Rishi Sunak UK news: Dominic Raab bullying investigation to begin as deputy PM denies claims

Keir Starmer says Tories ‘always clobber working people’ during PMQs

An investigation into alleged bullying by deputy prime minister Dominic Raab will start imminently after the appointment of a senior employment lawyer to lead proceedings.

Downing Street said that barrister Adam Tolley KC will be able to interview potential witnesses and have access to documents relating to the case including emails and WhatsApp messages.

And he will be able to discuss extending the scope of the inquiry with prime minister Rishi Sunak if fresh allegations emerge.

Rishi Sunak’s official spokesperson said that Mr Tolley’s findings will be published in full. It will be for the lawyer to decide whether to make recommendations of sanctions if he finds against Mr Raab, but the PM will have the final say on any punishment, which could include dismissal from the government.

The justice secretary asked Mr Sunak to order an inquiry after the two formal complaints were submitted on 15 November, and has vowed to “thoroughly rebut and refute” allegations against him.

Elsewhere, Mr Sunak refused to end Britain’s controversial non-domicile tax status, claiming it would cost too much money to change the rules after being challenged on the issue by Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs today.


Speaker rebukes SNP MP for tweeting letter

Sir Lindsay Hoyle gave an SNP MP a dressing down in the Commons for sharing their correspondence on Twitter.

The speaker called on Ochil and South Perthshire MP John Nicolson to apologise for posting part of his letter relating to a decision on referring Conservative former culture secretary Nadine Dorries to the Privileges Committee.

Making a statement in the chamber following PMQs, the Speaker said: “[He] has seen fit to give a partial and biased account of my letter on Twitter and I await his apology … It is not the way we should be doing business in this House.”

Responding, Mr Nicolson said: “I want to put on record that I deplore social media pile-ons against you or indeed anyone else. I’ve been on the receiving end of them and they’re exceedingly unpleasant.

“But could I ask for guidance on what I and other members should tell their constituents about integrity in politics in this context? If someone misleads a committee, what should happen next?”

Sir Lindsay replied: “Printing the letter but only half the letter is not integrity – in fact, far from it.

“It misled the people of this country, it certainly put me in a bad light with the people of this country, and I don’t expect that to happen – an impartial Speaker – so if that was an apology I don’t think it was very good.”

Liam James23 November 2022 16:36


Hunt asked the Treasury how much could be raised by closing non-dom tax loophole

Jeremy Hunt said he has asked the Treasury to look into how much could be raised by closing the non-dom tax loophole.

The chancellor has disputed suggestions the move could raise £3 billion per year, arguing he would rather “would rather they stayed here and spent their money here” instead of moving abroad.

But he said he did not get Treasury estimates on ending the non-dom status, which the prime minister’s multi-millionaire wife has held.

Asked how much it would raise to close the loophole, he said: “Well, I’ve asked the Treasury to look into that.”

“Ireland has a non-dom regime. France has a non-dom regime. These are people who are highly mobile, and I want to make sure that we don’t do anything that inadvertently loses us more money than we raise.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 November 2022 16:11


People in house shares may be given extra protections to protect from individual council tax bills

People living in house shares may be given extra protections to prevent them from being “landed” with individual council tax bills, a minister said.

Communities minister Dehenna Davison told the Commons: “I can announce that we will shortly be consulting on the way that houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) are valued for council tax purposes.

“The consultation to be launched by January will look at situation where individual tenants can in certain circumstances be landed with their own council tax bills and consider whether the valuation process needs to change.”

Speaking to government amendments in the Bill aimed at strengthening English devolution, Ms Davison assured the Commons that they would not strip powers from lower tier councils.

She told MPs: “Just so that there can be absolutely no doubt, we are therefore explicitly precluding two-tier district council functions being removed from them and conferred onto a combined county authority. This amendment reflects the government’s commitment that devolution legislation will not be used to reallocate functions between tiers of local government.”

On plans to give local mayors more control over highways, she added: “This will enable them to better co-ordinate the deliver of highways infrastructure needed for effective key route networks across the whole of their authority area.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 November 2022 15:58


Brexit: Jeremy Hunt fails to deny he was source for ‘UK seeking Swiss-style deal’ claim

Quizzed by MPs, the chancellor said “I do not support, I have never contemplated” tearing up threadbare Boris Johnson’s deal, despite it being blamed for a big slump in GDP and cross-Channel trade.

But Mr Hunt failed, repeatedly, to deny he or an aide in the Treasury briefed journalists ahead of last weekend’s story which has reignited the Conservative wars over Europe.

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick reports:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 November 2022 15:33


Hunt says he does not support Britain rejoining the EU’s single market

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has insisted he does not support Britain rejoining the European Union’s single market as he denied being the source of suggestions the government was favouring a Swiss-style deal.

He told the Commons Treasury Committee: “We support the trade and cooperation agreement, we think it is an excellent agreement that was negotiated by Boris Johnson and David Frost.

“We do not support, we would not contemplate, I do not support, I have never contemplated any agreement which means moving away from the TCA, that means we are not negotiating or deciding the regulations that we want as sovereign equals, paying unnecessary money to the EU or indeed compromising on freedom of movement.

“That has always been my position as chancellor.

“With respect to the story in the Sunday Times, if you’re saying was the Treasury, was I, the source for any suggestion we should seek to renegotiate the TCA to move it towards an agreement more like the agreement with Switzerland, the answer is no.

“If you are saying do I believe that we could remove the physical barriers to trade in the way that happens on the Franco-Swiss border, the Norway-Sweden border, maybe in a way that is relevant for the N I P issues … that’s been my public position for some time.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 November 2022 15:18


Royal Mail workers’ strike to go ahead on Thursday and Friday

Royal Mail workers will strike over the Black Friday shopping period after union leaders rejected an 11th hour pay deal aimed at averting industrial action.

But the CWU said on Wednesday that the 48-hour strike involving around 115,000 postal workers will go ahead – referring to the pay offer on Twitter as a “surrender document”.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 November 2022 14:51


Dominic Raab bullying inquiry to begin after investigator revealed

Downing Street said that barrister Adam Tolley KC will be able to interview potential witnesses and have access to documents relating to the case including emails and WhatsApp messages.

And he will be able to discuss extending the scope of the inquiry with prime minister Rishi Sunak if fresh allegations emerge.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 November 2022 14:30


The full exchange: Blackford faces Sunak as independence referendum denied

The full exchange: Blackford faces Sunak as independence referendum denied

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 November 2022 14:20


Royal Mail makes ‘best and final offer’ to try to resolve dispute

Royal Mail says it has its “best and final offer” amid at resolving a long running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have held a series of strikes in recent weeks which the company said had cost £100 million.

A fresh 48-hour strike is set to be held on Thursday and Friday.

Royal Mail said its revised offer includes “extensive improvements” that have been made during the negotiations with the CWU, including an enhanced pay deal of up to 9% over 18 months, offering to develop a new profit share scheme for employees, and making voluntary redundancy terms more generous.

The company said it was also committing to no compulsory redundancies until the end of March 2023 at the earliest.

The company added it was offering to buy out a number of legacy allowances, make Sunday working voluntary and staggering the introduction of later start and finish times over three years.

Seasonal working proposals would also be changed so that employees would work around two hours less a week in the summer, and two hours more in the winter.

Simon Thompson, Royal Mail’s chief executive said: “Talks have lasted for seven months and we have made numerous improvements and two pay offers, which would now see up to a 9% pay increase over 18 months alongside a host of other enhancements. This is our best and final offer.

“Negotiations involve give and take, but it appears that the CWU’s approach is to just take. We want to reach a deal, but time is running out for the CWU to change their position and avoid further damaging strike action tomorrow.

“The strikes have already added £100 million to Royal Mail’s losses so far this year. In a materially loss making company, with every additional day of strike action we are facing the difficult choice of about whether we spend our money on pay and protecting jobs, or on the cost of strikes.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 November 2022 14:10


Think twice before you repeat gossip from Westminster – take it from someone who knows

“There’s no smoke without fire, the saying goes – and yet, in the Westminster village, you could argue that it’s actually all just smoke with plenty of mirrors. If success in politics is simply perception and optics, then the currency that underpins it is gossip, Salma Shah writes.

“Recently, a friend revealed that I was the subject of a scurrilous rumour. To save blushes, I won’t specify – but you can guess the nature of this malicious gossip was suggesting inappropriate behaviour. The rumour is untrue and upon hearing it I laughed heartily. It was even funnier to hear fake details that were supposed to make this rumour plausible – told by someone I’d never met – to a close friend of mine as if it were gospel truth.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 November 2022 13:50

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