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Rishi Sunak news – live: Suella Braverman has learnt from her mistakes, PM insists

New prime minister claims Braverman has ‘taken accountability’

Andy Gregory,Shweta Sharma,Emily Atkinson
Friday 28 October 2022 16:05 BST
'You need to try harder': Rishi Sunak told off by hospital patient over NHS's pay

Rishi Sunak has said he has no regrets over putting Suella Braverman back in charge of the Home Office just six days after she resigned over a security breach, insisting the home secretary has learnt from her mistakes.

The comments came in his first public visit as prime minister, to a Croydon hospital where he was confronted by an NHS patient who urged him to “try harder” on nurses’ pay. “It’s a pity you don’t pay them more,” Catherine Poole, a 77-year-old recovering from surgery, told the PM.

Mr Sunak also ditched a Tory leadership campaign pledge to fine patients who miss GP and hospital appointments, backtracking on plans health leaders had warned would “make matters worse”.

He pledged to put “fairness at the heart” of the “difficult decisions” he will take to “fix” the economic “mistakes” made by his party, and insisted it was “right” for him to focus on “depressing” domestic challenges, denying accusations of a “massive failure of climate leadership” by opting not to attend the Cop27 summit.


PM U-turns on plan to fine patients who miss appointments

Rishi Sunak has backed down on a Tory leadership campaign pledge to fine patients who miss GP and hospital appointments £10.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: “The PM wants to deliver a stronger NHS and the sentiment remains that people should not be missing their appointments and taking up NHS time.

“But we have listened to GPs and health leaders, and have acknowledged that now is not the right time to take this policy forward.”

Jane Dalton28 October 2022 12:55

Public expect PM to be at home, No 10 insists

The government remained “absolutely committed” to leading international action on climate change despite Rishi Sunak’s absence at Cop27, No 10 has said.

A Downing Street spokeswoman suggested the public would expect Mr Sunak to be in the country dealing with the “serious economic challenges” facing the UK, rather than at the summit in Egypt.

Asked about culture secretary Nadine Dorries’ assertion that it was wrong for Mr Sunak not to attend, she said: “The government remains absolutely committed to leading international and domestic action to tackle climate change and to protect nature.

“We are facing serious economic challenges. The Prime Minister is focused on dealing with those issues, and the public, I think, would also expect him to be in the country... dealing with those and ahead of the autumn statement.

“But we’re also very clear that the public should also judge us by our actions and we are forging ahead of many other countries on net zero, for example.

“We will, of course, also be represented at senior ministerial level with the Foreign, Business and Environment Secretaries all due to attend alongside the Cop President.”

Jane Dalton28 October 2022 12:46

‘Standard practice’ for palace and government to discuss Cop27 attendance, says No 10

Here is more detail on the comments from No 10 referenced in our current headline, suggesting that King Charles has been told not to attend Cop27.

“As is standard practice, government advice was sought and provided under a previous PM, and it was unanimously agreed that it would not be the right occasion for the King to visit in person,” said Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson.

“I’m not aware that that advice has changed but obviously any confirmation of the King’s travel would be for the palace.”

Asked if there are any plans for the conversation between the palace and the government to reopen, she said again that she is not aware the advice has changed.

Andy Gregory28 October 2022 12:31

Sunak vows to put ‘fairness at the heart’ of efforts to ‘fix’ his party’s economic mistakes

Rishi Sunak has promised to put “fairness at the heart” of the “difficult decisions” the government will be making in the months ahead, during his first public visit as prime minister.

“I acknowledged that mistakes have been made and part of why I’m now prime minister is my job is to fix them – and I’m confident that we can,” Mr Sunak told broadcasters at Croydon University Hospital.

“The chancellor has already said of course difficult decisions are going to have to be made. And I’m going to sit down and work through those with him. But what I want everyone to know is that we need to do these things so that we can get our borrowing and debt back on a sustainable path.

“That’s important because it means that we can get a grip of inflation. If we do that, it means we can limit as best as possible the increase in interest rates, which is important.

“But as we do that, I want people to be reassured, we will always do it with fairness at the heart, we will protect the most vulnerable and ensure that we can continue to grow the economy in the long run.”

Andy Gregory28 October 2022 12:18

Breaking: King Charles has been told not to go to Cop27 climate summit, No 10 says

Contradicting claims by environment secretary Therese Coffey this morning, Downing Street has now said that it is “not aware” its advice had changed since King Charles was told not to attend Cop27.

Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson confirmed his predecessor Liz Truss had imposed an effective ban on the monarch travelling to Egypt next month, saying: “It was unanimously agreed that this would not be the right occasion for the King to visit.

She added: “I’m not aware that that advice has changed.”

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has the breaking story, which you can refresh for updates:

King Charles has been told not to go to Cop27 climate summit, No 10 confirms

King Charles has been urged not to attend the crucial Cop27 climate summit, No 10 says – despite a cabinet minister claiming it is up to the monarch whether to go.

Andy Gregory28 October 2022 12:00

Sunak and Macron ‘commit to deepening partnership’ to deter Channel crossings, No 10 says

In their first phone call since Rishi Sunak entered No 10, he and Emmanuel Macron have “committed to deepening our partnership to deter deadly journeys across the Channel”, Downing Street has said.

Mr Sunak “stressed the importance he places on the UK’s relationship with France – our neighbour and ally”, Downing Street said in a readout of this morning’s phone call.

The pair agreed on a “huge range of areas where UK-France cooperation is vital”, including on Ukraine, climate, defence and the economy, with Mr Sunak noting the “strong historic and cultural links between our countries”, according to No 10.

“They agreed on the importance of continuing to work in support of Ukraine. As people across Europe face a difficult winter, with rising energy costs resulting from Putin’s invasion, the leaders resolved to work together to secure a more stable energy future. This includes increasing cooperation on nuclear energy,” No 10 said.

“The prime minister stressed the importance for both nations to make the Channel route completely unviable for people traffickers. The leaders committed to deepening our partnership to deter deadly journeys across the Channel that benefit organised criminals.

“The prime minister and President Macron looked forward to meeting soon, and to holding a UK-France Summit next year.”

Andy Gregory28 October 2022 11:46

Nadine Dorries says Rishi Sunak ‘wrong’ not to attend Cop27

Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries has said Rishi Sunak is “wrong” not to go to Cop27.

Responding to a claim from her frequent political ally Jacob Rees-Mogg that the new PM was “right” not to attend the climate summit in Egypt, the former culture secretary said: “For balance, my friend ... The Prime Minister is wrong not to go to Cop.

“Global warming is the biggest crisis facing our planet and net zero creates many 1000s of jobs which is good for the economy. Cop in Glasgow was most successful ever ... but don’t expect media to report that.”

Andy Gregory28 October 2022 11:42

Fresh election in Northern Ireland will be ‘verdict’ on political instability, says Sinn Fein MLA

A fresh Assembly election in Northern Ireland will be a verdict on what has been happening for the last nine months, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy has said.

Mr Murphy said the DUP has had the opportunity to come into an Executive, and dismissed their stance that refusing to form an Executive is exerting pressure on the UK government to act over the Northern Ireland Protocol as “fanciful”.

“The rouse the DUP has been adopting, in terms of north/south arrangements for a year, in terms of the Executive and the Assembly since February and May, is clearly not working, and what we need to do is get back around the table and work for people who elected us,” he told BBC Radio Ulster.

“The chaos and the infighting that is going on within the Tory government means their focus is entirely on themselves, and if there is a negotiation with the EU, that will take place because the British government want it to take place not because the DUP are punishing the people of the north by preventing them having their own institutions.

“The DUP action is harming only the people that they represent and we all collectively represent and is serving no purpose other than to do that.”

He added: “If an election takes place on December 15 ... that will be a verdict on what has been happening over the last six or nine months in terms of the DUP’s approach to all this, and we’re ready to fight that but there is no need for us to go down this road.”

PA28 October 2022 11:39

DUP leader blames Westminster for Northern Ireland’s return to polls

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has insisted it is the fault of the UK government that devolved government in Northern Ireland is not functioning, with voters set to head to the polls again after a six-month period in which a new executive must be formed elapsed.

The leading unionist party is refusing to nominate ministers until the government takes action to address its concerns around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“We’ve had six months in which to do something about the protocol, and during those six months we have had three prime ministers, we have had the government changed often and we haven’t seen the progress that is needed,” he told BBC Radio Ulster.

“I think the government would be within its rights to say given that those six months have elapsed and progress hasn’t been made that we need a further period to sort this out, get a solution on the protocol that restores Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market and that will see the institutions restored immediately.”

Sir Jeffrey also said the protocol is harming Northern Ireland’s ability to access medicines and equipment, contending that recently caused a three-week wait for life-saving cardiac surgery in a Belfast hospital, adding: “Those problems are real and need to be dealt with.”

Andy Gregory28 October 2022 11:09

Home Office should be split into two departments, think-tank says

Rishi Sunak should consider splitting the Home Office into a Security Ministry led by the home secretary, and an Immigration Ministry led by a separate minister, a think-tank has suggested.

With “something in the Home Office’s record for everyone to despair at”, such a reform “won’t be a silver bullet”, but “provides the best hope for the government making real headway by the time of the next election”, the right-wing Adam Smith Institute said in a new report.

Andy Gregory28 October 2022 11:06

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