Politics latest: Nicola Sturgeon speaks after husband charged; Rishi Sunak accused of 'full-on assault on disabled people' (2024)

Key points
  • Sturgeon: 'Incredibly difficult' time after husband charged
  • Yousaf speaks of shock in SNP
  • Sunak sets out 'moral mission' to end UK's 'sick note culture'
  • PM accused of'full-on assault on disabled people' by charity
  • Serena Barker-Singh: Is Sunak's diagnosis of welfare problems correct?
  • PM refuses to say if suspended Tory should quit as MP
  • 'We are going to get this done': Sunak vows to pass Rwanda bill
  • Tap here to subscribe to Electoral Dysfunction
  • Live reporting by Ben Bloch


ICYMI: Sturgeon talks of 'incredibly difficult' time after husband charged

Former first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has spoken to Sky's Scotland correspondent Connor Gillies and the gathered media outside her Glasgow home.

It is the first time she has been seen in public since her husband, ex-SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, was chargedin connection with the embezzlement of funds from the party.

She said: "This is a difficult time. I don't think I'm revealing any secrets in saying that.

"But there's absolutely nothing I can say given the circ*mstances.

"So I'm now going to go out for a walk... There's nothing going to be happening here."

Asked by Connor how difficult this is for her personally, the MSP for Glasgow Southside replied: "It's incredibly difficult, but that's not the main issue here."

She said she can't and won't say any more due to the ongoing police investigation.


What counts as voter ID? What you need to know before local elections

People voting in local elections in England on 2 May will need to provide photo ID.

It is the second year the requirement has been in place - but in 2023,14,000 people couldn't cast their ballot because they didn't take ID to the polling booth.

There are 22 different types of ID you can use - and if you don't have any of them, you can register for a Voter Authority Certificate.

Here's everything you need to know to avoid being caught out:


Tory activist who reported MP over alleged misuse of funds disappointed by party response

By Jennifer Scott, political reporter

A Tory activist who reported an MP over claims he misused party funds has told Sky News she is disappointed by the way her complaint has been handled.

Mark Menzies voluntarily quit the Conservative parliamentary party this week after a report in The Times claimed he called his ex-campaign manager Katie Fieldhouse, 78, early one day to say he was locked in a flat by "bad people" and needed £5,000 as a matter of "life and death".

The sum, which rose to £6,500, was eventually paid by his office manager from her personal bank account and subsequently reimbursed from funds raised from donors in an account named Fylde Westminster Group, the newspaper said.

But despite the incident taking place in December - and Ms Fieldhouse submitting her complaint in January - the Fylde MP had remained part of the parliamentary party and as a trade envoy for the government until the press reports surfaced.

He has now lost the Conservative whip and was suspended as one of Rishi Sunak's envoys.

Mr Menzies strongly disputes the claims, which also include accusations he used campaign funds to pay his personal medical bills.

Speaking to Sky News' Frazer Maude, Ms Fieldhouse said: "I am feeling dreadful because I am a devout Tory and as I have said to everybody else, I reported his actions to the chief whip… it is now the middle of April.

"Come to your own conclusions [about] what is happening."

Read her full comments here:


Johnson breached rules by being 'evasive' over links to hedge fund, says watchdog

By Jennifer Scott, political reporter

Former prime minister Boris Johnson has breached government rules by being "evasive" about his links to a hedge fund that set up a meeting between him and the president of Venezuela, a watchdog has said.

Mr Johnson raised a few eyebrows earlier this year after his spokesman confirmed he had flown to the country to meet its controversial leader Nicolas Maduro.

But now, the chairman of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) Lord Pickles, has highlighted further controversary around the meeting which was arranged by a company called Merlyn Advisors - a hedge fund.

Under government rules, any minister leaving office must run new jobs or appointments by the Acoba watchdog before taking them up.

But Lord Pickles said despite "repeatedly" being asked to "clarify his relationship" with the firm, Mr Johnson had "not done so", nor had he "denied the reports in the media that he had been working with Merlyn Advisors on a non-contractual basis".


Pledge tracker: Is Sunak keeping his promises?

Over a year ago, Rishi Sunak made five pledges for voters to judge him on.

The prime minister met his promise to halve inflation by the end of 2023.

But with the general election approaching, how is Mr Sunak doing on delivering his other promises?

You can see the progress for yourself below:


Section 21s: Almost one million renters given no-fault evictions since Tories promised to scrap them

Jennifer Scott, political reporter

Almost one million private renters in England have been handed no-fault evictions since the Conservative government promised to abolish them, new data has shown.

Research carried out by YouGov on behalf of homelessness charity Shelter - and shared exclusively with Sky News - showed that since April 2019 a total of 943,000 people had been given Section 21 notices, which is the equivalent of more than 500 renters every day.

The figures also showed unwanted moves were costing private renters in England £550m a year, with 830,000 people having to move in the last 12 months alone due to either their fixed tenancies coming to an end, being priced out by rent increases or being served with a Section 21.

Add in the soaring upfront costs for rents and deposits and unwanted moves are costing more than £1bn a year - or an average of £1,245 per person.

Polly Neate, Shelter's chief executive, said tenants were "bearing the cost of the government's inaction" and warned any further delays to banning no-fault evictions would see more people "tipped into homelessness".

But Levelling Up minister Jacob Young defended the government. He said abolishing Section 21s was "the biggest change to the private rented sector in more than 30 years" so it "takes time to make sure we get it right".

Read more here:


Reports Cameron told Netanyahu UK won't proscribe Iran's Revolutionary Guard as terrorists

One of the main political discussion points since Iran's attack on Israel last weekend has been whether the UK will proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The calls are not new, but have been restated this week.

The government does not comment on future sanctions and proscriptions, but some hoped recent events would change their course.

However, The Telegraph is reporting that Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron told Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week that the UK would not take the step of proscription.

The reluctance could be down to the potential impacts it would have on the diplomatic channels between the UK and Iran.

Earlier this week, the UK imposed fresh sanctions on the naval arm of the IRGC.

It has also sanctioned the corps as a whole - but not to the level of proscription.

Proscription would make it illegal to belong to the IRGC, go to meetings, carry its logo or encourage support of it.


Will Labour or the Conservatives win the next election? Latest polling from the Sky News live tracker

The Sky News live poll tracker - collated and updated by our Data and Forensics team - aggregates various surveys to indicate how voters feel about the different political parties.

With the local election campaign well under way, Labour is still sitting comfortably on a roughly 21-point lead, averaging at 43.6% in the polls, with the Tories on 23.1%.

In third is Reform UK on 12.3%, followed by the Lib Dems on 9.2%.

The Green Party stands at 6.5%, and the SNP on 3.1%.

See the latest update below - and you can read more about the methodology behind the trackerhere.


Podcast: Tory MP suspended | What's going on with climate targets?

Conservative MP Mark Menzies has been suspended from the parliamentary party in light of allegations he abused local Tory party funds to pay off "bad people".

Mark Menzies strongly disputes the claims which also include accusations he used campaign funds to pay his personal medical bills.

On the Conservatives' investigation into the claims, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News: "There's further information that the chief whip I understand became familiar with yesterday and actions being swiftly taken on the basis of that further information.

"I think it is important to stress that the MP in question here denies the allegations and so on basis of sort of fairness and proper justice, I think it's important to mention that."

On the Sky News Daily, Niall Paterson is joined by political correspondent Darren McCaffrey to analyse how Westminster will cope with another scandal.

Plus, the Scottish government has come under fire for rowing back on its climate commitments.

Niall speaks to science correspondent Thomas Moore about the consequences of the government missing eight out of 12 of its annual climate commitments.

👉Listen above then tap here to follow the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts👈


Former senior civil servant accused officials behind small boats policy of 'harbouring racist views'

By Serena Barker-Singh, political correspondent

A former senior civil servant criticised some of the policymakers behind the illegal migration bill, accusing them of "harbouring racist views" about immigrants, it has emerged.

The senior policy official was in key ministerial meetings on the small boats policy, including in meetings with the then prime minister Boris Johnson.

Her claims emerged as part of an employment tribunal that has now concluded.

She says from her perspective the head of the illegal migration task force Michael Bourke and his deputy directors saw "the ultra-hostile environment towards unwanted foreigners as both being practical, necessary and gratifying".

In formal court documents seen by Sky News, the ex-head of policy in the illegal migration task force, who has been a civil servant for 12 years, said she had repeatedly tried to move conversations away from "prejudice and blame, to objective assessment and accountability".

Mr Bourke has stated his position is that his conduct towards the former civil servant was fair and during the time she was on the task force she was "negative and problematic, leading colleagues to feel disrespected, overburdened or undermined".

Read the full story here:

Politics latest: Nicola Sturgeon speaks after husband charged; Rishi Sunak accused of 'full-on assault on disabled people' (2024)
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