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Braverman given £10,000 by climate sceptic for Tory campaign while Tugendhat raised £120,000, records show – UK politics live | Politics


Braverman got £10,000 from climate sceptic for Tory leadership campaign, while Tugendhat raised £120,000, first donation records show

Suella Braverman received £10,000 from a company owned by a leading climate sceptic to support her campaign for the Conservative leadership, according to the most recent update to the register of MPs’ interests.

As PA Media reports, the figures also show that Tom Tugendhat received more than £120,000 to fund his leadership bid.

MPs have 28 days from accepting a donation to declare it to the parliamentary standards commissioner and so some of the candidates in the contest have revealed little or nothing yet about the funding they have received. But PA Media has summarised what declarations have been declared.

Braverman, the attorney general, has declared a donation of £10,000 from First Corporate Consultants Ltd, which is owned by the Bristol Port owner Terence Mordaunt. Mordaunt chaired the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) between 2019 and 2021. The GWPF has been vocal in its opposition to climate crisis policies such as net zero and was sanctioned by the Charity Commission in 2014 for failing to adhere to rules on “balance and neutrality”.

Tugendhat raised more than £120,000 for his leadership bid. Some £42,673 came from a company called Policy Focus Ltd, founded on 27 June, less than two weeks before the leadership campaign began.

Companies House records show Policy Focus is owned by property developers Christian Sweeting and Robert Luck. Sweeting previously donated £10,000 to the Conservative Party in 2018, PA reports.

Tugendhat also received £50,000 from the long-time Tory donor Ian Mukherjee and £25,000 from Beacon Rock Ltd, owned by former Conservative Party treasurer Sir Michael Davis. Another £6,000 came from business consultancy InvestUK Group.

Rishi Sunak has declared the donation of office space, valued at £3,195.

Kemi Badenoch raised £12,500 to support her leadership bid, the records show. The former equalities minister received £10,000 from Longrow Capital, owned by tech-focused investor Dave Maclean. She also received £2,500 from Joanne Black, for whom no further details are available

Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi are yet to declare any financial support for their campaigns.

Key events

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Rishi Sunak has been campaigning today in Westminister North and Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham, in London. This is from Tony Devenish, a Conservative member of the London assembly.

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, has criticised the government for failing to announce any extra help for people with energy bills following the meeting chaired by the PM today. (See 1.59pm.) Davey said:

It is appalling that the Conservatives still haven’t announced any extra support for families and pensioners facing the hardest winter in decades.

The cruellest element of this chaos is that those who could actually help, [Liz] Truss and [Rishi] Sunak, are more interested in speaking to their party than taking the action our country needs.

That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to cancel the energy price hike to avoid a country-wide catastrophe.

Ed Davey
Ed Davey Photograph: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, has escalated his attack on the Tory leadership candidates for ignoring the problems facing the NHS. (See 11.08am.) In an interview on Radio 4’s World at One, he said they were living in a “fantasy world”. He said:

These latest figures reflect the biggest crisis in the NHS’s history and what really concerns me is that within that 6.73 million backlog that the NHS now has will also be undiagnosed conditions like cancer that will often be detected during the diagnostic or screening or treatment process for other conditions.

Given this is the biggest crisis in the NHS’s history, I find it extraordinary that the two candidates vying to be the next Conservative prime minister are living in a fantasy world where the NHS is barely getting a mention and when it does it is often through the prism of absurd gimmicks that fail to live up to the scale of the challenge.

Wes Streeting visiting an ambulance control room in London last month.
Wes Streeting visiting an ambulance control room in London last month. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Boris Johnson has tweeted about his meeting with energy bosses.

I know people are worried about the difficult winter ahead, which is why we are providing support – including a £400 energy bill discount for all households.

This morning I urged electricity companies to continue working on ways to help with the cost of living. pic.twitter.com/sdpLrKfcTN

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 11, 2022

Johnson tells energy bosses it will be up to his successor to decide any big new announcements on energy bills

Downing Street has released its readout of what happened at the meeting with energy company bosses this morning. Boris Johnson joined the meeting, which was originally just meant to be hosted by Nadhim Zahahwi, the chancellor, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary.

All three cabinet ministers stressed the importance of energy companies “investing in North Sea oil and gas, renewables, biomass and nuclear to strengthen our domestic energy security”, according to No 10.

Zahawi also told the meeting that the government was monitoring “the extraordinary profits seen in certain parts of the electricity generation sector and the appropriate and proportionate steps to take”, Downing Street said. But, as we reported this morning, the prospect of the windfall tax being beefed up seems to have faded, after the Liz Truss camp kiboshed the idea.

At the meeting Johnson also told the energy bosses that it would be up to his successor to make any “significant fiscal decisions”. That means any big decisions about energy bills will have to wait until September.

My colleague Jasper Jolly has more on the meeting on the business live blog.

The UK will send more weapons to Ukraine to help it defend against Russia’s invasion, Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, has announced.

Wallace said more multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) will be sent to the eastern European nation, as well as precision-guided M31A1 missiles which can strike targets up to 50 miles away, designed to defend against Russian heavy artillery.

In a statement, Wallace said:

This latest tranche of military support will enable the armed forces of Ukraine to continue to defend against Russian aggression and the indiscriminate use of long-range artillery.

Our continued support sends a very clear message: Britain and the international community remain opposed to this illegal war and will stand shoulder-to-shoulder, providing defensive military aid to Ukraine to help them defend against Putin’s invasion.

Braverman got £10,000 from climate sceptic for Tory leadership campaign, while Tugendhat raised £120,000, first donation records show

Suella Braverman received £10,000 from a company owned by a leading climate sceptic to support her campaign for the Conservative leadership, according to the most recent update to the register of MPs’ interests.

As PA Media reports, the figures also show that Tom Tugendhat received more than £120,000 to fund his leadership bid.

MPs have 28 days from accepting a donation to declare it to the parliamentary standards commissioner and so some of the candidates in the contest have revealed little or nothing yet about the funding they have received. But PA Media has summarised what declarations have been declared.

Braverman, the attorney general, has declared a donation of £10,000 from First Corporate Consultants Ltd, which is owned by the Bristol Port owner Terence Mordaunt. Mordaunt chaired the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) between 2019 and 2021. The GWPF has been vocal in its opposition to climate crisis policies such as net zero and was sanctioned by the Charity Commission in 2014 for failing to adhere to rules on “balance and neutrality”.

Tugendhat raised more than £120,000 for his leadership bid. Some £42,673 came from a company called Policy Focus Ltd, founded on 27 June, less than two weeks before the leadership campaign began.

Companies House records show Policy Focus is owned by property developers Christian Sweeting and Robert Luck. Sweeting previously donated £10,000 to the Conservative Party in 2018, PA reports.

Tugendhat also received £50,000 from the long-time Tory donor Ian Mukherjee and £25,000 from Beacon Rock Ltd, owned by former Conservative Party treasurer Sir Michael Davis. Another £6,000 came from business consultancy InvestUK Group.

Rishi Sunak has declared the donation of office space, valued at £3,195.

Kemi Badenoch raised £12,500 to support her leadership bid, the records show. The former equalities minister received £10,000 from Longrow Capital, owned by tech-focused investor Dave Maclean. She also received £2,500 from Joanne Black, for whom no further details are available

Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi are yet to declare any financial support for their campaigns.

Gordon Brown’s call for nationalisation as possible solution to energy bills crisis receives mixed reception

Gordon Brown, the former Labour prime minister, has used an article in today’s Guardian to propose that the government should halt the increases in the energy price cap planned for later this year and next year and, if necessary, take energy companies into public ownership to ensure that they keep prices down.

Alongside the Lib Dem plan, with which it has some similarities (they also want a price cap freeze, and more money raised through a windfall tax), it is the most radical and ambitious proposal on the table to tackle the energy bills crisis.

Some commentators have reacted very positively. This is from Steve Richards, the writer and journalist, and author of a book on the Brown premiership.

This is from the Scotsman’s Alexander Brown.

Gordon Brown has come up with more (1) solutions and support packages to address the cost-of-living crisis than the actual prime minister and two candidates to replace him (0)

— Alexander Brown (@AlexofBrown) August 10, 2022

Labour figures have been generally been enthusiastic about Brown’s proposal. These are from Andrew Fisher, who was head of policy for Jeremy Corbyn and is certainly no Brownite.

Some thoughts on Gordon Brown’s proposals:

Brown is right to say Government should “pause any further increase in the cap”, and then negotiate separate company agreements to keep prices down after examining profit margins and available social tariffs.
1/nhttps://t.co/mu89bowDIU

— Andrew Fisher (@FisherAndrew79) August 11, 2022

The proposal for equity financing to energy companies is not necessarily bad – which means the Government takes shares in the companies for every penny it loans them.

We put something in, we get something in return.

2/n

— Andrew Fisher (@FisherAndrew79) August 11, 2022

But there’s a risk this ends up like the bank bailout of 2008/09 where we prop up a failing system, nationalising the losses and privatising the profits

That’s the risk in Brown’s public ownership as a last resort and only temporarily

That would be corporate welfare

3/n

— Andrew Fisher (@FisherAndrew79) August 11, 2022

We should nationalise to run the energy system for public benefit not private profit – a massively popular and economically efficient policy.

But for all its faults, Brown’s proposals are better than anything that current frontbench politician has come up with so far

4/ends

— Andrew Fisher (@FisherAndrew79) August 11, 2022

This is from the Labour MP Chris Bryant.

How on earth can a pensioner on the state pension possibly pay 50% of their income on gas and electric? And why can’t @trussliz realise that reversing the NI increase will do nothing for them? Martin Lewis and Gordon Brown are right. We need action now!

— Chris Bryant (@RhonddaBryant) August 10, 2022

And this is from Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary.

It’s remarkable that comparisons with Gordon Brown have been used as an insult in the Conservative leadership contest. They’re not fit to tie his shoelaces. https://t.co/qZznlPKC4m

— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) August 10, 2022

But Kevin Schofield at HuffPost says Brown is not pitch rolling on behalf of Keir Starmer. Schofield says Starmer is expected to start setting out Labour’s own plans for dealing with the energy bills crisis tomorrow.

Despite speculation to the contrary, HuffPost UK also understands that Gordon Brown’s interventions this week have “very much” not been co-ordinated with Starmer’s office.

— Kevin Schofield (@KevinASchofield) August 11, 2022

The Conservative MP John Redwood said the Brown plan would just waste government money.

Gordon Brown lost us a lot of money on buying shares in RBS. Now he wants to do the same with power companies. Nationalising them will not produce any new supply. They will still have to pay high market prices to buy in energy. It just means higher taxes to pay the losses.

— John Redwood (@johnredwood) August 11, 2022

And on the Today programme this morning Paul Massara, the head of Pulse Clean Energy and the former head of Npower, said nationalisation was not the answer. He told the programme.

I think [Brown is] very confused. And I think he’s taking a model from the financial crisis and trying to apply it to a different situation.

We’ve got a world energy crisis now. I think there is a case actually for having a social tariff, and saying the poorest in society should have a lower tariff, but that gap between the market and the lowest tariff then needs to be made up by the government.

Whether that’s funded through an increased windfall tax is a different question. But nationalisation and ownership is confusing that issue, ownership, with what do we need to do to help bills today.

It’s not as though the companies are being poorly run. This is a global commodity issue.

Energy bosses start talks with Zahawi and Kwarteng

The bosses of some of the UK’s biggest energy companies have started a meeting with Nadhim Zahawi, the chancellor, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, who are expected to pressure them to invest in green energy rather than payouts for shareholders, my colleague Jasper Jolly reports. He has more on his business live blog.

Today’s figures from NHS England show that ambulances in England took an average of 59min 7sec last month to respond to emergency calls such as burns, epilepsy and strokes. This is up from 51min 38sec in June, and is well above the target of 18 minutes.

The Liberal Democrats have said the ambulance service is in crisis and they have urged the Tory leadership candidates to draw up a plan to fix it. Helen Morgan, the party’s communities spokesperson, said:

Liz Truss herself has admitted that under the Conservatives people are facing appalling ambulance delays. Yet neither she nor Rishi Sunak have set out a credible plan to solve this crisis.

We need emergency funding now to support overstretched ambulance services along with an official CQC inquiry into how to fix these appalling delays.

Streeting accuses Tory leadership contenders of ignoring ‘biggest crisis in NHS’s history’

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, has accused Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak of ignoring what he calls “the biggest crisis in the NHS’s history”. He posted this in response to the latest performance figures from NHS England.

NEW: NHS waiting lists are now at new record high of 6.73 MILLION.

Nearly 30,000 people waited more than 12 HOURS in A&E LAST MONTH.

The biggest crisis in the NHS’ history – with one in eight people waiting for care – and it barely gets a mention from Truss and Sunak.

— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) August 11, 2022

Streeting is right to say the Conservative leadership contest has mostly ignored the NHS as an issue.

As a journalist, I have received 41 press releases from the Truss campaign over the last month but not one of them mentions the NHS. And only one of them includes the word health; it was a press release about Truss’s plans to review the operation of the tax system, which she says could help people providing stay-at-home care.

The Sunak campaign has got a slightly better record on this. It has sent me 36 press releases over the same period, and three of them mention the NHS. Ten of them include the word health. Early in the campaign Sunak did announce plans to tackle the NHS waiting list backlog, saying that this was “the biggest public service emergency” facing the country and that he would set up a vaccines-style task force to deal with it. But since then he has not said much more on this, and it is not a topic that has featured much in the official Conservative party hustings. Sunak’s only other NHS-related announcement has been a plan to charge patients £10 if they miss a GP appointment for the second time.

Hospital waiting lists in England reach record high of 6.7 million

The number of people in England waiting to start routine hospital treatment has risen to a record high, PA Media reports.

Number of patients waiting more than 12 hours in A&E in England up 33% in July from previous month

A record 29,317 people had to wait more than 12 hours in A&E departments in England in July from a decision to admit to actually being admitted, PA Media reports. PA says:

The figure is up 33% from 22,034 the previous month and is the highest for any calendar month in records going back to August 2010, according to NHS England figures.

The number waiting at least four hours from the decision to admit to admission stood at 136,221 in July, up from 130,109 the previous month but slightly below the record 136,298 in March.

A total of 71.0% of patients in England were seen within four hours at A&Es last month, down from 72.1% in May and the worst performance on record.

The operational standard is that at least 95% of patients attending A&E should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, but this has not been met nationally since 2015.

Labour claims police inspectorate report shows Tories have ‘effectively decriminalised’ crimes like burglary

Police are failing victims of burglary and theft, missing chances to catch thieves leading to lack of confidence in forces, the official inspectorate has found. My colleague Vikram Dodd has the the full story.

Labour claims this shows the Conservatives are soft on crime. Steve Reed, the shadow justice secretary, told Times Radio this morning:

It’s the conservatives, they’ve gone absolutely soft on crime. And what we’re hearing today is the result of a government that, instead of focusing on making sure that our public services work in the interest of the British people, are continuing simply to have internal fights like we’re seeing now – Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak fighting each other like rats in a sack instead of focusing on the cost of living crisis or the criminal justice and crime crisis.

They’ve effectively decriminalised crimes as serious as burglary, robbery, theft, shoplifting, car crime, fraud, all of those things.

Ryanair boss blames Brexit for airport chaos and calls for return of free movement with EU

Michael O’Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, told Radio 4’s Today programme this morning that the next prime minister should negotiate free movement of labour between the UK and the EU to help industry with labour shortages. He said:

I think the first thing they should do to boost the British economy is prioritise a trade deal with the European Union – a good starting point for that would be to open up the free movement of labour between the UK and Europe once more.

But he accepted there was no chance of Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak proposing this during the Tory leadership contest. He said:

You have to accept that you’re not going to get elected by a very narrow 180,000 electorate of the Tory party membership if you advocate common-sense policies.

But once you do become prime minister, you should have enough backbone to lead the UK economy forward and the starting point for that should be a free trade deal with the European Union.

(There is also no chance at all of Truss or Sunak backing this if they do become PM. Even the Labour party is not advocating a restoration of free movement, and Brexiters view the UK gaining fuller control of its borders as one of the chief benefits of leaving the EU. It has coincided with public concern about high levels of immigration being a problem falling.)

My colleague Kalyeena Makortoff has a full story on O’Leary’s comments here.

Mark Spencer, the leader of the Commons, was doing an interview round this morning. He was asked on LBC if energy company bosses were paid too much, in the light of crisis caused by high energy bills, but he implied it was not an issue. When he was told one energy executive earned £11.5m, Spencer replied:

That seems like a very large figure to me and certainly on my salary and to my constituents that feels like a large figure. In the context of things, actually, when there’s 65 million people in the country, it’s 30p, 20p, a person, so I think actually there are bigger fish to fry here, which we can try and solve the challenges than to have a pop at the chief exec’s salary.

I think whilst it sometimes makes great politics, it actually doesn’t affect people’s bills, which we need to be focused on, in the autumn.

Sunak frustrated government attempts to realise benefits of Brexit, Truss allies claim

Good morning. It may feel as if the Tory leadership contest has been going on forever but, in terms of official Conservative party hustings, we have not even reached half-way point. Tonight, at 7pm, the sixth hustings event will take place in Cheltenham. After that there will be another six to go.

Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, remains the frontrunner and this morning her camp is launching a fresh line of attack against her rival Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor. In an article for the Daily Telegraph two leading Truss supporters, Simon Clarke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, accuse him of frustrating government attempts to realise the benefits of Brexit. They write:

[Sunak] talks about cutting EU regulations, yet dug his heels in as chancellor against efforts to do exactly that and realise the benefits of Brexit. We both saw it in cabinet, including resisting reforms to the EU’s Solvency II regulation – making it harder for pension funds and investors to invest in British business and infrastructure – and being backward-leaning on moving ahead with legislation to fix issues with the Northern Ireland protocol.

Sunak, of course, voted for Brexit in 2016, when Truss was supporting remain. But part of the reason why she appears to be so much more popular with Tory members (who are overwhelmingly pro-Brexit) is that she has managed to portray herself as a Brexit evangelist, while depicting Sunak as someone who has been captured by remainer, Treasury orthodoxy.

In their article Clarke and Kwarteng talk about the importance of exploiting “the huge economic opportunities of Brexit”. There is not much evidence yet that these huge opportunities actually exist, but one common idea in the Brexitverse is that, if Brexit is not working yet, it is because it has been sabotaged, and the Clarke/Kwarteng article reflects this thinking. In this scenario Sunak plays the role of Snowball from Animal Farm.

Sunak himself does believe that Brexit offers economic opportunities and, in response to the article, a campaign spokesperson said:

Rishi was one of the few ministers who delivered real Brexit reforms as chancellor. From establishing eight freeports to ripping up the EU rulebook when it came to financial services, he delivered a proper plan for reform and change.

Sunak campaign sources have also said it is “categorically wrong” to say Sunak opposed reforming the Solvency II rule, and that he supported standing up to Brussels over the Northern Ireland protocol.

(Clarke and Kwarteng accuse Sunak of being “backward-leaning” on the Northern Ireland protocol bill, which may be a new piece of political terminology. It seems to mean that he pointed out some of the disadvantages. Sunak is know to have expressed worries that unilaterally abandoning the protocol could lead to a trade war with the EU.)

Both candidates are meeting Conservative members before the hustings tonight. And this morning Kwarteng will be meeting energy firm bosses alongside Nadhim Zahawi, the chancellor. At one point there were suggestions they might use the meeting to propose expanding the scope of the windfall tax on energy companies. But that proposal has now been downgraded (Truss, the probable next PM, is not keen), and now it is not clear what outcome we should expect from the meeting. There will be no substantial change on energy policy until the new Tory leader is elected. But my colleagues Rowena Mason and Peter Walker have a preview here.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

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