Equating Saudi Arabia with Putin is “ridiculously distasteful,” says James Cleverly
Rishi Sunak has hinted that there could potentially be help for families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis in next week’s mini-budget.
Troubled Brits are being pressured by rising energy bills, skyrocketing petrol prices and a hike in social security contributions. The Chancellor told Tory activists today at the Conservatives conference in Blackpool: “Where we can make a difference… I always will.”
It comes as the Government abandoned plans to limit MPs’ earnings from part-time jobs for a fundamental reconsideration of the issue that sparked a dirt scandal in Westminster, leading Sir Keir Starmer to accuse the Prime Minister of “again breaking his promise”. to have broken.
From Friday, Ukrainian refugees without family members can apply for visas in the UK under the new Homes for Ukraine program.
More than 150,000 Brits have expressed an interest in hosting Ukrainians and the government is currently working with a range of charities and NGOs to find the best way to match people with host families.
Rishi Sunak hints at new aid for families struggling to pay bills amid cost-of-living crisis
Rishi Sunak has hinted at help with next week’s mini-budget for households struggling with the cost of living crisis, telling Tory campaigners: “Where we can make a difference… I always will.”
The Chancellor is coming under heavy pressure ahead of Wednesday’s spring declaration to extend his earlier £9billion energy bill support package, which has been hampered by the level of inflation in the heating, petrol and food bills consumers will be facing in the coming months have faced, has been eclipsed.
But he gave no pledge to provide more aid to the Conservative Conference in Blackpool or details on how he could help households with bills.
Our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports.
Joe MiddletonMarch 18, 2022 12:58 p.m
The government bows to pressure to investigate whether P&O broke the law with mass layoffs
The government is investigating whether P&O broke the law by sacking 800 workers outright after criticism it was washing its hands in the controversy.
Ministers had described the move as a “commercial decision” – but Downing Street said the bankruptcy service was now looking into whether the firm had breached termination rules.
“We are looking very closely at the actions of this company to see if they have acted within the rules,” Boris Johnson’s spokesman said.
Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has the details.
Joe MiddletonMarch 18, 2022 12:35 p.m
Labor and Tory rhetoric on workers’ rights does not match action
Around 800 P&O seafarers wake up this morning unemployed after the ferry operator announced without warning and via video call that it would be replacing its staff with cheaper temporary staff.
The move has not only raised questions about whether or not the layoffs are legal, but has also sparked outrage from all sides of the House of Commons and reignited debate over the “fire and rehire” employment practices.
Keir Starmer, the Labor leader, described the move as “disgusting”, while Downing Street said the treatment of workers was “completely unacceptable”.
Both the Tories and Labor will seek political gain from the crisis today, but the truth is that neither party can claim to have clean hands when it comes to workers’ rights.
Matt Mathers has the details.
Joe MiddletonMarch 18, 2022 11:57 am
Four-day week in the UK for 2,000 workers
At least 30 UK companies employing almost 2,000 people have signed up for a four-day workweek trial starting this summer.
The pilot programme, which begins in June, is expected to be the largest of its kind in the UK and will be led in part by researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
Employees of the participating companies receive one additional paid day off per week with no loss of income.
Eleanor SlyMarch 18, 2022 11:22 am
P&O Ferries “undermines capitalism,” says Rees-Mogg
Cabinet Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said P&O’s behavior was “very harmful, very stupid and very inappropriate” and risked “undermining” capitalism.
He said at the Tory Party Spring Conference: “I believe in a labor market that is flexible, but employers have a duty to behave well and fairly and considerately towards their employees and P&O has failed to do so.”
Mr Rees-Mogg added: “P&O should be very careful with this behavior as it risks undermining capitalism and free markets, which are essential to our prosperity.”
Eleanor SlyMarch 18, 2022 11:03 am
Labor wants P&O Ferries holiday pay back and ‘fire and reinstate’ banned
Labor has urged Boris Johnson to suspend the contracts and licenses of P&O Ferries owner DP World until the dispute over the mass redundancies is resolved.
Keir Starner’s party has also called for DP World to be removed from the government’s Transport Advisory Group.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Louise Haigh MP, Labor shadow transport secretary, said he must also “reclaim” taxpayers’ furlough pay and ban companies’ ability to “fire and rehire” workers under agency contracts.
“British seafarers don’t need meaningless platitudes – they need action,” said Ms Haigh.
“The government must now act to ensure that loyal workers in Britain are being undermined by foreign billionaires.”
Earlier, Minister James Heappey defended the Government’s decision to reject a recent bill aimed at stopping “fire and reinstatement” – although he suggested that ministers might want to reconsider the issue.
Eleanor SlyMarch 18, 2022 10:42 am
Ukraine: Angry Ben Wallace ‘slammed’ officers over prank call
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace expressed his anger at British officials over a prank call from an imposter claiming to be Ukraine’s prime minister, a fellow minister said.
Armed Forces Secretary James Heappey said Mr Wallace could “take a good hit” after the apparent security breach that the government has accused Russia of.
When asked about Mr Wallace and the fake call to LBC, Mr Heappey said: “He was pretty nasty. I think he was embarrassed that it happened and asked the department some pretty tough questions about how it happened.”
Eleanor SlyMarch 18, 2022 10:23 am
Minister says Ben Wallace is ‘quite upset’ by fake call in Ukraine
Minister says Ben Wallace is “rather offended” by fake call in Ukraine
Eleanor SlyMarch 18, 2022 10:03 am
Russian generals will be held accountable for all war crimes, the minister says
Military Secretary James Heappey said Russia’s war in Ukraine was “not going well at all,” but added: “Any notion that the military struggle will combine anytime soon is overly optimistic.”
The defense minister said the West could play a role in brokering a peace deal, but it was up to Ukrainians to decide what terms they could accept.
“This cannot go on indefinitely,” he told Sky News. “These are decisions that are the sole responsibility of President Zelensky and his government. It is not for the West to trade Ukrainian sovereignty.”
Mr Heappey said Putin bears the ultimate “guilt” for all war crimes committed by his forces in Ukraine – but warned that the entire Russian military chain of command would be held responsible for its actions.
“The evidence gathered points very strongly to war crimes in Ukraine,” he told Sky News after the deadly attack on a theater in the city of Mariupol
“It’s not just Putin who ends up being responsible for war crimes when evidence is gathered and people are held accountable. Every single person in the military chain of command cannot just hide behind the line, they just follow orders.”
Eleanor SlyMarch 18, 2022 9:44 am
Ofcom revokes RT’s license
Ofcom has withdrawn the UK license of Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT with immediate effect.
The television watchdog said RT’s licensee, ANO TV Novosti, is “not fit and proper” to hold a license amid 29 ongoing investigations into the “reasonable impartiality” of its programming.
The statement released by the regulator on Friday said: “We find the volume and potentially serious nature of the issues raised in such a short period of time to be of great concern – particularly given RT’s compliance history, which has shown the channel for previous fines of £200,000 was imposed for breach of impartiality.
“In this regard, we have launched a separate investigation to determine whether ANO TV Novosti is appropriate and appropriate to retain its broadcasting license.”
Ofcom said the decision to suspend the license came as part of an ongoing investigation into RT’s news and breaking coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously called for an Ofcom review, while RT is currently not broadcast in the UK due to sanctions being imposed.
Eleanor SlyMarch 18, 2022 9:18 am
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-latest-news-saudi-oil-russia-mps-b2038660.html Latest Boris Johnson news: Prime Minister accused of breaking ‘promise’ as Britain launches phase one of Ukraine programme