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Speaker apologises after Commons descends into chaos over ceasefire votes | Politics News

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has apologised to MPs after the chamber descended into chaos around a motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Wednesday was designated as an opposition day for the SNP, which chose to debate the Israel-Hamas war – and sought to persuade MPs to back its calls for an immediate halt to the fighting.

But a controversial decision from Sir Lindsay to allow a Labour amendment to be put to the House led to an uproar from Tory MPs – and eventually saw the government pledging to “play no further part” in proceedings, as well as the SNP not even getting to vote on its original proposal.

After Conservative and SNP politicians stormed out of the chamber in protest, Sir Lindsay returned to the Commons to face his critics, apologising for “how it all ended up” and saying he took “responsibility” for his actions.

But SNP leader Stephen Flynn said he would “take significant convincing” that the Speaker’s position was “not now intolerable”.

Politics live: Speaker sparks fury with amendments decision

Today’s debate was set to be the conclusion of days of drama over whether Labour would change its position on the conflict in the Middle East.

The party initially supported the government’s stance, calling for a pause in the fighting rather than a ceasefire, as it did not believe the latter would be sustainable.

However, after the SNP decided to force the issue to a vote in the Commons, Labour went further – putting forward an amendment calling instead for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, albeit still with its initial caveats that both sides would need to lay down their arms and Israeli hostages would have to be released.

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A fresh row erupted on Wednesday after Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle broke with convention to put Labour’s amendment to a vote – as opposition parties cannot usually amend opposition motions, only the government.

Labour sources told Sky News Sir Lindsay – who was a Labour MP before taking on the role of Speaker – had been pressured by party whips to select it, but a party spokesman denied the claim.

However, Tory MPs accused him of making an “overtly political decision” to select the amendment in order to prevent Sir Keir Starmer facing a rebellion from his backbenchers – who could have supported the SNP’s motion without a Labour option.

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Speaker angers SNP and tories

In a surprise move, Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt announced the government would be withdrawing its own amendment to the SNP’s motion – which reiterated the government’s existing position – saying the Conservatives would “play no further part in the decision this House takes on today’s proceedings”.

She said the decision of Sir Lindsay to select the Labour amendment had “undermined the confidence” of MPs in procedures, “raised temperatures in this House on an issue where feelings are already running high” and “put honourable and right honourable members in a more difficult position”.

But due to parliamentary rules, the decision to walk away meant Labour’s amendment passed and MPs could only vote on the altered motion – stopping the SNP’s original proposal even being voted on.

Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt delivers a speech during the Conservative Party annual conference at the Manchester Central convention complex.  Picture date: Wednesday October 4, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt. Pic: PA

Instead of the aftermath being about the significance of the UK parliament officially backing an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for the first time, the focus returned to the impact of Sir Lindsay’s earlier decisions – with some Tory and SNP MPs leaving the chamber in protest.

The SNP’s Mr Flynn called for the Speaker to come to the Commons, asking deputy speaker Dame Rosie Winterton: “How do we bring him to this House now to explain to the Scottish National Party why our views and our votes in this House are irrelevant to him?”

And after some delaying tactics by MPs, the Speaker appeared to offer his apologies to MPs on all sides.

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Amid chaos in parliament, SNP and Conservative MPs have walked out of the chamber in protest at the Speaker’s handling of the Gaza ceasefire debate

As some MPs called out “resign”, Sir Lindsay reiterated his earlier justifications for selecting the Labour amendment, saying he had been trying to ensure all options were on the table for MPs to vote on – as well as protecting MPs’ safety.

He added: “I thought I was doing the right thing and the best thing, and I regret it, and I apologise for how it’s ended up.

“I do take responsibility for my actions.”

But while Mr Flynn accepted the intention of the apology, he said the result of the Speaker’s actions saw “an SNP opposition day turn into a Labour Party opposition day”.

“I’m afraid that is treating myself and my colleagues in the Scottish National Party with complete and utter contempt,” he said.

“I will take significant convincing that your position is not now intolerable.”

How do you oust a Speaker?

On a chaotic night, the Speaker of the House of Commons appears to be fighting for his future in the role.

Our deputy political editor Sam Coates says he probably has as little as 24 hours to save his political life.

But how would he end up leaving the role?

According to the Institute for Government, there’s no formal means of removing the House Speaker from office.

However, they can fall victim to a vote of no confidence – making it extremely difficult, and likely untenable, for them to stick around.

One famous example was during the expenses scandal in 2009, when speaker Michael Martin resigned in anticipation of losing such a vote.

There has been speculation today that the government may look to make Sir Lindsay Hoyle subject to one too.

Given his apology to MPs tonight, he clearly recognises the strength of feeling and sheer anger at his handling of the Gaza votes

Were he to resign, it would kick off a vote to select his successor.

Candidates are put forward via written nominations, and if one secures more than 50% of the vote among MPs then a motion is put to the Commons asking to confirm their appointment.

If it doesn’t pass, selection and voting starts again.

If nobody secures 50% in the first place, the candidate with the lowest vote share gets removed from the ballot and the vote is repeated until someone does hit the threshold and a winner emerges.

Speaking to Sky News after the drama had unfolded, Mr Flynn apologised to the public, saying today should have been about Palestinians in Gaza.

“But Westminster does this, doesn’t it?” he added. “It turns into a [debate] all about Westminster and what a circus this is.

“Because thanks to the actions of the Speaker of the House of Commons, the SNP has been stitched up to the point that the Labour Party were the only game in town today.”

He said there would be some “serious recriminations”, adding: “Today was about something much bigger than Westminster, and yet here we are debating Westminster is nonsense.”

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SNP leader says Speaker’s position may be ‘intolerable’.

Labour’s shadow defence secretary, John Healey, defended Sir Lindsay, telling Sky News’ Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge: “The Speaker is there to protect the rights of all MPs and he was trying to do the right thing.

“He was trying to make sure [there was] the widest possible debate because he knows it matters in parliament, it matters in our communities and it matters beyond the shores of Britain.”

However, Mr Healey criticised other MPs, adding: “This was a chance when we could have shown the best of parliament in coming together to demand an end to the fighting in Gaza.

“But instead we’ve revealed the worst of Westminster, with this descending into a row about procedure, with a boycott from the Conservatives, a walkout from the SNP, and frankly, this does nothing to help the Palestinians and it does nothing to advance the cause of peace.”

UK weather: Heavy rain warning issued – days after Storm Ciaran caused chaos | UK News

A warning for heavy rain and showers is in force across southern England – with more than 200 flood alerts issued nationwide.

The Met Office yellow alert comes days after Storm Ciaran battered the same area with rain, flooding and winds of up to 100mph.

The ground is still saturated in many places, raising the likelihood of travel disruption.

A large swathe of the South – from Cornwall to Kent, and as far as south London – is covered by the warning from 5am on Saturday until midnight.

Up to 40mm (1.57in) of rain is possible.

Spray and flooding could make car journeys tricky – and bus and train services could be affected too, according to the Met Office.

It said large waves could also cause dangerous conditions on some coastal stretches.

A Met Office yellow weather warning for rain is in place across southern England on Saturday
The warning is in force from 5am on Saturday until midnight. Pic: Met Office

Get the Sky News forecast for your area

Chief forecaster Frank Saunders called it “fairly typical autumnal weather” – but rain falling on already sodden ground was partly why the warning had been issued.

However, it’s better news for people heading out for Bonfire Night, with Mr Saunders predicting a “largely dry and settled” Sunday – albeit colder than last week.

Vehicles are driven through a flooded road in Yapton, West Sussex, as Storm Ciaran brings high winds and heavy rain along the south coast of England. The Environment Agency has issued 54 warnings where flooding is expected, and an amber weather warning is in place with winds expected to reach 70mph to 80mph. Picture date: Thursday November 2, 2023.
A car struggles through a flooded road in Yapton, West Sussex, earlier this week

A wave crashes over Newhaven harbour wall, as Storm Ciaran hits the English coast, in Newhaven, Britain, November 2, 2023. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra
Newhaven harbour wall in East Sussex, pictured on Thursday

Storm Ciaran was still causing some knock-on problems for the railways on Friday.

LNER, which runs the line between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverley, advised passengers not to travel until Saturday.

Delays and cancellations were expected because trains and staff were out of position due to power failures.

Other operators also warned of disruption as they cleared debris off tracks.

Flood warnings and alerts are in place across the UK. Pic: Environment Agency
Flood warnings and alerts are also in place across the UK. Pic: Environment Agency

Storm Ciaran had now moved into the North Sea – but its southern edge has caused chaos in parts of Italy.

Official said six people died and two were missing after rivers in Tuscany burst their banks following torrential rain overnight into Friday.

There were fears that Florence could be flooded, but the historic city avoided any major incidents.

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Tuscany hit by flooding after heavy rain

Italian Civil Protection officials said 200mm (7.87in) of rain fell in a three-hour period stretching from Livorno on the western coast to the inland valley of Mugello.

Tuscany’s president, Eugenio Giani, said it had never had so much rain in such a short space of time.

He told Sky TG24 that experts believe it was the worst downpour in 100 years.

“What happened overnight in Tuscany has a clear name: CLIMATE CHANGE,” he wrote on X.

Sunak was chosen as leader to end the chaos – but his climate announcement may jar with image as stable leader | Politics News

Today the cross-party climate consensus in place for many years was shattered.

Minutes after Rishi Sunak’s press conference concluded, Labour announced they would reverse the most incendiary of all the PM’s promises – to move back the date to ban new petrol cars, from 2030 to 2035.

This puts Labour and the Tories differences on climate at loggerheads going into the election. Climate politics will now inevitably get much uglier.

Politics Live: PM reveals major roll back on net zero policy

Sunak used a press conference today to set out not only a new approach on climate, but a new argument about himself.

Sunak 2.0 is a politician who says that politics doesn’t work, must change, and insists that only he can take decisions in the long-term national interest, puts aside party politics and can take emotion out of heated subjects.

It is quite a claim, and a big journey he needs to take the public on in a small amount of time.

Might the public struggle to be convinced by the protestations of motivational purity?

Today was a climate announcement which many Tory MPs saw as a consequence of the Uxbridge by-election win credited to their opposition of the Ulez emissions scheme – at a point where he is 18 points behind in the polls.

But it helps Sunak that a YouGov poll showed that, individually, these messages are popular – with 44% supporting Sunak’s decision to delay or drop some net zero commitments.

By 50% to 34%, Britons supported the government proposal to push back the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2035.

Labour wants to use this moment to cast the Tories as an anti-business party at the mercy of his right flank.

They aren’t keen to have a fight on environmental arguments themselves, conscious that an Ed Miliband led fight might lose the support of some hard-pressed voters.

The danger for Sunak lies elsewhere.

Read More:
Which of the Conservatives’ green policies have been scrapped by Rishi Sunak?

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When he took over from Liz Truss almost a year ago, he was chosen to reduce the political temperature and end the chaos.

Today we had a string of business leaders openly attacking the PM for destabilising business, with blue-on-blue violence as Tory MPs reacted badly to the U-turn.

At the same time, Sunak was insisting that the changes do not represent a watering down of the UK’s climate ambitions, which felt a little redolent of Theresa May’s “nothing has changed” moment.

Sunak’s USP with voters is as someone who channels seriousness and stability. The kinetic response to this announcement may jar with his image.

UK Scout leader reveals Jamboree chaos amid South Korea heatwave – with ‘ambulances everywhere’ | UK News

A UK Scout leader at the World Jamboree in South Korea has described conditions as “atrocious and unusable”.

More than 4,000 British attendees – many of them children – are being moved from a camp into hotels due to extreme temperatures hitting the country.

The 29-year-old contingent unit leader claimed there were “ambulances everywhere” – and the event’s infrastructure was ill-equipped to keep people safe in searing heat.

Scout water bottle
Leaky water bottle given to Scouts by UK contingent

Speaking to Sky News journalist Kirsty Hickey, he said his group – which includes 30 children – have been given bad-quality, small water bottles.

“A third have broken and leak even though they tell us to drink a litre every hour,” he said. “Getting water is a 10-minute walk away in the heat.”

The Scout leader, who did not wish to be named, also alleged toilet facilities were unclean, and there have been complaints that the meals offered were not nutritionally balanced.

Toilet block
Toilet block at Jamboree was described as ‘unusable’

He revealed that they had to wait for over an hour in the heat for coaches to take them to Seoul – and claimed the emergency services needed to be called after some children passed out. However, the kids in his group are fine.

“The money hasn’t been worth it as we’re leaving and not getting the experience we paid for,” the Scout leader told us.

“The kids are upset that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has gone to waste because of lack of organisation and preparation.”

Police at Scout Jamboree
Emergency services deployed to event

The contingent unit leader added that in comparison to the 2015 World Jamboree in Japan – which also suffered from stifling temperatures – appropriate infrastructure made the event bearable.

It comes after organisers and the South Korean government said water trucks, air-conditioned spaced and medics were being sent to the event.

Temperatures in some parts of the country have topped 38C (100.4F) this week, with at least 600 people at the event having been treated for heat-related ailments, according to officials.

The event in southwestern Buan has attracted around 40,000 participants from 155 countries, most of them aged between 14 and 18.

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Bear Grylls urges Scouts to stay hydrated

‘A complete mess’

Peter Naldrett, who has two children at the World Scout Jamboree, posted on X (formerly Twitter) to say that parents have been asked not to talk to the press.

He revealed that he had raised a total of £9,000 so his kids could attend the event.

Attendees of the World Scout Jamboree lie down. Pic: AP
Pic: AP

“The South Koreans have made a complete mess of organising this. The government took over running the site and it’s still a mess,” Mr Naldrett wrote.

He praised UK contingent leaders for how they have handled the situation and tried to keep morale high.

“If moving all the scouts off site over 48 hours is honestly the best move for the event, then fair enough. But the kids are looking forward to trips out and the famous culture day,” Mr Naldrett added.

Attendees of the World Scout Jamboree cool off. Pic: AP
Pic: AP

The father believes that children should be able to return to the site for key events – and called on corporate sponsors to make donations so their trip isn’t wasted.

Urging the government to help, he concluded by saying: “There needs to be a massive effort to save this experience and it should be a no expense spared job … I do want the 4,000 UK kids to experience the international mixing and activities they have been flown over there for.”

UK weather: More snow, ice and freezing fog set to cause Monday morning rush-hour chaos | UK News

Widespread travel disruption is expected across the UK this morning, as yellow weather warnings for ice, fog and snow remain in place.

The Met Office issued the alerts as temperatures were expected to stay well below freezing overnight and combine with wintry showers to create icy conditions.

Met Office warnings for Monday
The Met Office’s latest warnings

The yellow warnings are in place until later this morning for northern and southwestern Scotland, Northern Ireland, northeastern England, the Midlands and South West as well as London and the South East.

But there is also a snow and ice warning for the top half of Scotland and the coast of northern England, which continues through to midday on Thursday.

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Cold snap grips UK

Met Office meteorologist Rachel Ayers said that although cold temperatures, freezing fog and wintry showers are expected to last through the week, cloud cover could prevent a return of some of the more extreme temperatures experienced in recent days.

Check the forecast in your area

There is a possibility of slightly milder conditions arriving next weekend but it is too early to be certain, she said.

Gatwick and Stansted were among the airports affected, both closing their runways to clear snow.

Passengers travelling today should check the status of their flight with their airline before leaving for the airport.

News UK, publisher of The Sun and The Times, said the weather had affected its printers in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and this could mean delivery delays in “many parts of the country”.

People walk along the seafront at Whitley Bay in Northumberland after a light covering of snow. Snow and ice have swept across parts of the UK, with cold wintry conditions set to continue for days. Picture date: Sunday December 11, 2022.
Whitley Bay, Northumberland
People walk in the gardens of St Nicholas' Park after overnight snow showers in Warwick. Parts of the UK are being hit by freezing conditions with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issuing a Level 3 cold weather alert covering England until Monday and the Met Office issuing several yellow weather warnings for snow and ice in parts of the UK over the coming days. Picture date: Sunday December 11, 2022.
St Nicholas’ Park, Warwick

Motorists in the southeast of England were warned by National Highways not to travel unless their journey was essential on Sunday evening, as up to 10cm of snow was forecast.

The Met Office said that Kent and Sussex were likely to be worst-affected, with areas most exposed – such as the North and South Downs, and higher ground – likely to see more significant accumulations.

In Kent, a number of major roads were badly-affected on Sunday, including the M2, M20 around junctions eight and nine, the A21, and the A249.

Wintry conditions in Little Venice, London
Little Venice, London
A snowman during wintry conditions after overnight snow showers in Warwick. Parts of the UK are being hit by freezing conditions with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issuing a Level 3 cold weather alert covering England until Monday and the Met Office issuing several yellow weather warnings for snow and ice in parts of the UK over the coming days. Picture date: Sunday December 11, 2022.
Enough snow fell in Warwick to build a (small) snowman

National Highways duty operations manager for the region Gina Oxley said heavy snow was expected to continue in the area until later this morning.

“We have been out gritting throughout the afternoon and we’re continuing to treat routes so we can reach the worst-affected areas and support our customers with their journeys.

“For anyone thinking of travelling tonight, our advice would be not to unless absolutely essential as heavy snow is expected to continue until 9am.”

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Cold snap to continue

On the trains, a number of operators warned services could be affected on Monday morning.

Thameslink said the severe weather had frozen the materials needed for the weekend’s engineering work, meaning that it would take longer to complete and affect some services.

Greater Anglia said passengers should not travel until after 8am if possible, as did c2c, saying that safety checks needed to be carried out following the bad weather.

London Underground strike causing travel chaos across capital | UK News

A Tube strike is causing chaos across London with extremely limited services on the London Underground today.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and Unite are involved in a long-running dispute over jobs and pensions which has led to previous disruption due to industrial action.

Passengers are urged to check before travelling on Thursday with problems expected to continue into Friday morning due to the walkout.

A very reduced service is running on the Central, Northern and District lines with no service on all other lines.

The Elizabeth line is running but may not be calling at some stations it share’s with the tube.

Transport for London (TfL) said London Overground and DLR services may also be subject to last minute changes on Thursday, with London Trams running a reduced timetable and buses expected to be much busier than normal.

Union members will mount picket lines outside Tube stations across the capital, with a group of around a dozen seen holding an RMT banner outside King’s Cross St Pancras as early as 7AM.

More on London Underground

Nearby, commuters were seen being turned away from packed buses.

The RMT claims it offered to suspend the strike during talks but accused TfL of rejecting its proposals.

A woman walks past the closed shutters at the entrance to King's Cross station in central London, during a strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and Unite, in a long-running dispute over jobs and pensions. The strike by transport workers in London is expected to cause travel chaos with limited services on the Tube. Picture date: Thursday November 10, 2022.

Glynn Barton, TfL’s chief operating officer, said no proposals to change pensions or conditions had been made.

TfL’s recent funding agreement with the government required it to develop options around pensions, but the organisation said if changes are to be made, there would be consultations before any decisions are made.

The RMT alleges it asked TfL to pause any job cuts and pension changes to give both sides time to negotiate a deal.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “TfL have missed a golden opportunity to make progress in these negotiations and avoid strike action.

“Our members are resolute in their determination to see a just settlement to this dispute, and they will continue their industrial campaign for as long as it takes.”

More than 1,000 Unite members will be on strike.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “TfL is needlessly attacking our members’ pay and pensions, which Unite simply can’t accept. The workers have the full support of their union in fighting these attacks. TfL must stop behaving like a race-to-the-bottom employer and put forward an offer that is acceptable to our members.”

Inflation rises to 10.1% as economy reels from mini-budget chaos | Business News

The rate of inflation rose to 10.1% in September, according to official figures, as the economy reels from the effects of rising prices and the fallout from the mini-budget.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the consumer prices index (CPI) measure rose from an annual rate of 9.9% in August to match the recent 40-year high seen in July.

The report showed the largest upwards contribution came from food costs, while fuel provided the greatest downside pressure.

Mortgage rates still rising despite mini-budget U-turns – cost of living latest

The data was released against a backdrop of turmoil – partly a result of the effects caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the Western sanctions imposed in response.

Households and businesses are also facing greater uncertainty ahead after the mini-budget tax and spending giveaway of 23 September was largely overturned following a violent rejection by financial markets.

There are now just 12 days left for new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to find ways to gain economic confidence – and a plug for Britain’s funding gap – before the 31 October “medium-term fiscal plan” and analysis of the situation from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Benefits and pensions implications

The lack of clarity on the government’s spending plans leaves millions of pensioners and benefit claimants in limbo.

That is because September’s inflation figure has implications for how their payments are uprated.

If the government decides to raise benefits by inflation, the hike will come into effect from next April.

September’s figure is also used for reviewing the triple-lock pension commitment.

The triple-lock means pensions will rise by either average earnings, CPI inflation based on September’s rate, or 2.5% – whichever is highest.

With average earnings most recently hitting 5.4%, the triple lock should ensure pensions rising by the inflation rate in April next year.

However, on Tuesday, Downing Street indicated ministers could ditch their commitment to the triple lock as Mr Hunt finds ways to claw back funds.

Dover: UK-French taskforce set up to tackle travel chaos after huge queues build up at port | Politics News

A UK-French taskforce has been set up to tackle travel chaos in Kent after holidaymakers spent hours in gridlocked traffic trying to cross the Channel last weekend.

The Passenger Working Group has been established to minimise queue times and avoid further disruption for people travelling to either side of the border.

The group will meet weekly throughout the summer to avoid a repeat of scenes last Saturday, when families reported being stuck at the Port of Dover for up to 11 hours due to heavy congestion.

It follows a row over who is to blame for the huge tailbacks building up at both Dover and the Eurotunnel entrance at Folkestone, which has been dubbed the “hotspot of holiday hell”.

The UK has said there are not enough French border officers on duty to process British travellers, while the French say Brexit means passport checks take longer.

Authorities from both countries met this week to discuss the preparations being put in place to ease further disruption, which includes extra traffic enforcement to keep roads passable around Dover and Folkestone.

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Traffic leading to Port of Dover

The taskforce is part of a package of measures to ease travel disruption after the start of the summer holidays was marred by rail strikes, flight cancellations and border delays.

The AA has issued an “amber” traffic warning for this weekend – the first time it has issued the alert ahead of time.

Roads are expected to be “extremely busy” across Britain due to a combination of factors including train strikes, the start of the English Football League season, the Commonwealth Games and summer holiday getaways.

To ensure people can still easily get to the Commonwealth Games, the government said contingency measures have been put in place, including extra capacity on rail lines that are running and laying on coaches for spectators.

Ministers said flight cancellations have also recently fallen back to their 2019 levels after slot rules were relaxed to help airlines make sensible decisions about their schedule.

Read More:
People should go on holiday to Portugal to avoid queues at Dover, says minister
Liz Truss blames France for “appalling” queues

The government has faced criticism for not doing enough to get a grip on the chaos, with authorities in Kent calling for more money to handle the disruption.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and lead minister for resilience Kit Malthouse said: “I am working with ministers and officials right across government, as well as our partners and industry, to assess and mitigate any disruption, including any knock on effects from the rail strikes.

“We have already taken action, and continue to work with the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel, and the French government, National Highways, local police and the Kent Resilience Forum on minimising traffic disruption, and also with our airport operators to avoid last minute cancellations, and we will continue to take all the necessary steps to help people travel easily.”