

‘Get back to work or get gossiped about’ - PM

08:23 , Rachael Burford

The PM has urged people to get back to the office or risk being “gossiped about”.

With the pandemic not threatening to overwhelm the NHS despite tens of thousands of new infections a day, the Government appears to be stepping up its efforts to get millions more people back to their jobs in offices and other workplaces.

“We are certainly encouraging people to get back to work in the normal way,” Boris Johnson told LBC.

“That’s a good thing, for young people in particular it’s really essential to be in, if you are going to learn on the job, you can’t just do it on zoom.

“You have got to be able to come in...and know what everybody is talking about.

“Otherwise you are going to be gossiped about and you are going to lose out.

“You need to be there, to have the stimulus of exchange and competition.”

Mr Johnson stressed the Government was sticking to Plan A, rather than resorting to more restrictions such as encouraging people to work from home and compulsory mask wearing.

The official position has been to encourage a gradual return to the workplace over recent months.

Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie (centre) at work with Boris Johnson during a visit to a Barratt Homes development site in Gloucestershire (PA Wire)
Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie (centre) at work with Boris Johnson during a visit to a Barratt Homes development site in Gloucestershire (PA Wire)

M25 protesters are ‘irresponsible crusties’, says PM

08:17 , Rachael Burford

The Prime Minister has called Insulate Britain protesters “irresponsible crusties”.

The environmental activist group has closed roads around the capital over the past few weeks.

Yesterday the Blackwall Tunnel and Wandsworth Bridge were among the roads targeted, sparking angry confrontations with motorists.

Boris Johnson told LBC: “There are some people who call those individuals legitimate protesters.”

He added: “They are not. I think they are irresponsible crusties who are basically trying to stop people going about their day’s work and doing considerable damage to the economy.

“That is why we have taken the powers and why Priti Patel is doing the right thing to bring in powers so they can get six months or an unlimited fine.”

Boris Johnson on media rounds

07:41 , Sarah Harvey

The Prime Minister has also been on the early morning media rounds.

 (Jeremy Selwyn)
(Jeremy Selwyn)
 (Jeremy Selwyn)
(Jeremy Selwyn)

Build back butter?

07:37 , Sarah Harvey

Boris Johnson has shared a clip of his morning routine ahead of today’s second day of the Tory conference...

Kit Malthouse: Insulate Britain has crossed the line

07:35 , Sarah Harvey

Crime and Policing minister Kit Malthouse has said Insulate Britain protesters have "crossed the line between exercising their right" and their responsibility to the public, and further measures to combat their tactics will be announced on Tuesday.

Speaking about footage of a paramedic dragging some of the protesters out of a London road they had blocked on Monday, he told Sky News: "This is really distressing stuff that's emerging now.

"While we obviously all value the right to protest, there is a difference between causing disruption and causing damage.

"We believe that these protesters and some of the others that we've seen in the last couple of years have crossed the line between exercising their right but also their responsibility towards the rest of us, and something needs to be done.

"So, today we're going to be announcing a raft of new measures alongside those that are already in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that's going through the House of Lords at the moment that we think will help deal with this problem, specifically recognising the disruption of infrastructure and disruption of the strategic road network is of a different scale of damage than you would otherwise find with a normal protest."

Police to be given greater powers to deal with protesters, says policing minister

07:35 , Sarah Harvey

Crime and Policing minister Kit Malthouse has said Insulate Britain protesters have been slipping through a "legal loophole" but police will be given greater powers to deal with them to ensure they face court action.

When asked on Sky News why High Court injunctions were not enough to bring an end to the protests, he said: "Most people will respond to an injunction, because an injunction is effectively a civil warning that if you fail to obey there will be consequences.

"To get to that consequences step, because it's a civil procedure, we have to apply to the High Court, the injunction has to be served, a committal hearing has to be scheduled and those people have to have the chance to appear to defend themselves, and that all takes time.

"In the meantime, while the police can arrest these protesters, and charge them for obstructing the highway, the charge at the moment isn't severe enough that they can be detained in custody pending an appearance in court.

"That means that these people in particular are then free to go repeat offend as we've seen.

"Eventually, given that they are as far as I can see in breach of that injunction, they will appear in front of a judge, and face the wrath of that judge, but in the meantime we need to think about this particular legal loophole to give police more power to deal with this very severe disruption."

NHS can cope with pandemic backlog, says Health Secretary

06:42 , Sarah Harvey

The Health Secretary has insisted the NHS can cope with post-pandemic stresses as he urged people stuck on waiting lists not to opt for private care.

In an interview with The Guardian, Sajid Javid said he was confident the NHS would be able to clear the patient backlog which built up during the coronavirus pandemic.

Although he did not give a date for when the queue may be eased, Mr Javid told the paper he would not advise people to seek out private care in order to access treatment faster.

He said: "That's always a choice for people that can afford it, and that's up to them. But it's not certainly something I would be recommending to anyone.

"I don't want a situation where too many more people just stop (using the health service) ... because I want them to use the NHS. The NHS can manage it."

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