London party

Politics latest from London: National Insurance hike will continue, says minister, despite cost of living crisis

Asked if the NI increase in April was set in stone, Chris Philp, minister for technology and the digital economy, told Sky News: “Yeah it’s going forward.

“It was approved by the whole Cabinet.

“It was passed by Parliament by a significant majority and the money is needed to fund the NHS, which is a national priority.”

He pointed out that the 1.25 percentage point increase in National Insurance contributions would raise £36billion over three years for the NHS and tackle the welfare crisis.

Asked if NI’s rise would continue, Mr Johnson said on Thursday it was “absolutely vital”, but did not confirm it would happen in April as millions of families across the Britain are facing a squeeze in the cost of living also due to higher inflation and energy bills will soar.

It comes as the wait for Sue Gray’s Partygate report continues.

Live updates

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Chris Bryant: ‘We’re not behind, it’s chaos’

Labor MP Chris Bryant said the country was ‘unrun’ and accused Boris Johnson of creating ‘chaos’.

He told BBC Breakfast that the problem with the prime minister denying claims he helped approve the evacuation of animal charity Nowzad from Afghanistan last year “is that there is black and white evidence pointing the other way”.

“There is an email that has come to light from a senior official in Lord Goldsmith’s office saying the Prime Minister authorized this particular evacuation, and airlines have now released emails suggesting that the Prime Minister’s assistant minister, Trudy Harrison, was asking them to support Nowzad and could have it expedited by the prime minister,” he said.

“There is a letter in which she is trying to sort this all out, and now there are other emails from Foreign and Commonwealth officials that refer to the Foreign Secretary getting clearance from the Prime Minister.

“All I want to know is who made the decision?

“It goes to the heart of how we are governed in the UK at the moment, and if you can’t even clearly understand what happened nine months ago, the worry is that there are too many of chaos. We are not directed, it’s just chaos.

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Gray report delayed due to ‘discussions with lawyers and police’

Technology Minister Chris Philp asked why the delivery of the Gray report had been delayed, told LBC: ‘You’ll have to ask Sue Gray that because the timing of the report is up to her.

“You will have seen, as I have seen, the speculation from the press is that it is because they are talking to lawyers and police officers about exactly what can and cannot go into it.

“But at the end of the day, I don’t know because it’s a report that she compiles independently and I have no visibility into what it may or may not contain or her thought process.”

Mr Philp said he wouldn’t ‘speculate’ what happened in Issue 10, adding: ‘Like everyone else, I’m just going to wait for it to be released.

“I will read it very carefully when it comes out and I’m not going to speculate…what the report may or may not contain and what it may or may not mean.”

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Met asked for a ‘minimal reference’ to be made in Sue Gray’s report

Scotland Yard has confirmed it has asked for “a minimal reference” in Sue Gray’s report to the alleged Downing Street incidents the force is currently investigating.

In a statement, it said: ‘For the events which the Met are investigating, we have requested that a minimum reference be made in the Cabinet Office report.

“The Met has not asked for any limitations on other events in the report, or for the report to be delayed, but we have had ongoing contact with the Cabinet Office, including on the content of the report, to avoid any prejudice to our investigation. .”

This leads to claims that sections of the report may need to be redacted for legal reasons.

Labor has called for the report to be published in full, although it has not yet been received by Downing Street.

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Almost half of Londoners think Sadiq Khan is doing a bad job – YouGov poll

Sadiq Khan’s approval ratings have fallen firmly into negative territory for the first time since he became mayor in 2016, a new poll has revealed. writes David Bond.

A YouGov survey shows 48% of adults in the capital say Mr Khan is doing poorly with more than a quarter of those polled saying he is doing very poorly.

By contrast, only 38% say he is doing well – a drop of seven percentage points since YouGov last conducted a mayoral performance survey in March 2021.

The results give him a net approval rating of minus ten, the first time he has entered negative territory, according to YouGov’s tracker.

You can read our full story here.

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“Not too late” for Putin to defuse, according to the minister

It is “not too late” for Russian President Vladimir Putin to “defuse” tensions on the Ukrainian border, a minister has warned.

Chris Philp, Minister for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, told Sky News: “We are deeply concerned that the buildup of Russian troops around the Ukrainian border has reached unprecedented levels. previous – military units from the Far East of Russia settled in this region, which had not happened for many years before.

“So I think this is a very serious situation. I think President Biden and our Prime Minister are right to warn President Putin that the consequences if they invade Ukraine will be really, very serious for the Russia in terms of sanctions.

He added: “The Americans made it clear yesterday that the Nord Stream 2 pipe would not happen if they invaded.

“We in the UK are doing everything we can to support the Ukrainians, including providing them with military equipment that would help them – and the training that goes with it – to stop tanks, Russian tanks, from entering Ukrainian territory.”

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Hello

Hello and welcome to the Evening Standard’s live political coverage.

Here’s a rundown of all the latest stories in Westminster:

– Technology Minister Chris Philp has insisted the National Insurance hike is ‘going ahead’ following reports the Prime Minister is ‘wobble’ over planned tax hike in April to increase health funding

– Boris Johnson’s wait for the Sue Gray report continues, with legal and human resources officials currently reviewing it before it can be sent to Downing Street for publication

– A group of top UK scientists have written to the government warning that allowing poorer countries to remain unvaccinated is a ‘reckless approach to public health’ and will allow new variants of Covid to develop