Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth brands health and care bill ‘care con’
Boris Johnson faces the threat of a Tory rebellion over his proposed changes to the health and care bill, with former chief whip Mark Harper among MPs urging him to withdraw the amendment tonight over fears it will disadvantage poorer pensioners and those with long-term conditions.
The prospect of an embarrassing parliamentary climbdown came as the prime minister defended a rambling speech he gave earlier on Monday to business leaders at the CBI, during which he lost his train of thought, made car engine noises and went off on a tangent about the Peppa Pig World theme park.
Asked by a reporter afterwards, “frankly, is everything okay?”, the PM claimed spectators got the “majority of the points he was trying to make” and that his address had been received “well”.
Critics suggested the speech will have done little to assuage Conservative concerns about Mr Johnson’s leadership, following weeks of sleaze accusations and dodgy decisions – including the Owen Paterson controversy. The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg quoted a senior Downing Street source as saying: “There is a lot of concern inside the building about the PM … It’s just not working”.
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Health minister insists ‘no one will lose’ from reforms as social care debate kicks off
The debate on the amendment relating to the controversial cap on social care costs is now underway in the Commons.
Opening the debate on clause 49, health minister Edward Argar said: “Let me remove all doubt on this issue: no one will lose from these reforms, compared to the system we have now, and the overwhelming majority will win.
But Tory doubts over the bill emerged quickly nonetheless.
Conservative MP John Baron highlighted concerns from the Tory benches “about the distribution of the relative losses and the worry that those less well-off are going to be hit hardest from the government’s amendment tonight”.
Andy Gregory22 November 2021 20:04
Government rejects proposals for health warning on individual cigarettes
Proposals to ban child-friendly branding on e-cigarette packaging and for health warnings on individual cigarettes have been rejected by the government.
Labour’s Mary Kelly Foy had tabled a series of amendments to the Health and Care Bill at report stage in a bid to help the government meet its ambition for England to be smoke-free by 2030.
But health minister Edward Argar argued existing measures in place are “appropriate” and allow changes to be made where required.
The bill also supports the introduction of new requirements about calorie labelling on food and drink packaging and the advertising of junk food before the 9pm watershed in a bid to “level up” health across the country.
But Tory MP Richard Fuller warned the advertising ban on products high in fat, salt and sugar goes against the “essence of Conservatism” and warned it could hit products such as porridge and muesli.
Andy Gregory22 November 2021 19:51
PM could be ‘in trouble’, former No 10 chief suggests
Theresa May’s former chief of staff has weighed in on the gloom emanating from Downing Street this morning, as reported by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg.
It’s an analysis unlikely to cheer the prime minister’s spirits:
Andy Gregory22 November 2021 19:44
With the possibility that many MPs may abstain in the looming vote on the controversial amendments to the health and care bill, it appears that just shy of 300 have voted on current amendments to the bill relating to smoking and alcohol.
Andy Gregory22 November 2021 19:28
Developers could be required to build to zero-carbon standards, levelling up minister says
Michael Gove has said he envisaged a clause in the government’s Levelling Up White Paper requiring developers to build to zero-carbon standards in future.
The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities was asked at the County Councils Network’s Annual Conference: “Do you envisage there being a clause in that paper that will require developers to build to zero-carbon standards in future?”
He replied: “Yes, and I should say in addition we are looking at exactly how in the planning system but also in building regulations and more broadly, we can ensure that we have the highest possible level of ambition on reaching net zero.”
Andy Gregory22 November 2021 19:17
UK must be able to ‘trade freely within our own country’, Frost says
David Frost has been addressing Centre for Policy Studies’ Margaret Thatcher Conference.
According to The Telegraph’s chief political correspondent, the UK’s Brexit negotiator discussed his aims for negotiations over the Northern Ireland Protocol and how “merry England” may be the “free-est country in the world as regards Covid restrictions”.
The speech comes less than a year after he negotiated the current Brexit trade deal, which included checks on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
Andy Gregory22 November 2021 18:45
With a private funeral service for MP Sir David Amess having been held in Southend earlier today, the BBC has this moving clip of the choir at St Mary’s Church.
Andy Gregory22 November 2021 18:32
Boosters won’t be required for travel to UK until 2022, Shapps says
Away from the Commons for a moment, the transport secretary has told reporters at Dubai’s Expo 2020 event that booster jabs will not be required for travellers to the UK until 2022.
According to UAE paper The National, Mr Shapps also said that he did not “see any prospect” of any major travel rule changes that would affect expats visiting for Christmas 2021.
My colleague Lucy Thackray has the details:
Andy Gregory22 November 2021 18:29
Labour MP calls on Priti Patel to amend bill over threat to RNLI
During a heated debate on the government’s nationality and borders bill, Labour’s Neil Coyle warned that, as the bill stands, it “will criminalise the work of the RNLI”, and urged Priti Patel to meet with lifeboat staff.
“It’s an outrageous situation,” he said. “I’ve tabled an amendment to prevent prosecution for their courageous humanitarian work, so will the Home Secretary meet RNLI staff and volunteers and adopt my amendment to protect these frontline lifesavers who’ve sadly already been the target of abuse and attacks because of the government’s irresponsible narrative and media headlines on this issue?”
The home secretary replied: “We have been very clear that we will be putting an amendment down at report stage on the specific point that he has made.”
Andy Gregory22 November 2021 17:54
Ex-chief whip calls on Boris Johnson to withdraw controversial social care plans
The Tory revolt over social care has escalated ahead of this evening’s crunch Commons vote, with former chief whip Mark Harper going public with his concerns and urging Boris Johnson to withdraw the controversial plans.
Mr Harper, who stood against Mr Johnson for the Tory leadership in 2019, is reported to have railed against the plans in an emergency call with care minister Gillian Keegan on Friday afternoon.
The Independent’s political editor Andrew Woodcock has the full details here:
Andy Gregory22 November 2021 17:40