Politics latest: Anti-strike bill unveiled in Commons as Tory MP condemns legislation as 'shameful, shameful, shameful' (2023)

Key points
  • Exclusive:Sky News and Tortoise Media launch the Westminster Accounts
  • Labour and Starmer have accepted thousands from major Just Stop Oil donor
  • Revealed: 14 MPs given over £250,000 each in campaign donations since the last election
  • Find out what your MP earns
  • Tory MP condemns anti-strike laws as 'shameful, shameful, shameful'
  • Shapps accuses ambulance workers of putting 'lives at risk'
  • Health secretary to talk to chancellor about unions' pay demands
  • No 10 defendsPM's flight from London to Yorkshire for visit
  • Momentum calls for Labour MPs to pay back funds from MPM Connect
  • Live reporting by Tim Baker


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Sky News and Tortoise Media have worked for months to put together the Westminster Accounts - which details the money entering UK politics.

With our interactive tool you can search for an MP to see how much they may have earned from a second job and the total value of the donations they have received.

You can see which companies are employing MPs in their second jobs, and which organisations have given donations, gifts or hospitality.

Find out more about your MP in the link below...


TUC to hold national 'protect the right to strike' day next month

The Trades Union Congress are to hold a national 'protect the right to strike' day on 1 February.

The union body has confirmed the move following a meeting of trade union leaders earlier today and said events will take place in different parts of the country against the government's new anti-strike legislation.

Members of the public will be invited to show their support for workers taking action to defend their pay and conditions and more information will be provided in the coming weeks about planned activities.

The TUC say they willfight the new strike curbs “every step of the way” - including through parliament and the courts.

Describing the legislation as "unworkable" and "almost certainly in breach of international law", TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak added: “The right to strike is a fundamental British liberty – but the government is attacking it in broad daylight.

“These draconian new curbs will tilt the balance of power even more in favour of bad bosses and make it harder for people to win better pay and conditions.

“Nobody should lose their job if they take lawful action to win a better deal. But ministers have gone from clapping our key workers to threatening them with the sack.

“Unions will fights these plans every step of the way – including through parliament and through the courts.

“On February the 1st will we hold events across the country against this spiteful new bill – which is unworkable and almost certainly illegal.

“We will call on the general public to show support for workers taking action to defend their pay and conditions, to defend our public services and to protect the fundamental right to strike.”


Westminster Accounts: Momentum calls for Labour MPs to pay back donations from MPM Connect

A left wing faction of the Labour Party has demanded three MPs return thousands of pounds of donations after an investigation by Sky News and Tortoise Media raised questions about the firm who made the payment.

MPM Connect was found by the Westminster Accounts to be the third-biggest donor to MPs since the last general election, giving a total of over £345,000 to shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, former mayor of South Yorkshire Dan Jarvis and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting.

But the company has no staff or website and is registered at an office where the secretary says she has never heard of them.

The firm's accounts also do not disclose where it receives its funding, what it does or why it donates so heavily.

Having refused to comment before the launch of the Westminster Accounts, the three MPs released statements yesterday, saying MPM Connect was an investment company in the employment sector owned by Peter Hearn - a UK businessman and long standing Labour supporter - and all the donations had been properly declared.

But Momentum - a group that came to prominence for its support of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - wants them to pay the money back and is calling on Sir Keir Starmer to "adopt stronger policies to clean up politics and get our own house in order".

Co-chair of the group, Kate Dove, said: “It’s no surprise to see Tory MPs dominating the Westminster Accounts list - everyone knows the Conservative Party is up to its neck in sleaze.

"What is shocking, however, is that Labour MPs are joining them in accepting dark money donations - even senior members of the shadow cabinet like Wes Streeting and Yvette Cooper."

She added: “Keir Starmer has promised a new era of integrity and decency in public life - we’re calling on him to live up to that high standard by recommitting to policies which will clean up politics, like banning the use of shell companies to funnel dark money into politics.

"But Labour needs to practise what we preach, too. That should start with Streeting, Cooper and Jarvis coming clean and returning the cash supplied to them through the MPM shell company.

"[And] it shouldn’t end there - if he is serious about restoring trust to public life, Keir Starmer should commit to kicking corporate interests out of political financing altogether.”

(Video) Mick Lynch calmly dismantles MPs in their own select committee


Calls for strokes or heart attacks to be answered 'as normal' during strike - London Ambulance chief says

Daniel Elkeles, London Ambulance Service chief executive officer, has said no more than half of ambulance staff in London will go on strike during industrial action tomorrow in a bid to ensure "life and limb-threatening" 999 calls are answered.

Mr Elkeles added that calls for strokes or suspected heart attacks will be answered "as normal".

Earlier today, Grant Shapps accused ambulance workers of putting 'lives at risk' ahead of tomorrow's strike action - see our post at 13:11.


Anti-strikes bill has been laid before parliament

(Video) MPs debate release of PPE contracts after Michelle Mone revelations – watch live

Business Secretary Grant Shapps has laid the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill before parliament.

Under the proposals, some public sector workers would be required to work during a strike.

Laws requiring a minimum level of service during strikes had already been promised for public transport having been promised as part of the Conservative's 2019 election manifesto.

But, through the new legislation, the government is seeking to extend this requirement to five other areas - the NHS, education, fire and rescue, border security, and nuclear decommissioning.

The exact minimum staffing levels are yet to be announced.

But, to meet them, employers would be able to issue notices stating that they need individuals to work.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has already said he will repeal the law if he gets into government.

"Tory failure has led us to the worst strikes in decades," he said in a post on social media this afternoon.

"Now, instead of resolving them, the government are trying to force through anti-worker legislation to fire nurses and teachers. The Tories need to negotiate not legislate.

"If passed, my government will repeal this law."

MPs have a week to prepare for the second reading of the bill - today was the first - where they can debate its contents.

You can read the full text of the bill here.


Health secretary speaking to chancellor about trade union pay demands

Health Secretary Steve Barclay has said he is talking to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt about the pay demands of the trade unions.

Mr Barclay was speaking from a 111 call centre in West London ahead of tomorrow's ambulance worker strike.

He had met health union leaders on Monday in what was said to have been a productive meeting.

Mr Barclay said that while the government is looking at the 2023/24 pay review board consultation, the union wants to talk about the offer for the 2022/23 period.

The health secretary said he will "take those messages back" to the chancellor.

Sky News understands that one option being considered is a one-off, lump-sum payment to health workers.

Another option would be to backdate the 2023/24 pay offer - when it gets made - from April this year to January.

Mr Barclay did not rule this out - only saying it would not be "appropriate" to back-date the offer all the way back to last April.


(Video) Health secretary Steve Barclay takes questions in the Commons – watch live

Flying to Leeds for a 'photo op' from London a 'show of extravagance' by the prime minister

Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner has responded to the news that Rishi Sunak flew to Leeds yesterday to visit a healthcare centre.

Mr Sunak departed from Northolt airport just before 8am, and his plane was back in London by 12.30pm.

Ms Rayner, who is Labour's deputy leader, said: "Families will be rightly angered by this show of extravagance by Rishi Sunak.

"Patients and staff are crying out for action from this government in the midst of a crisis in our NHS while the prime minister jets from London to Leeds for a photo op.

"The prime minister must come clean about how much taxpayers' money was wasted on this 36-minute plane journey for a three-hour visit at the height of a cost-of-living crisis."


Tory MP criticises minimum service legislation

A Conservative MP and former minister has criticised the government's proposed minimum service legislation.

Stephen McPartland was a security minister in the Boris Johnson caretaker administration last year.

He has been the Conservative MP for Stevenage since 2010.

The government's plan was "shameful, shameful, shameful" he said.


Unions promise to fight legislation in courts

Unions have pledged to fight the proposed minimum service legislation through the courts.

Speaking following Business Secretary Grant Shapps's statement in the House of Commons, the general secretary of the PCS, Mark Serwotka, said: "The government should be putting money in our members' pockets, not trying to put our members behind bars.

"Criminalising the people who keep our borders safe is not the way to resolve an industrial dispute. It's reprehensible, provocative and vindictive, and we'll fight the legislation every step of the way."

A spokesperson for the GMB union said: "This is an extraordinary attack on ambulance workers by Mr Shapps.

"He surely knows that across NHS trusts, GMB members who care for the public every single day work closely with employers to provide appropriate cover on strike days and have left picket lines to help out on urgent calls.

"The public know who is to blame for the crisis in our NHS – this government. And, people will be disgusted that in a matter of months, they have gone from clapping health workers to legislating to sack them."

(Video) Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) - 22 June 2022


Patients are dying waiting for ambulances even on non-strike days - Labour

Labour's deputy leader, Angela Rayer, is the one to respond to Grant Shapps.

She starts by saying she is a proud member of a trade union.

Ms Rayner tells the commons one of her constituents died after waiting over an hour for an ambulance - and that this incident occurred on a non-strike day.

She says the "disastrous chaos" in the healthcare system is due to problems caused "by the government" which "offers no solution".

Ms Rayner then goes on to say the proposed legislation will lead to the sacking of nurses, and is an "outright attack on the fundamental freedom of British working people".

She asks the business secretary: "Does he not accept that trade unions and workers already take steps to protect the public from inaction?"

Ms Rayner says the government is "out of ideas" and "fast running out of sticking plaster" solutions.

She accuses the government of "playing politics with nurses' and teachers' lives because they can't stomach the cooperation and negotiation that's needed".


Shapps accuses ambulance workers of putting 'lives at risk' ahead of tomorrow's strike action

Business Secretary Grant Shapps is making a statement on industrial action in the House of Commons.

It comes as the government is set to present a bill which will ensure a minimum service level for ambulances, firefighters and rail workers if it passes in its current form.

He highlights that for tomorrow's ambulance strike, there is still no agreement for the minimum service that will be supplied.

He says: "A lack of timely co-operation from the ambulance unions meant employers could not reach agreement nationally for minimum safety levels during recent strikes and health officials were left guessing at the likely minimum coverage, making contingency planning almost impossible and putting everyone's constituents' lives at risk.

"The ambulance strike planned for tomorrow still does not have minimum safety levels in place and this will result in patchy emergency care for the British people, and this cannot continue.

"It's for moments like this that we're introducing legislation, focusing on blue light emergency services and delivering on our manifesto commitment to secure minimum service on the railways."

Mr Shapps says the government will consult on what level of service should be required - adding that the government does "not want to use this legislation - but we must ensure the safety of the British public".

Mr Shapps says that Labour MPs who object to the measures should explain to their constituents "why it is that if you have a heart attack, a stroke, or a life-threatening illness on a strike day, there are no safety standards in place".


1. Boris Johnson's first PMQs: 4 September 2019
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2. Watch again: Rishi Sunak faces Keir Starmer in PMQs ahead of rail and NHS strikes
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