Tory frustration with Nadine Dorries grows as former party whip calls for clarity – as it happened (2023)

Key events

  • 1d agoAfternoon summary
  • 1d agoGovernment launches consultation on 'reasonable steps' unions should take over strike service levels
  • 1d ago'If she's going to go she should go,' ex-Tory whip says of Nadine Dorries
  • 1d agoFall in energy price cap will offer little comfort to many households across Scotland, minister warns
  • 1d agoLib Dems and Labour urged to form 'non-aggression pact' to oust Tories in Mid Bedfordshire
  • 1d agoAsylum seekers say Bibby Stockholm conditions caused suicide attempt
  • 1d agoLib Dems to table bill for Nadine Dorries' suspension as an MP
  • 1d ago'I don't think people resigning should be getting a payout,' says Tory MP
  • 1d agoGovernment inaction will see people struggling to afford energy bills, say Lib Dems
  • 1d agoFinancial support to double for MPs who lose seats in UK election
  • 1d agoFamilies sue government and care homes over deaths of relatives in early days of pandemic

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1d ago10.55BST

Lib Dems to table bill for Nadine Dorries' suspension as an MP

MPs will try to oust Nadine Dorries as an MP next month amid growing calls for her to follow through on her vow to resign, PA media reports.

The Liberal Democrats will table a bill when parliament returns on 4 September that they hope will result in her suspension.

The party’s deputy leader, Daisy Cooper, is set to lay down a motion demanding Dorries returns to the House of Commons by 14 September or face a 10-day suspension.

If MPs approve it, a recall petition will be triggered in Dorries’ Mid Bedfordshire constituency. This would pave the way for a byelection if more than 10% of constituents sign it.

Cooper said:

For months Nadine Dorries has treated the people of Mid Bedfordshire with contempt and taken them for granted.

As thousands of people struggle to get a GP appointment and face steep hikes to their mortgages, Nadine Dorries continues to be missing in action. What’s worse is that the Conservatives just don’t seem to care that they’re letting people down.

We need an end to this sorry saga, once and for all. Nadine Dorries must resign. If not then this Government must do the right thing and force her to. Every day that Rishi Sunak sits on his hands the people across Mid Bedfordshire are being failed.

Earlier this week, Dorries broke her silence to insist she is still working as an MP, after a colleague said she should be stripped of the Conservative whip.

The former culture secretary, who has been criticised by two local councils for refusing to quit parliament despite promising to do so two months ago, said she was “getting on” with her job.

Sunak said at the beginning of the month that Dorries’ constituents were not being properly represented.

Dorries, who is a staunch Boris Johnson loyalist, pledged to quit “with immediate effect” when the former prime minister stood down as an MP and she failed to secure a peerage. But she has still not handed in her formal resignation.

1d ago10.45BST

City Hall is to consider making staff, volunteers and patients at hospices exempt from paying the London Ulez charge, Sadiq Khan’s transport deputy has said.

The Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham, Jon Cruddas, made the request in a letter to Seb Dance, London’s deputy mayor of transport, the BBC reports. Dance said the request would be “taken on board”.

The oldest, most polluting vehicles have to pay a daily charge to drive in London’s ultra-low emission zone – £12.50 for cars and more for older coaches and lorries – although the majority of cars are exempt.

The charge is due to be extended to all London boroughs on 29 August.

1d ago10.26BST

'I don't think people resigning should be getting a payout,' says Tory MP

Reacting to the news that payments for MPs who lose their seats or step down at the next general election will be doubled, the Conservative MP Bob Seely (Isle of Wight), told TalkTV this morning:

I don’t think people resigning should be getting a payout.

But this is an independent body. I’m afraid to say we don’t get to vote on it unless somebody tells us that we do, and, frankly, I am more concerned about dealing with my constituency casework.

So I’m not particularly happy about this either because it just shows us in a bad light and despite the fact it’s an independent body, everyone is going to blame us for it. It really winds me up, frankly.

More than 70 MPs have announced they will not stand again at the next general election.

Those standing down include the former Tory cabinet ministers Dominic Raab, Matt Hancock and Sajid Javid, and the current defence secretary, Ben Wallace.

The Labour former ministers Harriet Harman and Margaret Hodge have also said they plan to step down, as has the SNP’s former leader at Westminster Ian Blackford.

Senior Tories fear mass exodus from parliament as dozens of MPs set to quitRead more

1d ago10.17BST

Citizens Advice has warned this winter could be “as bad, if not worse, than last” with households struggling to pay their energy bills.

Responding to the latest Ofgem price cap, head of energy policy Gillian Cooper said:

Well before the winter hits, we’re already helping record numbers of people behind on their energy bills. Today’s price cap announcement will do little to change that. Typical households are still facing sky-high energy costs, now that support schemes have come to an end.

Increasing numbers of people we help are in a negative budget, where they simply don’t have enough money coming in to cover even just their essential bills. The next few months will push households like these over the edge. Our data suggests it will be as bad, if not worse, than last winter.

Government must step in quickly with more targeted support for the households who need it most.

1d ago10.09BST

Government inaction will see people struggling to afford energy bills, say Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats have warned that government inaction could see households struggling to afford their energy bills this winter.

The party’s climate and energy spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

It’s a relief that global energy prices are starting to come down, but the Conservative government’s inaction means far too many families and pensioners will be struggling to heat their homes again this winter.

Bills will still be almost double what they were two years ago, and many families will actually be paying more than they did last winter. That is a shocking failure on the part of Conservative ministers.

Rishi Sunak must finally introduce a proper windfall tax on the record profits of the oil and gas giants to give families and pensioners the support they desperately need, including doubling the Winter Fuel Allowance and Warm Home Discount this Winter.

The government offered all bill payers the £400 one-off payment through its energy bills support scheme last winter.

For the winter ahead the government will offer targeted support, including a £900 payment for those on means-tested benefits, £300 for pensioners and an extra £150 for disabled people.

1d ago10.03BST

Financial support to double for MPs who lose seats in UK election

Departing MPs will get bigger payouts for winding up their offices, with the sum doubling to £17,300, the UK parliament expenses watchdog has announced.

MPs who lose their seats or choose not to stand will be paid for four months after leaving office to enable them to wind up their casework and other duties – doubling from the current period of eight weeks.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) made the change after reviewing arrangements for payments following the next election.

MPs who lose their seats also qualify for “loss of office payments” – at twice the rate of statutory redundancy pay – and the winding-up payments come on top of this.

You can read the full story by the Guardian’s Whitehall editor, Rowena Mason, here:

Financial support to double for MPs who lose seats in UK electionRead more

1d ago09.56BST

Opposition parties have said more help needs to be targeted towards people struggling financially, amid warnings that households will feel little relief from high energy costs this winter.

Ed Miliband, the shadow energy and net zero secretary, said Labour would toughen the windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas companies to pay for further financial support in the cost of living crisis.

“These figures demonstrate the scandalous Tory cost of living crisis is still raging for millions of people,” he said.

These figures demonstrate the scandalous Tory cost of living crisis is still raging for millions of people. 13 years of failed Tory energy policy has left Britain as the most exposed economy in Western Europe to the effects of Putin’s war.

— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) August 25, 2023

The Green party, meanwhile, has called for a government-backed home insulation programme.

Green party co-leader, Adrian Ramsay, said:

The new price cap underlines the urgent need for a government-backed home insulation programme targeted, in the first instance, at those most at risk of fuel poverty.

The government should be announcing today funding and support for local councils to start a mass programme of cost-saving home insulation.

With the right funding and determination, such a scheme could start to help people from this winter.

Even with a lower price cap, bills are still higher than before the energy crisis and are likely to remain high for the future.

1d ago09.40BST

In other developments, Ofgem has cut the price cap on energy bills to £1,923 after wholesale energy prices fell further.

The energy regulator said it was cutting the price that a supplier could charge for gas from 6.9p per kilowatt hour (kWh) today to 6.89p from 1 October. The price of electricity will fall from 30.1p per kWh to 27.35p, Ofgem said.

This means that the average household bill will end up at around £1,923 per year, according to the regulator’s calculations. Customers on prepayment meters will pay £1,949 on average.

Energy is regulated separately in Northern Ireland, where bills are slightly lower.

According to the Resolution Foundation, over one-in-three households across England – 7.2m in total – will face higher bills this winter than last.

While the price per unit of energy is falling, this will be offset by a rise in the daily standing charge and the end of the £400 universal payments, the Foundation said.

The energy cost crisis has fuelled calls from across Westminster and the energy industry for government ministers to do more to help vulnerable households pay their energy bills by setting a “social tariff”.

The government promised to consider legislation that would offer a tariff at well below the market rate but in a recent consultation on energy market changes a social tariff was not included.

You can follow the latest updates about the announcement in the business live blog here:

Pressure for social tariff with British energy bills to rise for many despite price cap cut – business liveRead more

1d ago09.34BST

My colleague Emily Dugan has the full story on the legal action being taken over relatives’ deaths during the Covid pandemic.

The legal action argues that the state failed to protect them by not publishing procedures or policies to be applied by care homes and hospitals, she writes.

It will particularly focus on the decision in March 2020 to discharge hospital patients into care homes rapidly without testing or requiring them to isolate.

Families sue UK government over relatives’ deaths during Covid crisisRead more

1d ago09.22BST

Families sue government and care homes over deaths of relatives in early days of pandemic

Good morning everyone. I will be running the blog today so feel free to drop me a message on Twitter with any coverage suggestions.

The main story coming out this morning is that a group of 30 families are suing the UK government, care homes and hospitals over the deaths of their relatives in the early days of the pandemic.

The families argue that not enough was done to prevent their deaths are claiming damages for loss of life and distress.

The cases all relate to deaths in 2020, when patients infected with Covid were being transferred from hospitals into care homes.

They say their human rights were breached by the government’s failure to protect their right to life, as well as their right to private and family life and not to be discriminated against.

The government has said it specifically sought to protect care home residents using the best evidence available at the time.

The cases follow a 2022 high court judgment that ruled the policy was unlawful. The discharge policy was only changed on 15 April 2020 to require testing for discharges and 14-day isolation for new admissions from the community.

The ruling said there was no evidence the then health secretary, Matt Hancock, considered, or was asked to consider, the need for isolation of discharges into care homes in March 2020, and so it was “not an example of a political judgment”.

Bereaved families have since told the UK Covid-19 public inquiry that people who died with Covid were treated like “toxic waste”, revealing the huge impact of undignified deaths and thwarted grieving, during emotional testimony.

You can read more about what the Covid-19 public inquiry has revealed so far here:

A nation off-guard: what the UK Covid inquiry has revealedRead more

Below is the rest of the agenda for the day:

09:30am: Court of appeal judges due to deliver written ruling on the latest stage of a libel fight involving Laurence Fox, who is being sued by three people over an online row.

09:30am: Census 2021 data released by the ONS on overcrowding and under-occupancy in England and Wales.

12:00pm: Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar in conversation at the Edinburgh fringe.


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