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Keir Starmer accuses ‘weak’ Rishi Sunak of harbouring ‘extremists’ in his party | Politics News

Sir Keir Starmer has accused the prime minister of harbouring extremists in his party after a senior Tory MP was suspended for “Islamophobic” comments.

The Labour leader said Rishi Sunak’s “weakness” allowed Lee Anderson “to act with impunity” and that he “needs to get a grip and take on the extremists in his party”.

Sir Keir said it was “right” that Mr Anderson lost the whip after what he called an “appalling racist and Islamophobic outburst”.

He added: “But what does it say about the prime minister’s judgement that he made Lee Anderson deputy chairman of his party?

“Whether it is Liz Truss staying silent on Tommy Robinson or Suella Braverman’s extreme rhetoric, Rishi Sunak’s weakness means Tory MPs can act with impunity.

“This isn’t just embarrassing for the Conservative party, it emboldens the worst forces in our politics.”

Prime Minister says Britain is 'not seeking a confrontation'

It came as Mr Sunak released his own statement, criticising those who have threatened and targeted MPs over the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and saying British democracy must not “fall into polarised camps who hate each other”.

Mr Sunak said: “The events of recent weeks are but the latest in an emerging pattern which should not be tolerated.

“Legitimate protests hijacked by extremists to promote and glorify terrorism, elected representatives verbally threatened and physically, violently targeted and antisemitic tropes beamed onto our own parliament building.”

Referring to when the Commons Speaker broke convention in a Gaza ceasefire debate this week out of fears’ for MPs’ safety, Mr Sunak said: “And in parliament this week a very dangerous signal was sent that this sort of intimidation works. It is toxic for our society and our politics and is an affront to the liberties and values we hold dear here in Britain.”

His statement made no mention of Mr Anderson or his comments.

What Rishi Sunak didn’t say is more notable than what he did

The prime minister’s comments were notable because of what he chose to omit.

On a day when the party was rocked by allegations of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred – a day when it had to suspend one of its own MPs because of these very issues – Rishi Sunak chose to make some comments.

Instead of condemning the remarks or distancing the party from them, the prime minister chose not to make any reference to them at all, rather, he chose to speak more explicitly about antisemitism.

The prime minister said: “The explosion in prejudice and antisemitism since the Hamas attacks on the 7 October are as unacceptable as they are un-British. Simply put antisemitism is racism.”

We know that hate crime towards both Muslim and Jewish communities has been rising since 7 October.

However, some may question why, after a day like this, Mr Sunak chose to omit explicit reference to Muslim communities.

These comments, and the tone of the remarks, do not challenge the prevailing view held in some quarters that the Conservative party doesn’t take Islamophobia seriously.

The prime minister avoids using the word at all when discussing anti-Muslim hatred.

Of course, the Labour party, which over the years has faced accusations of antisemitism, had no such problem calling it out.

Sir Keir Starmer said: “It’s right that Lee Anderson has lost the whip after his appalling racist and Islamophobic outburst against Sadiq Khan.”

He went on to question Mr Sunak’s judgement saying he needed to get a grip of “extremists” in his own party.

The incident does expose how difficult the prime minister is finding it to exert authority over his fracturing right-wing coalition and create some semblance of a unified identity for his party.

He knows that he needs to placate the right of his party, which sometimes means turning a blind eye to some of its more outspoken characters, like Suella Braverman and Liz Truss.

However, there’s a line and it’s becoming more and more difficult for Mr Sunak to tread.

With this statement the prime minister was, once again, speaking to this right-wing faction (on a day when they lost a key figure in Lee Anderson) instead of the communities that may have been affected by his remarks.

On Wednesday, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he selected multiple amendments to the motion to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza in a bid to ensure all options were on the table for MPs to vote on – as well as protecting MPs’ safety.

Mr Sunak’s party suspended Mr Anderson, the former Tory deputy chairman, hours before he released the statement.

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Khan: Anderson’s comments ‘Islamophobic and racist’

Read more:
Lee Anderson responds after suspension
Labour lead grows in ‘sea wall’ constituencies
Sammy Wilson steps down as DUP chief whip

Lee Anderson during the launch of the Popular Conservatism movement.
Pic: PA
Lee Anderson. Pic: PA

Mr Anderson claimed on GB News earlier this week – without evidence – that “Islamists” had “got control” of Mr Khan, leading to an outcry from both sides of the political divide.

The Ashfield MP said he accepts the Tory party had “no option” but to suspend him.

“However, I will continue to support the government’s efforts to call out extremism in all its forms – be that antisemitism or Islamophobia,” he said.

China accuses UK of violating international law after sanctions over Ukraine war | UK News

China has accused Britain of violating international law after the UK announced new sanctions targeting “individuals and groups supporting and funding Putin’s war machine”.

China’s embassy said it firmly opposes the sanctions and has warned that any action harming China’s interests “will be met with a firm response”.

In a statement, the embassy insisted that Beijing has remained objective and fair on the war in Ukraine and it is urging the UK to “correct its mistakes and withdraw the sanctions on Chinese firms”.

Forty-six new sanctions were announced by the UK, and the list of targets includes businesses in China, as well as firms in Belarus, Serbia, Turkey, the UAE and Uzbekistan.

The UK’s sanctions targeted 31 people and entities it said were linked to the design and manufacture of drones and missile parts and the import of electronic components.

Three Chinese entities, Asia Pacific Links Limited, Sinno Electronics Co., Limited, and Xinghua Co., Limited, were targeted for supplying sanctioned goods.

Four UAE-based entities it said were involved in trading Russian oil were also affected, as well as others linked to the Wagner mercenary group.

A Belarusian defence organisation the UK said had manufactured military technology used by Minsk to support Russia’s war effort was also sanctioned.

“We will continue to ratchet up pressure on Putin and crack down on third parties providing restricted goods and technology to Russia, wherever they may be,” junior foreign minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

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You can receive Breaking News alerts on a smartphone or tablet via the Sky News App. You can also follow @SkyNews on X or subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with the latest news.

Suella Braverman accuses Met of ‘double standards’ over pro-Palestinian protests | Politics News

Suella Braverman has accused the police of “double standards” in the way they handle protests – after Rishi Sunak conceded that a pro-Palestine march on Armistice Day will go ahead.

The home secretary has sharply criticised the Metropolitan Police in an op-ed for The Times newspaper – saying there is “a perception that senior police officers play favourites when it comes to protesters”.

It comes after Mr Sunak described Saturday’s planned march in London as “disrespectful”.

Israel-Gaza latest: ‘Security circumstance’ forces Rafah border crossing to close

The prime minister met the chief of the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday afternoon – and had vowed to hold Sir Mark Rowley “accountable” for his decision to greenlight the demonstration.

Sir Mark had resisted calls to try and block a march taking place – and said that, after looking at intelligence, the legal threshold for a ban had not been met.

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The Prime Minister says he’ll hold the Met Police chief ‘accountable’ over a planned protest on Armistice Day

Ms Braverman once again described pro-Palestinian protesters as “hate marchers” – writing that it is “a phrase I do not resile from”.

That is despite numerous government ministers saying they would not use such language.

She wrote that the marches are “problematic, not just because of violence around the fringes but because of the highly offensive content of chants, posters and stickers”.

She added: “This is not a time for naiveté. We have seen with our own eyes that terrorists have been valorised, Israel has been demonised as Nazis and Jews have been threatened with further massacres.”

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The Home Secretary Suella Braverman has criticised pro-Palestinian protests in London

Ms Braverman went on to say that the “heart of the matter” is that she does not “believe that these marches are merely a cry for help for Gaza” but “an assertion of primacy by certain groups – particularly Islamists – of the kind we are more used to seeing in Northern Ireland”.

“Also disturbingly reminiscent of Ulster are the reports that some of Saturday’s march group organisers have links to terrorist groups, including Hamas,” she added.

Claiming that a double standard exists within the Met, she asked: “Right-wing and nationalist protesters who engage in aggression are rightly met with a stern response yet pro-Palestinian mobs displaying almost identical behaviour are largely ignored, even when clearly breaking the law?”

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Pensions minister Laura Trott distances herself from Braverman’s comments

Calling for protests to be policed “even-handedly”, the home secretary also questioned why protests for Black Lives Matter were allowed to go ahead during the COVID pandemic, while “lockdown objectors were given no quarter by public order police”.

In words seeming to pile pressure onto Sir Mark Rowley, she concluded: “This weekend the public will expect to see an assertive and proactive approach to any displays of hate, breaches of conditions and general disorder.”

Labour MP resigns as shadow minister over Starmer’s position on Gaza ceasefire

Tearful Israeli mother describes how she escaped Hamas capture – but husband and son were taken hostage
Welsh parliament calls for immediate ceasefire

In response to Ms Braverman’s article, Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, described her as “out of control”

She wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Her article tonight is a highly irresponsible, dangerous attempt to undermine respect for police at a sensitive time, to rip up operational independence and to inflame community tensions.

“No other home secretary of any party would ever do this.”

And London Mayor Sadiq Khan posted: “The Home Sec’s article in The Times is inaccurate, inflammatory & irresponsible.

“At a time when we should be seeking to unite communities – she is dividing them. The Home Sec should support the police to keep everyone safe at this delicate time, not make their job harder.”

And the Liberal Democrats have accused her of “running a Conservative Party leadership campaign, not the Home Office”.

Tory govt source on Braverman’s comparison of “hate marches” by pro-Palestinian protesters to sectarian rallies held in NI during Troubles

A senior Tory government source, commenting on Ms Braverman’s comparison of “hate marches” by pro-Palestinian protesters to sectarian rallies held in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, told Sky’s Beth Rigby: “This is wholly offensive and ignorant of where people in Northern Ireland stand on the issues of Israel and Gaza.

“It would be good to know what she knows about what NI people think about the current Israel-Palestine situation before she casts aspersions.

“It’s clear that the Home Secretary is only looking after her misguided aspirations for leader than responsible leadership as a Home Sec.”

Sunak labels pro-Palestine march ‘disrespectful’

In a statement following a meeting with Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley, the prime minister conceded that the protest this weekend will go ahead.

He said in a statement: “Saturday’s planned protest is not just disrespectful but offends our heartfelt gratitude to the memory of those who gave so much so that we may live in freedom and peace today.

“But part of that freedom is the right to peacefully protest. And the test of that freedom is whether our commitment to it can survive the discomfort and frustration of those who seek to use it, even if we disagree with them. We will meet that test and remain true to our principles.”

He added: “It’s welcome that the police have confirmed that the march will be away from the Cenotaph and they will ensure that the timings do not conflict with any remembrance events.

“There remains the risk of those who seek to divide society using this weekend as a platform to do so. That is what I discussed with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in our meeting.”

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The Prime Minister ‘politicking’ over pro-Palestine protest says Ben Jamal.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had accused Mr Sunak of “cowardice” for “picking a fight” with the police.

He tweeted: “Remembrance events must be respected. Full stop.

“But the person the PM needs to hold accountable is his home secretary. Picking a fight with the police instead of working with them is cowardice.”

Downing Street denied seeking to put pressure on the Met, which is operationally independent, and insisted the meeting was about “seeking assurances” that their approach is “robust”.

The Met has said its officers were already preparing for remembrance events over the weekend and “we will do everything in our power to ensure that people who want to mark the occasion can do so safely and without disruption.”

Organisers say protest will be ‘well away’ from Cenotaph

The route marchers plan to take on Armistice Day.
The route marchers plan to take on Armistice Day.

Tens of thousands have demonstrated in London in recent weeks over Palestinian deaths in the Israel-Hamas war – with 29 arrested during a fourth week of protests last Saturday, during which fireworks were thrown.

Organisers of this Saturday’s protest say it will be “well away” from the Cenotaph – going from Hyde Park, around a mile from the war memorial in Whitehall, to the US embassy – and won’t start until after the 11am silence.

Several cabinet ministers have spoken out about the situation, with Health Secretary Steve Barclay telling Sky News that 11 November was the “wrong day” for protest action in London.

He said: “There is a legal threshold and the commissioner is of the view that that legal threshold has not been met.

“Obviously, the Home Office and colleagues will discuss that over the course of the day.”

Sadiq Khan accuses Suella Braverman of ‘posturing’ over Palestine protests | Politics News

Sadiq Khan has criticised Suella Braverman for describing pro-Palestinian protests as “hate marches”, saying her “posturing” could divide communities.

Speaking to Beth Rigby for Sky News’ Politics Hub programme, the Mayor of London said that “by and large”, demonstrations in the capital have seen people acting in a “peaceful, lawful and safe way”.

Instead, he urged the home secretary to listen to calls from the head of the Metropolitan Police Sir Mark Rowley for the government to “step in and provide clarity” over extremism legislation to tackle the “small minority [who] may have acted outside the law”.

Politics live: Boris Johnson was ‘obsessed with older people accepting their fate’, COVID inquiry hears

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets over the past three weeks to show their support for Palestinians amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

While many of the protesters have been calling for an end to the airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, other more troubling incidents have surfaced, including protesters chanting “jihad” or using antisemitic tropes – with five people charged after the latest demonstration on Saturday.

The Met Police has faced criticism for not making more arrests, but the commissioner told Sky News there was a “gap” in the law when it comes to extremism, and there was “scope to be much sharper” in legislation to tackle it.

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‘UK could be sharper in how we deal with extremism’

Speaking after an emergency COBRA meeting chaired by Rishi Sunak on Monday, Ms Braverman gave her assessment of the protests so far, telling broadcasters: “To my mind there is only one way to describe those marches: they are hate marches.”

But Mr Khan disagreed with her language, telling Rigby that the home secretary “should be bringing people together… rather than seeking to divide people by posturing”.

He said: “A cornerstone of our democracy is the ability to protest, to lobby MP politicians, to email them, to go to their surgeries, to get involved in civic society.

“By and large, over the last three weeks, the hundreds of thousands of people who’ve been protesting have been doing it in a peaceful, lawful and safe way.

“I accept a small minority may have acted outside the law. That may be a grey area. And what the home secretary should be doing is listening to her commissioner, who has said quite clearly the government should be stepping in and providing clarity in relation to laws around extremism.”

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Thousands protest for ceasefire

The mayor spoke about the 2000s when tensions in the Middle East were heightened over the Iraq war.

He said one of the things the Labour government he was then in “encouraged, particularly Muslims to do in this country, was to get involved in mainstream politics… and what she’s doing, either intentionally or unintentionally, is driving citizens away from mainstream democracy, which is protest”.

Sadiq Khan says ULEZ 'landmark decision is good news for London'.

Mr Khan added: “We’ve seen an increase in Islamophobia and antisemitism. [Ms Braverman] should be bringing people together, explaining – look, you can have strong views, be pro-Palestinian, but you must not be antisemitic.

You can have strong views supporting the government of Israel, but you can also have sympathy and empathy for those in Gaza and want to bring people together. [She could] unite our society rather than seeking to divide people by posturing.”

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Pro-Palestinian protesters sit down at Waterloo station

Mr Khan said he was “speaking on a daily basis” with the Met and had received briefings from the commissioner over the recent protests.

“The police have got to police without fear or favour, whatever their views are… they’ve got to enforce the law,” he said.

“And if there’s confusion in the law, what the home secretary can be doing, which would be helpful, is provide clarity. Rather than doing that, she’s using [this] language.”

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But defending her cabinet colleague over her initial remarks, Environment Secretary Therese Coffey said Ms Braverman had “reflected the repulsion that many people heard when they heard these chants of basically demanding an end to Israel”

She did tell broadcasters, however, that she was “very conscious that’s a minority of people” on the marches.

Sadiq Khan accuses government of ‘weaponising air pollution’ahead of London ULEZ expansion | Politics News

Sadiq Khan has accused the government of “weaponising air pollution” ahead of the expansion of London’s ultra-low emission zone next week.

The mayor said he was “disappointed” at the lack of government support for the policy and its accompanying scrappage scheme.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has urged Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to make his position on ULEZ “clear”, saying in a letter: “You have the power to stop it.”

Read more: Where the expanded Greater London ULEZ zone will cover

Mr Harper suggested “Labour plan to use air pollution to attempt to justify bringing in pay per mile charging for every car in London”.

This has been denied by City Hall and called “complete nonsense”.

Mr Khan said: “It was this government that gave financial support to cities like Bristol, Birmingham and Portsmouth towards their clean air zones. If clean air is right for them then why isn’t clean air right for London?

“Why has the government given no support to London? I am disappointed at the lack of support from the government.

“I am disappointed that they seem to be weaponising air pollution and climate change.”

The ULEZ expansion is set to take place on Tuesday, and will take the zone up to London’s borders with Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey.

A ULEZ sign in central London

Those who drive in the newly expanded zone in a vehicle that does not meet minimum emissions standards will need to pay £12.50 a day fee or risk a £180 fine, reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days.

A £160m scheme run by Transport for London has offered grants of up to £2,000 to all Londoners who wish to scrap any car or motorcycle that is non-compliant with the zone’s emissions standards.

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In response to Mr Khan, the government stressed that transport and air quality decisions are “devolved to London”.

A spokesperson added: “The government has provided TfL £6bn since 2020 to keep public transport moving and almost £102m for projects specifically targeted to help tackle air pollution.”

An illustration of the expanded ULEZ zone
An illustration of the expanded ULEZ zone

The expansion of ULEZ has been a controversial topic for months, with Labour blaming the scheme for its loss at the Uxbridge by-election in July.

‘I invite you to make your position clear’

This was mentioned by the transport secretary in his letter to Sir Keir. He said: “Your position on ULEZ has changed frequently. In January, you said the mayor was ‘right’ to extend ULEZ.

“Following the Uxbridge by-election you asked the mayor to ‘reflect’ on the issue, which he showed no sign of doing. Last week, you said the decision to expand ULEZ will ‘disproportionately’ hit people struggling with the cost of living.

“You have also let it be known that you would not favour the expansion of similar schemes in cities outside of London.

“And yet Labour’s mayor is still expanding ULEZ. I invite you to make your position clear.”

Mr Harper went on to tell Sir Keir that while he does not have the “legal power to prevent the ULEZ expansion being introduced, you do have the power to stop it”.

Sky News has contacted the Labour Party for a response.

6% public sector pay rises ‘could be blocked’ – as union body accuses government of ‘playing politics’ | Politics News

Reports that Rishi Sunak could block 6% pay rises for public sector workers have been criticised by unions.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) accused the government of “blaming workers who can’t afford to put food on the table” after the Times reported that the prime minister could overrule recommendations from pay review bodies.

Government sources didn’t deny the claims, saying that “pumping money direct into the economy risks fuelling inflation” but added that pay settlements were being kept under review and no decisions had been made.

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Advice from the pay review bodies for teachers and junior doctors has now been received by ministers and is expected to be published next month – alongside the formal pay offers.

It has been reported that the recommendation for teachers is higher than previous settlements and could stretch to 6.5%.

Speaking to the Times, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “If we fuel inflation, we will all be poorer for longer… It’s impacting the price of everything.

“But what often looks like the obvious answer – pay me more – we all know how that works”.

Department for Education officials said Ms Keegan was speaking broadly about public sector wages and was not speculating on the outcome of the pay review process.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan arriving in Downing Street, London, ahead of a Cabinet meeting
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan

A source at the Department for Heath and Social Care said ministers were “considering carefully” the pay guidance and will publish a response in due course.

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “UK inflation is not being driven by public servants. Their household budgets are under such pressure that we’ve got nurses and teachers using food banks.

“Playing politics with working people’s incomes is not only deeply cynical, but it puts all of our futures at stake.”

Further strike action has been announced for next month by junior doctors and teachers.

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It is not unprecedented for review recommendations to be overruled, but the move does risk inflaming the ongoing disputes with unions and causing tension within government.

Ministers have previously pointed to the pay review bodies as a non-partisan way to resolve industrial disputes.

But some unions have refused to submit evidence to the panels over concerns about the fairness of the process.

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Government sources suggested the feasibility of wage deals would depend on factors such as where the money was coming from and whether it was paid as a one-off settlement or an ongoing commitment.

Earlier this year, unions representing some NHS workers agreed to a 5% increase alongside a one-off payment.

The Royal College of Nursing rejected this settlement, and the results of their ballot for further strike action are expected next week.

Holly Willoughby accuses Phillip Schofield of lying to her about affair in first statement since he quit ITV | Ents & Arts News

Holly Willoughby has said Phillip Schofield lied to her about his affair with a much younger male colleague.

Speaking for the first time since Schofield admitted having an “unwise, but not illegal” affair, his former This Morning co-presenter wrote on Instagram: “It has taken time to process yesterday’s news.

“When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not.

“It’s been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie.”

On Friday, the veteran broadcaster quit ITV and admitted to having an affair with a colleague who worked on This Morning. Rumours of the relationship had first begun to circulate in 2020.

ITV said it had investigated – but both Schofield and the employee “repeatedly denied” the affair.

The broadcaster was forced to issue the statement after questions were raised over what network bosses knew about Schofield’s conduct.

Fellow former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes had said Schofield was “not the only guilty party” and claimed top management “knew what sort of man he was”.

Questions had also been raised about what his co-host, Ms Willoughby knew, something she has now hit back at with her statement.

Schofield, 61, left This Morning last week, amid reports his long-term friendship with Willoughby had come under strain.

The two have been open about their close friendship over the years, including sharing pictures on social media of them while on joint holidays with their families.

Holly made a statement via Instagram Stories. (Pic: Instagram)
Holly made a statement via Instagram Stories. (Pic: Instagram)

What ITV said

In response to mounting pressure on the broadcaster, an ITV spokesperson said: “Further to our statement last night, ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated.

“Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then agency YMU.

Admission should kill off his career – but will his star pals stand by him?

“In addition, ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on This Morning and were not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.

“Phillip’s statement yesterday reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship.”

Phillip Schofield arriving at St Michael's church, Heckfield in Hampshire, for the wedding of Anthony McPartlin to Anne-Marie Corbett. Ant is one half of the entertainment duo Ant and Dec. Picture date: Saturday August 7, 2021.
Phillip Schofield in 2021

Schofield ‘deeply sorry’ for lying

In a statement on Friday, Schofield said he was “deeply sorry” for lying about the relationship.

It is understood the younger colleague, who is not a public figure, did not want the relationship to be made public.

The affair took place before Mr Schofield publicly came out as gay in 2020, and while he was still married to his wife Stephanie Lowe.

Read more:
Schofield leaves This Morning after more than 20 years

Timeline of departure and rumours of rift with co-host Holly
Statements from presenter and his agents in full

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Dermot O’Leary asked about Phillip Schofield

In a damning statement, his former agents YMU Group said “honesty and integrity” were core values of their business and that their relationships are “based entirely on trust”.

They have since parted ways with Schofield.

Willoughby is set to return to This Morning on 5 June.

Keir Starmer accuses Rishi Sunak of being in ‘total denial’ about the state of the country in PMQs clash | Politics News

Sir Keir Starmer has attacked Rishi Sunak over the “shocking state” the Conservatives have left the country in during the cost of living crisis.

The Labour leader said living standards were on the floor after 13 years of “Tory failure”, as he pressed the prime minister on what he will do over rising energy bills.

Speaking at PMQs he said: “After 13 years of Tory failure, the average family in Britain will be poorer than the average family in Poland by 2030. That’s a shocking state of affairs. If the Tories limp on in government we are going to see a generation of young people learning to say Auf Wiedersehen in Polish, aren’t we?”

Politics live: Starmer attacks Sunak over cost of living crisis

Mr Sunak blamed the rise in the cost of living on the war in Ukraine, adding: “And I just remind the honourable gentleman what we are doing to ease people through that.”

But Sir Keir said it’s “not as complicated as he pretends” as he called on the PM to “get rid of the loopholes in his botched windfall tax and finally choose family finances over oil profits”.

“Oil and gas companies are making vast, unexpected profits whilst working people face misery of higher bills,” he said.

“He can boast all he likes but companies like Shell didn’t pay a penny in windfall tax last year and they’re still not paying their fair share now.”

The windfall tax was raised to 35% in November which Mr Sunak said is “comparable, indeed higher than other North Sea nations”.

But whether companies are paying this tax is complicated as often they get credits for investments within the UK to bring their payments down – something opposition MPs have branded a “loophole”.

Keir Starmer
Keir Starmer probed Mr Sunak on the UK’s problems with growing the economy

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Sir Keir said energy bills are due to go up by £900 in April and questioned what action Mr Sunak will take to make them cheaper.

Mr Sunak accused the Opposition leader of making “inflationary, unfunded spending commitments” and running out of taxpayers’ cash to fund Labour’s promises.

Sir Keir hit back with a reference to the economic damage caused by the PM’s predecessor.

“The dictionary definition for unfunded commitments is last year’s kamikaze budget. The only country in the G7 still poorer than it was before the pandemic, and he stands there pretending it’s all fine. Total denial about the damage and decline that he is presiding over.”

Labour ‘running out of other people’s money’

During PMQs, Sir Keir also called on the prime minister to scrap the non-dom tax status and use it to fund better childcare provision.

He added: “It is not just bills or housing, families are paying over a thousand pounds a month just to send their child to nursery. If he scrapped his non-dom status, he could start to fund better childcare, put money back in people’s pockets and get parents back to work.”

Sir Keir said it “seems a pretty simple choice” and asked: “So what is he going to choose? Wealthy tax avoiders or hardworking parents?”

Mr Sunak replied: “He has already spent the money he has claimed he would raise from that policy on five different things. It is the same old Labour Party, always running out of other people’s money.”

PM ‘letting generation down’ over housing

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Starmer and Sunak clash over housebuilding

The fiery session also saw the pair clash over housebuilding targets, with Sir Keir raising the fact that the Home Builders Federation estimate housebuilding is going to fall to its lowest level in 75 years.

The Labour leader said a recent Tory rebellion forced Mr Sunak to scrap targets for new homes and called on him to change course.

He told MPs: “He can change course on this, he can bring back targets and planning reforms or he can duck that fight and let a generation down, which is it?”

In response, Mr Sunak said the UK had record levels of housebuilding – a claim that has previously been rebuked by the Full Fact charity.

They said in November that Mr Sunak’s assertion that a record number of new homes had been built did not “appear to be correct” and no data could be found which backed it up.

Speaking after PMQs today, the prime minister’s spokesman said they would have to check what Mr Sunak was referring to in today’s encounter.

Jeremy Corbyn accuses Sir Keir Starmer of ‘flagrant attack’ on his future as an MP | Politics News

Jeremy Corbyn has accused Sir Keir Starmer of “a flagrant attack on the democratic rights of Islington North Labour Party members” after he ruled out allowing the former party leader to stand as a Labour candidate in the next general election.

Earlier today, marking a watchdog’s decision to no longer monitor the party over antisemitism, Sir Keir said his predecessor would have to stand as an independent if he wished to remain a member of parliament.

Asked if Mr Corbyn would be allowed to run under the party’s banner, Sir Keir – who served in his predecessor’s shadow cabinet – said: “Let me be very clear about that. Jeremy Corbyn will not stand for Labour at the general election as a Labour Party candidate.

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“What I said about the party changing, I meant that. We are not going back. And that is why Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a Labour candidate at the next general election.”

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‘Jeremy Corbyn will not stand for Labour’

Responding to Sir Keir’s comments, Mr Corbyn released a statement saying it should be up to his constituents to decide who their candidate is.

“Ever since I was elected as a Labour MP 40 years ago, I have fought on behalf of my community for a more equal, caring and peaceful society.

“Day in and day out, I am focused on the most important issues facing people in Islington North: poverty, rising rents, the healthcare crisis, the safety of refugees, and the fate of our planet.

“Keir Starmer’s statement about my future is a flagrant attack on the democratic rights of Islington North Labour Party members.

“It is up to them – not party leaders – to decide who their candidate should be.

“Any attempt to block my candidacy is a denial of due process and should be opposed by anybody who believes in the value of democracy.

“At a time when the government is overseeing the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, this is a divisive distraction from our overriding goal: to defeat the Conservative Party at the next general election.

“I am proud to represent the labour movement in parliament through my constituency.

“I am focused on standing up for workers on the picket line, the marginalised, and all those worried about their futures.

“That is what I’ll continue to do.

“I suggest the Labour Party does the same.”

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) had been scrutinising the Labour Party for more than two years since ruling it was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination, and demanding changes over its law-breaking handling of antisemitism under Sir Keir’s predecessor.

But the watchdog has said that, under Sir Keir’s leadership, the party has improved its complaints and training procedures to protect current and future party members.

Speaking after the decision was published, Sir Keir called it an “important moment in the history of the Labour Party” that had taken “many, many months of hard work and humility”.

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The EHRC’s report into the Labour Party was published in October 2020 and detailed the “breakdown of trust between the party, its Jewish members and the wider Jewish community”.

The report was critical of the party’s handling of antisemitism complaints under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

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‘Are you to blame for Labour’s antisemitism problem?’

Immediately after its publication, Mr Corbyn claimed “the scale of the problem” of Labour antisemitism allegations was “dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents”.

He also said he did not accept all of the EHRC report’s findings in comments that prompted his suspension from the party.

It led to him being kicked off Labour’s backbenches by Sir Keir – meaning he now sits as an independent MP – but he remains a member of the wider party.

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‘Antisemitism has no place in our society’

Mr Corbyn subsequently sought to clarify his remarks and a five-member disciplinary panel of Labour’s National Executive Committee decided that he should be reinstated.

But Sir Keir stuck to his decision after facing pressure from MPs not to allow him back into the parliamentary party.

Nimco Ali accuses Suella Braverman of ‘normalising hate of black people on Twitter’ with her rhetoric | UK News

The government’s outgoing adviser on violence against women has accused the home secretary of “normalising hate” that black people get on Twitter with her rhetoric on immigration.

Nimco Ali, who announced she was leaving her role as an independent adviser at the Home Office earlier this month, accused Suella Braverman of “normalising hateful rhetoric”.

Asked about her concerns, she told Sky News: “It’s just the rhetoric. This is someone who wants to go very right wing, rather than think about the humanity of people.

“Suella is happy to lock people up in places with no beds in order to look tough on immigration.”

And describing the consequences of that, Ms Ali, 39, added: “If you just look at the timeline on Twitter at the moment, where any young black person, or any black person, speaks out, whether that be Meghan Markle or myself, the rhetoric and the hate we get is so normalised and we shouldn’t be in that position.”

In recent days Jeremy Clarkson has faced huge criticism for his language about the Duchess of Sussex in an article for The Sun, in which he said he “dreamed of the day she is made to parade naked through the streets”.

Ms Braverman was first appointed as home secretary by Liz Truss in her short premiership but was sacked over a security breach which broke the ministerial code.

More on Migrant Crossings

She was controversially re-appointed to Rishi Sunak’s cabinet six days later – again as home secretary.

Ms Braverman has also attracted criticism for her language, especially over immigration, where she described asylum seekers crossing the Channel in small boats as “an invasion”.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman makes a statement over four people drowning in the English Channel

‘Even if we deport people we can do it with humanity’

On her predecessor Priti Patel’s policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda, Ms Braverman said it is her “dream” to be able to see it through amid successive legal challenges.

Ms Ali refused to comment on the latest High Court appeal due on Monday but said: “It’s the language we use around it.

“Even if we are going to deport people and their claims are not successful, we can still do that with a bit of humanity.”

She denied her decision to leave was because her contract wasn’t being extended with the Home Office.

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Previously she told Sky News: “I think I can definitely say that I wouldn’t feel comfortable in serving under Suella or actually saying that she is somebody that we probably have the same feminist ideals as.”

It is understood Ms Braverman and Ms Ali had never met before she started, and her job, given to her by Ms Patel two years ago, was due to end in the next two weeks.

A source close to Suella Braverman said: “It’s the home secretary’s duty to be honest with the British people about the scale of the crisis we’re facing on the south coast with the small boats crisis. She makes no apologies for that.”