Politics latest: 'Biggest test of new government' facing health secretary - as PM makes surprise appearance after summit with mayors (2024)

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  • Streeting to meet junior doctors in 'biggest test of new government'|Health sec vows to have 'a good go' at solving strikes
  • PM vows to give more power to mayors at Downing Street meeting|Starmer makes surprise appearance with new MPs
  • Braverman under fire for 'disgusting' criticism of Progress Pride flag
  • Reform MPs will 'have fun' after arriving in parliament
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12:00:01

It's lunchtime - which means it's time for a round-up of the main things you need to know from the Politics Hub.

The new Labour government has had a busy morning, and it could end up being quite the pivotal day for the future of the Tory party too…

  • Sir Keir Starmer has hosted regional mayors at Number 10 as he bids to start devolving more power to them;
  • The prime minister told the group - all made up of Labour figures other than Conservative Ben Houchen from the Tees Valley - he was a "great believer in the idea that those with skin in the game make better decisions";
  • Sir Keir has also held a cabinet meeting this morning, and it's been confirmed his government will ditch "levelling up" from the name of the housing and communities department.
  • Looking ahead, it's a big day for Health Secretary Wes Streeting as he meets junior doctors for the first time in the job;
  • He's vowed to have "a good go" at ending the ongoing strikes, with the BMA having demanded a 35% pay rise;
  • As for the prime minister, he'll be jumping on a plane a little later to head to Washington for this week's NATO summit.
  • Away from government business, the remaining Tory MPs are due to meet in parliament later to elect the chair of their backbench 1922 Committee, which runs the party's leadership contest;
  • But one of those who could be in the race, Suella Braverman, has come under serious fire this morning for "disgusting" comments about the Progress Pride flag at a right-wing conference in the US;
  • Reform UK's MPs have also arrived in parliament today, with party chairman Richard Tice vowing they would "have fun".

That's all for now - but stick with us for updates throughout the afternoon, including from a Popular Conservatism event in London and parliament's election of a new Speaker.

And look ahead to Sir Keir's trip to the US in Politics At Jack And Sam's:

11:39:49

Cameron's 'greatest achievement' comes under fire at right-wing PopCon conference

Just days after the Conservative Party's disastrous election defeat, the PopCon (Popular Conservatism) group is gathering in central London for a half-day conference about the future of conservatism.

One of the speakers, historian and TV presenter David Starkey, used his address a short while ago to attack ex-PM Lord Cameron describing legalising same-sex marriage as his greatest achievement.

Pointing to the 2010 general election, when the Tories went into government with the Lib Dems, he said: "The catastrophe begins there.

"What's a Conservative prime minister doing when he says his greatest achievement is gay marriage?

"It's deranged."

David Starkey's chequered past

Starkey has previously been accused of racism, and resigned hishonorary fellowship atFitzwilliam College, Cambridge in 2020 after sayingslavery was not genocide because there are "so many damn blacks" still around.

The comments were labelled "racist" by former chancellor Sajid Javid, and Starkey later apologised.

He also provoked fury last year for saying Rishi Sunak is "not fully grounded in our culture", The Guardian reported.

Tory MP and likely leadership contender Suella Braverman is due to speak at the conference shortly, as is former MP Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Liz Truss, who lost her seat last week, was a prominent speaker at a previous conference.

10:54:09

Starmer joins Scottish Labour MPs outside No 10

The prime minister has made a surprise appearance outside No 10 for a group photo with the new contingent of Scottish Labour MPs.

Labour had just two MPs in Scotland before the general election - but is now the largest party there for the first time since 2015, when their support collapsed.

They now have 37 of the total 57, with the SNP down on nine.

Sir Keir Starmer appeared briefly outside for a group photo, before giving the cameras a wave and going back inside.

10:45:01

What is the NATO summit and why is Starmer going?

Just days into his premiership, Sir Keir Starmer is leaving the country.

To be precise, he is heading to the US for a meeting with NATO leaders - his first foreign summit as PM.

Below, our political reporter Jennifer Scottexplains why he is taking the trip and what might happen when he is there:

10:20:24

Mayors 'accept' that northern leg of HS2 is 'gone'

Metro mayors emerged from their meeting with Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner a short while ago, and they said it was "great to be back" in Downing Street after a 14-year absence.

We asked Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham if they discussed reviving the northern leg of HS2, which has not been ruled out by ministers speaking to Sky News in the last two days.

But Mr Burnham said "we accept" that part of the project "has gone".

He did, however, call for an "alternative" to the West Coast Main Line once HS2 starts running between London and Birmingham, saying "there has to be an alternative plan to create capacity".

Mayors and ministers will 'come up with solution'

London mayor Sadiq Khan said it's "a joke" that HS2 trains from Birmingham to London won't end at Euston either.

Once ministers "have got a chance to get their feet under the table," he said they will work with mayors like him to "come up with a solution".

10:05:01

Reform MPs arrive at parliament

Nigel Farage got elected to parliament on his eight attempt at this general election - alongside four others from Reform UK.

The five arrived at parliament this morning ahead of the first meeting of new MPs in the Commons this afternoon.

They paused by the St Stephens Entrance for photographs, but did not make a statement.

One photographer shouted, "have fun", to which party chairman Richard Tice replied: "We will."

09:50:10

Streeting on solving doctors' strikes: 'I'll give it a good go'

Sir Keir Starmer is currently holding the second cabinet meeting of his premiership, and ministers have been seen arriving in the last half hour (see images below).

Health Secretary Wes Streeting was among the arrivals, and he was asked if he will reach a pay agreement with junior doctors to end industrial action.

He replied: "I'm gonna give it a good go."

He is due to hold a first meeting with the BMA junior doctors' committee later today.

09:27:18

Choosing new Tory leader will take 'probably months'

The remaining Conservative MPs are due to meet in parliament later to elect the chair of their backbench group, the 1922 committee, which decides the process and timeframe for the party's leadership contest.

Conservative shadow minister Andrew Griffith told Sky News the process of electing a new leader will take "probably months".

"I think we've got the ability to take that time," he said.

"It's also really important to me that we involve the membership of the Conservative Party properly."

He said with only 121 Tory MPs, it is "important that we have a very inclusive process that does speak to all of the membership".

09:20:24

Tories to win back power by 'earning trust' and 'being a credible opposition'

It was confirmed yesterday that Lord Cameron had resigned from the top Tory team and would not serve as the shadow foreign secretary during the leadership contest.

The party chairman, Richard Holden, also resigned from his post following the devastating election defeat.

Asked about those resignations, shadow minister Andrew Griffith said that colleague will "rotate in, rotate out a little bit", and that different people will be on the front bench at different times.

"I think all of us in the now much smaller, sadly to say, Conservative parliamentary party, are very serious now about the work of being a good official opposition.

"That work starts today as parliament resumes. We all go back into the chamber, sit on those green benches."

Working back to being in government, he said, is done by "earning trust, by being a credible opposition".

Pushed by Sky's Kay Burley, he admitted that losing the two men from the top team "didn't help", but he added: "We lost a lot of other colleagues, sadly, because they lost their seats last week. And people will make their own decisions."

But he also said it is "logical" that Lord Cameron has decided not to serve in the opposition because he does not have a seat in the House of Commons.

Mr Griffith also argued that the Tories can turn it round in one term, pointing to Labour having done exactly that.

09:11:40

'No magic silver bullet' to fix housing crisis, says senior Tory

We heard a short while ago from the shadow science secretary, Andrew Griffith, and we started with Labour's pledge to build 1.5m new homes over the next parliament.

The Conservative government never met their target, which was effectively the same, and Mr Griffith said it is "hard" to do.

"There are many factorsinvolved in how you get people the houses they need, the houses they want, satisfy their aspiration to own their own home, which is a core Conservative principle.

"It's not just about the supply of homes. It's also about access to finance, letting people, be able to get a mortgage."

He went on to say that "here aren't any magic silver bullet solutions", and said Labour in power in Wales and London "failed to build the homes that the nation needs".

Mr Griffith blamed the London mayor in particular for not building enough homes in London.

He also criticised Labour's plans to build on green belt land, saying: "What we definitely shouldn't be doing is fighting our precious nature and building on some of the last remaining genuinely greenfield land."

Politics latest: 'Biggest test of new government' facing health secretary - as PM makes surprise appearance after summit with mayors (2024)
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