UK authorities would possibly block Scottish gender recognition reform invoice – UK politics dwell | Politics

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Westminster could use uncommon energy to dam Scotland’s gender recognition invoice on ladies’s security grounds, UK minister says

Alister Jack, the Scottish secretary, has hinted that the UK authorities would possibly block the gender recognition reform (Scotland) invoice handed by MSPs this afternoon. In a press release responding to the vote, he mentioned:

We share the issues that many individuals have concerning sure elements of this invoice, and specifically the issues of safety for girls and youngsters.

We are going to look intently at that, and likewise the ramifications for the 2010 Equality Act and different UK huge laws, in the approaching weeks – as much as and together with a piece 35 order stopping the invoice going for royal assent if vital.

Kemi Badenoch, the equalities minister, has advised the Scottish invoice might have a detrimental impression on the remainder of the UK as a result of it could not be potential for the laws to be “absolutely contained” inside Scotland. She set out our issues in a letter to Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, that was leaked to the Instances earlier this month.

Beneath the Scotland Act that arrange the Scottish parliament, the UK authorities has the ability to dam a invoice handed by the Scottish parliament if it might probably argue that it could have an “opposed impact” on the operation of the regulation on a reserved matter (a coverage space the place Westminster, not Holyrood, is in cost). On this case, the UK authorities can be arguing that the Scottish laws would have a dangerous impact on equality regulation.

This energy has by no means been used and, if Rishi Sunak’s authorities had been to invoke it now, that will be seen as extremely provocative in Edinburgh.

However throughout first minister’s questions right now Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative chief, argued that opinion polls have repeatedly proven that the invoice is just not standard with Scots, and that declare might embolden Westminster to intervene.

Michael Foran, a regulation lecturer, has written an excellent weblog on how part 35 orders work on the UK Constitutional Regulation Affiliation web site. Right here is is conclusion.

If the secretary of state did difficulty a s.35 order it will surely be topic to judicial assessment. On condition that the order have to be made inside 4 weeks of the invoice’s passing, any problem might be primarily based on whether or not there have been cheap grounds for concluding that the development of equal alternatives for organic ladies can be pissed off. Whether or not the UK authorities needs to wade into this political quagmire, given each the gender politics and the devolution politics, is one other query completely.

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  • The Scottish government has hailed a “historic day for equality” after MSPs approved plans to make it easier and less intrusive for individuals to legally change their gender, extending the new system of self-identification to 16- and 17-year-olds for the first time. In response, Alister Jack, the Scottish secretary, said the UK government was considering blocking the legislation, using a power under the Scotland Act that has never been used before, on the grounds that it would have a negative impact on equality law in the rest of the UK. (See 5.06pm.)

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    • Rishi Sunak has appointed a former banker and quango head to be his ethics adviser after a six-month delay in filling the post, but will not allow the new incumbent to launch his own investigations into potential wrongdoing.

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    • More than three-quarters of firms say the government’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU has not helped them to expand their business in the last two years despite promises that Brexit terms were “oven-ready”.

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    Alister Jack, the Scottish secretary, has hinted that the UK government might block the gender recognition reform (Scotland) bill passed by MSPs this afternoon. In a statement responding to the vote, he said:

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    We share the concerns that many people have regarding certain aspects of this bill, and in particular the safety issues for women and children.

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    We will look closely at that, and also the ramifications for the 2010 Equality Act and other UK wide legislation, in the coming weeks – up to and including a section 35 order stopping the bill going for royal assent if necessary.

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    Kemi Badenoch, the equalities minister, has suggested the Scottish bill could have a detrimental impact on the rest of the UK because it would not be possible for the legislation to be “fully contained” within Scotland. She set out our concerns in a letter to Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, that was leaked to the Times earlier this month.

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    Under the Scotland Act that set up the Scottish parliament, the UK government has the power to block a bill passed by the Scottish parliament if it can argue that it would have an “adverse effect” on the operation of the law on a reserved matter (a policy area where Westminster, not Holyrood, is in charge). In this case, the UK government would be arguing that the Scottish legislation would have a harmful effect on equality law.

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    This power has never been used and, if Rishi Sunak’s government were to invoke it now, that would be seen as highly provocative in Edinburgh.

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    But during first minister’s questions today Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, argued that opinion polls have repeatedly shown that the bill is not popular with Scots, and that claim could embolden Westminster to intervene.

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    Michael Foran, a law lecturer, has written a good blog on how section 35 orders work at the UK Constitutional Law Association website. Here is is conclusion.

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    If the secretary of state did issue a s.35 order it would certainly be subject to judicial review. Given that the order must be made within four weeks of the bill’s passing, any challenge will be based on whether there were reasonable grounds for concluding that the advancement of equal opportunities for biological women would be frustrated. Whether the UK government wishes to wade into this political quagmire, given both the gender politics and the devolution politics, is another question entirely.

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    Unite says about 1,000 of its members in the Welsh ambulance service have voted to go on strike over pay in the new year. The strike dates will be announced after Christmas.

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    Explaining the background to the vote, which was 88% in favour of strike action, the union said:

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    Unite’s Welsh ambulance service members say such is the decay across the entire health service, that where they once saw 10 patients a day, often they can now deal with only one per shift, spending hours and even whole days at a time sitting outside A&E with patients waiting to be seen.

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    Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary, said:

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    Unite’s ambulance service members in Wales are striking because they see first-hand every day how the NHS is collapsing. They are dedicated life-saving professionals and are taking this step because they know the NHS itself needs saving.

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    The Welsh government must put a better offer on the table to help resolve the recruitment and retention crisis that is crippling the service. But it is also incumbent on the Conservative government in Westminster, who hold the ultimate responsibility for the years of destruction inflicted on the NHS, to meet with heath unions and urgently address staffing and pay levels.

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    Rishi Sunak has had a telephone call with Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president. According to the No 10 readout, they agreed “the UK and the EU would remain steadfast in our military economic and diplomatic support for Ukraine and in countering Russian aggression”.

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    The two also discussed Northern Ireland, where the UK and the EU are supposed to be negotiating reforms to the Northern Ireland protocol that would make it acceptable to the DUP. But this has been going on for months, and the No 10 readout implied a breakthrough is no closer. It just said:

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    On the Northern Ireland protocol, they agreed on the importance of working together to agree a solution.

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    Joe Biden, the US president, is expected to visit Northern Ireland for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement next year – but only if the protocol issue has been resolved by then. In the i Arj Singh and Paul Waugh say that, if the dispute is still ongoing, Washington plans to send Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, instead.

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    The gender recognition reform (Scotland) bill has passed. MSPs voted it through by 86 votes to 39. There were no abstentions.

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    There is loud applause from the public gallery as the result is read out.

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    But as the applause starts by die down, there are shouts of “shame on you” from the public gallery good.

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    The presiding officer, Alison Johnstone, suspends business.

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    Here is my colleague Libby Brooks’ summary of what the bill willl do.

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    Back in the Scottish parliament, Shona Robison, the cabinet secretary for social justice, is winding up the debate on the gender recognition reform (Scotland) bill.

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    She says a clear international consensus now exists in favour of self-declaration for gender recognition. She says only yesterday Spain passed the first stage of a law that would implement this.

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    And she also says this was recently acknowledged in a report from the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights. Here is an extract from that report.

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    The UN independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has also recommended that legal gender recognition should be based on self-determination, be a simple administrative process, and not require applicants to fulfil abusive requirements, including medical certification.

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    The commissioner considers that, from a human rights perspective, selfdetermination models for legal gender recognition represent a best practice, and the introduction of such a model in the UK would therefore constitute an important step forward.

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    The commissioner notes that the number of Council of Europe member states that have eliminated the requirement to provide medical certificates or diagnoses for legal gender recognition has more than doubled since 2018, with nine having adopted such models, and proposals pending in other member states.

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    To the commissioner’s best knowledge, there is no evidence of these self-determination procedures being misused or leading to issues in relation to the rights of others.

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    Someone starts heckling Robison from the public gallery. The presiding officer suspends the sitting.

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    Rishi Sunak has finally found someone to serve as Downing Street’s new ethics adviser. The last one, Lord Geidt, resigned in June because he was unhappy with Boris Johnson’s approach to ethical standards and compliance with the ministerial code. Geidt’s predecessor, Sir Alex Allan, also resigned, in November 2020, after Johnson in effect ignored the conclusions of his inquiry into Priti Patel.

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    The new adviser is Sir Laurie Magnus, a former banker and corporate finance specialist who is chairman of Historic England. Downing Street said, in the news release announcing his appointment, that he would bring “over 40 years’ experience in the financial services sector, with particularly relevant professional experience of audit, compliance and corporate governance”.

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    Magnus’s official title is independent adviser on ministers’ interests. As well as being available to investigate alleged breaches of the ministerial code when asked by the prime minister, the adviser also oversees the regular publication of the register of ministers’ interests.

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    The Committee on Standards in Public Life, and others, have said the adviser should have the power to initiate investigations into breaches of the ministerial code without having to get permission from the PM. No 10 has resisted this, and this reportedly was one reason why Sunak found it hard to find someone willing to take up the job.

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    But when Geidt was in office, he did get Johnson to agree terms of reference which say that, if the adviser wants to carry out an inquiry and the PM blocks it, there is an expectation that a reason for this should be given, unless there are public interest grounds for keeping that confidential. Magnus will operate in line with these terms of reference.

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    In his letter accepting the job Magnus said:

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    As chairman of Historic England, I have had the privilege of working closely alongside Ministers, officials and many other public servants. I have seen up close the dedication and expertise required of public service, and the commitment to maintaining high standards that is an essential part of such work. I look forward to drawing and building on this experience in helping to uphold these standards within government.

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    In line with my terms of reference, I will aim to provide my annual report to you in May 2023. An early priority for me will be to scrutinise the declarations of interests that have been made by ministers appointed under your tenure and to prepare the first list of ministers’ Interests for publication.

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    Rail fares in England and Wales will rise by up to 5.9% in March after what the government called “its biggest ever intervention” to keep the cost of travel below soaring inflation, my colleague Gwyn Topham reports.

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    MSPs are due to hold their final vote on the gender recognition reform (Scotland) bill later this afternoon. At first minister’s questions Nicola Sturgeon strongly defended the legislation, which is strongly opposed by some Scots who claim that it will make changing gender too easy and that women might be at risk in some settings as a result. Strugeon dismissed these concerns.

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    • Sturgeon passionately defended the bill, saying it was her job to make life easier for “stigmatised minorities”. She said:

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    Removing the need for medical diagnosis for a trans person who wants to legally change their gender is actually one of the purposes of this legislation, because the need for that is one of the most intrusive, traumatic and dehumanising parts of the current system.

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    And as a woman, I know very much what it is like to live with the fear at times of potential violence from men. I’m a feminist. I will argue for women’s rights. I will do everything I can to protect women’s rights for as long as I was.

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    But I also think it’s an important part of my responsibility to make life a little bit easier for stigmatised minorities in our country, to make their lives a bit better, and to remove some of the trauma that they live with on a day to day basis.

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    And I think it is important to do that for the tiny minority of trans people in our society and I will never apologise for trying to spread equality, not reduce it in our country.

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    • She strongly rejected the claim that the bill would put women at more risk from predatory men. She said:

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    Over the course of the last two days we have heard set out in this chamber many of the different ways in which predatory men can abuse women.

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    My argument is not – and it has never been and never will be – that these are not very real ways in which predatory men abuse women. My argument is that none of these ways are created by this bill. Nor would it be the case that any of these ways are addressed by denying rights to trans people.

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    The fact of the matter is a man who wants to abuse a woman, even a man who wants to masquerade as a woman in order to do so, does not need a gender recognition certificate to do that, and nor does having a gender recognition certificate give that man any more ability or rights to do that than is currently the case.

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    What we must focus on are the men who abuse women, the predatory and abusive men who do that, and this government always will in a range of different ways.

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    • She insisted that safeguards had been added to the bill to stop the gender recognition process being abused by sexual predators. She said under provisions now included in the bill an application for a gender recognition certificate cannot proceed “where the police have applied for the sexual offences prevention order, sexual harm prevention order or sexual risk order that would prevent a GRC application”. She went on:

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    These are safeguards in this legislation that don’t exist in the current gender recognition legislation.

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    • She described the bill as “possibly the most scrutinised piece of legislation in the history of this parliament”.

    • n

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    At the Scottish parliament Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, is taking questions. Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, asks about the gender recognition reform (Scotland) bill and amendments rejected by the Scottish government. He says the bill would allow a man standing trial for raping a woman to force his victim to refer to him as a woman, not a man, and he asks Sturgeon why she voted against an amendment that would have prevented this.

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    In response, Sturgeon says many amendments have been rejected in the past days. She says where amendments were rejected, it was often because there were alternative ways to add safeguards to the bill. These new safeguards covered sex offenders, she says.

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    The Royal College of Nursing says today’s figures about A&E waiting times at hospitals in England (see 11.04am) show the need for nurses to be paid more. Patricia Marquis, the RCN’s director for England, said:

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    n

    Health and care is under huge strain in the run-up to Christmas. These figures suggest there is absolutely no slack in the system, which is dangerously close to overheating completely.

    n

    A key part of the problem is that the vast majority of hospital beds are full – around 95% – including with thousands of patients fit to be discharged. The lack of community and social care means they’ll be spending this Christmas in hospital.

    n

    The real cause of this is record nursing vacancies in the NHS and tens of thousands more across health and social care.

    n

    Ministers can only begin to fix this by addressing the record nursing vacancies and valuing the profession properly by paying nurses fairly to retain and recruit the staff that patients need.

    n

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    Close to one in four ambulance patients in England waited more than an hour with crews before being admitted to A&E, in what was the worst winter week on record.

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    The record numbers came a week before thousands of ambulance workers, paramedics and others in England and Wales went on strike yesterday, leaving the NHS unable to respond to many 999 calls.

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    Almost 24% of patients arriving at English hospitals by ambulance waited more than an hour to get treated in A&E in the week to Sunday 18 December, or 16,379 patients, eclipsing the figures witnessed in the past six winters and likely the highest figures ever.

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    Just over 40% of patients arriving at hospitals by ambulance are waiting more than 30 minutes to be seen.

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    Other pressures are also being brought to bear: flu is adding pressure to an already embattled service with the number of patients with flu in hospital increasing by two-thirds in one week, similar to the previous week’s increase.

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    More than 2,000 beds were taken up by flu patients on average in the week to 18 December; in the equivalent week last year that figure was just 32.

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    There were an average of 60,583 absences due to staff illness, up almost a fifth on last month, while the number of staff off due to Covid rose by a third since mid-November, to 7,218 each day.

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    There was near-record demand for the 111 service, with call levels up almost 60% on the same week in 2021, partly due to parents’ concerns over strep A.

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    In a statement NHS England said it had “prepared extensively for winter and industrial action”, including additional bed capacity, extra call handlers and community falls services.

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    Prof Sir Stephen Powis, the NHS national medical director, said:

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    n

    With more industrial action scheduled for next week, there will be disruption but we urge the public to continue to use services wisely by continuing to call 999 for life-threatening emergencies, use 111 online for other health conditions, and take sensible steps to keep yourself and others safe.

    n

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    Demand for NHS services is expected to go up after yesterday’s ambulance strike in England and Wales. In an interview this morning Saffron Cordery, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents health trusts, said that demand was “significantly down” yesterday, but that that would change. She said:

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    n

    What we think today, tomorrow, the next few days will bring us, actually, is quite a surge in demand for emergency treatment, people turning up at A&E, potentially calling ambulances because they are in a condition that has significantly deteriorated.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”04b7a6d1-796f-41c8-a6b1-19eb85d93a02″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    My colleague Caroline Davies has the full story here.

    “,”elementId”:”b4bd35bf-5826-47a8-adc0-17fd34ed4b04″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.RichLinkBlockElement”,”url”:” expects surge in demand after ambulance workers’ strike”,”prefix”:”Related: “,”role”:”thumbnail”,”elementId”:”64e30c40-9606-4263-9428-7ecd626a4617″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671704980000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”10.29 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671705153000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”10.32 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671705153000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”10.32 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”10.32″,”title”:”NHS expects surge in demand after ambulance employees’ strike”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”},{“id”:”63a429428f085ce9739c38fa”,”components”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    As reported here yesterday, the Centre for European Reform has published an analysis claiming that Britain’s GDP is 5.5% lower than it would have been without Brexit.

    “,”elementId”:”d59a31c3-f7ff-49d3-b4bf-a30f664e280a”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former business secretary and leading Brexit enthusiast, has published an article for the Daily Express criticising the methodology used by the CER. The CER has identified a clutch of countries whose economic performance closely matched the UK’s in the decade or more before Brexit, and it has compared the performance of this “doppelgänger” UK (a statistical fiction, based on the performance data for the comparator countries) since 2016 with the performance of the real UK. Rees-Mogg claims this approach is “absurd”. He says:

    “,”elementId”:”d7e40fa1-a764-4d91-a412-349fdca847f5″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    [The model] maintains that by membership of the EU the UK economic system will do higher however then goes on to argue that this nation shouldn’t be in comparison with the economies of Germany, France and Italy however to quicker rising nations. These two arguments contradict one another.

    n

    If because the CER says the key continental economies are inherently slower progress than the UK certainly we’d need to be much less related to them and freer to function globally. The undeniable fact that, since we voted to depart, we have now carried out higher than all the key European economies save France, reveals our success.

    n

    From the third quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2022 the UK grew at 6.2 p.c, Germany 5.4 p.c, France 7.6 p.c, Italy 4.2 p.c and Spain 5.9 p.c.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”a55c1926-239f-46b3-870d-6a07caf35307″},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Rees-Mogg is just not the primary individual to criticise the CER methodology on these grounds, and in his report the CER’s John Springford responds to those arguments. He doesn’t settle for that France, Germany and Italy can be higher comparability international locations to supply knowledge on what would have occurred to a “doppelgänger” UK that didn’t vote for Brexit in 2016. He argues:

    “,”elementId”:”e2a954bc-1f4c-48ab-a4eb-015a8159255a”},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    Simply as a result of international locations are of an identical measurement in an identical area, they don’t essentially have an identical financial mannequin or progress charges. Higher doppelgänger international locations could also be discovered elsewhere by the algorithm. Certainly, the UK’s progress price between the introduction of the euro in 1999 and 2016 was markedly completely different to France, Germany and Italy’s. It was far nearer to that of the US.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”614d832c-1b92-4ba0-a97d-7ccfb3e91058″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671702850000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”09.54 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671705294000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”10.34 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671704591000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”10.23 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”10.23″,”title”:”Rees-Mogg dismisses evaluation saying UK GDP is 5.5% decrease than it could have been with out Brexit as ‘absurd'”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”},{“id”:”63a425cf8f085ce9739c38d7″,”components”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    The UK is currently the worst-performing G7 nation in terms of quarterly economic growth, my colleague Graeme Wearden writes on his business live blog. He says:

    “,”elementId”:”01bffbd7-5d43-47b8-aaaa-275e2ba655e7″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    The 0.3% contraction in UK GDP in Q3 reported this morning is worse than Japan’s 0.2% fall in GDP, while Canada and the US both expanded pacily, by around 0.7%.

    n

    France (+0.2%), Germany (+0.4%) and Italy (+0.5%) all grew in July-September too.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”5477beaf-6713-46f7-aec2-06da36467f68″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, claims this shows the Tories have lost control of the economy.

    “,”elementId”:”d8fcb2e8-046a-45c8-8225-f93797c4f4de”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TweetBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/RachelReevesMP/status/1605832643781836800″,”id”:”1605832643781836800″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”a4b44e20-d42e-4210-ac29-da9b9fd730c8″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Graeme has more on this story on his business live blog.

    “,”elementId”:”6e4b5d6c-c9e1-42d7-952a-f58f6b416e85″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.RichLinkBlockElement”,”url”:” economy shrank faster than first thought as real household incomes fall – business live”,”prefix”:”Related: “,”role”:”thumbnail”,”elementId”:”cabc04cc-3677-414c-9edb-03160f39a4f0″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671701967000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”09.39 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671702241000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”09.44 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671702242000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”09.44 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”09.44″,”title”:”UK had worst progress throughout G7 in Q3, newest figures present”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”},{“id”:”63a414678f085ce9739c3875″,”components”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Good morning. Two years ago on Saturday, Boris Johnson announced that he had finalised a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU. Never at a loss for superlatives, he said it was “the biggest trade deal yet, worth £660bn”. In his statement he described it as:

    “,”elementId”:”4b8c81fb-cf1c-4313-be25-fe2cf3d176e6″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    A deal which will if anything should allow our companies and our exporters to do even more business with our European friends.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”b326475d-e4de-44c5-b862-5e502877603e”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    He also claimed – falsely – that under its terms there would be “no non-tariff barriers to trade”.

    “,”elementId”:”8a2c4233-94b6-4968-b76b-7e1a7908dcc7″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    This morning the British Chambers of Commerce has published a damning report on how that trade deal (the trade and cooperation agreement, or TCA, to give it its formal title, is performing, and it’s damning. As my colleague Heather Stewart reports in her write-up, more than 1,000 business leaders were surveyed and three quarters of them said the deal was not helping them to increase sales, or to expand. Here is her story.

    “,”elementId”:”f5587c90-cfb4-47a7-bcc8-bc698313f2c7″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.RichLinkBlockElement”,”url”:” of UK firms say Brexit deal has not boosted business”,”prefix”:”Related: “,”role”:”thumbnail”,”elementId”:”c9f10098-50ce-4f35-bf27-f4ef8ae569c4″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    And here is the chart that shows the key result. (The chart comes from the BCC report, but it contains a typo; the light grey shading represents somewhat agree, not somewhat disagree, as the text makes clear.)

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    I’ll put up extra from the survey quickly.

    “,”elementId”:”3e11fdf2-b00f-4347-b604-5914515d388c”},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    There has not been a lot response from the federal government, however Mark Spencer, the farming minister, has been giving interviews and he advised Instances Radio this morning he claimed the federal government did need to scale back “crimson tape” for exporters to the EU. He mentioned:

    “,”elementId”:”0519c2e9-0bfd-48c9-b597-7bd7a3b39b84″},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    There’s at all times extra that we will do to attempt to ease the best way and the passage of commerce. We’re very eager to try this. We’re a free and open buying and selling nation, we would like to work intently with our EU colleagues, and we would like to attempt to scale back that crimson tape, if there’s any crimson tape, on their facet of the Channel. So, after all, we would like to hold these channels of commerce open in each instructions.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”0d9bc88e-132e-4d63-87d9-def19f137462″},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    In London parliament is just not sitting. However in Edinburgh Nicola Sturgeon, the primary minister, is taking questions at 12pm, after which MSPs are on account of conclude the controversy on the gender recognition reform (Scotland) invoice. The ultimate vote is due at 2.45pm. It had been anticipated yesterday however, as my colleague Libby Brooks reviews, the controversy ran over time.

    “,”elementId”:”d2002a72-6820-4de7-8892-d97cc59f6d3a”},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.RichLinkBlockElement”,”url”:” parliament vote on gender recognition modifications delayed till Thursday”,”prefix”:”Associated: “,”position”:”thumbnail”,”elementId”:”4eed32ee-b255-4428-8c21-a43c0915677e”},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    I’ll attempt to watch the feedback beneath the road (BTL) however it is unattainable to learn all of them. If you’ve gotten a direct query, do embody “Andrew” in it someplace and I’m extra probably to search out it. I do attempt to reply questions, and in the event that they are of basic curiosity I’ll put up the query and reply above the road (ATL), though I can’t promise to do that for everybody.

    “,”elementId”:”9c5650ac-8136-4a86-96ed-31b5f1398d5b”},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    If you must entice my consideration rapidly, it’s in all probability higher to make use of Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

    “,”elementId”:”29ecf0fb-9cd7-401c-9384-094e58ca6124″},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Alternatively, you possibly can e mail me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com.

    “,”elementId”:”1b901ab7-2e42-4c26-93eb-3491014c9ccf”}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671701764000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”09.36 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671707336000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”11.08 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671701764000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”09.36 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”09.36″,”title”:”Minister admits extra wanted to ease commerce after damning Brexit enterprise survey”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”}],”filterKeyEvents”:false,”format”:{“show”:0,”theme”:0,”design”:10},”id”:”key-events-carousel-mobile”}”>

    Key occasions

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  • The Scottish government has hailed a “historic day for equality” after MSPs approved plans to make it easier and less intrusive for individuals to legally change their gender, extending the new system of self-identification to 16- and 17-year-olds for the first time. In response, Alister Jack, the Scottish secretary, said the UK government was considering blocking the legislation, using a power under the Scotland Act that has never been used before, on the grounds that it would have a negative impact on equality law in the rest of the UK. (See 5.06pm.)

  • n

    “,”elementId”:”f5c76a31-25cc-4421-8562-24f2a3519d73″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

      n

    • Rishi Sunak has appointed a former banker and quango head to be his ethics adviser after a six-month delay in filling the post, but will not allow the new incumbent to launch his own investigations into potential wrongdoing.

    • n

    “,”elementId”:”50999552-63dd-4a61-8c40-af965e557d2d”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

      n

    • More than three-quarters of firms say the government’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU has not helped them to expand their business in the last two years despite promises that Brexit terms were “oven-ready”.

    • n

    “,”elementId”:”90358e86-e549-490d-9624-edbe52a8c1e7″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671729286000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”17.14 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671729690000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”17.21 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671729690000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”17.21 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”17.21″,”title”:”Afternoon abstract”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”},{“id”:”63a489b78f08c23d9f5d6320″,”components”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Alister Jack, the Scottish secretary, has hinted that the UK government might block the gender recognition reform (Scotland) bill passed by MSPs this afternoon. In a statement responding to the vote, he said:

    “,”elementId”:”e2a17ba2-ebd0-40d3-9ff5-90deac32a44c”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    We share the concerns that many people have regarding certain aspects of this bill, and in particular the safety issues for women and children.

    n

    We will look closely at that, and also the ramifications for the 2010 Equality Act and other UK wide legislation, in the coming weeks – up to and including a section 35 order stopping the bill going for royal assent if necessary.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”ed0f0247-0e0d-4b25-84ea-975525411273″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Kemi Badenoch, the equalities minister, has suggested the Scottish bill could have a detrimental impact on the rest of the UK because it would not be possible for the legislation to be “fully contained” within Scotland. She set out our concerns in a letter to Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, that was leaked to the Times earlier this month.

    “,”elementId”:”b6fa2ec1-31ee-4812-b9ba-b3084576c614″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Under the Scotland Act that set up the Scottish parliament, the UK government has the power to block a bill passed by the Scottish parliament if it can argue that it would have an “adverse effect” on the operation of the law on a reserved matter (a policy area where Westminster, not Holyrood, is in charge). In this case, the UK government would be arguing that the Scottish legislation would have a harmful effect on equality law.

    “,”elementId”:”2b9a3bba-a827-4039-975e-0fd889acd650″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    This power has never been used and, if Rishi Sunak’s government were to invoke it now, that would be seen as highly provocative in Edinburgh.

    “,”elementId”:”060a9990-0492-4148-80fe-62bb7c4750e7″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    But during first minister’s questions today Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, argued that opinion polls have repeatedly shown that the bill is not popular with Scots, and that claim could embolden Westminster to intervene.

    “,”elementId”:”11895b2e-c1b4-49e3-858b-f6a7a3b712df”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Michael Foran, a law lecturer, has written a good blog on how section 35 orders work at the UK Constitutional Law Association website. Here is is conclusion.

    “,”elementId”:”35d5fbf6-845d-47eb-b6f0-ee59b809f1ee”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    If the secretary of state did issue a s.35 order it would certainly be subject to judicial review. Given that the order must be made within four weeks of the bill’s passing, any challenge will be based on whether there were reasonable grounds for concluding that the advancement of equal opportunities for biological women would be frustrated. Whether the UK government wishes to wade into this political quagmire, given both the gender politics and the devolution politics, is another question entirely.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”41d9b4ca-b609-46bd-9277-55d3dff4d47f”}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:true,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671727543000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”16.45 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671728869000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”17.07 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671728801000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”17.06 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”17.06″,”title”:”Westminster could use uncommon energy to dam Scotland’s gender recognition invoice on ladies’s security grounds, UK minister says”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”},{“id”:”63a487308f083d29b407e322″,”components”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Unite says about 1,000 of its members in the Welsh ambulance service have voted to go on strike over pay in the new year. The strike dates will be announced after Christmas.

    “,”elementId”:”7f2e24cc-b067-4c30-b654-79e4fc7e21c2″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Explaining the background to the vote, which was 88% in favour of strike action, the union said:

    “,”elementId”:”6627ebeb-07b5-4d18-93ad-c52d25c0e954″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    Unite’s Welsh ambulance service members say such is the decay across the entire health service, that where they once saw 10 patients a day, often they can now deal with only one per shift, spending hours and even whole days at a time sitting outside A&E with patients waiting to be seen.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”d7495583-4e3c-42b4-a922-d38acd3c2461″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary, said:

    “,”elementId”:”3a1e5b3b-9cd9-48d0-8aa0-8c5bd6784c05″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    Unite’s ambulance service members in Wales are striking because they see first-hand every day how the NHS is collapsing. They are dedicated life-saving professionals and are taking this step because they know the NHS itself needs saving.

    n

    The Welsh government must put a better offer on the table to help resolve the recruitment and retention crisis that is crippling the service. But it is also incumbent on the Conservative government in Westminster, who hold the ultimate responsibility for the years of destruction inflicted on the NHS, to meet with heath unions and urgently address staffing and pay levels.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”4db5308a-81f7-4d5e-9112-d826ab605fc7″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671726896000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”16.34 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671728500000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”17.01 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671727188000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”16.39 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”16.39″,”title”:”Unite ambulance workers vote to go on strike in Wales in new 12 months”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”},{“id”:”63a47afc8f083d29b407e28d”,”components”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Rishi Sunak has had a telephone call with Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president. According to the No 10 readout, they agreed “the UK and the EU would remain steadfast in our military economic and diplomatic support for Ukraine and in countering Russian aggression”.

    “,”elementId”:”cace2e04-17db-44d7-a10a-51619a19cc47″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    The two also discussed Northern Ireland, where the UK and the EU are supposed to be negotiating reforms to the Northern Ireland protocol that would make it acceptable to the DUP. But this has been going on for months, and the No 10 readout implied a breakthrough is no closer. It just said:

    “,”elementId”:”287dcb4c-4783-4270-bfb2-2900489b813f”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    On the Northern Ireland protocol, they agreed on the importance of working together to agree a solution.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”7a578432-6c6d-4bab-a423-0b72467c509a”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Joe Biden, the US president, is expected to visit Northern Ireland for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement next year – but only if the protocol issue has been resolved by then. In the i Arj Singh and Paul Waugh say that, if the dispute is still ongoing, Washington plans to send Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, instead.

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    The gender recognition reform (Scotland) bill has passed. MSPs voted it through by 86 votes to 39. There were no abstentions.

    “,”elementId”:”4bafd6ad-2246-4a20-81d9-f6b7cf298ee2″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    There is loud applause from the public gallery as the result is read out.

    “,”elementId”:”f8a877df-1b15-4076-a85e-2f81a0905a4d”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    But as the applause starts by die down, there are shouts of “shame on you” from the public gallery good.

    “,”elementId”:”97aa7bf4-150a-4e1e-9838-d1283d94e28c”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    The presiding officer, Alison Johnstone, suspends business.

    “,”elementId”:”6f64805e-2e4e-4267-bfc0-26a2531d7709″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Here is my colleague Libby Brooks’ summary of what the bill willl do.

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    Back in the Scottish parliament, Shona Robison, the cabinet secretary for social justice, is winding up the debate on the gender recognition reform (Scotland) bill.

    “,”elementId”:”8f0d1774-53e7-45cb-96a3-d5e79d253012″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    She says a clear international consensus now exists in favour of self-declaration for gender recognition. She says only yesterday Spain passed the first stage of a law that would implement this.

    “,”elementId”:”2ba81c50-b9bd-420a-9749-8a9258a67646″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    And she also says this was recently acknowledged in a report from the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights. Here is an extract from that report.

    “,”elementId”:”a475474a-3bea-4511-8e09-398e174dd4f4″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    The UN independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has also recommended that legal gender recognition should be based on self-determination, be a simple administrative process, and not require applicants to fulfil abusive requirements, including medical certification.

    n

    The commissioner considers that, from a human rights perspective, selfdetermination models for legal gender recognition represent a best practice, and the introduction of such a model in the UK would therefore constitute an important step forward.

    n

    The commissioner notes that the number of Council of Europe member states that have eliminated the requirement to provide medical certificates or diagnoses for legal gender recognition has more than doubled since 2018, with nine having adopted such models, and proposals pending in other member states.

    n

    To the commissioner’s best knowledge, there is no evidence of these self-determination procedures being misused or leading to issues in relation to the rights of others.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”46e914a9-70d0-48cd-b010-65b391d07d5f”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Someone starts heckling Robison from the public gallery. The presiding officer suspends the sitting.

    “,”elementId”:”fceba089-40f5-48c1-af0e-083fbfd4d18c”}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671720336000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”14.45 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671721222000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”15.00 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671720847000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”14.54 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”14.54″,”title”:”Scottish parliament suspended after protester interrupts ultimate speech earlier than gender recognition vote”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”},{“id”:”63a466ad8f08c23d9f5d6160″,”components”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Rishi Sunak has finally found someone to serve as Downing Street’s new ethics adviser. The last one, Lord Geidt, resigned in June because he was unhappy with Boris Johnson’s approach to ethical standards and compliance with the ministerial code. Geidt’s predecessor, Sir Alex Allan, also resigned, in November 2020, after Johnson in effect ignored the conclusions of his inquiry into Priti Patel.

    “,”elementId”:”b0f97da2-ed4c-484f-aca8-6fbe4a0ba164″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    The new adviser is Sir Laurie Magnus, a former banker and corporate finance specialist who is chairman of Historic England. Downing Street said, in the news release announcing his appointment, that he would bring “over 40 years’ experience in the financial services sector, with particularly relevant professional experience of audit, compliance and corporate governance”.

    “,”elementId”:”0389c646-4d2a-495a-9382-26a78f69798e”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Magnus’s official title is independent adviser on ministers’ interests. As well as being available to investigate alleged breaches of the ministerial code when asked by the prime minister, the adviser also oversees the regular publication of the register of ministers’ interests.

    “,”elementId”:”90b08d94-a18d-4764-a48f-ad5a7f4ac29d”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    The Committee on Standards in Public Life, and others, have said the adviser should have the power to initiate investigations into breaches of the ministerial code without having to get permission from the PM. No 10 has resisted this, and this reportedly was one reason why Sunak found it hard to find someone willing to take up the job.

    “,”elementId”:”d3064b02-95b1-4674-8ad4-3ad29812e257″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    But when Geidt was in office, he did get Johnson to agree terms of reference which say that, if the adviser wants to carry out an inquiry and the PM blocks it, there is an expectation that a reason for this should be given, unless there are public interest grounds for keeping that confidential. Magnus will operate in line with these terms of reference.

    “,”elementId”:”0fa6adb4-17d2-47ac-b1f7-4eec03f89303″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    In his letter accepting the job Magnus said:

    “,”elementId”:”00346f9d-94b3-4e11-9832-e5c8cf0e4792″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    As chairman of Historic England, I have had the privilege of working closely alongside Ministers, officials and many other public servants. I have seen up close the dedication and expertise required of public service, and the commitment to maintaining high standards that is an essential part of such work. I look forward to drawing and building on this experience in helping to uphold these standards within government.

    n

    In line with my terms of reference, I will aim to provide my annual report to you in May 2023. An early priority for me will be to scrutinise the declarations of interests that have been made by ministers appointed under your tenure and to prepare the first list of ministers’ Interests for publication.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”dc112eae-1e84-4f78-a40f-d5668b507d3c”}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671718573000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”14.16 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671720147000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”14.42 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671720044000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”14.40 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”14.40″,”title”:”Former banker and quango chief appointed by Rishi Sunak as No 10’s new ethics adviser”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”},{“id”:”63a462108f08c23d9f5d611a”,”components”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Rail fares in England and Wales will rise by up to 5.9% in March after what the government called “its biggest ever intervention” to keep the cost of travel below soaring inflation, my colleague Gwyn Topham reports.

    “,”elementId”:”852a0b23-f3d8-426e-9498-f82cc12a05ef”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.RichLinkBlockElement”,”url”:” fares in England and Wales to increase by up to 5.9% in March”,”prefix”:”Related: “,”role”:”thumbnail”,”elementId”:”898076b8-1b7a-423d-8408-3d1dab46553f”}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671717392000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”13.56 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671717432000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”13.57 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671717432000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”13.57 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”13.57″,”title”:”Rail fares in England and Wales to enhance by as much as 5.9% in March”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”},{“id”:”63a44d568f085ce9739c3a8f”,”components”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    MSPs are due to hold their final vote on the gender recognition reform (Scotland) bill later this afternoon. At first minister’s questions Nicola Sturgeon strongly defended the legislation, which is strongly opposed by some Scots who claim that it will make changing gender too easy and that women might be at risk in some settings as a result. Strugeon dismissed these concerns.

    “,”elementId”:”3873f24d-91c2-4bd7-8416-0f25b7f3bdde”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

      n

    • Sturgeon passionately defended the bill, saying it was her job to make life easier for “stigmatised minorities”. She said:

    • n

    “,”elementId”:”61902c59-d4dd-4a68-a2bf-979caa7808a0″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    Removing the need for medical diagnosis for a trans person who wants to legally change their gender is actually one of the purposes of this legislation, because the need for that is one of the most intrusive, traumatic and dehumanising parts of the current system.

    n

    And as a woman, I know very much what it is like to live with the fear at times of potential violence from men. I’m a feminist. I will argue for women’s rights. I will do everything I can to protect women’s rights for as long as I was.

    n

    But I also think it’s an important part of my responsibility to make life a little bit easier for stigmatised minorities in our country, to make their lives a bit better, and to remove some of the trauma that they live with on a day to day basis.

    n

    And I think it is important to do that for the tiny minority of trans people in our society and I will never apologise for trying to spread equality, not reduce it in our country.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”197668f8-dadd-42dc-b2d4-a247a3843720″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

      n

    • She strongly rejected the claim that the bill would put women at more risk from predatory men. She said:

    • n

    “,”elementId”:”efebc73c-6cbe-44b5-b69a-51214c54cd82″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    Over the course of the last two days we have heard set out in this chamber many of the different ways in which predatory men can abuse women.

    n

    My argument is not – and it has never been and never will be – that these are not very real ways in which predatory men abuse women. My argument is that none of these ways are created by this bill. Nor would it be the case that any of these ways are addressed by denying rights to trans people.

    n

    The fact of the matter is a man who wants to abuse a woman, even a man who wants to masquerade as a woman in order to do so, does not need a gender recognition certificate to do that, and nor does having a gender recognition certificate give that man any more ability or rights to do that than is currently the case.

    n

    What we must focus on are the men who abuse women, the predatory and abusive men who do that, and this government always will in a range of different ways.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”32f5a6e7-fd21-4827-b9b9-caf1e5d44107″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

      n

    • She insisted that safeguards had been added to the bill to stop the gender recognition process being abused by sexual predators. She said under provisions now included in the bill an application for a gender recognition certificate cannot proceed “where the police have applied for the sexual offences prevention order, sexual harm prevention order or sexual risk order that would prevent a GRC application”. She went on:

    • n

    “,”elementId”:”7f250f40-8d52-4dce-a5e9-6d5384b00d14″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    These are safeguards in this legislation that don’t exist in the current gender recognition legislation.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”03ecee01-d86d-4ab7-8674-a75f7b921858″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

      n

    • She described the bill as “possibly the most scrutinised piece of legislation in the history of this parliament”.

    • n

    “,”elementId”:”308d17f2-ea08-4066-8b88-cba11ac21bec”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.ImageBlockElement”,”media”:{“allImages”:[{“index”:0,”fields”:{“height”:”528″,”width”:”956″},”mediaType”:”Image”,”mimeType”:”image/jpeg”,”url”:” Sturgeon”,”caption”:”Nicola Sturgeon”,”credit”:”Photograph: Scottish 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    At the Scottish parliament Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, is taking questions. Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, asks about the gender recognition reform (Scotland) bill and amendments rejected by the Scottish government. He says the bill would allow a man standing trial for raping a woman to force his victim to refer to him as a woman, not a man, and he asks Sturgeon why she voted against an amendment that would have prevented this.

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    In response, Sturgeon says many amendments have been rejected in the past days. She says where amendments were rejected, it was often because there were alternative ways to add safeguards to the bill. These new safeguards covered sex offenders, she says.

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    The Royal College of Nursing says today’s figures about A&E waiting times at hospitals in England (see 11.04am) show the need for nurses to be paid more. Patricia Marquis, the RCN’s director for England, said:

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    n

    Health and care is under huge strain in the run-up to Christmas. These figures suggest there is absolutely no slack in the system, which is dangerously close to overheating completely.

    n

    A key part of the problem is that the vast majority of hospital beds are full – around 95% – including with thousands of patients fit to be discharged. The lack of community and social care means they’ll be spending this Christmas in hospital.

    n

    The real cause of this is record nursing vacancies in the NHS and tens of thousands more across health and social care.

    n

    Ministers can only begin to fix this by addressing the record nursing vacancies and valuing the profession properly by paying nurses fairly to retain and recruit the staff that patients need.

    n

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    Close to one in four ambulance patients in England waited more than an hour with crews before being admitted to A&E, in what was the worst winter week on record.

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    The record numbers came a week before thousands of ambulance workers, paramedics and others in England and Wales went on strike yesterday, leaving the NHS unable to respond to many 999 calls.

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    Almost 24% of patients arriving at English hospitals by ambulance waited more than an hour to get treated in A&E in the week to Sunday 18 December, or 16,379 patients, eclipsing the figures witnessed in the past six winters and likely the highest figures ever.

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    Just over 40% of patients arriving at hospitals by ambulance are waiting more than 30 minutes to be seen.

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    Other pressures are also being brought to bear: flu is adding pressure to an already embattled service with the number of patients with flu in hospital increasing by two-thirds in one week, similar to the previous week’s increase.

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    More than 2,000 beds were taken up by flu patients on average in the week to 18 December; in the equivalent week last year that figure was just 32.

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    There were an average of 60,583 absences due to staff illness, up almost a fifth on last month, while the number of staff off due to Covid rose by a third since mid-November, to 7,218 each day.

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    There was near-record demand for the 111 service, with call levels up almost 60% on the same week in 2021, partly due to parents’ concerns over strep A.

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    In a statement NHS England said it had “prepared extensively for winter and industrial action”, including additional bed capacity, extra call handlers and community falls services.

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    Prof Sir Stephen Powis, the NHS national medical director, said:

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    n

    With more industrial action scheduled for next week, there will be disruption but we urge the public to continue to use services wisely by continuing to call 999 for life-threatening emergencies, use 111 online for other health conditions, and take sensible steps to keep yourself and others safe.

    n

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    Demand for NHS services is expected to go up after yesterday’s ambulance strike in England and Wales. In an interview this morning Saffron Cordery, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents health trusts, said that demand was “significantly down” yesterday, but that that would change. She said:

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    n

    What we think today, tomorrow, the next few days will bring us, actually, is quite a surge in demand for emergency treatment, people turning up at A&E, potentially calling ambulances because they are in a condition that has significantly deteriorated.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”04b7a6d1-796f-41c8-a6b1-19eb85d93a02″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    My colleague Caroline Davies has the full story here.

    “,”elementId”:”b4bd35bf-5826-47a8-adc0-17fd34ed4b04″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.RichLinkBlockElement”,”url”:” expects surge in demand after ambulance workers’ strike”,”prefix”:”Related: “,”role”:”thumbnail”,”elementId”:”64e30c40-9606-4263-9428-7ecd626a4617″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671704980000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”10.29 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671705153000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”10.32 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671705153000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”10.32 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”10.32″,”title”:”NHS expects surge in demand after ambulance employees’ strike”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”},{“id”:”63a429428f085ce9739c38fa”,”components”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    As reported here yesterday, the Centre for European Reform has published an analysis claiming that Britain’s GDP is 5.5% lower than it would have been without Brexit.

    “,”elementId”:”d59a31c3-f7ff-49d3-b4bf-a30f664e280a”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former business secretary and leading Brexit enthusiast, has published an article for the Daily Express criticising the methodology used by the CER. The CER has identified a clutch of countries whose economic performance closely matched the UK’s in the decade or more before Brexit, and it has compared the performance of this “doppelgänger” UK (a statistical fiction, based on the performance data for the comparator countries) since 2016 with the performance of the real UK. Rees-Mogg claims this approach is “absurd”. He says:

    “,”elementId”:”d7e40fa1-a764-4d91-a412-349fdca847f5″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    [The model] maintains that by membership of the EU the UK economic system will do higher however then goes on to argue that this nation shouldn’t be in comparison with the economies of Germany, France and Italy however to quicker rising nations. These two arguments contradict one another.

    n

    If because the CER says the key continental economies are inherently slower progress than the UK certainly we’d need to be much less related to them and freer to function globally. The undeniable fact that, since we voted to depart, we have now carried out higher than all the key European economies save France, reveals our success.

    n

    From the third quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2022 the UK grew at 6.2 p.c, Germany 5.4 p.c, France 7.6 p.c, Italy 4.2 p.c and Spain 5.9 p.c.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”a55c1926-239f-46b3-870d-6a07caf35307″},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Rees-Mogg is just not the primary individual to criticise the CER methodology on these grounds, and in his report the CER’s John Springford responds to those arguments. He doesn’t settle for that France, Germany and Italy can be higher comparability international locations to supply knowledge on what would have occurred to a “doppelgänger” UK that didn’t vote for Brexit in 2016. He argues:

    “,”elementId”:”e2a954bc-1f4c-48ab-a4eb-015a8159255a”},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    Simply as a result of international locations are of an identical measurement in an identical area, they don’t essentially have an identical financial mannequin or progress charges. Higher doppelgänger international locations could also be discovered elsewhere by the algorithm. Certainly, the UK’s progress price between the introduction of the euro in 1999 and 2016 was markedly completely different to France, Germany and Italy’s. It was far nearer to that of the US.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”614d832c-1b92-4ba0-a97d-7ccfb3e91058″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671702850000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”09.54 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671705294000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”10.34 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671704591000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”10.23 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”10.23″,”title”:”Rees-Mogg dismisses evaluation saying UK GDP is 5.5% decrease than it could have been with out Brexit as ‘absurd'”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”},{“id”:”63a425cf8f085ce9739c38d7″,”components”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    The UK is currently the worst-performing G7 nation in terms of quarterly economic growth, my colleague Graeme Wearden writes on his business live blog. He says:

    “,”elementId”:”01bffbd7-5d43-47b8-aaaa-275e2ba655e7″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    The 0.3% contraction in UK GDP in Q3 reported this morning is worse than Japan’s 0.2% fall in GDP, while Canada and the US both expanded pacily, by around 0.7%.

    n

    France (+0.2%), Germany (+0.4%) and Italy (+0.5%) all grew in July-September too.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”5477beaf-6713-46f7-aec2-06da36467f68″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, claims this shows the Tories have lost control of the economy.

    “,”elementId”:”d8fcb2e8-046a-45c8-8225-f93797c4f4de”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TweetBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/RachelReevesMP/status/1605832643781836800″,”id”:”1605832643781836800″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”a4b44e20-d42e-4210-ac29-da9b9fd730c8″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Graeme has more on this story on his business live blog.

    “,”elementId”:”6e4b5d6c-c9e1-42d7-952a-f58f6b416e85″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.RichLinkBlockElement”,”url”:” economy shrank faster than first thought as real household incomes fall – business live”,”prefix”:”Related: “,”role”:”thumbnail”,”elementId”:”cabc04cc-3677-414c-9edb-03160f39a4f0″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671701967000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”09.39 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671702241000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”09.44 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671702242000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”09.44 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”09.44″,”title”:”UK had worst progress throughout G7 in Q3, newest figures present”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”},{“id”:”63a414678f085ce9739c3875″,”components”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Good morning. Two years ago on Saturday, Boris Johnson announced that he had finalised a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU. Never at a loss for superlatives, he said it was “the biggest trade deal yet, worth £660bn”. In his statement he described it as:

    “,”elementId”:”4b8c81fb-cf1c-4313-be25-fe2cf3d176e6″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    A deal which will if anything should allow our companies and our exporters to do even more business with our European friends.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”b326475d-e4de-44c5-b862-5e502877603e”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    He also claimed – falsely – that under its terms there would be “no non-tariff barriers to trade”.

    “,”elementId”:”8a2c4233-94b6-4968-b76b-7e1a7908dcc7″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    This morning the British Chambers of Commerce has published a damning report on how that trade deal (the trade and cooperation agreement, or TCA, to give it its formal title, is performing, and it’s damning. As my colleague Heather Stewart reports in her write-up, more than 1,000 business leaders were surveyed and three quarters of them said the deal was not helping them to increase sales, or to expand. Here is her story.

    “,”elementId”:”f5587c90-cfb4-47a7-bcc8-bc698313f2c7″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.RichLinkBlockElement”,”url”:” of UK firms say Brexit deal has not boosted business”,”prefix”:”Related: “,”role”:”thumbnail”,”elementId”:”c9f10098-50ce-4f35-bf27-f4ef8ae569c4″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    And here is the chart that shows the key result. (The chart comes from the BCC report, but it contains a typo; the light grey shading represents somewhat agree, not somewhat disagree, as the text makes clear.)

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BCC”},”displayCredit”:true,”role”:”inline”,”imageSources”:[{“weighting”:”inline”,”srcSet”:[{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=f4c5d1b4390d2732b66e41d755ad4310″,”width”:620},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=620&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=0a78e754cb766c871f2e505d894e36a2″,”width”:1240},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=605&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=2e024177e86d9f1e485f95489cec5941″,”width”:605},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=605&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=a2aa7e0b4882806b5dcf1e70739827f3″,”width”:1210},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=445&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=aa2b74eff6380303b08934c7c5a499c0″,”width”:445},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=445&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=8fd93ef8a983c94608a5039c618ba408″,”width”:890}]},{“weighting”:”thumbnail”,”srcSet”:[{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=140&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=bb52d262a988de92cbf2f7f84a040f86″,”width”:140},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=140&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=142c43f149b535895fe1c41f0ccaa537″,”width”:280},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=120&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=43079eeebf47390ade5e78f4498baca4″,”width”:120},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=120&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=e327e92ecd9b73d5e5a362355765a11c”,”width”:240}]},{“weighting”:”supporting”,”srcSet”:[{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=380&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=23967b30eba4efe218e7854d88d2e845″,”width”:380},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=380&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=0d60cdddd33f752282fb6c28768f3af4″,”width”:760},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=3f546e11f252e90efe49c5cc14ff35b5″,”width”:300},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=300&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=86f5bf347d0fe35eae844e8cdb8d21c1″,”width”:600},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=f4c5d1b4390d2732b66e41d755ad4310″,”width”:620},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=620&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=0a78e754cb766c871f2e505d894e36a2″,”width”:1240},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=605&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=2e024177e86d9f1e485f95489cec5941″,”width”:605},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=605&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=a2aa7e0b4882806b5dcf1e70739827f3″,”width”:1210},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=445&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=aa2b74eff6380303b08934c7c5a499c0″,”width”:445},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=445&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=8fd93ef8a983c94608a5039c618ba408″,”width”:890}]},{“weighting”:”showcase”,”srcSet”:[{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=860&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=bccc189985d1171084a83dbab1f00dd8″,”width”:860},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=860&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=5fbff50565448f8e9d4b35a6affa5ccd”,”width”:1720},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=780&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=c05687da5b56c72e9c783ef2006b5484″,”width”:780},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=780&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=c6d75f0c385a0d76e043ac0fa11b3111″,”width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996.jpg?width=480&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=7cbdb2089a8faafb47b55ede2ab57bf7″,”width”:480},{“src”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/67fb3736b83a29e77c400d7d64d7577a98a12e85/0_0_996_558/master/996.jpg?width=480&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=95d4b38383b16a55fc806a0bf62a7e6f”,”width”:960}]}],”elementId”:”013aa5c4-07fd-4647-a856-34767d30b4f5″},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    I’ll put up extra from the survey quickly.

    “,”elementId”:”3e11fdf2-b00f-4347-b604-5914515d388c”},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    There has not been a lot response from the federal government, however Mark Spencer, the farming minister, has been giving interviews and he advised Instances Radio this morning he claimed the federal government did need to scale back “crimson tape” for exporters to the EU. He mentioned:

    “,”elementId”:”0519c2e9-0bfd-48c9-b597-7bd7a3b39b84″},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

    n

    There’s at all times extra that we will do to attempt to ease the best way and the passage of commerce. We’re very eager to try this. We’re a free and open buying and selling nation, we would like to work intently with our EU colleagues, and we would like to attempt to scale back that crimson tape, if there’s any crimson tape, on their facet of the Channel. So, after all, we would like to hold these channels of commerce open in each instructions.

    n

    “,”elementId”:”0d9bc88e-132e-4d63-87d9-def19f137462″},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    In London parliament is just not sitting. However in Edinburgh Nicola Sturgeon, the primary minister, is taking questions at 12pm, after which MSPs are on account of conclude the controversy on the gender recognition reform (Scotland) invoice. The ultimate vote is due at 2.45pm. It had been anticipated yesterday however, as my colleague Libby Brooks reviews, the controversy ran over time.

    “,”elementId”:”d2002a72-6820-4de7-8892-d97cc59f6d3a”},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.RichLinkBlockElement”,”url”:” parliament vote on gender recognition modifications delayed till Thursday”,”prefix”:”Associated: “,”position”:”thumbnail”,”elementId”:”4eed32ee-b255-4428-8c21-a43c0915677e”},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    I’ll attempt to watch the feedback beneath the road (BTL) however it is unattainable to learn all of them. If you’ve gotten a direct query, do embody “Andrew” in it someplace and I’m extra probably to search out it. I do attempt to reply questions, and in the event that they are of basic curiosity I’ll put up the query and reply above the road (ATL), though I can’t promise to do that for everybody.

    “,”elementId”:”9c5650ac-8136-4a86-96ed-31b5f1398d5b”},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    If you must entice my consideration rapidly, it’s in all probability higher to make use of Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

    “,”elementId”:”29ecf0fb-9cd7-401c-9384-094e58ca6124″},{“_type”:”mannequin.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

    Alternatively, you possibly can e mail me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com.

    “,”elementId”:”1b901ab7-2e42-4c26-93eb-3491014c9ccf”}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”abstract”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671701764000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”09.36 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671707336000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”11.08 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671701764000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”09.36 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”09.36″,”title”:”Minister admits extra wanted to ease commerce after damning Brexit enterprise survey”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 22 Dec 2022 17.21 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First printed on Thu 22 Dec 2022 09.36 GMT”}],”filterKeyEvents”:false,”id”:”key-events-carousel-mobile”}”>

    Filters BETA

    Afternoon abstract

    Glenn Campbell from BBC Scotland has particulars of the MSPs who defied their celebration colleagues within the vote on the gender recognition reform (Scotland) invoice.

    Going by voting record, 9 SNP MSPs together with @AshtenRegan votes in opposition to

    Two Labour MSPs additionally voted in opposition to@CMochan @clairebakermsp may have to stop their frontbench roles

    Different Labour critics @pauline4glasgow @michaeljmarra didn’t vote

    — Glenn Campbell (@GlennBBC) December 22, 2022

    n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/GlennBBC/standing/1605956836212867073″,”id”:”1605956836212867073″,”hasMedia”:false,”position”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”supply”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”af947bb4-2fd3-41e8-811e-4a07d8dcf25a”}}”/>

    Three Conservatives backed the invoice @jamiegreeneUK @Jackson_Carlaw @Sandeshgulhane

    Appears just like the 9 SNP rebels are those that opposed or abstained at stage 1 – greatest riot since celebration took energy

    — Glenn Campbell (@GlennBBC) December 22, 2022

    n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/GlennBBC/standing/1605960757710966798″,”id”:”1605960757710966798″,”hasMedia”:false,”position”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”supply”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”b6847d78-3f7d-4527-a174-10751be6e242″}}”/>

    Westminster could use uncommon energy to dam Scotland’s gender recognition invoice on ladies’s security grounds, UK minister says

    Alister Jack, the Scottish secretary, has hinted that the UK authorities would possibly block the gender recognition reform (Scotland) invoice handed by MSPs this afternoon. In a press release responding to the vote, he mentioned:

    We share the issues that many individuals have concerning sure elements of this invoice, and specifically the issues of safety for girls and youngsters.

    We are going to look intently at that, and likewise the ramifications for the 2010 Equality Act and different UK huge laws, in the approaching weeks – as much as and together with a piece 35 order stopping the invoice going for royal assent if vital.

    Kemi Badenoch, the equalities minister, has advised the Scottish invoice might have a detrimental impression on the remainder of the UK as a result of it could not be potential for the laws to be “absolutely contained” inside Scotland. She set out our issues in a letter to Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, that was leaked to the Instances earlier this month.

    Beneath the Scotland Act that arrange the Scottish parliament, the UK authorities has the ability to dam a invoice handed by the Scottish parliament if it might probably argue that it could have an “opposed impact” on the operation of the regulation on a reserved matter (a coverage space the place Westminster, not Holyrood, is in cost). On this case, the UK authorities can be arguing that the Scottish laws would have a dangerous impact on equality regulation.

    This energy has by no means been used and, if Rishi Sunak’s authorities had been to invoke it now, that will be seen as extremely provocative in Edinburgh.

    However throughout first minister’s questions right now Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative chief, argued that opinion polls have repeatedly proven that the invoice is just not standard with Scots, and that declare might embolden Westminster to intervene.

    Michael Foran, a regulation lecturer, has written an excellent weblog on how part 35 orders work on the UK Constitutional Regulation Affiliation web site. Right here is is conclusion.

    If the secretary of state did difficulty a s.35 order it will surely be topic to judicial assessment. On condition that the order have to be made inside 4 weeks of the invoice’s passing, any problem might be primarily based on whether or not there have been cheap grounds for concluding that the development of equal alternatives for organic ladies can be pissed off. Whether or not the UK authorities needs to wade into this political quagmire, given each the gender politics and the devolution politics, is one other query completely.

    Unite ambulance workers vote to go on strike in Wales in new 12 months

    Unite says about 1,000 of its members within the Welsh ambulance service have voted to go on strike over pay in the brand new 12 months. The strike dates might be introduced after Christmas.

    Explaining the background to the vote, which was 88% in favour of strike motion, the union mentioned:

    Unite’s Welsh ambulance service members say such is the decay throughout all the well being service, that the place they as soon as noticed 10 sufferers a day, typically they’ll now take care of just one per shift, spending hours and even entire days at a time sitting exterior A&E with sufferers ready to be seen.

    Sharon Graham, Unite’s basic secretary, mentioned:

    Unite’s ambulance service members in Wales are putting as a result of they see first-hand day-after-day how the NHS is collapsing. They’re devoted life-saving professionals and are taking this step as a result of they know the NHS itself wants saving.

    The Welsh authorities should put a greater supply on the desk to assist resolve the recruitment and retention disaster that’s crippling the service. However additionally it is incumbent on the Conservative authorities in Westminster, who maintain the final word accountability for the years of destruction inflicted on the NHS, to fulfill with heath unions and urgently handle staffing and pay ranges.

    And here’s a tweet from Ursula von der Leyen, the European Fee president, on her name with Rishi Sunak. (See 3.59pm.) On the Northern Eire protocol, her language is sort of an identical to No 10’s.

    Glad to trade with @RishiSunak on our continued shut coordination on assist to Ukraine and sanctions in opposition to Russia.

    We may even push for formidable #G7 and #G20 agendas.

    On IE/NI Protocol, we concur on the significance of working collectively to agree on options. pic.twitter.com/CndTSjQgaD

    — Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) December 22, 2022

    n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/vonderleyen/standing/1605935267168129024″,”id”:”1605935267168129024″,”hasMedia”:false,”position”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”supply”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”5c9a7c91-4015-4d74-9ab7-cbdba2f5f7cf”}}”>

    Glad to trade with @RishiSunak on our continued shut coordination on assist to Ukraine and sanctions in opposition to Russia.

    We may even push for formidable #G7 and #G20 agendas.

    On IE/NI Protocol, we concur on the significance of working collectively to agree on options. pic.twitter.com/CndTSjQgaD

    — Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) December 22, 2022

    No 10 hints breakthrough no nearer after Sunak and Von der Leyen talk about Northern Eire protocol

    Rishi Sunak has had a phone name with Ursula von der Leyen, the European Fee president. Based on the No 10 readout, they agreed “the UK and the EU would stay steadfast in our navy financial and diplomatic assist for Ukraine and in countering Russian aggression”.

    The 2 additionally mentioned Northern Eire, the place the UK and the EU are imagined to be negotiating reforms to the Northern Eire protocol that will make it acceptable to the DUP. However this has been occurring for months, and the No 10 readout implied a breakthrough isn’t any nearer. It simply mentioned:

    On the Northern Eire protocol, they agreed on the significance of working collectively to agree a resolution.

    Joe Biden, the US president, is anticipated to go to Northern Eire for the twenty fifth anniversary of the Good Friday settlement subsequent 12 months – however provided that the protocol difficulty has been resolved by then. Within the i Arj Singh and Paul Waugh say that, if the dispute continues to be ongoing, Washington plans to ship Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, as a substitute.

    Shona Robison, the Scottish authorities’s social justice minister, has issued this assertion in regards to the passing of the invoice.

    That is an historic day for equality in Scotland with the gender recognition reform invoice being authorized by parliament and by members of all events.

    It simplifies and improves the method for a trans individual to acquire a gender recognition certificates – which many at the moment discover intrusive, medicalised and bureaucratic.

    The laws makes no change to the reserved Equality Act 2010 and that precept is enshrined within the invoice. As I even have made clear, the Scottish authorities continues to assist the supply of single-sex providers and the rights of girls.

    The passing of this invoice is a big step ahead in making a extra equal Scotland, the place trans individuals really feel valued, included and empowered.

    And here’s a briefing from the Scottish authorities on what the invoice does.

    And right here is my colleague Libby Brooks’ story on the vote.

    That is from Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Inexperienced MSP, welcoming the outcome.

    Lastly! pic.twitter.com/HC4tdJymWx

    — Patrick Harvie 🇪🇺🌈 (@patrickharvie) December 22, 2022

    n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/patrickharvie/standing/1605942344682971136″,”id”:”1605942344682971136″,”hasMedia”:false,”position”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”supply”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”ecee9480-f2ce-410a-8aef-89ff6eec0cc1″}}”/>

    Scottish parliament passes gender recognition reform invoice by 86 votes to 39

    The gender recognition reform (Scotland) invoice has handed. MSPs voted it by by 86 votes to 39. There have been no abstentions.

    There may be loud applause from the general public gallery because the outcome is learn out.

    However because the applause begins by die down, there are shouts of “disgrace on you” from the general public gallery good.

    The presiding officer, Alison Johnstone, suspends enterprise.

    Right here is my colleague Libby Brooks’ abstract of what the invoice willl do.

    The suspension of the Scottish parliament is over, and Shona Robison, the cupboard secretary for social justice.

    Referring to a remark made by the protester, she says as a girl she is aware of what a girl is.

    She ends by urging MSPs to sort out transphobia. It could actually occur anyway, together with on this Scottish parliament. She refers to a case the place a trans girl within the constructing was known as “it”. If MSPs witness transphobia like this, they need to name it out, she says.

    She ends by quoting Martin Luther King.

    We’re caught in an inescapable community of mutuality, tied in a single garment of future. No matter impacts one immediately impacts all not directly.

    MSPs are actually voting on the invoice.

    Scottish parliament suspended after protester interrupts ultimate speech earlier than gender recognition vote

    Again within the Scottish parliament, Shona Robison, the cupboard secretary for social justice, is winding up the controversy on the gender recognition reform (Scotland) invoice.

    She says a transparent worldwide consensus now exists in favour of self-declaration for gender recognition. She says solely yesterday Spain handed the primary stage of a regulation that will implement this.

    And she or he additionally says this was lately acknowledged in a report from the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights. Right here is an extract from that report.

    The UN impartial skilled on safety in opposition to violence and discrimination primarily based on sexual orientation and gender identification has additionally advisable that authorized gender recognition ought to be primarily based on self-determination, be a straightforward administrative course of, and never require candidates to fulfil abusive necessities, together with medical certification.

    The commissioner considers that, from a human rights perspective, selfdetermination fashions for authorized gender recognition characterize a finest apply, and the introduction of such a mannequin within the UK would subsequently represent a vital step ahead.

    The commissioner notes that the variety of Council of Europe member states which have eradicated the requirement to supply medical certificates or diagnoses for authorized gender recognition has greater than doubled since 2018, with 9 having adopted such fashions, and proposals pending in different member states.

    To the commissioner’s finest data, there isn’t any proof of those self-determination procedures being misused or resulting in points in relation to the rights of others.

    Somebody begins heckling Robison from the general public gallery. The presiding officer suspends the sitting.

    Former banker and quango chief appointed by Rishi Sunak as No 10’s new ethics adviser

    Rishi Sunak has lastly discovered somebody to function Downing Avenue’s new ethics adviser. The final one, Lord Geidt, resigned in June as a result of he was sad with Boris Johnson’s method to moral requirements and compliance with the ministerial code. Geidt’s predecessor, Sir Alex Allan, additionally resigned, in November 2020, after Johnson in impact ignored the conclusions of his inquiry into Priti Patel.

    The brand new adviser is Sir Laurie Magnus, a former banker and company finance specialist who’s chairman of Historic England. Downing Avenue mentioned, within the information launch asserting his appointment, that he would carry “over 40 years’ expertise within the monetary providers sector, with significantly related skilled expertise of audit, compliance and company governance”.

    Magnus’s official title is impartial adviser on ministers’ pursuits. As effectively as being obtainable to analyze alleged breaches of the ministerial code when requested by the prime minister, the adviser additionally oversees the common publication of the register of ministers’ pursuits.

    The Committee on Requirements in Public Life, and others, have mentioned the adviser must have the ability to provoke investigations into breaches of the ministerial code with out having to get permission from the PM. No 10 has resisted this, and this reportedly was one purpose why Sunak discovered it laborious to search out somebody keen to take up the job.

    However when Geidt was in workplace, he did get Johnson to agree phrases of reference which say that, if the adviser desires to perform an inquiry and the PM blocks it, there’s an expectation {that a} purpose for this ought to be given, except there are public curiosity grounds for conserving that confidential. Magnus will function in keeping with these phrases of reference.

    In his letter accepting the job Magnus mentioned:

    As chairman of Historic England, I even have had the privilege of working intently alongside Ministers, officers and lots of different public servants. I even have seen up shut the dedication and experience required of public service, and the dedication to sustaining excessive requirements that’s a vital a part of such work. I stay up for drawing and constructing on this expertise in serving to to uphold these requirements inside authorities.

    According to my phrases of reference, I’ll purpose to supply my annual report back to you in Could 2023. An early precedence for me might be to scrutinise the declarations of pursuits which were made by ministers appointed beneath your tenure and to organize the primary record of ministers’ Pursuits for publication.

    John Springford, deputy director of the Centre for European Reform, has posted a thread on Twitter responding to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s criticisms of his research saying UK GDP is 5.5% decrease than it could have been with out Brexit. (See 10.23am.) It begins right here.

    Slicing by the noise, @Jacob_Rees_Mogg makes two substantive criticisms of my price of Brexit estimates in The Categorical. https://t.co/yrgtRWKI80

    — John Springford (@JohnSpringford) December 22, 2022

    n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/JohnSpringford/standing/1605910882743115782″,”id”:”1605910882743115782″,”hasMedia”:false,”position”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”supply”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”35e5fca4-e27e-4091-8b3e-39a8786cc13b”}}”/>

    And listed here are three of his posts.

    The opposite criticism he makes: it's contradictory to argue that we should always not examine the UK to slower rising European economies, whereas saying that the UK would have finished higher as a member of the EU. pic.twitter.com/ZR4bshWq2C

    — John Springford (@JohnSpringford) December 22, 2022

    n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/JohnSpringford/standing/1605914212949270530″,”id”:”1605914212949270530″,”hasMedia”:false,”position”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”supply”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”8a335fea-91f7-486c-b1a1-fca22ec47980″}}”>

    The opposite criticism he makes: it is contradictory to argue that we should always not examine the UK to slower rising European economies, whereas saying that the UK would have finished higher as a member of the EU. pic.twitter.com/ZR4bshWq2C

    — John Springford (@JohnSpringford) December 22, 2022

    There isn’t any contradiction. Nations develop at completely different charges for varied causes – inhabitants ageing (which is quicker in Germany and Italy), or macroeconomic mismanagement (euro disaster), or they’ve bigger industrial sectors which might be badly hit by fraying globalisation (Germany).

    — John Springford (@JohnSpringford) December 22, 2022

    n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/JohnSpringford/standing/1605914704081170432″,”id”:”1605914704081170432″,”hasMedia”:false,”position”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”supply”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”4e0625ef-7fb3-4201-993a-82c9cf01e092″}}”>

    There isn’t any contradiction. Nations develop at completely different charges for varied causes – inhabitants ageing (which is quicker in Germany and Italy), or macroeconomic mismanagement (euro disaster), or they’ve bigger industrial sectors which might be badly hit by fraying globalisation (Germany).

    — John Springford (@JohnSpringford) December 22, 2022

    Rees-Mogg implies that, by erecting commerce obstacles with these international locations, that won’t affect our progress as a result of they’re gradual rising themselves. However commerce obstacles will scale back pre-existing commerce that was constructed up over time – as effectively as decreasing future commerce progress.

    — John Springford (@JohnSpringford) December 22, 2022

    n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/JohnSpringford/standing/1605915321713532928″,”id”:”1605915321713532928″,”hasMedia”:false,”position”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”supply”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”bb31f9de-38bf-474b-bc4d-db875ed47122″}}”>

    Rees-Mogg implies that, by erecting commerce obstacles with these international locations, that won’t affect our progress as a result of they’re gradual rising themselves. However commerce obstacles will scale back pre-existing commerce that was constructed up over time – as effectively as decreasing future commerce progress.

    — John Springford (@JohnSpringford) December 22, 2022

    An evaluation of the most recent A&E wating time (see 11.04am) knowledge by the PA information company reveals that, amongst these trusts reporting no less than 500 ambulance arrivals final week, the very best proportion of sufferers ready greater than an hour to be handed over was 58% at each College Hospitals Bristol & Weston (381 out of 655 sufferers) and Gloucestershire Hospitals (345 of 595). PA says:

    This was adopted by Northern Lincolnshire & Goole at 53% (311 of 590 sufferers), College Hospitals of Leicester at 52% (446 of 865), College Hospitals of North Midlands at 51% (333 of 651), Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital at 50% (271 of 540) and College Hospitals Dorset additionally at 50% (409 of 817).

    Royal Cornwall Hospitals had 470 arrivals final week, of which 337 – 72% – waited over an hour to be handed to A&E groups.



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