Read about the latest UK political news, views and analysis.

Kate Andrews

When will Rishi Sunak see sense on the Triple Lock?

When Jeremy Hunt announced his ‘Autumn Statement for Growth’ last week, there was a slight problem: the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had actually revised down its growth forecasts. Apart from this year and the last year for the forecast, GDP gains are expected to be smaller than were predicted back in March. Yes, the government can still technically say it is making good on its pledge to ‘grow the economy’ — but best of luck to any minister who stands up and sincerely insists that 0.6 per cent or 0.7 per cent growth is something to boast about. The OBR is not, of course, the only forecaster. There are

Ross Clark

Curbing work visas won’t solve Britain’s migration issues

Why can’t we seem to distinguish between good and bad migration? Brexit allowed the government to do what the Leave campaign had repeatedly said it wanted: to create a points-based system which would turn away Romanian Big Issue sellers and welcome Indian surgeons. But now we have that system we don’t seem to like that either. True, the government has failed on illegal migration. The boats continue to arrive, bringing their cargo of mostly young males, some of whom we then put up in four star hotels at vast expense. It is pretty clear that a very large proportion of them are economic migrants rather than genuine refugees, yet our sluggish asylum system seems

Nicholas Farrell

The Italian left wants to blame Giorgia Meloni for the patriarchy

This weekend, demonstrations took place in major Italian cities to mark the UN’s international day for the elimination of violence against women. Many on the Italian left used the opportunity to suggest Giorgia Meloni is aiding and abetting the murder of Italian women – even though she is Italy’s first female Prime Minister.    The largest protest was in Rome where demonstrators, mainly women – 500,000 according to the organisers – brandished placards saying ‘The Patriarchy Kills’, ‘We Support Female Fury Against The Fascist Meloni Government’ and ‘Meloni Fascist Zionist Collaborator’. Palestinian flags fluttered surreally alongside LGBTQIA2-S rainbow flags, as I think they are now called. Elly Schlein, leader of the main left-wing opposition Partito Democratico, was there and told journalists: the only way to stop ‘the

Sunak has doomed Britain to a total ban on smoking

It is an indictment of the intellectual vacuum in British politics that when a prime minister is looking for a legacy, they so often decide to give smokers another kicking. Tony Blair introduced a smoking ban to take our minds off Iraq, leaving office four days before it came into force in case things turned ugly. Theresa May set her successors the target of going ‘smoke-free’ by 2030 at the fag end of her time in Downing Street. For Rishi Sunak, way behind in the polls and failing to meet most of his five targets, a generational ban on tobacco sales offers a place in the history books. Jacinda Ardern

Why are local councils calling for a Gaza ceasefire?

Foreign wars have the unfortunate side-effect of bringing out the self-regarding narcissist in people. This is made all the more pronounced in our era of social media, in which some types appear to think that mere tweets can stop wars, and that an appropriately-altered Facebook profile might bring about world peace. The latest casualty in this regard has been local government. And I don’t just mean the Scottish government and the Scottish National party, who have had delusions of grandeur long before the Israel-Gaza conflagration begun. I mean local, provincial councils. Such vainglorious grandstanding on international issues is a waste of time and money In a tweet last week, Freddie


Has Robert Jenrick gone rogue?

A curious performance in the Commons today by Robert Jenrick. The Immigration Minister has long been seen – in the press at least – as a staunch Sunakite, put in at the Home Office to keep a watchful eye on Suella Braverman. But has that all changed after thirteen months at 2 Marsham Street? At Oral Questions this afternoon, Jenrick was asked when a plan to cut immigration will come before the Commons. Watched on by Tory backbenchers and his boss James Cleverly, Jenrick told them that ‘My plan would have been brought to the House before last Christmas if it could have been’ despite, er, insisting that he is

The insidious powers lurking in the Criminal Justice Bill

The Conservative party used to be the party of individual liberty. No longer, it seems – at least if the Criminal Justice Bill just introduced in the House of Commons is anything to go by. It’s not simply the worrying powers it promises that will interfere with people at home (for example, it contains police powers to enter homes without a warrant to search for items of stolen property, or to seize the knives you keep at home, potentially without compensation, on the mere suspicion that they might be used criminally). Discreetly lurking in the Bill (in schedule 6, since you ask) is something much more serious: something which comes very close


Indyref rerun as No chief takes on SNP

As the general election approaches, Scottish Labour are taking their battle positions. Douglas Alexander, former cabinet minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, has been selected as the candidate for East Lothian. Kirsty McNeill, former special adviser to Brown while he was in No. 10, has been selected as the next candidate for Midlothian. But undoubtedly the pick of the battles is in East Renfrewshire where party members have selected Blair McDougall, head of the ‘Better Together’ campaign in 2014, to stand against Kirsten Oswald, the current SNP chair. Talk about a referendum rerun… The first is likely to be Scotland’s most intense skirmish in next year’s contest. Oswald is one

Patrick O'Flynn

Sunak doesn’t realise the trouble he’s in on immigration

As they headed into the autumn, Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives needed a gamechanger. Their gradual recovery in the polls from the dog days of Liz Truss had stalled not very far from base camp and began sliding into reverse. Destroying what was left of the party’s reputation on the most important issue to its 2019 voter coalition was not the gamechanger many people had in mind. But that is what has occurred following the sacking of Suella Braverman and subsequent developments on both legal and illegal immigration. Since 2010 the Conservatives have gone into every election promising voters that immigration will come down and then broken that promise in

Why is Sunak snubbing the Greeks?

Whatever position people take on the long-running dispute over the ownership of the Elgin marbles, there can be little doubt that Rishi Sunak’s last-minute cancellation of a scheduled meeting with visiting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis over the issue is an unnecessary, foolish and snippy snub to one of Britain’s few friends in Europe. It is thought that Sunak was irritated by Mitsotakis going public with Greece’s case for returning the marbles during an interview with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg. But even if that is the case, scrapping a bilateral meeting with a fellow centre-right elected premier is a rude and gross overreaction. And by adding insult to injury in

Gavin Mortimer

Macron’s France is trapped in a cycle of violence

On Monday, the spokesman for Emmanuel Macron’s government, Olivier Véran, visited the village of Crépol in south-eastern France. A fortnight ago few people had heard of Crépol, but on the evening of Saturday 18 November a gang of youths from an inner city a few miles away gatecrashed the village dance.   In the maelstrom of violence that ensued, a 16-year-old local called Thomas was fatally stabbed. Several other young partygoers were wounded and one eye-witness told reporters their attackers had stormed the venue vowing to ‘kill a white’.   The bitter truth is that few people in France have any confidence left in Macron and his government For 24

Can Israel’s ceasefire in Gaza hold?

Originally meant to expire on Monday, the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has been extended by at least two days. During the first four days of the ceasefire, 69 hostages abducted on 7 October, including 50 Israelis and 19 foreign nationals were freed by Hamas. In return, Israel freed 120 Palestinian prisoners, many incarcerated for terrorism offences. The deal also included a substantial increase in humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. Across the two added days of ceasefire, Hamas has agreed to release 20 additional hostages. It is likely that, following this extension, with about 170 hostages remaining in Gaza, the sides will agree to prolong the ceasefire. It seems


Greek PM visit cancelled over Elgin Marbles row

Talk about an undiplomatic row. Rishi Sunak has made much of his credentials on the world stage, most recently demonstrated at the Bletchley Park summit earlier this month. So it was some surprise then that Mr S read of an extraordinary row that has broken out between the British and Greek governments over, er, the future of the Parthenon Marbles. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due to meet Rishi Sunak in London today, but No. 10 cancelled the meeting yesterday at the last minute. The Greek premier told reporters he was ‘deeply disappointed by the abrupt cancellation’ of the meeting and rejected an alternative meeting with Oliver Dowden. Oh, the humiliation. The

Gareth Roberts

I’m a Celebrity has revealed the boring truth about Nigel Farage

When Nigel Farage entered the jungle on I’m A Celebrity… there was much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments. ‘I feel a little bit uncomfortable,’ TV critic Scott Bryan confessed on BBC Breakfast, ‘if his political opinions – not only on migration, but also around climate change and supporting the election of Donald Trump – are not going to be adequately challenged. I’m worried about the free ride that might give him.’ John Crace in the Guardian had even more green ants in his pants: ‘You have to wonder what ITV thinks it is doing giving him a platform. To normalise the abhorrent.’ Can these people hear themselves? They’re

Isabel Hardman

Do the Tories have a migration plan?

What is the Tory party’s policy on immigration after record-breaking net migration figures and the failure of its Rwanda policy at the Supreme Court? It was a question that was actually asked this afternoon by a Conservative MP. James Morris confronted immigration minister Robert Jenrick in the Commons on the new Home Secretary’s claim that the Rwanda policy was not the ‘be all and end all’ for the government. He asked twice what the Conservative policy on stopping the boats is. The immigration minister replied: What is the Tory party’s policy on immigration after record-breaking net migration figures and the failure of its Rwanda policy at the Supreme Court? When

Ross Clark

Climate reparations are an awful idea

There is a word that we are going to hear once COP28 gets underway in Dubai later this week: ‘reparations’. While US climate envoy John Kerry has tried to rule out any US agreement to pay reparations to countries affected by what he himself might claim were ‘climate-related disasters’, many developing countries are determined to put compensation top of the agenda, and push it far further than the agreement last year at COP27 to create a ‘loss and damage’ fund whereby developed nations hand out money to poor ones deemed to be affected by climate change.     The demands for reparations will be helped along the way by western academics and

Will NHS consultants vote to stop the strikes?

After months of protest and four rounds of strike action, NHS consultants could finally be close to reaching a pay deal with the UK government. British Medical Association (BMA) reps will present the offer to their members that will see the pay of an average consultant increase — while the time it takes to reach the top salary range shortens by five years.  ‘All of us are planning our exit strategy,’ one consultant admitted — and the data suggests this isn’t hyperbole. Only last year, the BMA warned of a ‘major exodus’ of senior clinicians. In an offer that has been described as a ‘disguised’ wage rise, consultants will also

James Heale

Sunak under pressure to curb legal migration

11 min listen

Rishi Sunak is on the defensive over legal migration. After figures late last week revealed net migration hit a record 750,000 in the year to December 2022, the Prime Minister is under pressure from his own side to act. This afternoon James Cleverly will address the House and is expected to lay out a series of proposals the government is considering. Can they shift the dial?  James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Isabel Hardman.  Produced by Oscar Edmondson.