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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Liaison Committee LIVE: Boris Johnson to be grilled by senior MPs on Ukraine & cost of living

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Boris Johnson’s select committee appearance begins

The Prime Minister is taking questions regarding the situation in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis.

Prior to those topics, the chair of the committee has asked Mr Johnson regarding the fixed penalty notices issued by the Met Police.

The Prime Minister said he has been “several times to the House of Commons” to change the way things are run in No10.

He said, however, he will not “give a running commentary” on the investigation.

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British ports ‘should refuse access to ferry companies who don’t pay a fair wage’

Mr Shapps said the Government wants to bring forward the legislation to allow British ports to refuse access to ferry services that do not pay their crew the minimum wage “as quickly as possible”.

He added: “Legislative changes will not be possible overnight.”

“But in the meantime instructing them not to wait. I want to see British ports refusing access to ferry companies who don’t pay a fair wage as soon as practicable.

“This will have the full backing of the Government and I’ve instructed the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to get behind this action too, and they’ve indicated that they will.”

The Transport Secretary added of the proposals: “It’ll send a clear message that if you are using British waters and British ports to ply your trade then you must accept British laws.”

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Ministers to take action against fire and rehire

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has told the House of Common that ministers will “take action to prevent employers who have not made reasonable efforts to reach agreement through consultation from using fire and rehire tactics” after the sacking of P&O workers.

He added: “New statutory code will allow a court or employment tribunal to take the manner of dismissal into account, and if an employer fails to comply with the code, impose a 25 per cent uplift to a worker’s compensation.”

Earlier in his statement, he described the sacking of 800 seafarers as “shameful” and said “no British workers should be treated in this way, devoid of dignity and respect”.

He said maritime workers “deserve far better than to be dismissed via a pre-recorded Zoom in favour of cheaper overseas labour”.

Mr Shapps added: “In response, we urged P&O Ferries to reconsider. These calls have fallen on deaf ears.”

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Ministers implicated in partygate ‘should be named’

Labour said Government ministers should be named if fined by police over alleged lockdown-busting parties in Whitehall.

Asked if it is right for people receiving fixed-penalty notices to remain anonymous, a spokesman for the party said: “I mean, I think people are entitled to that, and that’s the position.

“As I say, it is clearly different, I think, when it comes to people who are in leadership roles, whether that is, for example, the Cabinet Secretary or Government ministers.”

On whether Boris Johnson’s wife, Carrie, should remain anonymous in the event she receives a fine, he said: “I would have thought that that would be one that would be in the public interest, given that the events involve the Prime Minister.”

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Labour ‘not calling for civil servants to lose their jobs’

Labour said it was not “in the business of calling for individual civil servants to lose their jobs” over the partygate scandal.

Asked if people who receive fines should be sacked by the Prime Minister, a spokesman for Labour said: “I think that’s a matter for Downing Street. But I’d make a general observation that, look, this is about the culture there is set at the top.

“Our focus is on the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Secretary, you know, those who are in leadership roles – and that’s our focus.”

He added: “We’re not in the business of calling for individual civil servants to lose their jobs.”

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Sajid Javid: Those responsible will be held to account

In further comments to MPs regarding the report from Donna Ockenden, Mr Javid said those responsible for the failures at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, will be held to account.

He added: “I’m sure the House will understand that it’s not appropriate for me to name individuals at this stage.

“However, I’d like to reassure MPs that a number of people who were working at the trust at the time of the incidents have been suspended or struck off from the professional register, and members of senior management have also been removed from their posts.

“There is also an active police investigation, Operation Lincoln, which is looking at around 600 cases.

“Given that this is a live investigation I’m sure MPs will recognise I’m not able to comment further on that.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid makes a statement to MPs in the House of Commons, London, following the publication of the Ockenden report in the catastrophic failings within the maternity unit at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.

/ PA

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Sajid Javid offers apology following Ockenden report

Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: “We entrust the NHS with our care, often when we’re at our most vulnerable. In return we expect the highest standards.

“I have seen with my own family the brilliant care the NHS maternity services can offer. But when those standards are not met, we must act firmly and the failures of care and compassion that are set out in this report have absolutely no place in the NHS.

“To all the families that have suffered so gravely, I am sorry.

“The report clearly shows that you were failed by a service that was there to help you and your loved ones to bring life into this world.

“We will make the changes that the report says are needed at both a local and national level.”

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PM quizzed on visas for Ukrainian refugees

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has accused the Home Office of putting “paperwork ahead of people” after it emerged just 25,000 visas had been given to Ukrainian refugees.

He asked why a “traumatised Ukrainian mother and child must first fill out a visa form”.

Mr Johnson replied by claiming the number of Britons offering a home to Ukrainian refugees was “incredible” and said the UK had been “generous” in taking people fleeing Afghanistan and Hong Kong.

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