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Westminster Accounts: Liz Truss paid £15,770 an hour for second jobs – as outside earnings of MPs revealed | Politics News

MPs with second jobs have an average wage of £233 per hour, Sky News can reveal.

The typical rate for MPs is 17 times the national average – and over 22 higher than the minimum hourly wage.

The highest hourly rate for a current MP goes to Liz Truss, who got £15,770 per hour.

Westminster Accounts

Ms Truss’s most lucrative work since leaving Number 10 has been a speech in Taiwan. She was paid at a rate of £20,000 per hour – nearly 1,500 times the UK average hourly wage – for her insights into global diplomacy.

Even higher than Ms Truss is Boris Johnson, who resigned as an MP last month. His hourly rate comes in at £21,822, but having left parliament, he is free to work without having to publicly record his earnings.

The leaderboard of the MPs with the 20 highest hourly rates in this parliament reveals a clear pattern: 18 have government experience, suggesting a ministerial background is valued by some employers.

Use this interactive Westminster Accounts table to see how many hours each MP has worked in second jobs, and the equivalent hourly rate they have received:

Westminster Accounts – search for your MP with our interactive tool

The Westminster Accounts project – produced in association with media company Tortoise – has analysed the data MPs provide about how much time they have worked on second jobs in this parliament.

The MP who records the highest hours outside their work as a backbench MP is Douglas Ross, the leader of the Conservatives in the Scottish Parliament.

He recorded working 3,869 hours on top of his role as an MP: 3,739 hours as an MSP, 89 hours for the Scottish Football Association as a referee, and the rest refereeing in other roles.

Mr Ross is standing down as an MP at the next election to concentrate on his work in Scotland, but political double-jobbing of this nature is not routinely considered controversial in Westminster.

Read More:
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Labour calls for ‘urgent investigation’ into Tory donor
Westminster Accounts – the story so far

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Tory MPs probed by expenses watchdog

Dr Dan Poulter is the MP who spends the most amount of time in a non-political job. The Conservative and NHS hospital doctor works in mental health services. He has registered 3,508 hours since the 2019 election.

The MP registering the most hours in the private sector is barrister Sir Geoffrey Cox, who put the tally at 2,565.

The highest Labour name in this list is the shadow foreign secretary David Lammy, who has worked nearly 1,000 hours for 45 different organisations. He has worked almost 700 hours in second jobs since the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer announced a policy to ban them in the aftermath of the Owen Paterson scandal.

Westminster Accounts at a glance: use the table below to see how much money has gone to parties, MPs and APPGs in the form of donations and earnings since the 2019 election – and the individuals or organisations behind the funding.

Jill Rutter, the former top official now with the Institute for Government, questioned whether MPs were required to record their outside hours in the correct way, given that MPs often register four or five hours when giving an overseas speech would take them out of the country for several days.

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She said: “I think we can probably rely on [this system] to answer the question ‘How long does a particular task take?’ – I don’t think we can rely on it to answer the question about ‘How unavailable does that make you?’

“If you give a speech in London, you put down an hour-and-a-half. That’s probably pretty fair.

“But the same speech given in Chicago or Calcutta, it’s an hour-and-a-half of the speech, but actually you were away from the country quite a long time. So if we want to say how available are you as an MP, the system is really not very good for that.”

Liz Truss to visit Taiwan in ‘solidarity’ over increasing threats from China | Politics News

Liz Truss will visit Taiwan next week to give a speech about democracy in the face of “increasingly aggressive behaviour from China”.

The former prime minister will deliver a keynote speech to a thinktank to show “solidarity” with Taiwan as it faces an increasing threat from China, her spokesman said.

She is also expected to meet senior Taiwanese government officials during the trip.

Ms Truss, who was also foreign secretary under Boris Johnson, has been giving speeches around the world with a focus on standing up to China since she resigned as prime minister last October after just 44 days.

Ahead of her visit next week, she said: “Taiwan is a beacon of freedom and democracy.

“I’m looking forward to showing solidarity with the Taiwanese people in person in the face of increasingly aggressive behaviour and rhetoric from the regime in Beijing.”

In recent months, Ms Truss has given a speech about China to Japan’s parliament and to the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC, where she called on Western democracies to toughen their stance on China.

Two days before her Taiwan visit she will speak at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit where she will talk about an “economic NATO” where like-minded nations agree to make trade and investment decisions to support freedom.

Ms Truss’ short-lived premiership contributed to bringing relations between the UK and China to a low point but her successor Rishi Sunak has been trying to engage with China where possible.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a J-15 Chinese fighter jet prepares to take off from the Shandong aircraft carrier during the combat readiness patrol and military exercises around the Taiwan Island by the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Sunday, April 9, 2023. China's military declared Monday it is "ready to fight" after completing three days of large-scale combat exercises around Taiwan that simulated sealing off the island in response to the Taiwanese president's trip to the U.S. last week. (An Ni/Xinhua via AP)
China held combat readiness exercises in April around Taiwan. Pic: AP

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said he “made plain” the UK’s views on issues including Taiwan during a meeting with Chinese Vice President Han Zheng on Friday.

Some MPs, including Tories, condemned Mr Han’s invitation to attend the King’s coronation over the weekend and Mr Cleverly’s planned visit to China this year.

Read more:
Truss contests ‘£12,000’ bill relating to use of grace-and-favour home

West must ‘get real’ about China threat – Truss

Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Tsai Chi-chang in Taipei
Nancy Pelosi and Taiwan’s Vice President Tsai Chi-chang in Taipei last year

Visits by Western politicians to Taiwan have become more fractious as China ramps up its rhetoric and displays of military power against Taiwan.

Last year, then US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island was condemned by Beijing, who began military exercises around Taiwan shortly after she landed.

A long-time critic of Beijing’s regime, Ms Pelosi met a former student leader of the Tiananmen Square protest, a dissident Hong Kong bookseller and a Taiwanese activist who was imprisoned in China.

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‘They’re not keeping us from going to Taiwan’

Beijing called the visit a “provocation” by the US and warned President Joe Biden to abide by the One China principle, adding “those who play with fire will perish by it”.

The Foreign Office is “aware and abreast” of Ms Truss’ Taiwan visit, her team said, but the department is not in charge of approving overseas visits by MPs.

Liz Truss contests ‘£12,000’ bill relating to her use of grace-and-favour home | Politics News

Liz Truss is disputing a bill she has been asked to pay relating to a country house which she had use of as foreign secretary.

The bill is reportedly for £12,000 but the former prime minister’s spokesman claims the actual figure is lower.

The invoice, first reported in The Mail on Sunday, covers the period in August 2022 when she used Chevening House in Kent, during the time she was running to be Conservative leader before being elected to No 10 the following month.

Ms Truss claims most of the invoice relates to using the grace-and-favour home for government business and she maintains she should not be liable for the majority of it.

The then foreign secretary Liz Truss met three Baltic foreign ministers at Chevening House in Kent
The then foreign secretary met three Baltic foreign ministers at Chevening House in October 2021

The official business included meetings with cabinet secretary Simon Case when they were planning a transition to a Truss government.

If she did pay, there would have been a breach of civil service protocol because civil servants are not allowed to accept hospitality from a political candidate, her team argues.

Ms Truss has asked for this part to be billed separately.

She will pay for personal costs relating to guests. The bill reportedly includes missing items including bathrobes, which she is happy to replace.

A spokesman for Ms Truss said: “Liz always paid for the costs of her personal guests at Chevening.

“The latest invoice contains a mixture of costs for her personally and costs for official government business with civil servants including Simon Case and senior officials from other departments who met at Chevening during the transition preparations.

“The latter constitutes the majority of the bill. It would be inappropriate for her to pay the costs for officials as it would have breached the civil service code for civil servants to accept hospitality during the leadership campaign.

“She has therefore asked for this to be billed separately.”

Chevening House, which has 115 rooms and is Grade 1 listed, was left to the nation by the 7th Earl Stanhope after he died in 1967.

Since then, the prime minister of the day has decided who uses it, with that person usually being the foreign secretary.

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Liz Truss’s rise and fall

Ms Truss was the shortest-serving prime minister in UK history, resigning last October, just 44 days after taking over from Boris Johnson.

It came after her tax-cutting mini-budget spooked financial markets.

She has said she was never given a “realistic chance” to implement her radical tax-cutting agenda and blamed what she called a “powerful economic establishment” for removing her from Downing Street.

Grant Shapps says Liz Truss had right priorities but failed as she did not deal with ‘big structural issues’ | Politics News

Grant Shapps has said Liz Truss had the right priorities but failed as she did not try to deal with the “big structural issues” first.

The business secretary said he agreed the UK should have a low-tax economy, as the short-lived prime minister advocated, but inflation and debt needed to be dealt with first.

He was speaking the morning after Ms Truss released a 4,000-word essay in the Telegraph on Saturday night about what she had wanted to do as PM and why she thought it did not work.

Mr Shapps told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: “I noted that she said that they hadn’t prepared the ground for these big tax changes.

“And I think the truth is, and we know this, what you’ve got to do first is deal with the big sort of structural issues.

“Deal with inflation first, deal with the debt so you’re on a downward trajectory.

“And then you look towards tax cuts.”

“Everyone wants a lower tax economy,” he added.

Despite previously calling Ms Truss “tin-eared”, the business secretary refused to directly criticise Ms Truss’ leadership, which she called time on after just 44 days following the disastrous mini-budget in September.

He added that, as an MP and former Tory leader, she had the right to put her argument across in the article.

But he backed current PM Rishi Sunak in a backhanded swipe at his predecessor, saying the prime minister is tackling high inflation to ease pressure on the economy before growth can happen.

Candidates to replace Liz Truss as Tory leader will need at least 100 nominations | Politics News

Candidates to replace Liz Truss as Tory leader will need at least 100 nominations from Conservative MPs, 1922 Committee chair Sir Graham Brady has said.

This will rule out a number of candidates from running, and means the maximum number of people able to stand is three.

During the last leadership election, Rishi Sunak won 137 nominations, Ms Truss 113 and Penny Mordaunt 105.

Liz Truss resigns: Live updates

“We fixed a high threshold but a threshold that should be achievable by any serious candidate who has a prospect of going through,” Sir Graham said.

Nominations are open from now and will close at 2pm on Monday – with a new leader to be chosen by the end of the week.

The final two candidates will take part in a hustings event organised with news broadcasters, before an online vote for members to choose who they want to lead the party.

However, Sky’s political correspondent Ali Fortescue said “it could end up being that it doesn’t go to the membership”.

She points out that some MPs don’t want the vote to go to the party membership, given that Ms Truss was their last pick.

“They know this is a last chance – they won’t be able to go through another prime minister as quickly as this,” she said.

One potential option is that MPs coalesce around one candidate, meaning the contest will be over on Monday if only one person is able to receive enough nominations.

How the Tory Party changes its leader
How the Tory Party changes its leader

Sir Graham has already said that the new prime minister will be chosen by Friday 28 October, with Ms Truss to stay on as PM until then.

The last leadership election – triggered by the resignation of Boris Johnson in July – lasted six weeks and involved several rounds of MPs voting and hustings.

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Ms Truss officially took over from her predecessor on 6 September, with members favouring her tax-slashing plan for growth over rival Rishi Sunak’s more conservative fiscal policies.

But in an extraordinary turn of events, her short-lived premiership lasted just six weeks.

Ms Truss announced her resignation earlier on Thursday after she met Sir Graham and agreed for a leadership election “to be completed within the next week”.

It means her replacement will be in place before the crucial fiscal statement on 31 October.

After 44 days in the top job, Ms Truss will be the shortest-serving prime minister in modern British political history.

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Liz Truss’s rise and fall

Her downfall was set in motion by her disastrous mini-budget, which sparked turmoil in the financial markets and forced her to U-turn on the tax-slashing agenda that brought her into office.

In her resignation statement outside Downing Street, Ms Truss said she recognised she could not “deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party”.

MPs call to ‘bring back Boris’

Speculation is mounting about who could replace Ms Truss, with many Conservative MPs calling for Boris Johnson to return.

But any comeback from the ex-PM is likely to be divisive, with other Tories describing such a move as a “fantasy” and “too soon”.

Read more:

We will have a new prime minister, but it’s hard to see how it stops the rot | Beth Rigby
Who is in the running to replace Liz Truss as prime minister?

Mr Johnson resigned following a number of scandals culminating in the Chris Pincher affair – which led to the collapse of support in his cabinet.

Having been found guilty of breaking his own lockdown laws, he is still the subject of an ongoing inquiry into whether he lied to the Commons over partygate.

Other MPs have thrown their weight behind Mr Sunak, the former chancellor and runner-up in the last leadership race.

Commons leader Ms Mordaunt, who came third, could also be set to throw her hat into the ring.

Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby says Ms Mordaunt is “taking soundings” on the matter.

‘Britain is not their personal fiefdom’

Opposition parties have said that, whoever wins the leadership race, a general election must be called immediately.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said the Conservative Party has “shown it no longer has a mandate to govern”, adding that British people “deserve so much better than this revolving door of chaos”.

“Britain is not their personal fiefdom to run how they wish,” he said.

Senior adviser to Liz Truss suspended pending investigation | Politics News

One of the prime minister’s most senior advisers has been suspended from Downing Street pending an investigation, Sky News understands.

Jason Stein, a special adviser to Liz Truss, is to face a formal probe by the Cabinet Office propriety and ethics unit.

It follows allegations that he was responsible for unauthorised negative briefings against former cabinet ministers.

Truss warned she’s ‘out’ if she has bad PMQs – Politics latest

Mr Stein was a key aide during Ms Truss’s leadership campaign and had been serving as the acting head of political communications in Number 10.

There had been anger among some Conservative MPs about briefings from Number 10 sources over the weekend.

The Sunday Times reported that a Number 10 source had told them Sajid Javid had not been considered for the chancellor role following Kwasi Kwarteng’s sacking because he is “s**t”.

Sky News’s political editor Beth Rigby said it was “another crisis emerging for Liz Truss within her own team”.

The suspension was confirmed just before Ms Truss began her third session of Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons as she battles to hold onto her premiership following Mr Kwarteng’s removal and reversal of most of her government’s mini-budget.

The PM made a public apology in the Commons as she faced questions from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for the first time since her economic plan was ditched by new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

“I have been very clear that I am sorry and that I have made mistakes,” she told MPs.

Discussing the swathe of economic policy U-turns carried out by Mr Hunt on Monday, Ms Truss continued: “The right thing to do in those circumstances is to make changes, which I have made, and to get on with the job and deliver for the British people.”

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Starmer: ‘Will Liz Truss be out by Christmas?’

Earlier today, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly warned discontent Tory colleagues against “defenestrating” another PM as he suggested another Conservative leadership contest would not calm the markets.

Read more:
Foreign sec defends Truss U-turns
Protest disruption blamed on ‘tofu-eating wokerati’

He told Sky News the government does “not aim to make mistakes” but “in life, in politics, in business, mistakes do happen”.

“What you’ve got to do is recognise when they’ve happened to have the humility to make changes,” he added.

“The prime minister and the chancellor have learnt lessons from what happened previously.”

A YouGov poll taken on Monday and Tuesday found a majority of Tory members think Ms Truss should go and have buyer’s remorse as more think Rishi Sunak, who lost out to Ms Truss, would be a better PM.

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‘I’m a fighter, not a quitter’

The PM has risked a fresh fight with Tory MPs by making a vote on a Labour motion on fracking a test of confidence in her administration later today.

But amid growing calls for her to resign, Ms Truss insisted she is “a fighter not a quitter” after Sir Keir said the Conservatives’ economic credibility is “gone” and asked the PM: “Why is she still here?”

Pound rebounds in early Asia trading, following Liz Truss U-turn and Jeremy Hunt appointment | Business News

The pound has edged a little higher against the dollar in early Asia trading, following PM Liz Truss’s partial reversal of her initial economic plan.

It had fallen to a record low against the dollar at the end of September, after the short-lived then chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled the biggest programme of tax cuts for 50 years.

Mr Kwarteng, who was sacked on Friday after just 38 days in the job, paid the price for a mini-budget that called into question the government’s economic credibility more widely as the cost of borrowing surged, leading to an unprecedented intervention by the Bank of England (BoE).

However, following the prime minister’s announcement on Friday that corporation tax would rise to 25% from April next year instead of keeping it at 19% as part of the initial mini-budget, sterling gained 0.6% to $1.1245 on Monday in trade in Asia.

Kwasi Kwarteng leaves Downing Street
Out the door went Kwasi Kwarteng

Mr Kwarteng’s replacement, former foreign and health secretary Jeremy Hunt, has promised to win back the confidence of the financial markets by fully accounting for the government’s tax and spending plans.

New Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves 10 Downing Street
In came the new Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt

All eyes are now on how the UK government bond market will trade, after the BoE on Friday concluded its emergency gilt market support.

“If we do see a surge in gilt yields, then that would show that markets remain very sceptical about the debt sustainability
in the UK,” said Carol Kong, a currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

“I think sterling is likely to remain very volatile this week,” she added.

Read more:
Pound sinks to record low against the dollar – as PM and chancellor defend mini-budget
Bank of England ‘will not hesitate to change interest rates as necessary’ after pound’s fall

Can Truss remain PM?

The Conservative Party is now on its fifth chancellor in the past three years – Mr Hunt, Mr Kwarteng, Nadhim Zahawi, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid.

Mr Hunt is the seventh Tory chancellor in 12 years.

There is now a renewed focus on whether Ms Truss can remain in the job.

A Tory MP told Sky News: “The idea that the prime minister can just scapegoat her chancellor and move on is deluded.

“This is her vision. She signed off on every detail and she defended it.”

Kwasi Kwarteng in Washington DC for talks with IMF as Liz Truss faces revolt at home | UK News

As Liz Truss faces open revolt in her own party over her tax cut plans, her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will today try and reassure the IMF that everything is under control.

Ministers continue to be under pressure for the market chaos that erupted after the government announced its £45bn package of unfunded tax cuts last month.

The prime minister and her chancellor say the cuts are needed to get Britain’s economy growing again, as data published on Wednesday suggested we are heading for recession.

Mr Kwarteng will meet with IMF leaders in Washington DC on Thursday, after the institution’s chief economist said tax cuts threatened to cause “problems” for the UK economy.

The IMF has said Britain’s priority should be tackling inflation rather than adding to the price problem through tax giveaways to achieve economic growth.

The chancellor was seen touring the IMF’s offices and being shown artwork on Wednesday ahead of talks today.

Back at home, Ms Truss is facing growing calls for another policy reversal as her MPs see more and more polls threatening a Labour landslide at the next election.

The PM and her chancellor have already been forced into a U-turn on one of the many tax cutting policies within their plan – namely scrapping the 45p tax rate for the highest earners.

In her first PMQs since the dramatic mini-budget she pledged not to cut public spending to balance the books – despite a leading economics-focused think tank warning the government is billions short of the sums needed.

Liz truss responds to Sir Keir Starmer during PMQs
Liz Truss responds to Sir Keir Starmer during PMQs

Read more:
What on earth is happening in UK markets?
What are bonds and where do they fit in the mini-budget crisis?

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned that the government would have to cut spending or raise taxes by £62bn if it is to stabilise or reduce the national debt as promised.

Mel Stride, the Tory chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, said that given Ms Truss’s commitments to protect public spending, there was a question over whether any plan that did not include “at least some element of further row back” on the £43 billion tax-slashing package can reassure investors.

“Credibility might now be swinging towards evidence of a clear change in tack rather than just coming up with other measures that try to square the fiscal circle,” Mr Stride said.

Conservative former minister David Davis called the mini-budget a “maxi-shambles” and suggested reversing some of the tax cuts would allow Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng to avert leadership challenges for a few months.

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Time ticking for pension managers

Meanwhile, Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested the government could ignore gloomy Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts if they predict low growth and rising debt.

The Business Secretary told ITV’s Peston that “its record of forecasting accurately hasn’t been enormously good” and that the chancellor could draw on “other sources of information”.

Tory environment group criticises PM Liz Truss over farmland solar energy plan | UK News

The director of the influential Conservative Environment Network has told Sky News the prime minister’s plan to ban solar panels from farmland is “disproportionate” and risks being “damaging to investor confidence in an energy crisis”.

Liz Truss has said she believes solar panels should not be placed on land that could be used for livestock or crops to boost food production and security.

But Sam Hall told Sky News, there is “clearly some localised concern about solar developments that needs to be addressed”.

He continued: “But blocking the vast majority of the current solar pipeline feels like a disproportionate response and damaging to investor confidence in an energy crisis.

“Solar on less productive agricultural land supports food security by diversifying farmers’ incomes and making farm businesses more resilient.”

Liz Truss said she had 'no shame' in reversing the planned 45p tax cut policy, adding that 'it wasn't a priority policy'.
Liz Truss believes solar panels should not be placed on land that could be used for livestock or crops

The Conservative Environment Network has more than 150 Tory MP members, and it is relatively unusual for the organisation to directly contradict the prime minister in such a way.

It describes itself as “an independent forum for conservatives in the UK and around the world who support net zero, nature restoration and resource security”.

Read more climate change news:
Police arrest more than 100 people during weekend of environmental activism
Government proceeds with new North Sea oil and gas exploration
‘Cascading calamities’ in Pakistan drive United Nations to quadruple appeal

The group join the National Trust and the RSPB, among others, who are concerned about some of the new government’s policies on planning and deregulation and how they might affect the battle against climate change.

The intervention comes as the chief executive of industry trade body Solar Energy UK Chris Hewett appealed to the government not to go through with its plans.

He told the Financial Times newspaper: “If the plan were implemented, it would threaten 30GW-plus of projects currently being scoped for the second half of the decade – this could be over £20bn of capital investment into the UK energy sector.”

Liz Truss ‘utterly catastrophic’ for economy, says Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon | Politics News

Liz Truss’s premiership has been “utterly catastrophic” for the UK economy, according to Nicola Sturgeon.

Scotland’s first minister has also revealed she is yet to have a phone conversation with the prime minister, a month into her tenure.

Ms Sturgeon spoke to David Cameron within hours of taking office, and to Theresa May and Boris Johnson within days of their arrival at Number 10.

“It is just unusual that Liz Truss hasn’t decided to do the same thing,” she said. “Why is that the case? Lack of respect, arrogance, insecurity, who knows?”

Politics live: Every Tory MP in London could lose their seat, says poll

She added: “The decisions she’s taken in the first few weeks of her tenure as prime minister have been utterly catastrophic to the economy and to people across the country who are paying the price of her decisions in higher mortgage rates and borrowing costs.

“She hasn’t had a grip on government since she became prime minister. What’s happened in the mortgage market is pension funds came to the brink of collapse because of her lack of a grip.”

Speaking ahead of the Scottish National Party’s annual conference in Aberdeen, Ms Sturgeon told Sky News she will launch a communications campaign about careful energy consumption over the winter.

Number 10 has blocked a similar public information blitz to encourage people to use less energy, according to The Times.

“We’re in this position because we are part of a GB grid and are reliant on the UK government to take decisions”, she said.

‘Good for King to go to climate conference’

The first minister claimed she would not resign if her government loses a Supreme Court battle over whether the Scottish Parliament can hold another independence referendum – the court is due to hear the case on Tuesday.

And she said “it would be good” for King Charles to go to the COP27 climate conference, after reports the PM advised the monarch not to attend – which were denied by No 10.

“King Charles is somebody who has through his entire life has had a real concern for the environment,” she said.

“He’s head of state of many different countries in the Commonwealth, and I think it would be entirely appropriate should he want to be at COP27.”

Eight years into her role, Ms Sturgeon described being first minister as “a massive job with massive responsibilities”, adding: “It takes its toll on your personal life, your family life.”