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Emotional Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle says he is ‘guilty of looking after MPs’ facing ‘frightening’ threats | Politics News

An emotional Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he never wants to pick up the phone “to find a friend has been murdered” – as he defended his actions in the Commons on Wednesday.

The Commons Speaker is facing a backlash for allowing a vote on a Labour amendment to an SNP motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Politics Live: Starmer ‘categorically’ denies threatening Speaker

Usually there would only be a government amendment to an opposition motion, but Sir Lindsay said he wanted all sides to have a say given the importance of the topic, and the fact MPs are facing increasing levels of abuse over their views on the war.

However some Conservative and SNP MPs have accused Sir Lindsay – a former Labour MP who must be impartial in his current role – of making a “political decision” and said they no longer have confidence in him.

Having already apologised for the chaos that ensued last night Sir Lindsay again said sorry to MPs today.

“I made a mistake – we do make mistakes, I own up to mine,” he said.

But he stressed the safety of MPs was at the forefront of his mind when he made the decision – revealing that he had held meetings with police yesterday about threats posed to MPs.

“I will defend every member in this House. Both sides, I never ever want to go through a situation where I pick up a phone to find a friend, whatever side, has been murdered by terrorists.

“I also don’t want an attack on this House.”

Lindsey Hoyle
Lindsay Hoyle appeared emotional as he discussed MPs’ safety

Sir Lindsay said “the details of the things that have been brought to me are absolutely frightening”.

Appearing emotional, he added: “I am guilty because I have a duty of care that I will carry out to protect people. It is the protection that led me to make the wrong decision.”

In an olive branch move, Sir Lindsay offered to grant an emergency debate on the issue of a ceasefire in Gaza.

However the SNP remain unimpressed and have withdrawn their support for Sir Lindsay.

His decision to allow the Labour amendment resulted in the government boycotting the proceedings, so Labour’s motion was passed on the nod and there was no vote on the SNP’s – even though it was their opposition day debate.

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said this was a matter of “grave concern”.

Read More:
Online troll targeted MP over Gaza and told him they would show his wife a ‘real man’
What happened in the Commons yesterday – and can the Speaker be sacked?

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Starmer denies threatening Speaker

However many politicians have jumped to his defence – with some Tories turning the heat on Labour for allegedly putting pressure on Sir Lindsay to select the Opposition party’s amendment.

This is something Sir Keir Starmer has “categorically” denied, saying that he “simply urged” the Commons Speaker to have “the broadest possible debate” by putting a number of options in front of MPs.

The conversation around MPs’ safety returned to the spotlight earlier this month when Tory MP Mike Freer announced he was stepping down at the next election following death threats and an arson attack on his office.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has also told Sky News she “no longer goes out” socially because of threats and abuse and that she was “scared” when confronted by pro-Palestinian supporters.

Former defence minister Tobias Elwood has also warned of a growing trend of protesters going to MPs’ houses after a pro-Palestine demonstration went on for hours outside his home earlier this month.

It all follows the murders in recent years of MPs Jo Cox and Sir David Amess in their constituencies.

Sir Chris Hoy: Six-time Olympic gold medallist says he is being treated for cancer | Breaking News News

Six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy has announced he has been diagnosed with cancer.

The former track cyclist shared the news on his Instagram account, saying that he had hoped to keep the diagnosis private but that his “hand has been forced”.

Sir Chris said he was currently undergoing treatment, including chemotherapy, but added “I currently feel fine”.

The athlete’s full statement said: “I have a bit of news. Last year I was diagnosed with cancer, which came as a huge shock, having had no symptoms up to that point.

“I’m currently receiving treatment including chemotherapy, which thankfully is going really well. I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to all the medical professionals for their amazing help and care.

“For the sake of my young family, I had hoped to keep this information private but regrettably our hand has been forced. Whilst I’m thankful for any support, I’d like to deal with this privately.

“My heart goes out to the many others who are also going through similar challenges right now.

“I’m optimistic, positive and surrounded by love for which I’m truly grateful. As you might imagine, the last few months have been incredibly difficult.

“However, I currently feel fine – I am continuing to work, ride my bike and live my life as normal.

“It’s an exciting year of work ahead, not least with the Paris Olympics in July. I can’t wait to get stuck in, have fun and share it with you all.”

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This is Sir Keir Starmer’s biggest crisis as Labour leader – and there may be worse to come | UK News

The sacking of Azhar Ali as Labour’s candidate in the Rochdale by-election is the biggest disaster for Sir Keir Starmer in his nearly four years as leader of the party.

There will now be an almighty inquest into how a candidate who had made such comments about Israel and Gaza was selected for such a high-profile by-election.

Defending Rochdale was never going to be easy for Labour. Sir Tony Lloyd’s majority at the 2019 general election was 9,668, with the Conservatives in second place.

But the challenge from firebrand left-winger George Galloway and the constituency’s former Labour MP Simon Danczuk standing for Reform UK already presented difficulties.

But now Labour goes into the by-election on 29 February with no candidate, even though Mr Ali’s name will still be on the ballot paper, right at the top of the list in alphabetical order.

Follow latest: Labour withdraws support for Rochdale candidate

Why was he selected? Not surprisingly, as happens in many constituencies with a large ethnic minority population, the local Asian community will have wanted one of their own to represent them.

Mr Ali faced a strong challenge, however, from political journalist Paul Waugh, who was seen as the preferred choice of Sir Keir and the Labour leadership. It was something of a surprise when he wasn’t selected.

It has been reported that voting at the selection meeting was 87 votes for Mr Ali to 68 for Mr Waugh. Hardly a resounding victory for Mr Ali.

And Mr Waugh, as an experienced Westminster operator, would surely have been a safe pair of hands.

But the Labour activists who chose Mr Ali weren’t were not selecting a political novice. He’s the leader of the Labour group on Lancashire County Council and he’s been a parliamentary candidate twice, in his home town of Pendle.

He stood against Tory MP Andrew Stephenson in 2015 and 2019, coming second, 6,186 votes behind Mr Stephenson in 2019. He also acted as an adviser to the Blair and Brown governments between 2005 and 2010.

Labour candidate for Rochdale, Azhar Ali, speaks in Rochdale during the launch of his campaign for the up-coming Rochdale by-election.
Pic: PA
Azhar Ali, when he still had the Labour Party’s support, speaks in Rochdale during the launch of his by-election campaign. Pic: PA

He has nearly 25 years’ experience in local government, but alarm bells should have rung in the Labour high command over his backing for Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour leadership election.

That’s despite saying Mr Corbyn would be a disaster for the country in 2015, when Mr Corbyn first stood for leadership after the resignation of Ed Miliband.

So if the first Labour blunder was selecting Mr Ali in the first place, the second was standing by him for 48 hours after his comments about the 7 October attacks in Israel were first reported in the Mail on Sunday.

A third blunder was failing to discover that it wasn’t just the Mail on Sunday disclosure that was embarrassing. Labour now admits “new information” and “further comments” have come to light.

Senior Tories claim the disclosure of his controversial remarks prove that Sir Keir’s claims – made repeatedly in Prime Minister’s Questions and elsewhere in recent weeks – were a hollow sham.

On the Labour left, meanwhile, they claim it was grossly unfair that Sir Keir and the leadership backed Mr Ali when left-wingers Kate Osamor, Andy McDonald and Mr Corbyn himself had been suspended over antisemitism allegations.

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But there may be worse to come for Labour. Suddenly, the Rochdale disaster – 17 days before polling day in that by-election – plunges the two by-elections this week, in Wellingborough and Kingswood, into potential disarray.

Until this weekend, bookies and pollsters had been predicting victory for Labour in both seats, even though Labour is fighting to overturn big Conservative majorities.

Now, any senior Labour figures campaigning in the final days ahead of polling day this Thursday – and indeed the candidates themselves – will be besieged by questions about Mr Ali and the Rochdale fiasco.

Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, deputy party leader Angela Rayner and leading shadow cabinet member Lisa Nandy have all made high-profile visits to Rochdale to support Mr Ali in the past week.

The Tories, of course, will be cock-a-hoop. A week in which an embattled Rishi Sunak was facing a rise in inflation, two potential by-election wipe-outs and renewed plotting against him by Tory MPs has now turned into Christmas, Easter and his birthday all at once.

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McFadden on support being withdrawn for Ali

The veteran Labour MP John McDonnell told Sky News he couldn’t recall the sacking of a by-election candidate during a campaign before. And, in covering by-elections for 40 years, nor can I.

This is far worse for Sir Keir and Labour than the “Red wall” Hartlepool by-election defeat in 2021 and the ULEZ backlash that handed victory to the Tories in Boris Johnson’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency in July.

Labour’s lead in the opinion polls has remained stubbornly around the 20% mark for months. That could now change.

Will we see the beginning of the end of Labour’s seemingly unassailable poll lead?

Is this a turning point for the Tories? Possibly. They won’t win Rochdale, but they won’t care about that. Humiliation for Sir Keir Starmer is a massive gift for the Conservatives.

And despite all the talk from the likes of campaign chief Pat McFadden that Sir Keir has taken a tough decision, it doesn’t look like that.

It’s more than an embarrassing retreat and U-turn by the Labour leader. It’s also an unmitigated disaster for Labour and Sir Keir’s worst crisis in his time as leader.

Sir Winston Churchill’s false teeth ‘snapped up’ for £18,000 at auction | UK News

Gold-mounted false teeth that Sir Winston Churchill wore as he made his “we shall fight them on the beaches” speech and other famous addresses, have been “snapped up” at auction for £18,000.

The set of six upper teeth were fashioned to preserve Britain’s wartime prime minister’s famous natural lisp.

Dentures were so important to him, he carried two sets with him at all times.

Pic: The Costwold Auction Company
Pic: The Cotswold Auction Company

The Cotswold Auction Company, who handled the sale, said the teeth were “snapped up” for £18,000, more than double the £8,000 guide price.

Churchill, who guided Britain through the Second World War after replacing Neville Chamberlain as prime minister in 1940, suffered from dental problems most of his life and lost several teeth during his 20s.

It is believed up to four sets of teeth were made for him, with at least one buried with him, the Guardian said.

Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill speaks at Woodstock, England, on Aug. 4, 1947. Churchill offers to lend his aid to the British government for a new loan on condition that Britons "labor long and hard." (AP Photo)
Winston Churchill speaking in 1947. Pic: AP

The auctioned set was made for him when he was 65 at the beginning of the conflict.

More on Winston Churchill

Director Liz Poole said the teeth were “among the most unusual items” they had ever sold.

“We were absolutely delighted with the international interest in the sale of Churchill’s false teeth and other memorabilia, which included phone bids from collectors in the United States and UK,” she said.

The Winston Churchill £2 coin, one of five new designs set to appear on UK commemorative coins in 2024
The Winston Churchill £2 coin, one of five new designs set to appear on UK commemorative coins in 2024

“The story generated global media coverage and featured in the news as far away as Canada, the US and Poland.

“The buyer has snapped up a unique piece of our country’s history.”

The Royal Mint's director of commemorative coins, Rebecca Morgan, holding the Winston Churchill £2 and the Buckingham Palace £5 coins for 2024
The Winston Churchill £2 and the Buckingham Palace £5 coins. Pic: PA

Read more:
Sir Winston Churchill and British athletes celebrated on coins
Ex-journalist fails to follow in Winston’s footsteps

Other lots included a microphone reputedly used by Churchill on VE Day to announce the end of World War Two, which sold for £11,500, plus buyer’s premium.

From this year, Churchill’s image has been on commemorative £2 coins to remember the 150th anniversary of his birth, one of five new designs to appear on UK coins in 2024.

Sir Winston Churchill, Buckingham Palace, British athletes commemorated on new 2024 coins | UK News

Sir Winston Churchill, Buckingham Palace and the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) are all commemorated in new coins unveiled by the Royal Mint for 2024.

They are among five new designs celebrating key events and anniversaries, which also include tributes to the National Gallery, Team GB and ParalympicsGB as they head for the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.

Buckingham Palace features on a new £5 coin, while the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Winston and the 200th anniversary of the National Gallery feature on £2 coins.

New 50p coins will mark the 200th anniversary of the RNLI, Team GB and ParalympicsGB.

“As we approach the New Year, we are excited to reveal five new designs set to appear on commemorative coins in 2024, celebrating some of the most significant moments and anniversaries set to take place,” said Rebecca Morgan, director of commemorative coins at the Royal Mint.

“The Royal Mint has been regularly issuing annual sets since 1971 and they have become highly collectable as works of art. They are also gifted to people celebrating special occasions in the upcoming year, as they serve as a keepsake of that memorable time.”

The five designs for 2024

The Buckingham Palace £5 coin, one of five new designs set to appear on UK commemorative coins in 2024

Designed by artist Henry Gray, the Buckingham Palace £5 coin features the architecture of the royal residence in London front and centre of the image.

The Winston Churchill £2 coin, one of five new designs set to appear on UK commemorative coins in 2024

The £2 coin commemorating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Winston Churchill depicts a portrait of the former prime minister as a young man in 1895, in the uniform of the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars. “Pave the way for peace and freedom,” is the edge inscription, taken from a remark he made in late 1953 while serving his second term leading the country. The design appearing on the coin was created by Natasha Seaward, a graphic designer at the Royal Mint.

The National Gallery £2, one of five new designs set to appear on UK commemorative coins in 2024

The National Gallery coin was created by designer, engraver and printmaker Edwina Ellis, featuring the famous art museum’s image at the centre.

The Team GB & ParalympicsGB 50p, one of five new designs set to appear on UK commemorative coins in 2024

Designed by art director Charis Tsevis, the first of two new 50ps depicts two athletes representing both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in parity. The Royal Mint said it produced the coin to celebrate and wish Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes the best of luck at the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The RNLI 50p, one of five new designs set to appear on UK commemorative coins in 2024

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has been saving lives at sea since 1824. As the charity approaches its milestone 200th anniversary, the new UK 50p marks the moment. The design was created by coin designer John Bergdahl, and displays the RNLI flag surrounded by a life ring highlighting the 200 years of service.

Sir Elton John to MPs: Next election winner can help eradicate AIDS by 2030 | Politics News

The winner of the next general election can help the UK eradicate AIDS worldwide by the end of the decade, Sir Elton John has told MPs.

The singer spoke to a cross-party blend of politicians in Westminster after the government announced an increase in opt-out testing for HIV at accident and emergency departments in all high prevalence areas for the virus in England.

Some 46 more A&Es will employ the testing, up from the existing 34 that were taking part in a trial – which also screens for viruses like hepatitis B and C.

Politics – latest: Sunak accused of ‘insane’ claim

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Since April last year, around 4,000 people with HIV have been identified through the scheme after more than 1.4 million samples were tested.

It is thought more than 4,500 people are living in England with HIV but are not aware.

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June: Sir Elton ‘not chilling out’ after farewell tour

“Automatic testing gets to people earlier, which means less HIV transmission, less illness, less death and by the estimate of health economists, £50m saved for the NHS,” Sir Elton said.

“So, to hear today from the secretary of state that this work will be expanded to every high HIV prevalence area… 46 new accident and emergency departments in local hospitals across England… more than doubling the number of HIV tests, is truly wonderful news.”

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He continued: “Whoever wins the next general election can help to end AIDS worldwide by 2030.

“Starting right here at home. In the UK, new HIV diagnoses are down 46% since their peak in 2015.

“We can be the first country in the world to defeat this awful virus. Playing our part, fulfilling the United Nations goal and showing other nations how it’s done.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of The Labour Party, and Sir Elton John attend a reception honouring Sir Elton John hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV/AIDS at Speakers House in recognition of his enduring commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic, both personally and through the work of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, on November 29, 2023 in London, England. ..Photo by Dave Benett
Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer with Sir Elton. Pic: Dave Benett

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Victoria Atkins, Secretary of State for Health, and Sir Elton John attend a reception honouring Sir Elton John hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV/AIDS at Speakers House in recognition of his enduring commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic, both personally and through the work of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, on November 29, 2023 in London, England. ..Photo by Dave Benett
Health Secretary Victoria Atkins with Sir Elton. Pic: Dave Benett

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “It is an honour to host this reception for Elton John in recognition of his work to end HIV and AIDS.

“Sir Elton has been an unwavering advocate in the fight against HIV and AIDS for four decades. His efforts have helped destigmatize the disease, promote education, and provide crucial support to those affected, making him a true champion in the goal to end AIDS.”

Florence Eshalomi MP, co-chair of the all party parliamentary group on HIV/AIDS, said: “We are delighted that the government today has taken concrete steps to increase and normalise HIV testing in the UK.

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“The APPG believes that as parliamentarians, we should play our part in addressing this epidemic and this is something we have been calling for following the successful roll-out of opt-out to extremely high prevalence areas.

“We also echo Elton John’s comments that whilst this will have a very real and significant impact, there is still a huge amount that needs to be done to end the AIDS epidemic both here in the UK and abroad.”

Man found guilty of stalking former cabinet minister Sir Gavin Williamson | Politics News

A man has been found guilty of stalking former education secretary Sir Gavin Williamson.

The Conservative MP said he felt “incredibly threatened” by Simon Parry who “persistently followed” him on 24 May and 14 June.

Parry, 45, of no fixed abode, was convicted of one count of stalking.

He had also denied impersonating a police officer by flashing what Sir Gavin said appeared to be a warrant card and making comments about arresting him on the June date.

District judge Tan Ikram found there was no case to answer with respect to the police impersonation charge because the evidence was “so poor”.

However the judge said: “I am satisfied that those two occasions taken collectively amount to harassment of Sir Gavin.

“The defendant thinks there is humour in relation to what he does. He uploads it onto social media.

“Objectively he ought to have known the course of conduct amounted to harassment. I am sure of that.”

Parry denied intending to harass, distress, humiliate or intimidate the politician over the two dates when he gave evidence on Wednesday.

Sir Gavin Williamson leaves City Of London Magistrates' Court, after giving evidence against Simon Parry
Sir Gavin Williamson leaves City Of London Magistrates’ Court, after giving evidence against Simon Parry

He appeared at court with Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Parry will be sentenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 16 November.

Sir Gavin has been MP for South Staffordshire since 2010 and served in the cabinet as defence secretary before becoming education secretary under Boris Johnson in 2019.

He was given the government post of Cabinet Office minister when Rishi Sunak took office last autumn but resigned shortly afterwards amid bullying allegations, with a pledge to “clear my name of any wrongdoing”.

Sir Michael Caine confirms retirement from acting, saying: ‘You don’t have leading men at 90’ | Ents & Arts News

British actor Sir Michael Caine has confirmed he has retired from acting after the release of his latest film.

The Oscar, Golden Globe and Bafta-winning actor has made the announcement after appearing in more than 160 films over his seven-decade career.

His final film, The Great Escaper, which was released on 6 October, sees Sir Michael star alongside Glenda Jackson, who died in June after the completion of the film.

He plays real-life Second World War veteran Bernie Jordan, who escaped from a care home to attend D-Day celebrations in France.

Undated handout photo issued by Rob Youngson of actors Sir Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson starring alongside one another again for their new film The Great Escaper
Actors Sir Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson

“I keep saying I’m going to retire. Well, I am now,” Sir Michael told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“I’ve figured, I’ve had a picture where I’ve played the lead and had incredible reviews… what am I going to do that will beat this?”

“The only parts I’m liable to get now are 90-year-old men. Or maybe 85.

“They’re not going to be the lead. You don’t have leading men at 90, you’re going to have young handsome boys and girls. So, I thought, I might as well leave with all this.”

The veteran actor initially said he was close to giving up acting in 2021, having just appeared in the film Best Sellers alongside Aubrey Plaza.

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He told film critic Mark Kermode that he expected Best Sellers to be his last film because he had a spine problem which was affecting his walking and “there haven’t been any offers for two years”.

While he stopped short of formally retiring, he has since revealed that he turned down The Great Escaper three times before eventually accepting the role.

Sir Michael’s announcement comes a month before the release of his debut novel, Deadly Game.

The 90-year-old said in June: “It’s been my ambition for years to write a thriller. It’s the genre I most love to read and I’ve really got a buzz out of working on Deadly Game and teaming up with Hodder once again to publish it.

“I hope readers enjoy getting to know Harry Taylor as much as I did.”

The novel follows the adventures of DCI Harry Taylor, a detective “with no respect for red tape or political reputations”.

Sir Keir Starmer to pledge ‘decade of national renewal’ in key Labour conference speech | Politics News

Sir Keir Starmer will promise the country a “decade of national renewal” if Labour gets into power at the next general election.

Delivering a speech to his party’s conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Sir Keir will pledge to fight the next contest on growing the economy, saying he will be “totally focused on the interests of working people”.

And he will claim his leadership will “turn our backs on never-ending Tory decline”, to give British people the “government they deserve”.

The key speech will come on the third day of the annual event following a raft of appearances from shadow ministers, as they attempt to rally the membership ahead of the election campaign, and appeal to the public before they go to the polls.

It follows the Conservative gathering last week – dominated by the news Rishi Sunak was scrapping HS2’s northern leg to Manchester – and the Liberal Democrat event last month.

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Sir Keir Starmer is being urged to be less ‘timid’, as our political editor Beth Rigby reports

Reiterating his five missions of “economic growth, safer streets, cheaper homegrown British power, better opportunities, and a rejuvenated NHS”, Sir Keir will warn of a tough road ahead due to the current state of the public purse.

But he will say “what is broken can be repaired”, adding: “An economy that works for the whole country will require an entirely new approach to politics: mission government, ending the Tory disease of ‘sticking plaster politics’ with a simple Labour philosophy that together we fix tomorrow’s challenges, today.”

The Labour leader will tell members: “We have to be a government that takes care of the big questions so working people have the freedom to enjoy what they love.

“More time, more energy, more possibility, more life.

“We all need the ability to look forward, to move forward, free from anxiety. That’s what getting our future back really means.”

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Podcast: The Week… of the Labour Party conference

Sir Keir will also celebrate his party’s turnaround since the disaster of the 2019 election, with the party now leading the polls, saying: “A changed Labour Party, no longer in thrall to gesture politics, no longer a party of protest… those days are done. We will never go back.”

He will put particular focus on the latest victory in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, where his party ousted the SNP from their seat by over 9,000 votes on Thursday, saying: “Let the message from Rutherglen ring out across Britain – Labour serves working people in Scotland because Labour serves working people across all these islands.”

But the leader himself still has work to do to win over voters as polling continues to show he is not cutting through and people don’t know what he stands for.

Wordcloud about Keir Starmer. Pic: BBC
A word cloud collated for the BBC, asking people what they thought Sir Keir Starmer stood for, may not have been easy reading for the Labour leader

Addressing the public, Sir Keir will echo the words of a former Tory prime minister, promising a country “strong enough, stable enough, secure enough for you to invest your hope, your possibility, your future”, and one where people can be “certain that things will be better for your children”.

He will conclude: “People are looking to us because they want our wounds to heal and we are the healers.

“People are looking to us because these challenges require a modern state and we are the modernisers.

“People are looking to us because they want us to build a new Britain and we are the builders.”

Sir Keir Starmer pledges to ‘smash gangs and secure borders’ as he launches security plan | Politics News

Labour is unveiling its security plans for government on Thursday, promising to treat criminal gangs who smuggle people in small boats “on a par” with the threats of climate change, hostile foreign powers and terrorism.

Sir Keir Starmer is heading to The Hague later with his shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, where the pair will meet Europol officials as they pledge to seek a new partnership to combat migrant smuggling across the continent.

The party wants to have more UK police officers posted with the organisation for joint investigations, aiming to disrupt the gangs before they reach the coast.

And they want to work with EU partners on data and intelligence sharing, replacing the access the UK lost to certain programmes following Brexit.

Sir Keir said UK borders and the immigration system were “being run by a hostile and growing foreign power – criminal smuggling gangs on the continent”.

But he promised his party would be “twice as ruthless to smash the gangs and secure British borders”.

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Other elements of the party’s security plan include strengthening civil orders to restrict the movements of smuggling and trafficking suspects, and beefing up cooperation on surveillance of known offenders.

“These criminal smuggling gangs are growing fat on the government’s failures, while the Tories ramp up empty rhetoric around illegal immigration for cheap headlines,” added Sir Keir.

“The prime minister and home secretary swing wildly from gimmick to gimmick, each one designed to grab headlines rather than sort the problem.

“My Labour government will roll up our sleeves and go after these criminals, with a proper plan for a new security agreement with Europe to support better cross-border police operations and stronger powers for our enforcement agencies in the UK.”

More than 23,000 people have made the dangerous journey across the Channel in the year so far – with more than 3,000 making the crossing in September alone.

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Boat crossings ‘at odds with British values’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made tackling the issue one of his five priorities for the year, promising to “stop the boats” with measures, such as deporting some asylum seekers to Rwanda and housing people on barges.

Read more
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But both schemes have hit barriers, with Rwanda flights caught up in the courts and an outbreak of Legionella’s disease on the Bibby Stockholm vessel.

Mr Sunak has repeatedly defended the government’s progress, saying: “We’ve already reduced the legacy backlog by over 28,000 – nearly a third – since the start of December and we remain on track to meet our target.

“But we know there is more to do to make sure asylum seekers do not spend months or years – living in the UK at vast expense to the taxpayer – waiting for a decision.”

Responding to Labour’s announcement, a Conservative spokesman said their rivals had been “doing everything to undermine our plans to stop the boats”, and claimed Sir Keir’s new policies would be “opening the door to voluntarily taking even more illegal migrants from the EU”.

They added: “Sir Keir belongs to the same failed politics that won’t take the necessary long-term decisions to tackle this issue.

“He clearly doesn’t care about illegal immigration and is trying to take the easy way out. Fundamentally his ideas would do nothing but weaken our tough measures.”