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Politics latest: Starmer and Sunak clash over security and rainbow lanyard ban

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Sunak in ‘war against lanyards’, Starmer jokes after rainbow colours banned in civil service

Rishi Sunak faced off against Sir Keir Starmer in the first PMQs since Natalie Elphicke’s defection last week.

The Prime Minister was branded by Starmer a “jumped up-milk monitor” obsessed with “confiscating lanyards”.

The Labour leader accused the PM of trying to grant high-risk criminals early release, but Mr Sunak told MPs serious offenders would not be freed from jail early as part of a Government bid to cut overcrowding.

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Stephen Flynn, demanded that Sunak apologises for comparing Scottish people to war criminal Vladimir Putin.

PMQs came amid a fresh crackdown on culture war issues, with a ban to be introduced on children under nine being taught sex education and about gender identity.

Policing minister Chris Philp said the new measures are expected to come into force soon.

Speaking today, he also called on police forces to increase the use of stop and search as part of tougher measures to tackle knife crime.

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Starmer to unveil first steps of a Labour government

Speaking from Essex, he will make six pledges to voters including delivering economic stability, and a strategy to grow the economy by lowering taxes, inflation and mortgages.

The Labour leader will also vow to cut NHS waiting times, with 40,000 more appointments each week.

The steps also include a new Border Security Command to end criminal boat gangs, and the creation of a publicly owned energy provider, to be called Great British Energy.

He will also promise to tackle on antisocial behaviour, and he will announce the recruitment of 6,500 new teachers.

Starmer will appear this morning joined by his deputy Angela Rayner and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves.

Salma Ouaguira16 May 2024 08:31

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Good morning, here are the top stories today:

  • Sir Keir Starmer is set to launch a Tony Blair-style presidential pitch ahead of the general election.
  • Nigel Farage cis convinced the Tories would not win the next election even if they forge a pact with Reform UK.
  • Education Secretary Gillian Keegan claims Government’s new sex education plans still allow children to explore ideologies.
  • Security Minister Tom Tugendhat is set to speak on defending Taiwan.
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer is set to launch his presidential pitch to voters today (PA Wire)

Salma Ouaguira16 May 2024 08:11

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We’re pausing our live political coverage for the night but keep checking independent.co.uk for the latest news.

Sam Rkaina15 May 2024 21:58

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‘Politicising sex education is unforgivably dangerous,’ Green MP slams

The MP for Brighton Pavilion has slammed the Tories as part of a wave of backlash on the PM’s sex education restriction in schools.

Salma Ouaguira15 May 2024 21:00

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Watch: Nigel Farage responds to calls for him to become Conservative minister

“It’s just not going to happen because Rishi [Sunak] is not bold, he has no leadership whatsoever,” Mr Farage said, responding to the idea on GB News.

The former Ukip leader went on to add that the “vast majority” of Conservative MPs have “no courage” and “no vision”.

“This will not happen, even though Jacob [Rees-Mogg] thinks it’s a frightfully good idea.”

Nigel Farage responds to calls for him to become Conservative minister

Nigel Farage has suggested it is unlikely that he will join the Conservative Party after Jacob Rees-Mogg revealed that he wanted the Tories to join forces with both him and members of Reform UK. “It’s just not going to happen because Rishi [Sunak] is not bold, he has no leadership whatsoever,” Mr Farage said, responding to the idea on GB News. The former Ukip leader went on to add that the “vast majority” of Conservative MPs have “no courage” and “no vision”. “This will not happen, even though Jacob [Rees-Mogg] thinks it’s a frightfully good idea.”

Salma Ouaguira15 May 2024 20:30

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Watch: Sunak faces Starmer in PMQs as sex education set to be axed for under 9s

If you’ve missed today’s PMQs, you can still catch up it below:

Salma Ouaguira15 May 2024 20:00

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Gordon Brown piles pressure on Keir Starmer over two-child benefit cap

But his call also piles pressure on Labour, which is currently backing the policy despite criticism. Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting told The Independent that Labour would inherit a difficult set of public finances but would work to bringing down child poverty.

Salma Ouaguira15 May 2024 19:30

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In full: What is the prison early release scheme?

  • The Emergency Prison Release Scheme is based on a legislation that allows charged criminals to be released before their sentences are due. 
  • It applies to prisoners serving sentences with the opportunity to be released at halfway through. 
  • It means they can be released 18 days earlier than their actual release date.
  • People convicted of sexual offenses, terrorist offences, serving more than 4 years for violence, licence recalls and those of Category A status are not eligible.
  • The scheme was originally set to run for two weeks with the hopes of making 200 spaces available in prisons. 
  • The legislation came as an emergency response to the overcrowding in England prisons.

Salma Ouaguira15 May 2024 19:00

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‘PM using migration to solve problems gov doesn’t want to deal with,’ says migration advisor

The graduate visa route is currently being debated at the Home Affairs Committee following the publication of an emergency report.

Migration Advisory Committee chair Professor Brian Bell told the committee cutting the graduate visa would negatively affect universities.

He slammed the government for using immigration “to solve problems politicians don’t want to deal with”.

He added: “We’re crippling universities on the domestic fee side, we don’t fund research so the only way to break even – not to make a profit – is to bring in more international students and charge them a lot,” he told the committee this morning.

“Until that funding model is solved, we need to deal with the funding – politicians have driven universities to this.”

Salma Ouaguira15 May 2024 18:30

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Labour calls for ban on ninja swords

The weapons, known as katanas and ninjatos – single-edged straight blades up to 60cm long, with long hilts or guards – are not currently banned.

Shadow Justice Minister Alex Cunningham told the House of Commons said: “Knife crime destroys lives, devastates families and creates fear and trauma in communities.

“Many of us will have constituents deeply impacted by knife crime.

“Sadly, the situation is getting worse, not better. The latest statistics show knife crime up again in the past year, it is now 80% higher than in 2015.

“There’s a wider point here about the ease with which such weapons are bought and sold, mostly online, and then end up in the hands of young people.”

Salma Ouaguira15 May 2024 18:00

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