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UK politics

Hunt rejects Braverman’s blistering criticism of PM’s migration plan



Jeremy Hunt said “we are beginning to win the battle against inflation” but “there’s lots more work to do” as he responded to this morning’s data published by the Office for National Statistics (see the post below at 08.00). 

The Chancellor said meeting the promise of halving inflation would allow the Government to “move to the next part of our economic plan”, focused on growth.

He told broadcasters: “In January, the Prime Minister said that his number one pledge was to halve inflation. People at the time said that was going to be easy to deliver, it would happen automatically.

“We now know that wasn’t the case, we took some very difficult decisions to control borrowing and debt, and we have now delivered that pledge a whole month early. There’s lots more work to do. We still have to bring inflation down to its target level of two per cent.

“But now we are beginning to win the battle against inflation, we can move to the next part of our economic plan, which is the long-term growth of the British economy. That’s why next week will be an autumn statement for growth.”

UK politics

Kwarteng backs Braverman over raising migrant salary threshold



Net migration levels are “way in excess” of what the Tories have promised at past general elections, Kwasi Kwarteng has said. 

The former chancellor told GB News that there needs to be “more control” over who is coming to the UK. 

He said: “I think it has got to be an immigration that works for the UK and that is why personally I have always found a points-based system attractive.

“You have got to limit the numbers also you have got to have some control of the abilities, the quality, of the people coming into your country so that you can benefit from that. I think the numbers and the people, what they bring to the table, I think needs to be examined. 

“Clearly the numbers are way in excess of anything that we have stood for in a general election on and we need to have more control over that. And even the Prime Minister himself, Rishi Sunak, everyone in the Government, seems to be concerned about the scale of that immigration.”

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UK politics

Mass migration could cost Tories next general election, says Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg



Cabinet minister does not deny Sunak ‘snubbed’ Greek PM

A Cabinet minister has not denied that Rishi Sunak “snubbed” the Greek Prime Minister by cancelling a meeting at which Kyriakos Mitsotakis had planned to raise the prospect of the return of the Elgin Marbles.

Mr Sunak had been due to meet Mr Mitsotakis but the meeting was cancelled by the UK side and a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden was offered instead. That offer was rejected. 

Transport Secretary Mark Harper told BBC Breakfast this morning: “The Deputy Prime Minister offered to meet the Greek Prime Minister today and it proved not possible to make that happen. That’s a matter of regret. That offer was made. But the Government set out its position about the Elgin Marbles very clearly, which is they should stay as part of the permanent collection of the British Museum.”

Asked whether it amounted to a “snub” by Mr Sunak, Mr Harper said: “I’ve set out the position. I can keep repeating it.”

Government must ‘awake from its catalepsy’, says Rees-Mogg

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said the Tories need to wake up and tackle the mass migration issue if they want to win the next general election. 

The senior Conservative MP compared Rishi Sunak’s Government to Henry VI who suffered from catatonic inertia for 18 months. 

He told GB News: “Henry VI, who became king in 1422, suffered from catatonic inertia for 18 months, beginning in the middle of 1453.

“Since then, we’ve never had so inert a government – until perhaps today. The current government seems similarly inert and needs to awake from its catalepsy if it wishes to win the election.”

Rees-Mogg: PM ‘seemed to encourage even more migration’

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said Rishi Sunak had “seemed to encourage even more migration” when the Prime Minister delivered a speech at a Global Investment Summit at Hampton Court Palace yesterday. 

The former business secretary referred to the following quote from Mr Sunak: “We don’t have a monopoly on talent in this country. And we recognise that nearly half of our most innovative companies have an immigrant founder. 

“So if you’re an innovator, an entrepreneur, a researcher, you should know that the most competitive visa regime for highly skilled international talent is right here in the United Kingdom.” 

Sir Jacob told GB News: “The former home secretary [Suella Braverman] was serious about tackling mass migration. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister today at Hampton Court Palace at an investment summit seemed to encourage even more migration.”

Mass migration could cost the Tories next election, says Rees-Mogg

The question of mass migration could cost the Conservative Party victory at the next general election, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said. 

He told GB News: “The question of mass migration could cost the Tory Party the next election. Mass migration is not the norm in our history, it’s the exception.

“And never before has there been such a large movement of people. There’s no reason to accept this as the status quo.

“Net migration stands provisionally at 672,000 for 2023, and this when we’ve got a government that promised to get the numbers down into the tens of thousands. It lets down an electorate that has given repeated mandates to get the numbers under control.

His comments came after official figures published last week revealed a new record net migration high of 745,000 in 2022, prompting calls from Tory MPs for Rishi Sunak to take immediate action to reduce the numbers. 

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UK politics

A lot of work to be done to curb net migration, says Kemi Badenoch



Gove: Government must curb net migration and build more homes

Michael Gove said the Government needed to curb net migration and build more new homes. 

It was suggested to the Levelling Up Secretary that the Government will either have to build a lot more homes or massively cut net migration, given the current pressure being placed on the housing stock. 

He told Times Radio: “Well, I think we need to do both. I think it’s important when we’re looking at the migration figures to recognise that some of these figures are students, some of these figures are Ukrainian refugees, some of them are British nationals from Hong Kong. 

“But you are right, we do need to bring migration down and you’re also correct, we do need to build more homes.” 

Not enough homes to cope with net migration levels, suggests Gove

Michael Gove admitted the UK does not have enough housing to cope with current levels of net migration. 

The Levelling Up Secretary was asked if he accepted that housing levels were not sufficient for the number of people coming to the UK and he told Times Radio: “Yeah. In fact, I think actually the situation is, if anything, worse than you depict.

“It is the case that the migratory flows put more pressure on housing, but we haven’t built enough homes overall for generations. 

“This Government is going to hit its target of a million new homes in this parliament. But we do need to go further and earlier this year, I outlined a long term plan for housing which will allow us to build more homes, particularly making effective use of brownfield land.”

Sunak’s migrant deal with Braverman revealed

Rishi Sunak agreed to raise the salary threshold for migrants to £40,000 as part of a deal he struck with Suella Braverman, according to a copy of the pact seen by the Telegraph.

Mr Sunak agreed to a four-point migration plan as he sought her support during his leadership bid last year, allies of Mrs Braverman say.

Chief among them was a pledge to raise the minimum salary threshold required for a foreign skilled worker visa from £26,000 to £40,000, a proposal that was publicly backed last week by Boris Johnson, the architect of the post-Brexit points-based migration system.

You can read the full story here

Sunak silent on timing of next general election

Rishi Sunak has refused to be drawn on when he will call the next general election. 

There has been speculation in recent weeks that the Tory leader could opt for an election in May or November next year. 

Asked when it could be, the Prime Minister told Bloomberg TV: “That’s something that we announce in the normal way.”

Asked if there could be a particular trigger point for calling the election which has to take place before the end of January 2025, Mr Sunak said: “I’m really not focused on elections. I’m really just focused on delivering on the things that I said I would do for the British people…”

Rishi Sunak dismisses claims of return to austerity after Autumn Statement

Rishi Sunak has dismissed claims of a return to austerity in the wake of the Autumn Statement as he said such accusations are “simply unfounded”. 

Economists have said the Government’s spending plans suggest there will have to be “sharp cuts” to some public services in the years ahead. 

Asked if he was comfortable potentially presiding over austerity, Mr Sunak told Bloomberg TV: “No, that’s simply not the case. Actually, government spending in the UK right now is at very high levels historically over this parliament.

“It’s grown at very high levels, even in real terms, after the impact of inflation. So I think any commentary or accusations that that’s what’s happening is just simply unfounded.

“And we’re at a point now, given how people are feeling, given the amount that’s being spent, where I think the priority has got to be lowering the tax burden.

“Government’s already spending a lot of people’s money and what we need to see going forward is more productivity out of the public sector, it needs to match what we’ve seen in the private sector post-Covid. And I’d rather focus on efficiency in the public sector and prioritise cutting people’s taxes, rather than the Government spending ever more of their money.”

Kemi Badenoch: A lot of work to be done to curb net migration

Kemi Badenoch said the Government is taking the new net migration record high “very seriously” and there is “a lot of work to be done” to get the numbers down. 

Her comments came as Rishi Sunak faced growing pressure to take fresh action to curb legal migration levels after official figures published last week revealed a new peak of 745,000 had been hit in 2022. 

The Business and Trade Secretary told Sky News: “The Prime Minister has been very clear that net migration is not sustainable on those numbers so we need to look again. 

“The Home Secretary is going to be giving a lot of detail about what it is we are going to be doing next. We have been talking about the plan for Rwanda, we had the disappointing result from the Supreme Court. We are still working at this. 

“I know that the legislation is being worked on. You have mentioned the review. So this is a Government that is taking this very seriously. There is a lot of work to be done and as I said, net migration at those figures is far too high. We need to bring it down.”  

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