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As it happenedended1530722170

Jeremy Corbyn ignores universal credit row to charge May with neglecting bus services - as it happened

Follow live updates from Westminster here

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 04 July 2018 08:27 BST
Marsha de Cordova challenges Theresa May over Esther McVey Universal credit accusations

Theresa May faced Jeremy Corbyn for their weekly Prime Minister's Questions clash as divisions among senior Tories deepened ahead of crunch Brexit talks on Friday.

The "away day" at Chequers will see ministers attempt to thrash out an agreement on the government's Brexit plan, but the cabinet remains split on the UK's future customs relationship with the EU.

Despite Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, having earlier been accused of misleading Parliament over universal credit, Mr Corbyn stuck to his script and used all six of his questions to ask the prime minister about bus services.

Labour MP Marsha de Cordova was left to press the prime minister on whether Ms McVey should resign, after the work and pensions secretary was accused of wrongly claiming an independent watchdog had suggested thegovernment's flagship welfare reforms were working well.

Ms McVey later apologised for "inadvertently" misleading MPs over the social security reform.

As it happened...


Welcome to The Independent's live coverage from Westminster.

Kristin Hugo4 July 2018 09:07

As the Tories' Brexit splits show no sign of healing, leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has been forced to deny he is planning a leadership coup against Theresa May. Full story by Ashley Cowburn

Kristin Hugo4 July 2018 09:20

This is the big story this morning - news that the Vote Leave campaign "broke electoral law" by plotting with another group to breach legal spending limits, according to the Electoral Commission. The watchdog is expected to fine the organisation and senior figures, including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, are likely to face further questions about how much they knew. Story by Rob Merrick...

Kristin Hugo4 July 2018 09:40

MPs enjoyed England's World Cup win over Colombia last night as much as anyone, if this video from Tory MP Ben Bradley is anything to go by... Theresa May is yet to comment on rumours it's coming home.

Kristin Hugo4 July 2018 09:51

TheNational Audit Office has this morning sent a fairly damning letter to Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, accusing her of having made false statements in the House of Commons...

It relates to Ms McVey's response to an NAO report on universal credit. The minister had claimed the study did not take into account new information - a claim the watchdog denies.

The NAO also accused her of having misrepresented the contents of the report.

Kristin Hugo4 July 2018 10:07

Conservative peer Baroness Warsi has called for an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in her party after criticising the response to several incidents as "woefully inept".

The former Tory party co-chair said "absolutely nothing tangible has happened" in response to her raising concerns, including by sending Theresa May a dossier of evidence. Writing in The Guardian, Baroness Warsi said: 

"The party needs to be proactive and change its culture."

Words without action are at best flannel and at worst represent simple contempt.

So it's time for my party to set out its stall. Not only does justice need to be done, it needs to be seen to be done.

There should be a forensic, wide-ranging and transparent inquiry into Islamophobia in the party. The process should be published, those who are found wanting should be publicly named and membership withdrawn.

And it needs to be cathartic, allowing witnesses to come forward and tell their stories."

She added:

"For years I have argued that an internal inquiry was the solution to this mess.

"Unfortunately the time for that has now long passed. As a plethora of people and organisations have said, only with a full, independent inquiry can we truly become the party we claim to be: One that deplores prejudice in all its forms and stamps it out wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head."

Kristin Hugo4 July 2018 10:23

  ↵As the NHS celebrates its 70th anniversary this week, our economics editor, Ben Chu, debunks some of the most common myths about the health service...

Kristin Hugo4 July 2018 10:40

Here's our full story, by Ashley Cowburn, on the explosive letter sent by the National Audit Office to Esther McVey, accusing her of making statements in Parliament that were "not correct"

Kristin Hugo4 July 2018 10:55

Pressure is mounting on Esther McVey over suggestions she misled Parliament several times in relation to a report on universal credit.

Opposition politicians are calling for her resignation...

Kristin Hugo4 July 2018 11:13

Labour has called on Esther McVey to make a "full apology" for appearing to mislead Parliament and said she should "consider her position" if she refuses to do so.

Margaret Greenwood, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said:

“This is a very serious matter. Esther McVey appears to have misled Parliament in misrepresenting the findings of the NAO report.

She sought to rubbish the NAO report, rather than respond to its findings, which were damning of her government’s flagship social security policy, even though her own department had agreed the report prior to its publication.

She must now make a full apology to the NAO, to Parliament and to the people who rely on Universal Credit for support. If she won’t then she should consider her position because people’s lives are being ruined by this botched policy rollout.”

Kristin Hugo4 July 2018 11:41

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