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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.”

Rishi Sunak’s speech to Conservative conference fell flat with public, poll suggests | Politics News

Rishi Sunak’s speech at the Conservative Party conference fell flat with the British public, a new poll suggests.

During his speech, the prime minister confirmed his long-rumoured decision to scrap the northern leg of HS2 between Birmingham and Manchester and announced plans to introduce some of the strictest smoking laws in the world.

New polling for Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge by Find Out Now suggested the speech went down poorly among the public – if they even bothered to tune in at all.

Politics latest: Video causes confusion about when HS2 decision was actually made

Sunak speech

Reaction to Mr Sunak’s decision to scrap HS2 beyond the West Midlands was more mixed among the public, though a majority of Conservative members said they believed it was the right decision.

HS2 announcement

Mr Sunak’s announcement of his intention to raise the legal smoking age by one year every year – meaning a 14-year-old today will never be able to buy a cigarette – garnered far more support.

Smoking age change

Asked to rate how well Mr Sunak was doing in his job as prime minister, the majority said they thought he was doing “badly”.

Do you think Rishi Sunak is doing well, or badly, in his job as prime minister?

The public’s feelings about the Conservative Party itself also appeared tepid.

How do you feel about the Conservative Party?

When asked who they would prefer to be Tory leader, half of Conservative members picked Mr Sunak.

Who would you prefer to be the leader of the Conservative party?

In second place behind the prime minister was Penny Mordaunt, Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Privy Council, while Nigel Farage, the former UKIP and Brexit Party leader, came in third place.

Priti Patel takes aim at Suella Braverman as she says multiculturalism speech may have been made ‘to get attention’ | Politics News

Suella Braverman’s claim that “multiculturalism has failed” may have been made “to get attention”, according to her predecessor.

The current home secretary has faced a raft of criticism since making the comment earlier this week as part of a wider speech demanding an overhaul of the international asylum system.

But Priti Patel said the UK should be “proud” of the “dynamic communities” in the UK, and making such interventions were “not a substitute for delivery” on government policies.

Priti Patel (left) took aim at Suella Braverman ahead of the Tory party conference

Politics live: Gove calls for tax cuts ahead of next election

Speaking to Sky News’ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, the former cabinet minister said: “[Ms Braverman’s speech] was very much about making interventions… [but] that is not a substitute for delivery around changes to policy in government.

“Now, I don’t know what the intention was around that, whether it be to get attention [or] have the dividing line… as we go into a run up to a the general election.

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Braverman challenged over migration

Read more:
What are the different factions in the Conservative Party?
Tory calls for PM to slash ‘unsustainable’ tax burden

“I can understand that, I can absolutely understand that, but you and I are sitting here today, we are the actual products of integration, multiculturalism, dynamic communities, people that love our country, want to contribute to our country, along with a hell of a lot of other people that have done exactly the same, and I think that is something we should be proud of in our country.”

Asked if the speech was an attempt to distract the public from failures to tackle immigration issues in government, Ms Patel said ministers had been “clear” on their plans.

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But, she added: “This side of the general election, if I may politely suggest, it is about delivery and the government will be judged on delivery.

“If you make the pledges, statements and promises, you have to deliver. Pledges are no substitute for action and I think the public are sick of hearing about some of these issues and the failure to deliver, and I think it is right everyone puts a shoulder to the wheel, cracks on and delivers.”

Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips

Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips

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‘Being gay isn’t enough to claim asylum’

Ms Braverman has continued to defend her speech amid the fallout, with the likes of Elton John criticising her over her claims “simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin” was not “sufficient to qualify for protection”.

In an interview with the Mail On Sunday, she accused her critics of being “out-of-touch pampered elites” who were “virtue-signalling”.

But Labour’s shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, told reporters the home secretary was “more interested in going after Elton John than going after criminals”.

UN refugee agency criticises Suella Braverman speech branding illegal migration ‘existential challenge’ | Politics News

The United Nations’ refugee agency has rebuked Home Secretary Suella Braverman after she claimed the current asylum system is no longer fit for purpose.

Ms Braverman called for a reform of the international system in a speech in Washington DC.

She outlined how she believed the current system was “outdated”, and branded the number of displaced people in the world as an “epoch-defining challenge”.

The senior cabinet minister – whose speech was signed off by Number 10 – called for reform of the 1951 UN Human Rights Convention, which forms the basis of the asylum system.

The UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, responded to Ms Braverman’s speech by saying the convention “remains as relevant today as when it was adopted in providing an indispensable framework for addressing those challenges, based on international co-operation”.

Sir Ed Davey announces big cancer plan – politics latest

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‘Being gay isn’t enough to claim asylum’

“The need is not for reform, or more restrictive interpretation, but for stronger and more consistent application of the convention and its underlying principle of responsibility sharing,” it added.

“An appropriate response to the increase in arrivals and to the UK’s current asylum backlog would include strengthening and expediting decision-making procedures.

“This would accelerate the integration of those found to be refugees and facilitate the swift return of those who have no legal basis to stay.

“UNHCR has presented the UK government with concrete and actionable proposals in this regard and continues to support constructive, ongoing efforts to clear the current asylum backlog.”

Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge

Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge

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Watch live on Sky channel 501, Freeview 233, Virgin 602, the Sky News website and app or YouTube.

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Ms Braverman said uncontrolled and illegal migration is an “existential challenge for the political and cultural institutions of the West” – adding that “uncontrolled immigration, inadequate integration, and a misguided dogma of multiculturalism have proven a toxic combination for Europe over the last few decades”.

Part of her speech criticised how current levels of migration have led to “undermining the stability and threatening the security of society” in “extreme cases”.

“If people are not able to settle in our countries, and start to think of themselves as British, American, French, or German, then something is going badly wrong,” she added.

Ms Braverman said “we now live in a completely different time” to when the UN Human Rights Convention was signed.

She went on: “Is the Refugee Convention in need of reform?

“What would a revised global asylum framework look like?

“How can we better balance national rights and human rights, so that the latter do not undermine national sovereignty?”

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Govt not ruling out electronic tagging to control migrants

Ms Braverman also questioned whether courts have redefined asylum to be granted for people suffering “discrimination” instead of “persecution” – especially in the context of someone who is gay or a woman.

“Where individuals are being persecuted, it is right that we offer sanctuary.

“But we will not be able to sustain an asylum system if, in effect, simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin, is sufficient to qualify for protection.”

Punchy home secretary landing blows ahead of party conference

It is no surprise to hear Suella Braverman talking tough on immigration.

Even so, today’s language is particularly punchy.

She talks about the “obvious threat to public safety and national security” illegal immigration poses and says “nobody entering the UK by boat from France is fleeing imminent peril”.

There has been backlash already, unsurprisingly, from charities and NGOs. One man who crossed the Channel in 2019 (fleeing Iran) told me the home secretary has “turned her back” on those in need.

It is criticism the home secretary is used to. Beyond the ethics, though, there is the question of whether anything she says will actually shift the dial.

The most eye-catching part of the home secretary’s speech was her call to reform the UN Refugee Convention. She says the convention, set up after the Second World War, needs to adapt for a “different time” and its application has shifted too far from helping people fleeing “persecution” to those fleeing “discrimination”.

It’s not clear there is any appetite to reform the convention from the 140+ other countries signed up to it. It won’t fix the small boats problem any time soon.

She also spoke about the importance of deterrents: Rwanda and the Illegal Migration Bill. The Rwanda plan has been bogged down in court, and there is no proof yet that government legislation will work. Small boat crossings are down from last year, but they are still much higher than 2021. Last month, more than 800 people crossed the Channel in a single day.

Suella Braverman pointed to polling showing most red wall voters want to stop small boat crossings “using any means necessary”. She did not point to the recent YouGov poll suggesting 86% believe the government is handling immigration badly.

Her speech may not distract from the perils of the government’s illegal migration policy, but it certainly sends a message ahead of the Conservative Party conference.

The speech and its contents were met with criticism from a range of charities, MPs and campaigners.

Ben Bradshaw, a gay Labour MP and former cabinet minister, asked if any “LGBT or any other Tories” were prepared to condemn the home secretary, adding that “being gay is enough to result in persecution or death in many countries”.

Michael Fabricant, a Tory MP and a patron of the Conservative LGBT+ group, said that “if someone simply claims to be gay in order to seek asylum, that should not lift the bar to entry to the UK”.

He added: “However, if someone has experienced persecution from the country from which they are escaping, it presents a different and far more persuasive case. Each application should be considered carefully on its merits.”

Read more:
Debate over Refugee Convention is vital to protect the most vulnerable

Braverman has leadership ambitions – but her rhetoric risks backfiring

‘Cynicism and xenophobia’

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s chief executive, said: “The Refugee Convention is a cornerstone of the international legal system and we need to call out this assault on the convention for what it is – a display of cynicism and xenophobia.

“The Refugee Convention is just as relevant today as it was when it was created, and verbal assaults from the home secretary don’t alter the harsh realities that cause people from countries such as Sudan, Afghanistan and Iran to flee from conflict and persecution.”

He added: “Instead of making inflammatory speeches decrying the rights of people fleeing persecution and tyranny, Suella Braverman should focus on creating a functioning UK asylum system that tackles the massive backlog her policies have created, so as to be able to meet the limited refugee responsibilities that fall to the UK.”

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Josie Naughton, chief executive of Choose Love, said: “It is the home secretary, not the global refugee convention, that is out of touch with the modern age.

“The UN’s 1951 Refugee Convention was put in place to protect every human being searching for safety, fleeing war zones, danger and threats to their life and freedoms. More than ever, the world must come together and unite behind it. We cannot solve this problem by seeking to undermine fundamental human rights. Working together is the only solution.”

Highest number of children with speech and language challenges ever recorded, report says | UK News

One in five primary and secondary aged children are estimated to be behind with their talking and understanding of words, a new survey by a charity suggests.

Speech and Language UK says this is the highest number of children with speech and language challenges ever recorded.

The report, based on a survey of teachers, also found that:

• 80% of teachers think children in their classroom are behind with their talking and/or understanding of words
• 73% of teachers surveyed think that children’s speech and language is not prioritised by the government
• 53% of teachers don’t believe they have enough training to support pupils’ speech and language in the classroom

The charity’s chief executive, Jane Harris, said: “That really shows us that what schools, nurseries the government are doing at the moment isn’t enough to help children to have the futures they deserve.”

She warned about the dangers of letting children fall behind.

Speech and Language UK charity chief executive, Jane Harris
Charity chief exec Jane Harris says not enough is being done to help children ‘have the futures they deserve’

“Teachers and teaching assistants can do an awful lot to help children. We also need the NHS to recruit enough Speech and Language Therapists so that children who have lifelong speech and language challenges get that specialist therapy that they really need.

“Without that extra support, these children are likely to fail in English and maths, they’re also likely to end up with mental health problems, they’re more likely to end up out of work, and they’re more likely to end up in the criminal justice system.”

Read more:
Children ‘struggling with talking and understanding words following pandemic’

Viral Bhundia’s son Jay is in nursery. He says the family played guessing games when Jay’s speech had not developed.

“If he wanted something he would scream, and it was up to us to kind of decode it and figure out what he wanted. Slowly, with different techniques, we were able to see… Does he want a cup? Does he want water? Initially it was a bit difficult.”

Father Viral Bhundia
Mr Bhundia says his son has now reached expected levels because of specialist support

Mr Bhundia explains that moving to another London borough helped get Jay specialist support.

“Because of the support we’ve had he’s reached the level that we expect him to be, but I know many other parents probably haven’t had that support and it’s quite difficult for them,” he told Sky News.

Jay’s nursery director blames lockdown and its effects.

“A lot of parents were keeping their children at home even after the country started to open up,” said Jennifer Lewis, director of Smarty Pants Nursery in east London.

“Communication was often done through things like laptops, iPads, tablets, whereby children watching a lot of things online.”

“It’s important to actually communicate with your child… actually talking to them, not just having something where they’re watching just on screen.”

Read more from Sky News:
More schools with structural problems could come to light
Schools made with certain type of concrete forced to close

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We are conscious of the effect the pandemic has had on pupils’ education which is why we have made almost £5bn available for education recovery.

“Two-thirds of primary schools have benefitted from our £17m investment in the Nuffield Early Language Intervention, improving the speech and language skills of over 90,000 children in reception classes over three years.”

Illegal Migration Bill has ‘too many problems for one speech’ – Archbishop of Canterbury | Politics News

The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched stinging criticisms of the government’s Illegal Migration Bill – saying it has “too many problems for one speech”.

Archbishop Justin Welby was speaking as the House of Lords begins debating the legislation, which the government wants to use to prevent people arriving in the UK by non-traditional means from claiming asylum.

The Archbishop added he does not think the bill will even “temporarily stop the boats”, and that it does not take into account global factors.

Read more:
PMQs and migration debate live

“It is isolationist, it is morally unacceptable and politically impractical to let the poorest countries deal with the crisis alone and cut our international aid,” he added.

The bill also looks to limit the ability of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to prevent the deportation of asylum seekers.

The archbishop was not the only member of the House of Lords to criticise the bill, with Labour and Liberal Democrat peers also voicing strong opposition.

More on Archbishop Of Canterbury

But there was support from Lord Howard, the former Tory Party leader. Close to 100 peers were scheduled to speak with around six minutes allowed per person.

Among the criticisms was the government’s attitude to international conventions and agreements – including the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Archbishop Welby said: “The existing global convention and agreements need updating in response to the crises we face today.

“While now inadequate, what those conventions offer is a baseline from which to build a globally shared understanding of what protection must be given to refugees.

“They are not inconvenient obstructions to get round by any legislative means necessary.”

Rishi Sunak’s speech shows cosy UK-China ties since David Cameron’s pint with Xi Jinping are ‘beer today, gone tomorrow’ | Politics News

Rishi Sunak has called last orders on the UK government’s cosy relationship with China.

The UK needs to “evolve our approach” to China, he declared at the sumptuous Lord Mayor’s Banquet at the Guildhall in the City of London.

The so-called “golden era” is over, he said, “along with the naive idea that trade would lead to social and political reform”.

Naive? That sounded like a pretty scathing attack on David Cameron and George Osborne. It was Mr Cameron, after all, who took President Xi to a country pub near Chequers during a state visit in 2015.

Not long after the two leaders supped pints in The Plough at Cadsden in Buckinghamshire the pub was bought by a Chinese firm. Presumably not what Mr Cameron had in mind for boosting UK-Chinese trade.

Prime Minister David Cameron drinks a pint with Chinese President Xi Jinping at The Plough Inn at Cadsden in Princes Risborough
Prime Minister David Cameron drinks a pint with Chinese President Xi Jinping at The Plough Inn at Cadsden in Princes Risborough

A bitter irony, one might say.

The term “golden era” was actually used by Mr Osborne during a visit to China in 2015, when he claimed the UK was China’s best partner in the West.

Four prime ministers later – in just seven years – Mr Sunak lambasted the Chinese in his Guildhall speech. He condemned the assault of BBC journalist Ed Lawrence and said the media and MPs must be able to highlight the crackdowns without sanction.

BBC journalist Ed Lawrence arrested during protests in Shanghai
BBC journalist Ed Lawrence arrested during protests in Shanghai

That included calling out abuses in Xinjiang and the curtailment of freedom in Hong Kong, he added.

But it wasn’t just Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne who were derided by the current Prime Minister.

His rejection of “grand rhetoric” in favour of “pragmatism” could only have been directed at one ex-PM: Boris Johnson.

When he was London mayor, Mr Johnson visited China in 2013. But by the time he became PM relations had soured because of highly alarming security concerns

Xu Weiping, center right, Chairman of ABP, Boris Johnson, center left, Major of London, pose for photos during the announcement of setting up ABPs global headquarters in London, Britain, 16 September 2013.
Xu Weiping, center right, Chairman of ABP, Boris Johnson, center left, Major of London, pose for photos in September 2013.

In the current hostile climate, there’s no chance of Mr Sunak following Mr Cameron’s example by taking President Xi to a country pub in his Yorkshire Dales constituency. Or visiting China like Mr Osborne and Mr Johnson.

Since the cosy camaraderie of pints in The Plough, the relationship between the UK and China has become a case of beer today, gone tomorrow.

‘You are the future, you are the present’: Meghan gives first UK speech since stepping back as a senior royal | Ents & Arts News

The Duchess of Sussex has told young leaders from around the world “you are the future, you are the present” in her first UK speech since stepping back as a senior royal.

Prince Harry was also in attendance as Meghan gave a short speech at the opening ceremony of the One Young World summit at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.

The Sussexes’ attendance at the ceremony was their first UK public appearance since the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June.

Meghan told young leaders from more than 190 countries: “You are the ones driving the positive and necessary change across the globe now, in this very moment.

“And for that I am so grateful to be in your company today.”

She also told those gathered: “You are the future…. you are also the present”.

Meghan also spoke about having a “pinch me moment” after the first time she was asked to be a counsellor for One Young World in 2014.

More on Duchess Of Sussex

She said: “And there I was, the girl from Suits. I was surrounded by world leaders, humanitarians, prime ministers and activists that I had such a deep and long-standing respect and admiration for.

“And I was allowed in, to pull up a seat at the table.

“I was so overwhelmed by this experience, I think, I think I even saved my little paper place-marker with my name on it.

“Just proof: proof that I was there, proof that I belonged, because the truth was, I wasn’t sure that I belonged.”

“I was so nervous, I doubted myself and I wondered, wondered if I was good enough to be there?”

But she added One Young World, “saw in me, just as I see in you, the present and the future”.

Meghan told the 2,000 or so delegates listening to her speech: “I want to make that point because often times I speak to young adults about the years ahead.

“About what you will do, about what you will have to adopt to fix from previous generations and also what legacy you will leave.

“Too often in that, we neglect the point – you are doing it now.

“You, here, in this present moment, this is where it is all beginning.”

Before the duchess’ speech, Harry and Meghan were sat centre stage on a bench together as they watched bearers carry the flags of more than 200 countries.

Meghan, with her hair in a sleek ponytail, sat with her legs crossed and swayed in time to a rendition of Dancing In The Streets as she clapped her hands.

Reports suggest Harry and Meghan arrived in Britain on Saturday, but a spokeswoman for the couple declined to confirm their arrival.

The couple were pictured walking into a side entrance of London Euston station on Monday as they took the train up to Manchester for the summit.

They were reportedly driven the 27 miles from their UK base at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor to Euston in a hybrid electric Range Rover.

Their UK trip comes just days after Meghan’s wide-ranging interview with The Cut magazine, in which she said she had “really made an active effort to forgive” both her in-laws and members of her own family after stepping back from royal duties.

She added that she is “still healing” from the ordeal.

The former Suits actress also said that “just by existing” she and Harry were “upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy” before they stepped down as senior working royals.

Meanwhile, in the latest episode of her Archetypes podcast, Meghan said her life only became more focused on her race after she started dating Prince Harry.