25.11.2022
Dominic Raab under pressure as another formal ‘bullying’ complaint is launched against him

A further complaint has been brought against Dominic Raab, taking the total number of complaints against the Deputy Prime Minister to three. The complaint came from the Department for Exiting the European Union, when he was Brexit Secretary in 2018. The Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman said Mr Sunak “has now asked the investigator to add an additional complaint”.

She said it was received by the Cabinet Office on November 23th.

The latest complaint comes in addition to two pre-existing complaints, one from his time in the Foreign Office and another from the Ministry of Justice.

But the Prime Minister’s spokesperson confirmed that Mr Sunak still has “full confidence” in Mr Raab.

She added: “There is now an independent investigation that is ongoing.

“It is being led by someone with extensive experience in this area. We’re not going to preempt or prejudge that process.”

Senior lawyer Adam Tolley KC is leading the investigation into the complaints.

Last week, Mr Raab asked Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to launch an investigation into his own conduct after the first allegations about his behaviour towards staff emerged.

Downing Street said the report will be published in a “timely way”.

While the investigation is independent, any final judgement on whether Mr Raab was in breach of the ministerial code will remain with Mr Sunak.

Mr Raab has denied any allegations of bullying, insisting he “behaved professionally at all times”.

The Justice Secretary and Deputy PM said he looks forward to dealing with the complaints “transparently rather than dealing with anonymous comments in the media”.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner warned the investigation must not be a “whitewash”, calling on Mr Sunak to expand its scope to cover other allegations about Mr Raab’s behaviour.

She said: “This Conservative government has a troubling track record of brushing serious misconduct under the carpet. Their refusal to act on findings against [former home secretary] Priti Patel previously led their former ethics chief to quit in disgust.

“A temporary stop-gap investigator, appointed in a panic, with an absurdly narrow remit is not a solution to dealing with the flood of allegations of ministerial misconduct now requiring investigation.”

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09.12.2022
Jeremy Hunt to tear up ‘overbearing’ EU rules to turbocharge post-Brexit economy
Jeremy Hunt is set to tear up a swathe of “overbearing” EU rules to boost the City post-Brexit. The move…
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09.12.2022
SNP MP claims ‘if we hadn’t shut our borders’ with Brexit the NHS would be better
Former SNP Deputy Leader Stewart Hosie fumed at the impact of Brexit on NHS staffing levels during Question Time in…
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  • 7 минут назад 09.12.2022Politics
    Jeremy Hunt to tear up ‘overbearing’ EU rules to turbocharge post-Brexit economy

    Jeremy Hunt is set to tear up a swathe of “overbearing” EU rules to boost the City post-Brexit. The move is part of an attempt to boost Britain’s financial services industry after Brexit. Speaking today in Edinburgh, the Chancellor will announce a package of reforms, centred around increasing the City of London’s competitiveness.

    The reforms will see the treasury relax ring-fencing rules on smaller banks and mandate financial regulators to focus on economic growth as well as consumer protection.

    The “Edinburgh Reforms” are a step back from the initial plans, which were previously dubbed “Big Bang 2.0” – a mark of Mr Hunt distancing himself from the more radical proposals planned by his predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng.

    The original title of the reforms was an echo of Margaret Thatcher’s deregulation of the Square Mile in the mid-1980s.

    The reforms are part of an attempt to seize post-Brexit freedoms and boost the city’s competitiveness, with the Chancellor saying that leaving the EU is a “golden opportunity” to “unleash the full potential of our formidable financial services sector”.

    Ring-fencing requires banks to separate their retail banking services from their investment and international banking activities and was introduced as a response to the financial crisis.

    While the UK’s biggest lenders will still be required to adhere to ring-fencing requirements, several smaller banks, such as Santander UK, Virgin Money and TSB Bank, will likely be exempt.

    The changes could also include a review of the Mifid 2 rulebook – regulation around financial research – as well as deregulation of trading rules to boost flexibility for investors.

    The Treasury also said rules that “hold back growth will be reviewed, with overbearing EU rules which put companies off listing in the UK being overhauled”.

    Announcing the reforms, Mr Hunt said: “This country’s financial services sector is the powerhouse of the British economy, driving innovation, growth and prosperity across the country.

    “Leaving the EU gives us a golden opportunity to reshape our regulatory regime and unleash the full potential of our formidable financial services sector.

    “Today we are delivering an agile, proportionate and home-grown regulatory regime which will unlock investment across our economy to deliver jobs and opportunity for the British people.”

    The plans come in the wake of Mr Hunt’s Autumn Statement, which saw the Treasury unveil a swathe of tax rises and spending cuts, taking taxes to their highest level since World War 2.

    One of Britain’s biggest business groups warned that Mr Hunt’s tax raid has had a “chilling effect” on the economy and risks damaging the UK’s competitiveness.

    Alex Veitch, the British Chambers of Commerce’s director of policy, said: “Business confidence has been falling for months. It is now clear that the September mini-Budget and Autumn Statement have had a further chilling effect.

    “Very few firms will be willing to invest as they face a wall of higher prices, interest rates and taxes.

    “The very real worry is that the UK will get left behind by our competitors, once the economy emerges from recession, as growth remains so weak.”

    The Chancellor and City Minister Andrew Griffith will meet with City chief executives today to discuss the reforms and examine how the financial services sector can further drive investment and economic growth.

    Simon Morris, a financial services partner at City law firm CMS, welcomed the reforms but said: “Headline reforms are only half the story, and the City needs continued stability to thrive.

    “Government and regulators have promised to maintain world-class regulation with no bonfire-lit race to the bottom – this is greatly assuring. [But] the second element is more challenging, and the Government cannot optimise its regulatory reforms without the UK first re-establishing its reputation as a fiscally stable jurisdiction.”

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  • 4 часа, 7 минут назад 09.12.2022Politics
    SNP MP claims ‘if we hadn’t shut our borders’ with Brexit the NHS would be better

    Former SNP Deputy Leader Stewart Hosie fumed at the impact of Brexit on NHS staffing levels during Question Time in Bishop Auckland on Thursday. The Dundee East MP raged that “maybe if we hadn’t shut our borders” fewer NHS staff from overseas would have gone home meaning there would be fewer unfilled vacancies across the health service.

    He said: “Maybe if we hadn’t shut our borders to our friends in Europe and all those doctors and nurses hadn’t gone home.

    “That wouldn’t be at least one of the issues that we had to face.”

    The former SNP Deputy Westminster leader added that many working people were now experiencing the highest levels of inflation in their lifetimes.

    He said: “If we take the point that was originally made, inflation at 9, 10 ,11 percent. Most people who are working today have never seen inflation like that in their lives.

    “They’ve never seen the erosion of their salaries like that in their lives.”

    “So it’s no wonder people are balloting to go on strike.”

    The SNP Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster added that he fully supported workers undertaking industrial action.

    He said: “The one thing that strikes me, is that most people who are balloting to strike do not want to go on strike.

    “They just want the Government to negotiate with them.

    “I have to say, I support the right to strike if the Government won’t negotiate a fair deal.

    “It’s not good, none wants to see it but I think it’s the right thing to do.

    “There’s one final point I’d like to add.

    “In Scotland the council workers got a settlement that they agreed to. In Scotland the Scotrail workers got a settlement they were prepared to agree to.”

    “What about the teachers who went on strike today and yesterday”? host Fiona Bruce asked referencing walkouts by members of the EIS union.

    Mr Hosie responded that SNP ministers in Holyrood were willing to negotiate with unions in sharp contrast to their Tory counterparts in Westminster therefore making a settlement more likely.

    He said: “The teachers and the nurses, those negotiations are ongoing but therein lines the thing. The ministers are actually negotiating.

    “UK ministers need to negotiate with the workforces who are on strike and worse than that they need to stop scuppering negotiations which is now a theme that is developing throughout the labour movement.”

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  • 10 часов, 6 минут назад 09.12.2022Politics
    Boris has ‘no interest being leader of Opposition’ as poll shows Tories are still behind

    Conservative MPs are already looking for a replacement for Rishi Sunak on the assumption that they cannot avoid defeat in the next election. This comes as the latest tracker poll has given the Tories a two point boost but still leaving them 21 percent behind Labour.

    A former cabinet minister told Express.co.uk: “There is no avoiding defeat. The only question is whether we can limit the damage.

    “We need to avoid a 1997 result or worse.”

    In 1997 the Tories under John Major suffered the worst defeat in their history.

    A massive victory for Labour under Tony Blair saw the Conservatives wiped out in Scotland and Wales leaving them with just 165 seats losing more than half the constituencies they won in 1992.

    The latest Techne UK poll for Express.co.uk gives Labour 48 percent (down one) and the Conservatives 27 (up one).

    If the Techne poll played out in an election it would leave the Conservatives in a worse place than 1997 with 121 seats.

    Meanwhile, Labour would have a majority of 226 seats.

    The former cabinet minister, who is a close ally of Mr Johnson, said that the prospect of unavoidable defeat was now playing into the calculations about whether he tries to make another comeback.

    The senior MP said: “Boris does not want to be leader of the Opposition. He has no interest in that.”

    The former minister added: “He knows his one chance to come back was when Liz Truss stepped down.

    “He had the numbers but for his own reasons he did not want to go ahead with it.

    “We (Tory MPs) know that we cannot change prime minister for a third time, voters just would not accept it.

    “The next election will be a disaster if we do that.

    “The question is what we do after the election in opposition.”

    There is currently a campaign to push for Me Johnson to return.

    But most MPs believe it is either too late or would be catastrophic.

    Former chairman Jake Berry and former Treasurer Lord Cruddas are both understood to be behind the push.

    There is also a concern that Richard Tice’s Reform UK, previously the Brexit Party, is taking Tory votes.

    Reform is polling at 5 percent in the tracker poll but taking 11 percent of Leave voters from 2016 and 7 percent of Conservative from 2019.

    There are fears that if Nigel Farage makes a comeback their vote share will be even higher.

    Techne chief executive Michela Morizzo said: “This week our regular tracker poll sees the Labour vote share drop by 1 point to 48 points with the Conservatives gaining a point and moving to 27 percentage points nationally.

    “Even with this 2 point swing from Labour to Conservatives Rishi Sunak’s Government has little festive cheer. NHS operation waiting numbers have exceeded this week for the first time 7 million patients on a list for treatment and many public sector workers are either already on strike or considering strike action.

    “These are bleak mid-winter times for the Conservative Party and there is no doubt that an easy and quick way back into contention with Labour still seems a far and distant prospect at this time.”

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  • 10 часов, 6 минут назад 09.12.2022Politics
    MP’s fury as he loses Tory whip over assault claims

    Julian Knight suggested he may be the target of a “campaign of rumour and innuendo” and said he would not participate in Parliament until the matter was resolved. He said yesterday: “I have heard nothing from the police, the Whips Office or Parliament’s internal grievance service, or been the subject of any investigation by the latter.

    “Nor have I ever been warned or spoken to by the Whips Office about any allegations of misconduct. I believe their withdrawal of the whip is wrong and unjustified.

    “Some months ago I accepted the resignation of a staff member following a full inquiry into his conduct regarding House of Commons security issues and, separately, allegations of bullying against him.

    “Subsequently, I have received what my lawyers advise are explicit threats involving blackmail. All matters are now with my lawyers.” A spokeswoman for Tory Chief Whip Simon Hart, who took the action, would not comment on the complaint.

    Mr Knight, 50 – chairman of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee – has represented Solihull since 2015.

    The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that it had “received allegations of serious sexual assault against unnamed victims reported to have taken place on unknown dates at undisclosed locations.

    “On December 7 a further referral relating to the incident[s] was made and an investigation was launched. There have been no arrests.”

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  • 14 часов, 6 минут назад 08.12.2022Politics
    Matt Hancock’s constituency voted him unfit to represent them days before he stepped down

    Matt Hancock’s constituency voted that he is “not fit” to represent them before he announced he would be standing down as an MP. His association ruled no confidence in the MP on 30 November, three days after Mr Hancock came third in ITV’s ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’ Yesterday, he announced he would be stepping down from Parliament at the next election, despite previous insistence from his spokesperson that he has “no intention” of doing so.

    In his letter to Rishi Sunak, he claimed the chief whip “made clear he would restore the whip in due course”, but said that would no longer be “necessary”.

    He said: “I am writing to tell you that I do not intend to stand for the Conservatives at the next General Election.”

    The MP continued: “It has been a huge honour to serve as Member of Parliament for West Suffolk over the past twelve years.

    “I am very proud of what we achieved, including the establishment of three Free Schools, dualling of the A11, supporting the horseracing industry, and expanding Newmarket Hospital. I will of course continue to represent all my constituents between now and the next election.

    Days before Mr Hancock published his statement, his constituency chairman penned a letter to the Tory chief whip Simon Hart saying that local association officers believed the MP for West Suffolk was “not fit to represent this constituency”.

    The letter, from Terry Wood, president of West Suffolk Conservatives, was sent to Mr Hart on 1 December, one day after his association ruled no confidence in their MP.

    The revelation may put pressure on the former Health Secretary to stand down immediately.

    Mr Wood wrote: “I have been instructed by the Officers Group of West Suffolk Conservatives Association to write to you and advise you of the following.

    “At an Officers Group meeting held on the 30 November 2022 a vote was taken that ruled that the Officer Group have no confidence in Matt Hancock as our sitting MP, and we would request that the Whip is not restored to him.

    “This vote was brought about following feedback from the constituents in West Suffolk, advising that by virtue of recent events, they consider Matt Hancock not fit to represent this constituency.”

    But an ally of Mr Hancock said: “This letter is irrelevant. It hasn’t been sent on behalf of the association, and the Chief Whip told Matt he was going to get the whip back. Matt had already decided not to stand again when it came to light.”

    In his letter announcing that he would not be standing, Mr Hancock called on the Conservative party to “reconnect with the public”, adding: “There was a time when I thought the only way to influence the public debate was in Parliament, but I’ve realised there’s far more to it than that.

    “I have increasingly come to believe that for a healthy democracy we must find new ways to reach people – especially those who are disengaged with politics. The revival of modern conservatism over the next decade will I suspect take place as much outside Parliament as in it.”

    Mr Hancock said he now wants to “do things differently”, saying he has “discovered a whole new world of possibilities which I am excited to explore”.

    He said he would continue “championing the issues that are dear to my heart, including better support for dyslexic children who get a raw deal from the education system.”

    Mr Hancock claimed that raising awareness of dyslexia was one of the main reasons he entered the jungle to take part in “I’m a Celeb”, as well as to show the human side of politicians.

    The former Health Secretary finished third in the reality show, after being voted to take part in a raft of bushtucker trials.

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  • 17 часов, 17 минут назад 08.12.2022Politics
    3 numbers that show how Raphael Warnock won the Georgia runoff

    The blueprint for how Democrats can win Georgia is becoming clearer and clearer.

    In a year when Republicans won every other statewide race in Georgia in November, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock earned reelection in the once-red state in Tuesday’s Senate runoff, winning roughly 51.4 percent of the vote compared to 48.6 percent for GOP challenger Herschel Walker.

    After narrowly leading Walker on Election Day, Warnock narrowly improved on his margins across the state in the runoff. He was buoyed by strong enough turnout in the Atlanta area, particularly among Black voters. And he built up an advantage from early and mail voting that Republicans simply could not catch — a subject the GOP is belatedly addressing after its disappointing midterms.

    Here are the numbers that explain how the incumbent Democrat pulled it off.

    Georgia’s runoff results highlighted once again the recent partisan polarization of methods of voting. Since 2020, Republican leaders, including former President Donald Trump, have expressed skepticism of early and absentee voting methods — although a number of Republican leaders other than Trump appear to be rethinking that opposition after losses in Georgia and elsewhere.

    Democrats’ dominated both those types of voting during the runoff, with Warnock winning more than 58 percent support from those who cast their ballots either early or by mail. That reflected in part the demographic groups more likely to vote early: Black voters accounted for 31.8 percent of those who cast their ballots ahead of Election Day, several percentage points higher than in November.

    Despite records set in the first few days of early voting, there was still significantly less total early voting than in the January 2021 runoffs, when the early voting period was longer and overall turnout — including Election Day voting — topped 4.4 million, compared to only 3.5 million this year.

    But the early and absentee vote still allowed Warnock to build a lead of more than 320,000 votes, which Walker was unable to overcome on Election Day. The GOP nominee won the Election Day vote by around 225,000 votes, not enough to put him over the top.

    After trailing Warnock slightly in the November election that prompted the runoff, Walker either needed to shift turnout in his favor or improve his margins.

    He couldn’t do it. Walker’s share of the two-party vote improved in just 26 of the state’s 159 counties, according to a POLITICO analysis of unofficial results reported by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. The counties where he managed to improve were largely small and rural — accounting for just 5 percent of total votes cast in the state — so Walker could not bank enough votes to offset Warnock’s gains elsewhere.

    That was always going to be tough without popular GOP Gov. Brian Kemp also on the ballot, though Kemp did jump into the runoff campaign following his reelection. Despite some split-ticket voting, Kemp’s win by a margin greater than 7 points likely helped keep Walker close in November.

    “Without a candidate like Brian Kemp who was so popular and so good at campaigning and getting people to the polls, it’s easy to see how Reverend Warnock would have made that 50 percent plus one needed to avoid a runoff,” said Jermaine House, a spokesperson with the progressive research firm HIT Strategies.

    The bottom didn’t fall out for Walker entirely. Despite a range of scandals and Democrats outspending the GOP 2-to-1 in the final weeks before the runoff, he still came within a few percentage points of victory. But he couldn’t make substantial improvements across the state after a disappointing Election Day, and that left him short of the majority.

    Statewide turnout in the runoff was roughly 89 percent of what it was in November, with more than 3.5 million voters casting ballots this time. High turnout does not inherently benefit one candidate or the other. But Walker, who had trailed slightly in the November election, needed relatively higher turnout in GOP-friendly counties compared to Democratic-leaning ones. That did not substantially materialize.

    Johnson County, Walker’s home turf in east central Georgia, was the only county that saw more ballots cast in December compared to November. But it did not work out to Walker’s benefit — Warnock actually increased his vote share there slightly.

    Most importantly for Warnock, Democratic strongholds in metro Atlanta saw relatively high turnout. In DeKalb County, turnout was higher than the state average. It was slightly lower in Clayton and Fulton counties, but Warnock improved his margin slightly in both, offsetting turnout losses.

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Politics Dominic Raab under pressure as another formal 'bullying' complaint is launched against him