Truss claims Starmer wants to make UK ‘hostile environment for conservatives’

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Liz Truss claimed Sir Keir Starmer wanted to make the UK a “hostile environment for conservatives” as she responded to an attack by the Labour leader at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Sir Keir raised Ms Truss’s attendance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in the US and claimed the former premier had “taken to slagging off and undermining Britain at every opportunity”.

Ms Truss hit back and labelled the attack “bizarre”.

She tweeted: “Bizarre that Starmer used his PMQs on me at [CPAC], not on threats we face at home and abroad.

“Instead of providing ideas, he wants to make the UK a hostile environment for conservatives. Every attack from the intolerant left makes us more determined to stand up for our values.”

You can follow the latest updates below and join the conversation in the comments section here


04:00 PM GMT

That is all for today...

Thank you for joining me for today’s politics live blog.

I will be back tomorrow morning.


03:42 PM GMT

How much the Tories’ stealth tax raid has cost you

The subject of income tax thresholds is likely to garner a lot of attention in the coming days as Westminster prepares for Jeremy Hunt to deliver his Budget on March 6.

The thresholds have been frozen since March 2021 and are due to remain frozen until 2028/29, dragging millions of people into paying more tax.

How much has this decision cost you? The Telegraph has created a very clever tool which will calculate how badly your bank account has been - and will be - affected.

You can find it here.


03:19 PM GMT

Labour has ‘shamelessly weaponised’ claims of Islamophobia against Lee Anderson

Labour has “shamelessly weaponised” claims of Islamophobia against Lee Anderson to distract from its splits on Gaza, a leading Tory MP has said.

Brendan Clarke-Smith, a former Conservative deputy chairman, accused the party of creating “confected” outrage with a “disingenuous and coordinated pile-on”.

You can read the full story here.


03:06 PM GMT

Truss claims Starmer wants to make UK ‘hostile environment for conservatives’

Liz Truss claimed Sir Keir Starmer wanted to make the UK a “hostile environment for conservatives” as she responded to comments made by him about her during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The former prime minister tweeted: “Bizarre that Starmer used his PMQs on me at [CPAC], not on threats we face at home and abroad.

“Instead of providing ideas, he wants to make the UK a hostile environment for conservatives. Every attack from the intolerant left makes us more determined to stand up for our values.”


02:59 PM GMT

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02:50 PM GMT

Pictured: SNP leader Humza Yousaf visits a library in Edinburgh today

Humza Yousaf, the Scottish First Minister, takes part in a Book Bug session at Drum Brae Library Hub in Edinburgh
Humza Yousaf, the Scottish First Minister, takes part in a Book Bug session at Drum Brae Library Hub in Edinburgh - Jeff J Mitchell /Getty Images Europe

02:34 PM GMT

Farage hits back at Starmer after attack at PMQs

Nigel Farage has hit back at Sir Keir Starmer after the Labour leader attacked him during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The honorary president of Reform UK labelled it an “extraordinary attack” and said Sir Keir “must have forgotten” that millions of Labour voters agree with him on key issues.

Here is his tweet:


01:56 PM GMT

Northern Ireland veterans’ amnesty ‘incompatible with European human rights rules’

A law giving British soldiers immunity from prosecution over Troubles-era crimes is incompatible with European Human Rights rules, the High Court in Belfast ruled on Wednesday.

The victory for a group of victims’ families is a blow to the Government, which is also being sued over the Legacy Act by the Republic of Ireland in the European Court of Human Rights in a separate case.

You can read the full story here.


01:39 PM GMT

Number of MPs to have signed Hoyle no confidence motion hits 92

The number of MPs to have signed a motion of no confidence in Sir Lindsay Hoyle has now increased to 92.

The latest addition to the motion is Paul Bristow, the Tory MP for Peterborough.

The 92 names on the motion breakdown like this:

  • Conservative: 46

  • SNP: 42

  • Plaid Cymru: 3

  • Independent: 1


01:15 PM GMT

Just Stop Oil sends cryptic message to Sir Keir Starmer

Just Stop Oil has told Sir Keir Starmer that the campaign group will be “with you in a few hours” in a cryptic message posted on Twitter.

The group told Sir Keir to “put the kettle on”.

The campaign group held a protest outside the Labour leader’s London home in December 2023.


01:05 PM GMT

Tory MP accuses council of waging ‘war against cars’

A Tory MP accused his local council of waging a “war” against motorists.

Alexander Stafford, the Tory MP for Rother Valley, said during Prime Minister’s Questions that a number of highway issues had been “ignored for decades by the Labour-controlled Rotheram Council”.

He urged the local authority to “listen to residents”, make improvements and “end this war against cars in my constituency”.

Rishi Sunak replied: “My honourable friend raises an important point and he is right to champion his constituents in this way because when Labour run things they do just run them badly.”


12:53 PM GMT

Number of MPs to have signed Hoyle no confidence motion hits 91

The number of MPs to have signed a motion of no confidence in Sir Lindsay Hoyle has now increased to 91.

Five SNP MPs have been added to the motion today.


12:37 PM GMT

Flynn asks Sunak if UK will vote for Gaza ceasefire at UN

Stephen Flynn asked Rishi Sunak: “Can I ask the Prime Minister should this matter now come before the United Nations with a ceasefire potentially in sight, will he use his Government’s vote in order to deliver that ceasefire?”

The Prime Minister replied: “We support the United States’ draft resolution that was discussed with colleagues at United Nations last week.

“But just calling for an immediate full ceasefire now which collapses back into fighting within days or weeks and indeed does not release hostages... is not in anyone’s interest.”


12:32 PM GMT

SNP: Commons should be demanding immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s leader in Westminster, raised the Israel-Hamas conflict.

He said the House of Commons should be demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

He said: “President Biden has indicated that that ceasefire may take place from Monday. Does the Prime Minister share in his confidence?”

Rishi Sunak said he had “consistently called for an immediate humanitarian pause” in Gaza and he welcomed “progress on a deal”.


12:27 PM GMT

Starmer claims Sunak ‘dancing to Farage’s tune’

Sir Keir Starmer claimed Rishi Sunak had given up on trying to beat Nigel Farage at the ballot box and was now “dancing to his tune instead”.

The Labour leader said: “The truth is, these are no longer the Tories your parents voted for. And the public can see it.

“The Prime Minister has lost control of his party to the hoards of wreckers and malcontents, the tin foil hat brigade over there, the extremists who wrecked the economy, all lining up to undermine him, humiliate him and eventually to get rid of him.

“When will he ever stand up to them and end the pathetic spectacle of a Tory Party that used to try and beat Nigel Farage now giving up and dancing to his tune instead?”

Mr Sunak said: “Utterly shameless from someone who stood by while anti-Semitism ran rife in his party…”

He added: “While he might want to bend to mob rule, we will face down the extremists and stand up for British values.”


12:24 PM GMT

Sunak claims Labour ‘mired in hate’

Sir Keir Starmer asked during PMQs: “Is the Prime Minister simply too scared to stand up to the gaggle of Tory MPs who moonlight as TV presenters or does he genuinely think Nigel Farage shares the ideals and values of the Tory Party?”

Rishi Sunak replied: “He wants to talk about values but tomorrow in Rochdale the people will have a choice of three former Labour candidates, two of which are anti-Semites. The truth is his party is so mired in hate that despite three ex-Labour candidates standing, he can’t back a single one of them.

“We expel anti-Semites, he makes them Labour candidates.”

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, addresses the House of Commons during PMQs
Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, addresses the House of Commons during PMQs

12:15 PM GMT

Starmer grills Sunak over Farage as PM criticises Labour’s record on diversity

Sir Keir Starmer raised the possibility of Nigel Farage potentially joining the Tories and asked Rishi Sunak: “Can the Prime Minister confirm whether he too would welcome Mr Farage back into the Tory fold?”

Mr Sunak replied: “In our party we have a proud tradition of diversity and accepting everyone from every background. it is a proud record that puts Labour to shame.

“This is the party that delivered the first Jewish prime minister, the first female prime minister, the first black chancellor, the first Muslim home secretary and now led by the first British Asian Prime Minister.

“While it seems he can only champion men from North London, it is the Conservatives that represent modern Britain.”


12:11 PM GMT

PM claims Labour leader ‘hasn’t got any’ principles

Sir Keir Starmer suggested it would be “great if just for once the Tories actually took some responsibility” about the UK economy.

Rishi Sunak replied: “He talks about leadership, he talks about change, but when I learned of something that I didn’t agree with I suspended one of my MPs straight away.

“But when he learned of vile anti-Semitic remarks made by a Labour candidate what did he do? He instructed his team to defend him.”

The Prime Minister added: “That’s the difference between us. I act on my principles. He hasn’t got any.”


12:07 PM GMT

Sunak labels Starmer ‘spineless, hopeless and utterly shameless’

Rishi Sunak labelled Sir Keir Starmer “spineless, hopeless and utterly shameless” as the Prime Minister raised the Labour leader’s handling of the party’s anti-Semitism row.

Sir Keir replied: “I have changed my party for the better. He has been changed by his party.”


12:04 PM GMT

Starmer jokes Tories becoming ‘political wing of the Flat Earth Society’

Prime Minister’s Questions is now underway in the House of Commons.

Sir Keir Starmer used his first question to raise the Lee Anderson row and comments made by Liz Truss.

The Labour leader asked Rishi Sunak: “At what point did his party give up on governing and become the political wing of the Flat Earth Society?”

Mr Sunak said: “Another week where the honourable member is just sniping from the sidelines because he has absolutely nothing that he can say about what he would do.”

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, addresses the House of Commons during PMQs
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, addresses the House of Commons during PMQs - Reuters

11:59 AM GMT

Lee Anderson in Commons ahead of PMQs

Lee Anderson, the now independent MP for Ashfield, is in the House of Commons chamber ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions, my colleague Amy Gibbons reports.

He is not listed on the order paper as having been granted a question.


11:51 AM GMT

Pictured: Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street ahead of PMQs

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, leaves 10 Downing Street ahead of PMQs
Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, leaves 10 Downing Street ahead of PMQs - James Manning/PA

11:44 AM GMT

Pictured: Richard Holden, the Tory chairman, winks as he leaves No 10 today

Richard Holden, the chairman of the Conservative Party, winks as he leaves No 10 Downing Street
Richard Holden, the chairman of the Conservative Party, winks as he leaves No 10 Downing Street - Leon Neal /Getty Images Europe

11:40 AM GMT

Mordaunt puts pressure on Hunt ahead of Budget

Penny Mordaunt said the Government’s “first duty is to protect our nation and its interests” as she put pressure on Jeremy Hunt ahead of the Budget on March 6.

The Commons Leader tweeted a picture of her meeting with the Chancellor, during which she raised the UK’s defence capabilities.

The meeting came after The Telegraph revealed that the Ministry of Defence will not get extra funding in the Budget next Wednesday.

Ms Mordaunt, who is the MP for Portsmouth North, tweeted:


11:26 AM GMT

Sunak to face Starmer at PMQs at noon

They say a week is a long time in politics. Well, that is certainly the case for the past seven days in Westminster.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s handling of the Gaza ceasefire debate and then the Lee Anderson row have dominated since last Wednesday.

And both of those issues are likely to come up at PMQs today.

Sir Keir Starmer will almost certainly raise the latter when he grills Mr Sunak just after noon while Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s leader in Westminster, may well focus on the former as his party keeps the pressure on the Commons Speaker.


11:07 AM GMT

Number of MPs to have signed Hoyle no confidence motion hits 88

The number of MPs to have signed a motion of no confidence in Sir Lindsay Hoyle has now increased to 88.

Peter Grant, the SNP MP for Glenrothes, has just been added to the motion. He is the second SNP MP to have their name added to the motion this morning.

It means that just under 14 per cent of MPs have signed the motion.

Signatories by party breaks down like this:

  • Conservative: 45

  • SNP: 39

  • Plaid Cymru: 3

  • Independent: 1


11:04 AM GMT

Reform would be more popular with Farage as leader, poll suggests

The popularity of Reform UK would be boosted if Nigel Farage was leader, a new poll has suggested.

An Ipsos UK survey conducted between Feb 16-19 found that 19 per cent of voters had a favourable view of Reform.

But that number increased to 25 per cent when voters were asked about a hypothetical situation of Mr Farage leading the party instead of Richard Tice.

The difference was even larger among 2019 Conservative voters.

Some 31 per cent said they had a favourable opinion of Reform but that jumped to 43 per cent under the Mr Farage as leader scenario.

Keiran Pedley from Ipsos UK said the numbers suggested the Conservatives should be “worried” about the potential of Mr Farage returning to the political front line.


10:56 AM GMT

More voters hold favourable opinion of Starmer than other leading figures

More voters hold a favourable opinion of Sir Keir Starmer than of any other prominent national UK politician, according to a new Ipsos UK poll.

The company’s “Political Pulse” report for February 2024 asked people if they have a favourable or unfavourable opinion of a variety of prominent political figures.

Some 30 per cent of respondents in the survey conducted between Feb 16-19 said they had a favourable view of the Labour leader.

Boris Johnson was in second place on 24 per cent, Nigel Farage was in third on 23 per cent and Rishi Sunak was fourth on 20 per cent.

However, even with his number one spot, Sir Keir still held a net favourability rating - along with everyone else - in minus territory.

Sir Keir’s net rating was minus 11, with 41 per cent of respondents saying they had an unfavourable opinion of him. Mr Sunak’s net favourability rating was minus 34, with 54 per per cent of people having an unfavourable opinion of him.


10:43 AM GMT

Tory or Reform? Have your say...


10:31 AM GMT

Protesters could have to give police more notice of mass demonstrations

Protesters could be required to give more notice to police before being able to stage a demonstration under plans being considered by the Government, writes Charles Hymas.

Chris Philp, the policing minister, said the proposal - first proposed by the Home Affairs Select Committee of MPs - was being studied by the Home Office amid growing concerns at the “unsustainable” cost of the weekly pro-Palestinian protests over the Gaza conflict.

Speaking on Sky News, Mr Philp suggested it could mean organisers of protests involving hundreds of thousands of people would have to give a “couple of weeks’” notice rather than the current six days in order to give police time to prepare.


10:10 AM GMT

Hoyle welcomes £31m MPs’ security drive

Sir Lindsay Hoyle has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a £31 million drive to boost security for MPs.

The funding will be used on measures like deploying security guards at events held by MPs like constituency surgeries.

Sir Lindsay, the Commons Speaker, said: “I warmly welcome the Government’s announcement of additional funding to protect our elected representatives and our democracy.

“It will enable us to build on the improvements we have made over the past two years, working with the Police and Home Office to enhance security at MPs’ homes and offices, and crucially when they are out and about meeting their constituents.”


10:02 AM GMT

Stephen Flynn rubbishes claim SNP could conduct ‘disengagement’ protest

Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s leader in Westminster, has rubbished claims that his party could conduct a campaign of “disengagement” in Parliament in protest over the Gaza ceasefire debate row.

The BBC reported that the party was considering moves like not turning up to committees or Westminster Hall debates to pile the pressure on Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

But Mr Flynn said he had no intention of leaving Scotland “voiceless in Westminster”.

Responding to a BBC tweet stating that the SNP was considering “disengagement”, Mr Flynn tweeted: “No, they aren’t. The importance of our role has been exemplified these last few weeks, driving debate over Gaza and changing Labour Party policy.

“Until we achieve our independence, we will never leave Scotland voiceless in Westminster.”

Some 38 SNP MPs have now signed a motion of no confidence in Sir Lindsay.


09:42 AM GMT

Number of MPs to have signed Hoyle no confidence motion hits 87

The number of MPs to have signed a motion of no confidence in Sir Lindsay Hoyle has now increased to 87.

Angela Crawley, the SNP MP for Lanark and Hamilton East, was the latest name to be added to the motion this morning.


09:33 AM GMT

Labour poll ‘wobble’ stabilises as party surges to 18-point lead over Tories

A Labour poll “wobble” appears to have stabilised as the party increased its lead over the Tories to 18 points.

A new Savanta survey conducted between Feb 23-25 put Labour on 44 per cent of the vote and the Conservatives on 26 per cent.

Labour were up by two points and the Tories were down by two points when compared to the company’s previous poll conducted between Feb 16-18.

Labour’s lead had dipped in recent weeks with Savanta’s previous polling in 2024 giving the party an advantage of 19, 17, 14, 19, 12 and 14 points.

Chris Hopkins, the political research director at Savanta, said: “Ahead of the Rochdale by-election and a make-or-break spring budget, our findings will not make pretty reading for the Conservative Party. Labour’s wobble, if there ever was one, appears to have stabilised.”


09:18 AM GMT

Poll: Reform UK hits new high in voter support

Voter support for Reform UK has hit a new high, according to the latest Savanta survey, as a polling expert said the party could “really hurt” the Tories at the next general election.

A survey conducted by the company between Feb 23-25 put Reform on 10 per cent of the vote. That was up by two points when compared to Savanta’s previous poll conducted between Feb 16-18.

Savanta said this was Reform’s “highest ever vote share in a Savanta poll since January 2021” when the Electoral Commission approved its name change from the Brexit Party.

Chris Hopkins, political research director at Savanta, said: “Reform recording their highest ever vote share in a Savanta poll is notable, but I remain sceptical of their electoral prowess.

“They certainly have the potential to really hurt the Conservatives at the next election, but their voters are not just Tories-in-disguise. Mobilising their supporters will be incredibly important if they are to achieve anything like a ten per cent vote share at the actual general election.”


08:58 AM GMT

Pictured: James Cleverly gives New York Mayor Eric Adams an Arsenal football club shirt

James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, presents Eric Adams, the New York mayor, with an Arsenal football club shirt at City Hall in New York
James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, presents Eric Adams, the New York mayor, with an Arsenal football club shirt at City Hall in New York - Stefan Rousseau /PA

08:40 AM GMT

Plaid Cymru joins calls for Sir Lindsay Hoyle to quit

Plaid Cymru’s three MPs have signed the motion of no confidence in Sir Lindsay Hoyle, piling fresh pressure on the Commons Speaker.

The number of MPs to have signed the motion has now hit 86 and the addition of the Plaid signatures means three political parties are now represented on it.

Before this point the motion had only been signed by Tory and SNP MPs.

Liz Saville-Robert, the Westminster leader of Plaid Cymru, said in a letter to Sir Lindsay that “recent events have brought to light a profound disregard for smaller parties in Westminster”.

She was joined in signing the motion by her party colleagues Hywel Williams and Ben Lake. The motion was tabled by William Wragg, a Tory MP, in the wake of Sir Lindsay’s controversial handling of a Gaza ceasefire debate last week.


08:28 AM GMT

A vote for Reform ‘will simply let Labour win’, claims Philp

Chris Philp claimed a vote for Reform UK at a general election “will simply let Labour win” as he responded to the possibility of Lee Anderson joining the party.

Asked if Reform could “mop up” Tory votes, the policing minister told GB News: “On Reform, a vote for Reform is effectively a vote for the Labour Party because it will simply let Labour win and having Keir Starmer as prime minister, putting up taxes, weak on borders, no plan on anything, is bad for Britain, bad for the country.

“And a vote for Reform, unfortunately, will simply let Labour in and I would say to anyone considering doing that, it is a choice, it is a choice between the Conservatives with a plan, the small boat crossings are down 36 per cent, inflation is down… there is a plan and it is working and the alternative is Labour who have no plan.”

Chris Philp, the policing minister, is pictured this morning in Westminster
Chris Philp, the policing minister, is pictured this morning in Westminster - Tayfun Salci /Shutterstock

08:17 AM GMT

Anderson’s Tory fate rests with Sunak, says minister

The question of Lee Anderson’s future with the Conservative Party can only be answered by Rishi Sunak, a minister suggested this morning.

Asked if there was a way back for Mr Anderson, Chris Philp, the policing minister, told GB News: “Your first question, that is really a matter for the Prime Minister. I think what he said was wrong…”


08:11 AM GMT

Tories ‘tearing themselves to pieces’ over Anderson row, says Farage

Nigel Farage claimed the Tories are “tearing themselves into pieces” over the Lee Anderson row amid speculation the former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party could join Reform UK.

Mr Farage, the honorary president of Reform, said he had “no idea” if Mr Anderson could defect as he highlighted Tory divisions.

Asked what he had heard about the potential move, Mr Farage told GB News: “No idea. I don’t know what is happening. I am the honorary president, I am letting Richard Tice get on with running the thing and from what I can see he is doing quite a good job of it.

“So I have no idea myself what is going to happen in that regard. But is the Conservative Party looking at the Lee Anderson row, to a slightly lesser degree the Paul Scully row, and seeing Tory MPs and peers lining up to condemn Anderson, others lining up to say ‘for goodness sake reinstate the whip’, they do appear as a party to be literally tearing themselves to pieces over this.”

Mr Anderson lost the Tory whip after failing to apologise for claiming “Islamists” had “got control” of Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London.

It emerged yesterday that he had held private talks with Mr Tice, with the pair having reportedly met on Sunday at a Holiday Inn hotel, at junction 28 of the M1.

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