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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.

Every household in Wales being offered a free tree to collect from tomorrow | UK News

Every household in Wales is being offered a tree, free of charge, as part of a plan to help fight climate change.

The Welsh Government and Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales, gave away 5,000 trees in the first part of the My Tree Our Forest initiative in March.

Now, another 295,000 trees will be available on a first-come-first-served basis from Saturday 19 November until Monday 19 December, with take-up of the offer to be monitored in case they run out.

They can be collected from more than 50 locations across Wales. Find your nearest hub on the map below:

A total of 10 different species of tree will be available: Hazel, Rowan, Hawthorn, Silver Birch, Crab Apple, Sessile Oak, Dogwood, Dog Rose, Field Maple, Elder.

People not able to collect a tree can have one posted to them from Monday – or have a tree planted on their behalf – with details on how to choose either option available on the Coed Cadw website.

Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “Trees are a lifeline to us and all of the amazing life that they support. Where would our birds, insects and animals be without them? Where would we be without them?

“I want everyone in Wales to check out our website to find your nearest tree giveaway hub and pick up your free broadleaf tree from tomorrow.”

She said “wonderful volunteers” would be able to provide expert advice to help people “choose the right tree for your space and situation”.

“As COP27 draws to a close in Egypt, our continued Team Wales effort in fronting up to the climate and nature emergencies is essential,” she said.

Wales' Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters gives a sapling to one family
Wales’ Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters gives a sapling to one family during the first part of the scheme in March

“By growing a beautiful tree in your own backyard, you can kickstart your contribution and help grow a healthy and happy Wales for us and our future generations to benefit from.”

Those behind the project point out that as well as removing carbon from the air and improving mental health, broadleaf trees are a haven for birds and wildlife.

Natalie Buttriss, Director of Coed Cadw said: “Trees have always offered simple and cost-effective solutions to the challenges we all face and through the My Tree Our Forest initiative, we hope to inspire people from all backgrounds, regions and walks of life to get involved, and as a result, feel more connected to the multiple benefits that trees can bring”

Rishi Sunak to become PM tomorrow after mid-morning meeting with King Charles | Politics News

Rishi Sunak will become the UK’s next prime minister tomorrow after meeting King Charles at Buckingham Palace in the morning.

At the start of the day, outgoing PM Liz Truss will hold her last cabinet meeting before she is expected to make a departing statement outside Number 10 at 10.15am.

Ms Truss, who became the shortest-serving leader in UK history when she resigned after just 44 days, will then travel to Buckingham Palace for her final audience with King Charles.

Rishi Sunak wins race to be prime minister – live updates

After Ms Truss has left the palace, Mr Sunak will then also travel to Buckingham Palace to be officially appointed as the next PM by the King.

The new Conservative Party leader is expected to then travel back to Downing Street where he will make a public address in front of Number 10 at around 11.35am.

Mr Sunak won the leadership race earlier today after Commons leader Penny Mordaunt bowed out at the eleventh hour, having failed to get the 100 nominations from Tory MPs required by the 2pm deadline.

Sources in the Mordaunt camp said she got 90 nominations, though the number of those who publicly announced their backing of her fell far short of this.

“We all owe it to the country to each other and to Rishi to unite and work together for the good of the nation. There is much work to be done,” Ms Mordaunt said in a tweet.

Her decision came after Boris Johnson also withdrew from the contest on Sunday evening, despite claiming he had the backing of at least the 100 MPs required to make it on to the ballot.

Mr Sunak enters Number 10 unopposed and has avoided an online ballot of the Conservative members that rejected him for Ms Truss last month.

He will be the UK’s first Hindu prime minister, the first of Asian heritage, and the youngest for more than 200 years at the age of 42.

The title of youngest ever prime minister belongs to William Pitt the Younger, who was just 24 when he took office in 1783. Tony Blair was 43.

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The challenges faced by Sunak as PM

In his first comments after being announced as the next prime minister, the new Conservative Party leader said the UK faces a “profound economic challenge”.

He said he was “humbled and honoured” after he was selected by Conservative MPs to lead the party and the nation, describing it as the “greatest privilege in my life”.

Read more:
Who is Rishi Sunak? The UK’s first British Asian prime minister
Who could be in Rishi Sunak’s cabinet?
Sunak v Starmer – How do they measure up in the eyes of voters?

Mr Sunak also paid tribute to outgoing prime minister Liz Truss for her “dedicated public service” in a brief speech at the Conservative Party headquarters in Westminster.

“The United Kingdom is a great country, but there is no doubt we face a profound economic challenge,” he said.

“We now need stability and unity, and I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together.”

The former chancellor is taking over from Ms Truss, just two months after she beat him in the last leadership election.