Politics latest updates: 'Massive row' at Scottish Tory conference; BBC 'dragged through mud' by Tory sleaze scandal - as Gary Lineker weighs in (2023)

Key points
  • Sudan evacuations to stop in 24 hours, says deputy prime minister
  • GMB union members vote to accept government's NHS pay offer
  • Richard Sharp quits as BBC chairman over Johnson £800,000 loan
  • Watch: His resignation statement in full
  • Joe Pike: Sharp jumped before he was pushed
  • Labour:Appointment caused 'untold damage' to the BBC
  • BBC 'dragged through mud' by another Tory sleaze scandal
  • Gary Lineker weighs in on chair's resignation
  • Ali Fortescue: Key details in Sharp report revealed
  • 'Massive row' at Scottish Tory conference after media barred
  • Two more MPs under investigation by standards commissioner
  • Live reporting by Ben Bloch and Jennifer Scott


What about NHS doctors stuck in Sudan?

Deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden was also asked about reports that NHS doctors who have visas to work in the UK but are not British nationals are not being allowed onto the flights.

The minister said said he was aware of the case being described.

He added: "We are in touch and engaging rapidly with the Sudanese Doctors Association to see what further support we can provide for them."

Read more on the story below:


Sudan evacuation flights to stop at 6pm on Saturday

Flights to evacuate British nationals from Sudan will stop at 6pm UK time on Saturday, the deputy prime minister has said.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Oliver Dowden said over 1,500 people had now been flown out of the country.

But he said there had been a "significant decline in the British nationals coming forward", so the government would cease the flights.

Asked if that would mean abandoning British nationals who haven't been able to make it in time, Mr Dowden rejected the claim, saying: "Every single British national that has come forward and their eligible dependents has been put safely onto a plane.

"We are seeing those numbers declining significantly. And just like other countries, as those numbers decline, we have put an end date on this.

"What I would say is that even beyond that, we will maintain consular support in Sudan, particularly at the exit route. So both to the north, to south and particularly Port Sudan itself."

So what would be his advice for those left behind?

The deputy PM said: "Well, my advice to people is, first of all, we have been very clear that this would be a time limited operation.

"We gave a very clear signal over 24 hours ago that people should expect that as the ceasefire comes to an end, we would be winding down the number of flights.

"We are now saying to those people, you have another 24 hours if you are eligible to make your way to the airport and we will get you on a plane, just as we have done for every other person that has come forward who is eligible, making it the longest and largest evacuation effort of any Western country."


Barclay: GMB shows NHS pay offer is 'fair and reasonable'

The health secretary has responded to the news the GMB union has accepted the NHS pay offer from the government.

Taking to Twitter, Steve Barclay said the move "demonstrates it is a fair and reasonable proposal that can bring this dispute to an end".

But Unite has rejected the offer, as has the Royal College of Nursing.

Mr Barclay tweeted: "I’ve always said I want a fair resolution that recognises the outstanding job of NHS staff and also protects the government’s commitment to halve inflation – and I’m hopeful the NHS Staff Council accepts our offer when they meet next week.”


Sunak will not use Welsh name for Brecon Beacons

Rishi Sunak has said he will continue to use the name Brecon Beacons for the national park despite the name being changed to its Welsh name Bannau Brycheiniog.

The change was announced earlier this month, with the organisation saying it would "better reflect the park and the world we live in today".

But it has been criticised by some senior Tories, who accused the park of a symbolic attempt to look "trendy".

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies also said: "The Beacons are as recognisable outside of Wales as they are here. Why undermine that?"

Speaking ahead of the Welsh Conservative Conference on Friday, Mr Sunak stood by those colleagues, saying "most people" would not follow the name change.

Read more below:


GMB union members vote to accept government's NHS pay offer

Health workers who are members of the GMB union have voted to accept the government's pay offer for NHS staff.

The result was 56% to accept, and 44% to reject.

Turnout was 51% - the union has tens of thousands of members.

Some NHS staff unions voted to accept the pay offer, while others, such as Unite and the Royal of Nursing, voted to reject it.

The unions are due to meet at the NHS staff council on Tuesday where a collective decision will be taken on whether to accept the pay offer.

Rachel Harrison, GMB national secretary, said: "This new pay offer would not have happened without the strike action taken by ambulance and other GMB health workers.

"GMB members have voted to accept the offer, which means GMB union will vote in favour of the pay offer at the NHS joint staff council meeting next week.

"Our members recognise that progress has been made - from the Government originally offering nothing, health workers will be thousands of pounds better off.

"It also meets a key GMB demand of a huge pay uplift for the lowest paid, lifting them above the Real Living Wage.

"But so much more needs to be done for workers if we are all to get the NHS we need."

She added: "Today is just one step in the battle to restore NHS workers’ decade of lost earnings.

"GMB will continue this fight, so that the NHS and ambulance workers, who serve and care for the public, finally get the fair deal they deserve."


Exclusive: 'The post-Grenfell cladding scandal has left me penniless'

By Faye Brown, political reporter

Malcolm Cameron-Lee thought he was doing the right thing when he decided to invest his life savings into property 20 years ago to fund a comfortable retirement.

At the time, "pension schemes were being mismanaged" and, as an electrical contractor, he believed "the way things were working it was better to fend for yourself".

But the dream of home ownership has turned into a nightmare because of the long-running cladding scandal that has left the 58-year-old "penniless and about to go bankrupt".

"We've been stitched up for so long and now it's ruined me," he told Sky News.

Read the full story here:


Local elections 2023: What to expect and how to judge who's won

By Dr Hannah Bunting and Professor Michael Thrasher, Sky News election analysts

It's the biggest test of public opinion this side of the next general election and Labour's chance to prove it's on course to form the next government.

On 4 May, seven in 10 voters in England will choose more than 8,000 councillors on 230 councils.

With 152 of those local authorities selecting every seat, expect some dramatic results and considerable change.

The Conservatives could lose one third of their seats and control of half their councils.

Labour could, and arguably should, finally become the largest party of local government, a position it hasn't held for more than 20 years.

Both parties could take a hit from the Liberal Democrats and Greens but pay attention too to the number of Independent councillors re-elected.

That could tell us much about people's enthusiasm for the two most likely contenders for power.

Read what to expect at the local elections here:


Suspended Tory MP hits out at 'smear campaign' after fresh complaints about behaviour

Julian Knight has released a statement hitting out at what he calls a "smear campaign" of "leaks, false innuendo and briefings".

The punchy statement comes in the wake of fresh allegations that surfaced yesterday about inappropriate comments and behaviour.

Mr Knight was suspended as a Tory MP in December after a police complaint was made alleging sexual misconduct, and that investigation was dropped by the Met Police last month.

However, he was not reinstated as a Tory MP after the whips' office said further complaints had been made against him.

Yesterday, the BBC reported that fresh complaints had been made against him to the parliamentary authorities alleging "inappropriate comments and behaviour".

Mr Knight said today: "As I have repeatedly said, I am fully aware of the circumstances of the single complaint made against me to the Metropolitan Police and the motivations of those involved in making it.

"This baseless complaint was dismissed by the police without their even feeling the need to interview me, which they never did. I have not been made aware of any details of allegations supposedly made subsequently against me to any Parliamentary authorities.

"Nor am I the subject of any investigation by parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.Should I become the subject of any such investigation, I will fully and publicly defend myself against any allegations made against me.

"Meanwhile it is deplorable that, despite the police decision, I remain the subject of a what appears to be a smear campaign through leaks, false innuendo and briefings."


Teachers' union to re-ballot members on strike action due to minister's 'wilful lack of engagement'

The National Education Union has just announced that it will be re-balloting members to continue strike action after rejecting the government's pay offer.

The union said it was doing so "with a great sense of regret", but that the education secretary, Gillian Keegan, had "wilfully washed her hands of anything to do with the dispute".

Teachers were offered a £1,000 one-off cash payment for the current academic year and a 4.3% pay rise next year.

However, the union says that around half of schools would have to make cuts next year to be able to afford the rise.

Dr Mary Bousted, the union's joint general secretary, said: "This action should be entirely unnecessary. Despite both the governments in Wales and Scotland reaching a settlement, Gillian Keegan has wilfully washed her hands of anything to do with the dispute for a fully funded pay rise for teachers in England."

She said the "entire teaching profession" has rejected the pay offer, adding: "Such is the anger amongst members that she now faces the situation of all education unions taking a united stand against government with all considering or having announced they will ballot members."

Dr Bousted added that the education secretary is "by some distance, the biggest obstacle to getting a sensible resolution" to the dispute, and called on her to get around the table and negotiate.

The ballot will open on Monday 15 May and close on Friday 28 July 2023, the union confirmed.


Immigration minister welcomes Italian prime minister

It's not just Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, in town this week (see post at 12.50pm) - the Italian prime minister has also made the trip over.

Yesterday, she met with Rishi Sunak in Downing Street, and today, she has met with Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick.

Mr Jenrick said it was a "pleasure" to meet with her, adding that they are "working closely together to tackle the shared challenge of illegal migration" - something Ms Meloni also discussed with Mr Sunak yesterday.

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