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Jeremy Clarkson’s Sun column about Meghan was sexist, press watchdog rules | UK News

A Jeremy Clarkson column about Prince Harry and Meghan in The Sun newspaper was sexist, a press watchdog has ruled.

The column – headlined “One day, Harold the glove puppet will tell the truth about A Woman Talking B*******” – contained a “pejorative and prejudicial reference” to the sex of the Duchess of Sussex, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) said.

Clarkson, 63, wrote in December last year: “I hate her. Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level.”

He told how he lies awake at night “dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her” – claiming “everyone who’s my age thinks the same way”.

“But what makes me despair,” he added, “is that younger people, especially girls, think she’s pretty cool.”

The article, published on 16 December 2022, saw IPSO deluged by more than 25,000 complaints from the public – the highest number it has ever received.

It was a “serious breach” of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice – a set of rules newspaper and magazines who are members of IPSO have agreed to follow – the watchdog said on Friday.

More on Duchess Of Sussex

However, separate complaints that the article was inaccurate, harassed the Duchess and discriminated against her on the grounds of her race were not upheld.

IPSO chairman, Lord Faulks, said of the ruling: “We found that the imagery employed by the columnist in this article was humiliating and degrading toward the Duchess.”

 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle The Duchess of Sussex 
Prince Harry and Meghan. Pic: AP

The Sun “failed to meet the high editorial standards” expected by IPSO, he added.

Further explaining why the column was sexist, the IPSO complaints committee ruled: “Specifically: the writer’s claim that the Duchess exercised power via her sexual hold over her husband which, in the view of the Committee, was a reference to stereotypes about women using their sexuality to gain power.

“[It] also implied that it was the Duchess’ sexuality – rather than any other attribute or accomplishment – which was the source of her power.

“To argue that a woman is in a position of influence due to ‘vivid bedroom promises’, to compare the hatred of an individual to other women only, and to reference a fictional scene of public humiliation given to a sexually manipulative woman, read as a whole, amounted to a breach of Clause 12 (i).”

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The ruling added: “The Editors’ Code of Practice protects the right of commentators to challenge, to shock, be satirical and entertain, but it states that the press must avoid discriminatory references towards an individual.

“By holding publications to account, we promote the standards of journalism set out in the Editors’ Code of Practice.

“We will take action where these standards are not met, such as in this article which contained pejorative and prejudicial language in an article discussing a woman.”

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Prince Harry’s phone hacking trial explained

‘I’ve rather put my foot in it’

Clarkson issued a grovelling response at the time after his own daughter, Emily, was among thousands who condemned his comments.

He tweeted: “Oh dear. I’ve rather put my foot in it. In a column I wrote about Meghan, I made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones and this has gone down badly with a great many people.

“I’m horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future.”

The Sun also apologised after a huge backlash, saying it “regretted” publishing the column last December. It also removed it from its website and archives.

However, the Sussexes snubbed the apologies and suggested Clarkson has a track record of spreading “hate rhetoric”.

Now the tabloid has been ordered to inform its readers of the findings by publishing a summary written by IPSO on the same page where the column usually appears.

It must also be flagged on the front page of The Sun and on the homepage of its website.

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Special programme: Harry in Court

IPSO investigated two specific complaints made by the charity The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights, and the WILDE Foundation, a platform created to help women, girls, and victims and survivors of abuse.

Both organisations said they were affected by breaches of the code.

In a statement, The Sun said: “After Jeremy Clarkson’s column was published in December, both The Sun and Jeremy Clarkson apologised. We said we regretted publishing the article and removed it from our website.

“The Sun accepts that with free expression comes responsibility.

“Half of The Sun’s readers are women and we have a very long and proud history of campaigning for women, which has changed the lives of many.

“The Sun is committed to its work campaigning to strengthen legislation on domestic abuse, helping to provide beds in refuges and empowering survivors of abuse to seek help. Our most recent campaign, Baby Bank on Us, is raising money to help women struggling with the alarming costs of living and a newborn baby.

“Ipso has ruled that The Sun published a column about the Duchess of Sussex which contained a pejorative and prejudicial reference to the duchess’s sex. The committee did not uphold separate elements of the complaint that the article was inaccurate, harassed the Duchess of Sussex, and included discriminatory references to her on the ground of race.

“The Sun is today publishing the summary of Ipso’s findings.”

The ruling comes as Prince Harry takes on the British press in a series of court battles.

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The Duke appeared in court weeks after he and the Duchess said they were involved in a “near catastrophic” car chase in New York involving paparazzi.

Elizabeth Watson: Man appears in court charged with ‘much-loved’ grandmother’s murder in Peterhead | UK News

A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of a “much-loved” grandmother in Aberdeenshire.

Officers were called to a house in Catto Drive, Peterhead, on Tuesday evening following a report of concern for Elizabeth Watson.

The 58-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jonathon Divers, 30, was arrested and charged in connection with Ms Watson’s death.

Divers, of Peterhead, made no plea to the single murder charge when he appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court on Friday.

He was remanded in custody and is expected back in the dock within the next eight days.

In a statement released through Police Scotland earlier this week, Ms Watson’s family said: “Elizabeth was a much-loved mum and grandma, she will be missed dearly by many.”

Double murder investigation launched after man and teenager stabbed to death | UK News

A double murder investigation has been launched after a man and a teenager were stabbed to death in London.

Emergency services were called at 11.33pm on Thursday to Elthorne Road, Islington, north London, after a boy was found with stab wounds.

The teenager, believed to be 15, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Another man, aged 23, had also suffered stab injuries and was pronounced dead after being taken to a west London hospital.

A third person, believed to be aged 28, was then found with a stab wound in a north London house.

He was taken to hospital where he remains in a non-life threatening condition.

No arrests have been made yet.

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The Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command have launched an investigation and an extensive crime scene is in place and urgent enquiries are ongoing.

Police believe a large number of people were present when the attack took place and are urging witnesses and those with information to come forward.

Chief Superintendent Andy Carter said: “My thoughts are with the families of the two victims who have suffered such an unimaginable loss in this shocking and unacceptable incident.

“A man and boy have lost their lives and we must now work together to identify those responsible and remove them from our streets.”

Fears for British car production unless deal struck with EU despite best May in four years | Business News

Promising growth in British car production could be cut short unless a deal is reached with the European Union (EU) in the coming months, an industry body has warned.

Britain recorded the best May for car production in four years, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

But this figure was largely driven by exports to the EU.

The vast majority (79.5%) of the nearly 80,000 (79,406) cars produced in the UK in May 2023 were for export.

Domestic demand accounted for just 16,188 vehicles despite growing by 45%. That growth in demand in the UK was nearly double the 23% rise in exports.

However, of the exports, more than half (56%) of the cars were made for Europe, with less than a third (28%) of exports going to the next largest markets: the United States, China, Japan and Australia.

The dominance of export in British car-making has led the SMMT to call for continued tariff-free trade between the European Union and the UK, particularly for electric vehicles (EVs).

The organisation says EVs will face tougher rules of origin requirements – regulations that limit the value of material from a different country – from January unless the UK and EU can agree to have them postponed.

While production was up 27% from May 2022, an increase of 16,762 vehicles, it’s still 32% below the output of May 2019.

The car manufacturing sector has grappled with tough economic conditions in the form of slow economic growth, high inflation and rising rates.

There was an especially large growth in hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid and EV volumes – up 95% in May to 27,636 units, equivalent to 35% of all cars made in the month.

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The sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles is banned from 2030 in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions.

This transition has been cast into doubt by Logistics UK, which has freight companies and suppliers as members. It said efforts to decarbonise were being hampered by high costs, a lack of Treasury support and an inadequate public charging network, meaning the transition to EVs can’t continue without state aid.

There are currently no battery factories in the UK, though Tata, the owner of the UK’s largest carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover, was reported to be building a gigafactory in Somerset.

How the government plans to address the NHS staffing crisis – from shorter degrees to extra medical school places | UK News

Shorter medical degrees, apprenticeships, and £2.4bn in funding are among the radical plans being put forward to solve NHS England’s severe staffing crisis.

The long-awaited NHS workforce plan is due to be published in full on Friday, outlining how the service will address existing vacancies and meet the challenges of a growing and ageing population.

It has been hailed as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to put staffing in the service on a sustainable footing over the next 15 years.

Staffing vacancies currently stand at 112,000, with fears shortfalls could grow to 360,000 by 2037.

The additional funding will help train “record numbers of doctors, nurses, dentists, and other healthcare staff” in England, with plans to employ 300,000 extra staff in the coming years. The funding works out at approximately £21,000 per vacancy.

Other plans include consulting with the General Medical Council and medical schools on the introduction of a four-year medical degree – one year less than the five it currently takes to complete – which, alongside a medical internship, would mean students could start work six months earlier.

Student nurses will also be able to take up jobs as soon as they graduate in May, rather than waiting until September as they do at present.

With demand for healthcare staff rising around the world, the Long Term Workforce Plan will set out a path to double medical school training places to 15,000 by 2031, with more places in the areas of greatest need.

More places will also be offered through degree apprenticeships so staff can “earn while they learn”, gaining a full degree as they work towards a full qualification. One in six (16%) of all training for clinical staff will be done this way by 2028 – including more than 850 medical students.

Officials say the plans set out, along with new retention measures, could mean the health service has at least an extra 60,000 doctors, 170,000 more nurses, and 71,000 more allied health professionals in place by 2036/37.

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NHS ‘rationing’ A&E care

Flexible working and pension reforms for staff

The NHS workforce plan comes at a time when large parts of the health service are striking over the staffing crisis, and levels of pay.

The NHS plan aims to reduce reliance on expensive agency spend, which would cut the bill for taxpayers by around £10bn between 2030 and 2037.

The plan will focus on the retention of staff, with better opportunities for career development, improved flexible working options, and government reforms to the pension scheme, which is hoped will keep 130,000 staff working in NHS settings longer.

Workers on the picket line outside Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham during a strike by nurses and ambulance staff. Picture date: Monday February 6, 2023.
Workers on the picket line outside Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham during a strike in February

Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said: “As we look to adapt to new and rising demand for health services globally, this long-term blueprint is the first step in a major and much-needed expansion of our workforce to ensure we have the staff we need to deliver for patients.

“We will take practical and sustained action to retain existing talent, we will recruit and train hundreds of thousands more people and continue to accelerate the adoption of the latest technology to give our amazing workforce the very best tools to provide high-quality care to millions of people across the country each day.”

The NHS will mark its 75th anniversary on 5 July. The prime minister argued the workforce plan was a significant moment in its history.

Rishi Sunak said: “On the 75th anniversary of our health service, this government is making the largest single expansion in NHS education and training in its history. This is a plan for investment and a plan for reform.”

The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, added: “Our plan will end the reliance on expensive agency staff, while cutting waiting lists in the coming years and building an NHS which can match up to the scale of tomorrow’s challenges.”

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Sunak: ‘I want to make NHS fit for the future’

‘They should have done this a decade ago’

Wes Streeting MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, responded to the publication of the NHS workforce plan.

He said: “The Conservatives have finally admitted they have no ideas of their own, so are adopting Labour’s plan to train the doctors and nurses the NHS needs.

“They should have done this a decade ago – then the NHS would have enough staff today.”

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Mr Streeting added: “Instead, the health service is short of 150,000 staff and this announcement will take years to have an impact.

“Patients are waiting longer than ever before for operations, in A&E, or for an ambulance.

“The Conservatives have no plan to keep the staff working in the NHS, no plan to end the crippling strikes, and no plans to reform the NHS.”

‘I owe them my life’: Army veteran rescued by coastguard after mayday call ends Rockall record attempt | UK News

An army veteran who hoped to set a world record for the number of days living on a remote North Atlantic islet says he owes rescuers his life after issuing an emergency mayday call.

Christopher “Cam” Cameron VR FRGS planned to remain on Rockall for 60 days and managed to make it to the halfway point before his charity challenge was scuppered by treacherous weather.

Much of his equipment was destroyed by wind and waves throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, and he was almost swept away at several points overnight.

After issuing the distress call to HM Coastguard on Wednesday evening, the crew of nearby ship MV Nassauborg kept in visual contact from the water as waves continued to crash over the islet.

Mr Cameron told Sky News: “I was reassured at all times that I was in safe hands and that I would return to see my family despite being in pain, exhausted and hypothermic.

“I’ll need a moment or two to take stock, decompress, and get home to see my family.”

Christopher “Cam” Cameron. Pic: Rockall Expedition/MPV HIRTA
Pic: Rockall Expedition/MPV HIRTA

Christopher “Cam” Cameron. Pic: Rockall Expedition/MPV HIRTA
Pic: Rockall Expedition/MPV HIRTA

Stornoway Coastguard responded to the alert. Mr Cameron was winched to safety via helicopter and then flown back to the Scottish town – the largest in the Outer Hebrides.

Mr Cameron said: “I’m safe and well after a good night’s sleep, courtesy of the hospitality and kindness from the people of Stornoway.

“I owe this all to the courageous and speedy extraction from Rockall by the professionalism of HM Coastguard.”

Rockall is an uninhabitable granite islet around 230 miles west of North Uist.

Mr Cameron had hoped to beat the world record of a 45-day stay on Rockall, set by Nick Hancock in 2014.

Christopher “Cam” Cameron. Pic: Rockall Expedition
Pic: Rockall Expedition

Mr Cameron, who is usually based in Wiltshire, took on the challenge for The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

He has raised more than £12,000 for the causes so far.

He said: “I did it for the charities and we have raised some much needed money for them.”

Mr Cameron thanked all those who have sent kind words.

Christopher "Cam" Cameron. Pic: Stornoway Coastguard
Pic: Stornoway Coastguard

Paying tribute to his rescuers, he said: “I would not be here were it not for the courageous efforts of HM Coastguard – in particular, Stornoway Coastguard and the pilots and crew of Rescue 22, and SAR Stornoway.

“A big thank you also to the captain and crew of MV Nassauborg, who maintained a sector screen around Rockall whilst I waited for the [helicopter]. I owe them all my life.”

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MV Nassauborg. Pic: Cam Cameron
MV Nassauborg keeping watch. Pic: Cam Cameron

Christopher “Cam” Cameron. Pic: Rockall Expedition/Cam Cameron
Rockall Expedition/Cam Cameron

Mr Cameron’s family said: “We are hugely proud of all his achievements, but also that he had the courage to make what must have been a very difficult decision in the face of such dreadful weather.

“We are looking forward to welcoming him home and hope that any future adventures will be a little less risky.”

They joked: “Why couldn’t he just have bought a sports car in the first place?”

Christopher “Cam” Cameron. Pic: Rockall Expedition
Pic: Rockall Expedition

A documentary about Mr Cameron’s challenge, titled Rockall – The Edge of Existence, is currently being produced.

Aaron Wheeler, director of the documentary, said: “We’re glad Cam is safely back on dry land and look forward to watching through the footage that Cam recorded during his occupation to tell the story of his adventure.”

Record NHS staff sickness levels in England with mental health biggest issue | UK News

Mental health issues account for almost a quarter of all NHS staff absences in England, with a stark rise in staff taking sick days for anxiety, stress, and burnout since the onset of COVID-19.

The absence rate during 2022 shows the NHS lost some 27 million sick days to absence. This is the equivalent of nearly 75,000 full-time staff and includes some 20,400 nurses and 2,900 doctors.

The figure, analysed by the Nuffield Trust from NHS data for the BBC, is a rise of 29% on 2019 – the last full year before COVID hit.

Mental health issues were the top single issue, with colds, coughs, respiratory problems, and the return of flu, accounting for further big rises.

In total across 2022, some six million working days were lost in total to mental health and wellbeing reasons.

The research also found the level of sickness absence is not equal around the country. By the end of 2022, the reported sickness rate in the North West stood at 7.4%, above the national average for hospital and community services, while London was 5.4%.

True absence levels likely to be higher

The trust’s senior fellow Dr Billy Palmer said: “The health service is grappling with a difficult new normal when it comes to staff sickness leave.”

He said while there has been a lot of focus on recruitment, more needed to be done to improve the working conditions of existing staff.

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‘The worst hospital I have ever seen’

“The workforce plan needs to have concrete support to enable employers to improve NHS staff experience if the service is to break this cycle of staff absences, sickness and leaving rates,” he said.

As not every absence would have been recorded, the trust said the figures were likely to be lower than the true numbers.

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The analysis comes days after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hailed his NHS Long Term Workforce Plan which he called the “largest expansion in training and workforce”.

The government is set to publish the long-awaited NHS workforce plan later this week to address the long-term woes in the health service.

NHS digital health check-ups launched ‘to ease pressure on GPs’ | UK News

The NHS is to offer new digital health checks to the public in an attempt to ease pressure on GP surgeries.

The scheme is an expansion of in-person routine check-ups which are currently offered to people aged 40 to 74 and which aim to spot potential health problems early.

The new digital version will see patients asked to fill in an online questionnaire, including details of their height and weight, while they will also be encouraged get their blood and cholesterol levels tested.

The results will be made available online, with people then given personalised advice or, if necessary, referred to a GP.

The government aims to deliver one million of the online check-ups in the first four years of the scheme, which will be rolled out across England from next spring.

It comes amid growing pressure on the NHS, including GP surgeries.

A Sky News analysis of health service data recently found one in every five GP practices in England and Wales has closed since 2013, putting additional strain on those that remain.

‘Scheme will save lives’

Around 1.3 million in-person health checks, which typically take around 20 minutes, are delivered each year and help to spot early signs of strokes, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and dementia.

They have helped identify 315,000 people with obesity, 33,000 cases of hypertension and prevented more than 400 heart attacks and strokes, the government estimates.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the new digital version, which will run “alongside” the in-person scheme, would “save lives”.

He added: “This new digital check-up will mean people can do simple tests and get tailored advice from homes while reducing pressure on GP services.

“This programme is the latest example of how we are using technology to cut waiting times.”

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) and the Stroke Association both welcomed the announcement on Thursday, saying the scheme could help identify more people at risk of potentially fatal health conditions.

BHF medical director, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, said: “Millions of people in England are living with conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol that, if left untreated, significantly increase the risk of a potentially deadly heart attack or stroke.

“This initiative will help to reach more people and encourage them to get their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked so that, where necessary, healthcare professionals can work with them to manage their condition.”

‘Presumed human remains’ found from wreckage of Titan sub | World News

Presumed human remains have been recovered from the wreckage of the Titan submersible, the US Coast Guard has said.

It comes after debris from the craft was brought ashore earlier on Wednesday.

Five men died, including three British citizens, when the submersible is believed to have suffered a catastrophic implosion while attempting to view the wreck of the Titanic.

In a statement, the US Coast Guard said: “United States medical professionals will conduct a formal analysis of presumed human remains that have been carefully recovered within the wreckage at the site of the incident.”

At a previous news conference on Sunday, officials said investigators looking into the tragedy had been “taking all precautions” in case they found bodies on the sea floor.

A frantic search and rescue operation commenced on 18 June after the vessel lost communication with its mother ship, the Polar Prince, an hour and 45 minutes into the two-hour descent to the wreckage.

The vessel reported missing eight hours after communication was lost.

But the rescue mission ended five days later when pieces of debris were found about 487m from the Titanic wreckage.

The three British citizens on board were billionaire Hamish Harding, and businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman.

Shahzada’s wife said on Tuesday that the pair were “best friends” who “belonged together”.

Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet and the chief executive of OceanGate, the company that owned the submersible, Stockton Rush, were also killed in the implosion.

Lisa Nandy rejects rent controls as ‘sticking plaster’ solution to housing crisis | Politics News

Labour’s Lisa Nandy has rejected the idea of rent controls, calling it a “sticking plaster” solution to the UK’s housing crisis.

The shadow housing secretary said the move – supported by many senior figures within her party – would “almost certainly” leave some people homeless.

Giving a speech in Manchester, she said: “When housebuilding is falling off a cliff and buy-to-let landlords are leaving the market, rent controls that cut rents for some, will almost certainly leave others homeless.

“It might be politically easier to put a sticking plaster on our deep-seated problems, but if it is cowardice that got us here, it is never going to get us out.”

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Labour mayors, including London’s Sadiq Khan and Greater Manchester’s Andy Burnham, have called for rent freezes amid soaring costs for tenants.

Average rents for properties across Britain have reached record highs this year as demand for housing continues to outstrip supply.

Experts warn renters are being further squeezed because of the mortgage crisis, with landlords passing on rising rates to tenants.

Ms Nandy’s speech marked a shift in tone from comments she made last autumn, when she said she was “personally very interested” in the possibility of local leaders imposing temporary rent controls in their areas over the winter.

She focused instead on promises not to shy away from “difficult choices” when it comes to building more homes, accusing ministers of being “afraid of the taboo” of the green belt.

A Labour spokesperson said it was unfair to characterise her latest announcement as a U-turn, adding: “A rent freeze has never been Labour party policy” under Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership.

The policy was, however, included in the manifestos of former leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband.

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Answer to housing crisis ‘building more homes’

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf said it was “astonishing” that Labour is “joining the Tories” in opposing the measure.

He tweeted: “Proud the SNP-led Scottish Government not only introduced rent controls but has extended them in order to protect tenants. Labour joining with the Tories in opposing rent controls is quite astonishing. At this rate, will Labour have any promises left to break?”

However, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) welcomed Ms Nandy’s position, saying rent controls “would do nothing to address the rental supply crisis that tenants across the country now face”.

Chief executive Ben Beadle said: “What renters need is a proper plan to boost the supply of homes for private rent alongside all other tenures.

“Housing benefit rates should also be unfrozen without delay to support vulnerable tenants who are struggling to access the rental market.”

A six-month rent freeze in Scotland came to an end in April but controls are still in place, with most increases in private rent limited to a 3% rise.

Restrictions on the rent private landlords can charge tenants are being considered by the Welsh government, but no official plans are in place.

Local leaders in England have also been calling for the power to impose rent controls but ministers have ruled this out – arguing the measure leads to declining standards and a lack of investment.

Labour has outlined various schemes to improve the rate of house building in the UK, including more building on the green belt, reintroducing the housing targets watered down last year by the government, making it cheaper to buyout agricultural land for development and “tilting the power” in favour of first-time buyers.

Sir Keir Starmer’s spokesperson said one of the strengths of the devolved system is that mayors can advocate for policy they want but “ultimately it is for Keir to determine what will be in the manifesto at the next election”.

They added: “I think our position on this has been pretty clear.”