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.