Afternoon summary

  • Sunak has said the government has been working “incredibly hard” to make sure the decisions in the autumn statement tomorrow are based on fairness and compassion. He made the comment at a press conference in Bali, before he left for home at the end of the G20 summit. See 9.28am for a full summary of what he said.

Dominic Raab at PMQs.
Dominic Raab at PMQs. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament

While teachers are now being balloted on strike action over pay, the education secretary, Gillian Keegan, is downplaying expectations for next year’s pay review.

In a letter to the School Teachers Review Body (STRB), the independent panel that makes recommendations on teachers’ pay, Keegan said the 2023 award for England will have to consider the effect on school budgets and the government’s efforts to curb inflation. Keegan told the STRB:

In the current economic context, it is particularly important that you have regard to the government’s inflation target when forming recommendations.

I know that schools are facing higher and sometimes unpredictable costs, and that these costs affect individual schools differently. I write to ask the STRB to carefully evaluate the [Department for Education’s] evidence on what it considers a fair pay award for teachers, while recognising the impact pay rises will have on schools’ overall budgets.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the comments “suggests that the government has no intention of providing any additional funding” to fund any pay rises next year. Barton said:

When will the government understand that we cannot go on like this? Schools simply cannot afford the cost of unfunded pay awards and they will be driven further into the red unless the government provides the necessary funding.

To be clear, teachers fully deserve and need a significant pay increase following years of real-terms pay erosion, but it is absolute madness to expect schools to meet these costs out of diminishing budgets and this will inevitably lead to more cuts in educational provision.


It's now 'undeniable' that Brexit holding back UK trade, Bank of England expert tells MPs

At the Commons Treasury committee Swati Dhingra, a member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, said it was now “undeniable” that Brexit is holding back UK trade. She said:

It’s undeniable now that we’re seeing a much bigger slowdown in trade in the UK compared to the rest of the world.

The simple way of thinking about what Brexit has done to the economy is that in the period after the referendum there was the biggest depreciation that any of the world’s four major economies have seen overnight.

That contributed to increasing prices and reduced wages - and I’m not talking simply through real wages, but also through nominal wages - we think that number is about 2.6% below the trend that real wages otherwise would have been on.

As my colleague Richard Partington reports, Dhingra also said that food prices were 6% higher than they otherwise would have been because of Brexit.

MPC member Swati Dhingra says there is a 6% Brexit effect in the price of UK food compared to the rest of the world.

On UK trade - she says "We’re definitely underperforming compared to our peers"

— Richard Partington (@RJPartington) November 16, 2022

Dhingra was referring to this work here from researchers at the LSE:

— Richard Partington (@RJPartington) November 16, 2022

There is more on Dhingra’s evidence on the business live blog.


Mini-budget damaged UK's reputation internationally, Bank of England governor tells MPs

Liz Truss’s mini-budget damaged the UK’s reputation abroad, Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, has told MPs.

Giving evidence to the Commons Treasury committee, Bailey said:

We have damaged our reputation internationally because of what happened. I was in Washington... at the IMF (International Monetary Fund) annual meetings, which is one of the biggest events of the year internationally.

People were saying: ‘We didn’t think the UK would do this’.

It will take longer to rebuild that reputation than it will be to correct the gilt curve, so we have to tread carefully.

He said the UK’s reputation “has taken a knock”.

Ben Broadbent, a member of the Bank’s monetary policy committee, said most of the negative influence of the mini-budget on exchange rates had now gone, because almost all the mini-budget measures have been reversed. He said:

Markets will always pay attention to policymakers, the events at the end of September are a pretty stark illustration of that. But as far as we can tell, as things stand most of it is gone.

My colleague Graeme Wearden has more on Bailey’s evidence on his business live blog.


Labour says inquiry into Raab bullying claims should be 'genuinely independent', not 'Tory whitewash'

Labour has demanded assurances that the person who conducts the inquiry into the bullying allegations against Dominic Raab will be genuinely independent. In response to the post-PMQs lobby briefing, where No 10 said Rishi Sunak would appoint an investigator because the new permanent ethics adviser would not be in place (see 1.26pm and 1.49pm), Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said:

Just an hour after the deputy prime minister told the Commons the appointment of an independent adviser was well under way, the prime minister must now explain why a new ethics watchdog will not be in place to investigate his deputy’s misconduct. And he needs to provide assurances that the findings will be transparent and acted upon.

Rishi Sunak promised it would be one of his first acts as prime minister, but it has been five months since Lord Geidt resigned, leaving a gaping hole in scrutiny at the heart of government.

A genuinely independent investigation into Dominic Raab is needed to uphold the ministerial code and shed light on these serious bullying allegations. The public will not wear another Tory whitewash.


Gove says significantly more than 10% of rented homes below standard, as he tells landlords everyone deserves decent home

Michael Gove, the secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities, told MPs that everyone in the country deserved to live in a home that was “decent, safe and secure”. He made the comment as he gave a Commons statement giving the government’s response to the inquest finding that two-year-old Awaab Ishak died as a direct result of prolonged exposure to mould in his social housing flat.

Here are the main points from Gove’s statement.

  • Gove accused the landlord, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH), of a “terrible dereliction of duty”. He said:

Awaab’s father first articulated his concerns in 2017. Others, including health professionals, also raised the alarm. But the landlord failed to take any kind of meaningful action.

Rochdale Boroughwide Housing’s repeated failure to heed Awaab’s family’s pleas to remove the mould in their damp-ridden property was a terrible dereliction of duty.

Worse still, the apparent attempts by Rochdale Boroughwide Housing to attribute the existence of mould to the actions of Awaab’s parents was beyond insensitive and deeply unprofessional.

  • Gove said the regulator of social housing would be considering whether RBH systematically failed to meet standards required.

  • He said it was important for landlords to know that everyone was entitled to a decent home. He said:

Let me be perfectly clear, since some landlords apparently still need to hear this from this house: every single person in this country, irrespective of where they’re from, what they do, or how much they earn, deserves to live in a home that is decent, safe and secure.

  • He said significantly more than 10% of rented homes were below standard. In response to a question from John Redwood (Con), he said “a significant proportion of social housing homes are below standard – we think significantly more than 10%”. And in the private sector the proportion of homes below standard was “even higher”, he said.

  • He paid tribute to Awaab’s family for their “tireless fight for justice” and said: “They deserved better and their son deserved better.”

We have already run the nationwide ‘make things right’ campaign to ensure that more social residents know how they can make complaints.

But we are now planning, and I think it is necessary, another targeted multi-year campaign so that everyone living in the social housing sector knows their rights, and knows how to sound the alarm when their landlord is failing to make the grade, and knows how to seek redress without delay.

  • He said the government would be taking further steps to strengthen the regulation of social housing with its social housing (regulation) bill. The bill recently had its second reading in the Commons.


Nadine Dorries to publish book about downfall of Boris Johnson

Nadine Dorries, the former culture secretary and one of Boris Johnson’s most loyal supporters, is due to publish a book next year with the title The Political Assassination of Boris Johnson, David Bond reports in the Evening Standard. Dorries said:

Events lately have been stranger than fiction. And I will be drawing on that rich source material. It’s a political whodunnit.

As Bond reports, there is speculation that, in fact, it won’t be a whodunnit at all, and that it will be a hatchet job on Sunak, who is blamed by the Johnsonites for bringing down the former PM. But Bond also says Dorries is playing down suggestions that her book will be anti-Sunak.


Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, is currently giving evidence to the Commons Treasury committee. My colleague Graeme Wearden is covering the hearing on his business live blog.

Asylum seekers being housed in wider range of places than in past, immigration minister tells MPs

Asylum seekers are being housed in a much wider range of places than in the past, Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, has told MPs.

Responding to a Commons urgent question on immigration earlier, Jenrick said the government was now housing people in smaller towns, and rural areas, as well as in cities.

He was responding to a question from the Tory MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, Jonathan Gullis, who complained that hotels in Stoke were being “dumped on” with migrants.

Jenrick replied:

We are also attempting to procure accommodation in a much broader range of local authorities than has been seen in the past.

Historically, the issue was centred on cities including Stoke-on-Trent. We are now seeking to procure accommodation more broadly in smaller cities, towns, and indeed in some cases in rural areas.

That does mean I am afraid that as long as numbers are so high that more parts of the country experience this issue, but it does ensure greater fairness as to how, as a country, we tackle it.

The UQ was tabled by Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, who said that there were just four convictions per month for smuggling-related offences. “The level of convictions is pitiful,” she said.

Jenrick also faced many complaints from Tory MPs who were either saying that the number of small boat crossings was much too high, or who were unhappy about asylum seekers being housed in their constituencies, particularly without consultation.


In the Commons James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, is making a statement on what is being described as the “missile incident in Poland”. He said that, although the full facts were still being established, Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato general secretary, has already said that the incident was “likely caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks”.

Echoing what Rishi Sunak said earlier (see 8.26am and 9.28am), Cleverly also said that, regardless of where the missile that hit Poland came from, missiles were only flying through the skies of Europe because of Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

At the post-PMQs lobby briefing the No 10 spokesperson said that Rishi Sunak wanted to appoint a new ethics adviser (or independent adviser on ministers’ interests, to use the formal title) “as quickly as possible”. The post has been vacant since Lord Geidt resigned in June.

But the new ethics adviser won’t be the person doing the Dominic Raab investigation. For that, No 10 is appointing someone else to carry out an inquiry. (See 1.26pm.) Commenting on this appointment, the No 10 spokesperson said:

An independent investigator will be appointed by the prime minister to establish the facts and to provide their findings to him. This will be a prime ministerial appointment, they will report into him.

No 10 would not say when the person would be in post, or when the inquiry would conclude.

Asked how the process could be considered independent with an investigator hand-picked by the PM, the spokesperson said: “It will be a suitably qualified, independent person to investigate the complaints.”

Asked whether Sunak would accept the findings, the spokesperson replied:

The prime minister remains the ultimate arbiter of the [ministerial] code and the determination of any code issues arising from the findings will be a matter for the prime minister.


No 10 says independent investigator to be appointed to examine Raab allegations

Downing Street says it will appoint an “independent” investigator to examine the complaints about Dominic Raab, a No 10 spokesperson said at the post-PMQs lobby briefing. My colleague Pippa Crerar has the details.

NEW: Rishi Sunak is appointing an “independent” investigator from outside government to establish facts of Dominic Raab allegations and report back to him.

However, No 10 concedes that PM himself will be “ultimate arbiter” of complaints. The judge and jury, if you like.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) November 16, 2022

PM is appointing individual in absence of ethics adviser.

They’ll have “requisite experience” to lead inquiry & be supported by Cab Off civil servants.

Findings expected to be published.

No 10 unable to say what will happen if further allegations come to light.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) November 16, 2022

Downing Street is appointing an independent investigator because No 10 does not have an ethics adviser (see 11.13am) in post. It says it is seeking to appoint one soon, but Rishi Sunak clearly decided he could not afford to wait until the appointment gets made.

PMQs – snap verdict

Angela Rayner is a more powerful deputy to Keir Starmer than Dominic Raab is to Rishi Sunak (because she was elected, and so she has a mandate, and because her career is still on the up), and in their past encounters at PMQs she normally came out best, but she didn’t today. She felt she had devote half her questions to bullying-gate, but she had not prepared an effective line of attack, and Raab emerged unscathed.

That is because there is nothing more dangerous for an opposition than getting its way. Rayner has issued three press released about the Raab allegations in recent days, and the final one, sent on Monday, concluded with Rayner saying: “An independent investigation into Dominic Raab must urgently be launched.” This morning, about an hour before PMQs (see 10.54am), she got what she wanted. She won. At that point she had three options for PMQs.

First, she could have welcomed the inquiry, and focused on something else. The point about the UK being forecast to come 38th out of 38 in the OECD growth forecasts for next year was a good one (and Rayner’s line, “if there was a world cup for growth, we would not even qualify”, was excellent), but this hit will be forgotten because of the final three questions on Raab.

Second, Rayner could have found a fresh, and viable attack line on bullying-gate. To her credit, Rayner did manage this when she turned her guns on Sunak.

Let me get this straight. He has had to demand an investigation into himself because the prime minister is too weak to get a grip.

If she had hammered away at this point, it would have worked.

But instead, Rayner devoted much of her final three questions to just clobbering Raab for being a bully, and this is where it went wrong. She insisted he should apologise. And then at one point she even suggested he should just resign. “The deputy prime minister knows his behaviour is unacceptable. So what’s he still doing here?” But if you call for an inquiry into bullying allegations, you should feel obliged to await its outcome before demanding apologies and resignations. Keir Starmer, a stickler for process, would take that view, and it is unlikely that he would have called for Raab’s resignation if he had been taking PMQs today. Rayner pushed it too far, and as a result, Raab emerged with more credit than he may deserve.

(Incidentally, the claim from Raab that he “behaved professionally throughout” is interesting. See 12.04pm. That is not the same as saying he treated staff well.)

Usually the key exchanges provide the most interesting takeaway from PMQs, but the most significant question to Raab today was probably Esther McVey’s. (See 12.37pm.) If Tory MPs like her are already threatening not to vote for any autumn statement tax rises unless various demands are met (in her case, the scrapping of HS2), then Sunak has a mighty party management problem on his hands.


Simon Hoare (Con) says standards are important. But is he naive to still believe in the great British tradition that you are innocent until proven guilty?

Raab says it is important that they have zero tolerance of bullying and uphold the highest standards in public life.

And that’s it. PMQs is over.

Former Tory minister Esther McVey says she will not back any autumn statement tax rises unless HS2 scrapped

Esther McVey (Con) says the government’s problems are caused by over-spending, not under-taxing. She says if the government has enough money for HS2, it should not be raising taxes. She says the government should not asks Tory MPs to support any tax rises “unless this unnecessary vanity project is scrapped”. She would not support them without HS2 being scrapped, she says.

Raab says the government has difficult decisions to take.


Lee Anderson (Con) asks if Raab will support Suella Braverman in the face of the “bully boys” trying to force her to resign.

Raab says he does support the home secretary.

Anum Qaisar (SNP) says it is the Tories that are to blame for the country’s economic and social problems. When will they accept responsiblity?

Raab says the government is working in partnership to address problems. And he says inflation-busting pay rises will lead to inflation staying high for longer, which will hurt the most vulnerable people.


Peter Bone (Con) asks if a potential returns policy was discussed when Rishi Sunak spoke to the French president about the small boats deal.

Raab says he cannot say, because he has not seen the readout of the meeting.

Judith Cummins (Lab) asks if the government is committed to including a stop at Bradford in its Northern Powerhouse Rail plans.

Raab says the government’s plans will be set out soon.

Rebecca Long-Bailey (Lab) and Sir John Hayes (Con) both ask about support for veterans of Britain’s nuclear tests.

Raab says officials have been asked to look again at the case for giving them a medal.

Jacob Rees-Mogg (Con) says Labour has a poor record on bullying. He says the party is “hypercritical”, implying it is also being hypocritical (a word deemed unparliamentary when used of opponents).

Raab says Rees-Mogg has made his point in his usual inimitable way. He says everyone should take responsibility for their actions.


Raab confirms he was involved in an employment dispute, resolved with confidentiality clause, before he became MP

Bambos Charalambous (Lab) asks if Raab has ever entered a non-disclosure agreement in relation to a complaint against him.

Raab says this is a reference to an employment dispute that he had before he became an MP. It was not an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), but it did include a confidentiality clause, as was standard at the time


Saqib Bhatti (Con) asks about support for people with verbal dyspraxia.

Raab says Bhatti will get a meeting with the relevant minister.


Catherine West (Lab) says rents are out of control in her constituency.

Raab says, as a former housing minister, he knows how important this is. The housing secretary is looking at legislation to help renters, he says.

Kevin Foster (Con) asks about help for the tourism sector.

Raab says the government has a tourism recovery plan.

Cat Smith (Lab) says schools are facing cuts. What services should they cut if they do not get the money they need?

Raab says the UK is the top spender on primary and secondary education in the G7.

Sir Edward Leigh (Con) says the government should consider using ID cards to tackle illegal immigration.

Raab says the deal with France will help. He says the bill of rights his department is introducing will help. On ID cards, he says digital visas already help in this respect.

Kirsten Oswald, the SNP’s deputy leader at Westminster, says Rishi Sunak refused six times yesterday to apologise for the mini-budget and the chaos it caused. Now inflation is at its highest rate for 41 years. Will Raab say sorry?

Raab says inflation is clearly a problem. But the government has a plan to grip it, he says.

Oswald says if the government cannot even say sorry for the mess they made, what hope is there that they will fix it? The budget will impose austerity 2.0, she says. Will the government join the fight against child poverty tomorrow, and match the Scottish government’s child payment scheme.

Raab says the UK government will continue to work with the Scottish government to help the most vulnerable.


Lucy Allan (Con) asks about a hospice in her constituency.

Raab says hospices do an amazing job.

Rayner says Raab is implying there was no problem, or does he think civil servants are lying? Who will do the investigation? And when will the government appoint a new ethics adviser?

Raab says a new ethics adviser is being appointed. He says Rayner came her with her usual mix of “bluster and mudslinging” because Labour does not have a plan.


Rayner says staff were afraid to enter Dominic Raab's office

Rayner says Raab had to call for an inquiry into himself because Rishi Sunak was too weak to get a grip. She says Raab’s behaviour was called demeaning. Staff were afraid to enter his office. And that is without mentioning the flying tomatoes. So why he is still here?

Raab says Rayner has not put a specific point to him. If she does, he will address it, he says.


Rayner says, on growth, the UK is 38th out of 38. If there was a world cup for growth, we would not even qualify.

She says Raab’s letter this morning contained no hint of an apology. Will he apologise?

Raab says under Labour debt and unemployment would go up. He says he is confident that he has behaved professionally throughout. He looks forward to addressing any complaints made transparently.


Rayner says working people are paying because the government is protecting corporate profits. She asks where the UK stands in the OECD league table.

Raab says the IMF has said the UK will have the strongest growht in the G7.

Rayner asks if Raab agrees that every pound hidden in tax havens is a pound lost to the UK.

Raab says the govenrment wants business to come to the UK. He says non-dom rules are stricter than they were under Labour. The tax gap is lower than under the last government, he says.

Angela Rayner asks Raab if she agrees that the Russian missile attacks on Ukraine show President Putin is treating the international order with contempt.

Raab says he does agree.

Raab says he is confident he behaved professionally

Clive Betts (Lab) asks Raab if he agrees with Sunak when he promised integrity, professionalism and accountability when he became PM. Does Raab agree that no minister who has a complaint of bullying upheld should remain in office.

Raab says he supports what Sunak said. He is confident he has behaved professionally. When he heard about the complaints submitted yesterday, he asked for an investigation, he says. He says he will comply with it fully.

UPDATE: Raab said:

I will take it as an article of personal faith that we behave with absolute integrity and accountability.

I am confident that I have behaved professionally throughout but immediately when I heard that two complaints had been made - I believe they were made yesterday; I was notified this morning - I immediately asked the prime minister to set up an independent investigation and of course I will comply with it fully.


Dominic Raab starts by expressing condolences to Poland for the missile strike. The foreign secretary will make a statement shortly, he says.

From the Sun’s Harry Cole

Labour front benchers wearing anti bullying badges at DPMQs..

Quick flashback;

— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) November 16, 2022

Downing Street has released its readout from Rishi Sunak’s meeting with the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi. No 10 said:

The leaders agreed on the enduring importance of the UK-India relationship, and of the living bridge between our countries. The prime minister passed on his thanks to Prime Minister Modi for the overwhelming response of the Indian people to his appointment as prime minister.

The leaders discussed the range of areas where the UK and India are working increasingly closely and have the opportunity to further develop our links, including defence and security.

They looked forward to the agreement of a UK-India free trade deal, which has the potential to unlock investment and increase jobs in both our countries, as well as expanding our deep cultural links.

The prime minister and Prime Minister Modi agreed that the UK and India’s shared values, not least our commitment to democracy, are a huge asset in international forums like the G20 and the Commonwealth.

Rishi Sunak meeting Narendra Modi at the G20.
Rishi Sunak meeting Narendra Modi at the G20. Photograph: Leon Neal/PA

And here is an extract from the readout from Sunak’s meeting with Anthony Albanese, the Australian PM. No 10 said:

The prime minister and Prime Minister Albanese agreed to build on our defence and security relationship, with the prime minister stressing the importance of the Indo-Pacific region to the UK.

The leaders looked forward to the implementation of the UK-Australia free trade agreement and to maximising the opportunities it offers for both of our countries. The prime minister also thanked Prime Minister Albanese for his support for the UK’s accession to the CPTPP trading bloc.

Anthony Albanese with Rishi Sunak.
Anthony Albanese with Rishi Sunak. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Raab to take PMQs on behalf of Sunak

PMQs will be starting at 12pm. With Rishi Sunak on his way home from the G20 summit in Bali, Dominic Raab, the deputy PM, will be taking questions on his behalf. And Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, will stand in for Keir Starmer.

Here is the list of MPs down to ask a question.

PMQs Photograph: HoC

After PMQs there will be two urgent questions, on migration and Iran, followed by two ministerial statements, on the missile incident in Poland and on social housing standards

Steve Barclay hints NHS likely to get extra money in autumn statement

The NHS looks likely to get extra money in Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement tomorrow to help it cover the multi-billion pound hole that inflation had left in its budget.

Steve Barclay, the health secretary, gave a heavy hint today that the chancellor will hand the NHS additional cash in his speech to the annual conference of hospitals body NHS Providers.

He dismissed as “completely incorrect” a recent report in the Times that he had told Hunt that the NHS in England did not need more resources and could instead save money by being more efficient.

NHS England have warned that it could be forced to reduce spending on cancer, diagnostic tests, mental health and primary care services because it will be facing £7bn of extra, unfunded costs next year as a result of soaring inflation, ongoing spending to tackle Covid and having to find up to £2bn to cover part of the pay rise that the government has given NHS staff.

Addressing the NHS’s need for extra funding, Barclay said that it faced significant financial pressures” and that he had a “lot of discussion” with Hunt, who was the health secretary from 2012 to 2018. Barclay went on:

One of the things I’m able to bring to this role, having been chief of staff in Number 10, having been the minister responsible for the Cabinet Office, is actually a very good understanding as to how best to make the case for the Department of Health and also in terms of our care sector, in terms of making that case to the centre. So … I can absolutely confirm that we do need support to meet those inflationary pressures.

His audience – senior NHS leaders including chief executive and chairs of trusts – should judge him on the results of Hunt’s announcement, when they will see whether “it is true or not that we don’t get a penny and I’ve not asked for a penny”, he said.

The Health Service Journal recently reported that the NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard, had described the financial situation facing the service as “a fucking nightmare”.

Barclay also disclosed today that money from the £500m emergency fund to help social care providers clear hospitals of the 13,600 patients who are medically fit to leave but cannot be safely discharged will finally be released next month. It will be used to pay for “delayed discharge” patients to move into a care home or go back to their own home with support from domiciliary care workers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists, he said.

Thérèse Coffey, Barclay’s predecessor, first announced the £500m scheme in her ‘A Plan For Patients’ strategy on 22 September but it has not yet materialised.

Steve Barclay visiting the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in Liverpool today.
Steve Barclay visiting the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in Liverpool today. Photograph: Jason Roberts/PA


The Liberal Democrats says Rishi Sunak must appoint a new ethics adviser at No 10 to carry out the investigation into Dominic Raab. “Ethics adviser” was one of the informal titles for Lord Geidt when he was independent adviser on ministers’ interests, to give him his official job description. “Independent adviser on ministerial standards” was another shorthand description that summed up what he did better than the official version.

Daisy Cooper, the Lib Dem deputy leader, said:

The country no longer trusts this Conservative government to act with integrity and carry out their own investigations. This must not be a whitewashed report. A new independent ethics adviser must be appointed by Rishi Sunak and given this as their first task. If the ministerial code has been broken then the prime minister must sack Raab immediately.


Here is Rishi Sunak’s reply to Dominic Raab. (See 10.54am.)

PM's reply to Raab
PM's reply to Raab Photograph: No 10

Sunak says inquiry into Raab bullying allegations will go ahead

Rishi Sunak has accepted Dominic Raab’s request for an independent investigation into bullying allegations against him.

In his response to the deputy prime minister, Sunak said:

I thank you for your letter and the recommendation that the two formal complaints against you in previous roles are investigated independently.

I know that you will be keen to address the complaints made against you and agree that proceeding in this way is the right course of action.

Integrity, professionalism and accountability are core values of this government. It is right that these matters are investigated fully.

Rishi Sunak is leaving Bali around now, my colleague Jessica Elgot reports.

We’re off from Bali now - but Sunak flying back to an investigation into Dominic Raab and a painful autumn statement tomorrow…

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) November 16, 2022

Before he left, Sunak had a bilateral with Narendra Modi, the Indian PM. Sunak’s father-in-law, the billionaire businessman Narayan Murthy, is a household name in India, and Sunak’s appointment as PM was huge news in the country. This is what Modi said about the meeting.

Was great to meet PM @RishiSunak in Bali. India attaches great importance to robust 🇮🇳 🇬🇧 ties. We discussed ways to increase commercial linkages, raise the scope of security cooperation in context of India’s defence reforms and make people-to-people ties even stronger.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 16, 2022

As Jessica reports, Sunak has suggested he wants to slow down progress on the India trade deal to improve its terms. But the UK has offered India an olive branch on visas by giving the green light to 3,000 two-year visas for Indian young professionals. There is more detail in the story here.

My colleague Pippa Crerar has more information about the complaint against Dominic Raab from officials at the Ministry of Justice.

NEW: I’m told MoJ complaint was first made by group of mid-ranking policy officials in Spring but has been revived by individuals in light of recent allegations. Department insiders say perm sec "acted upon on" this at time by speaking to Raab/ supporting officials.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) November 16, 2022

Raab suggests that if bullying inquiry finds against him, he will resign

In his letter to Rishi Sunak, Dominic Raab says he will respect “whatever outcome you decide” following the investigation into the claims he has bullied officials. In effect, he is telling Sunak that he accepts his job is on the line, and that this process could result in his having to resign.

Raab says:

When you entered No 10 Downing Street, on 25th October, you rightly stated that ‘this government will have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level’. I am proud to take this as a personal article of faith.

I have just been notified that two separate complaints have formally been made against me, in parallel, from my time as foreign secretary and my first tenure as justice secretary, which ended in September of this year.

I am, therefore, writing to request that you commission an independent investigation into the claims as soon as possible. I will cooperate fully and respect whatever outcome you decide.

Raab also says that he has never tolerated bullying – although he does accept that he set “high standards” and welcomed “mutual challenge” (which sounds like a euphemism for saying he enjoyed a good row). He says:

I have always welcomed the mutual challenge that comes with serious policymaking and public service delivery.

I have always sought to set high standards and forge teams that can deliver for the British people amidst the acute challenges that we have faced in recent years.

I have never tolerated bullying, and always sought to reinforce and empower the teams of civil servants working in my respective departments.

Yesterday Simon McDonald, the former Foreign Office permanent secretary, said that he did not think Raab was aware of the impact his behaviour was having on people at the Foreign Office.

The announcement of Raab’s request for an inquiry is a good example of how having PMQs in the diary can force decisions to get taken. Raab is taking PMQs at 12pm, and Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, was bound to ask about the bullying allegations against him. This announcement to a large extent closes down that line of attack.

But Raab does not say who should carry out the investigation. The obvious person would be the PM’s independent adviser on ministerial standards, but No 10 does not currently have one. The last one, Lord Geidt, resigned when Boris Johnson was PM, and neither Johnson nor Liz Truss replaced him. Sunak is committed to appointing a new standards adviser, but no one has been given the job yet.


Here is Dominic Raab’s statement.

I have written to the Prime Minister to request an independent investigation into two formal complaints that have been made against me. I look forward to addressing these complaints, and continuing to serve as Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary, and Lord Chancellor.

— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) November 16, 2022

Dominic Raab calls for inquiry into complaints against him

Dominic Raab has said he has written to the prime minister “to request an independent investigation into two formal complaints that have been made against me” but will continue in his posts as deputy prime minister, justice secretary and lord chancellor. The full story is here.

Sunak tells Biden he wants NI protocol dispute resolved before 25th anniversary of Good Friday agreement next year

Rishi Sunak has set next year’s 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement as the new deadline for a resolution of the dispute with the EU over changes to the Northern Ireland protocol.

In a briefing after Sunak’s meeting with Joe Biden, the US president, earlier, the PM’s spokesperson said Sunak referred to the anniversary during the meeting and “ensuring that we get a negotiated settlement that protects the Good Friday agreement by then”.

The spokesperson said Biden did not specifically asked Sunak about the Northern Ireland protocol bill, which is still going through parliament. The bill would allow the UK to ignore parts of the protocol and Brussels says that if it becomes law, negotiating an agreement on reforms to the protocol will become much harder.

But the two leaders did discuss the situation in Northern Ireland in general, the spokesperson said. “They both expressed their commitment to protecting the Good Friday agreement,” she said.

In its own readout from the talks, the White House said Biden and Sunak “affirmed their shared commitment to protecting the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday agreement”.

Rishi Sunak holding his bilateral meeting with Joe Biden.
Rishi Sunak holding his bilateral meeting with Joe Biden.
Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP


Sunak’s meeting with Xi Jinping cancelled as G20 leaders discuss Poland missile strike

Here is the story from my colleagues Jessica Elgot and Aletha Adu about the cancellation of Rishi Sunak’s planned bilateral with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

Sunak says tackling inflation his number one priority

And here are the main points from Rishi Sunak’s press conference.

  • Sunak said the exact facts behind the a missile killing people in Poland yesterday were still being investigated, but he said ultimately Russia was responsible. He said:

We should all be clear: None of this would be happening if it weren’t for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is the cruel and unrelenting reality of Putin’s war.

  • Sunak accused President Putin of showing “utter contempt” for the international order. Referring to the Russian missile attacks on Ukraine yesterday, he said:

That was happening at a time when the G20 was gathered trying to find resolution to some of the world’s challenges and the same time Putin was raining down indiscriminately that volume of missile attack. I think it shows utter contempt for the international rules-based system.

  • Sunak said that the war in Ukraine was a threat, not just to global security, but to the global economy as well. (See 8.33am.) Everyone in the world was affected, he said.

The persistent threat to our security and global asphyxiation has been driven by the actions of the one man unwilling to be at this summit - Vladimir Putin. There isn’t a single person in the world who has not felt the impact of Putin’s war.

  • Sunak said tackling inflation was his number one priority. He said:

With more news of inflation today, it’s the number one thing that’s on people’s minds. It’s the thing that’s causing most anxiety, opening up bills, seeing the emails come in with rising prices. And that’s why it’s right that we grip it.

As my colleague Larry Elliott reports, the UK’s annual inflation rate has hit a 41-year-high of 11.1%.

  • Sunak said the government was working “incredibly hard” to make sure the decisions in the autumn statement would be based on fairness and compassion. He said:

I want to tell people that the decisions that we’ll be making tomorrow will be based on fairness. They’ll be based on compassion.

And I am confident that, when people see the set of decisions in the round when the chancellor has delivered his statement, they will see that we have strived incredibly hard to deliver fairness, to deliver compassion, and put the UK on a positive economic trajectory.

  • He confirmed that, in his talks with President Biden, the pair did not discuss a UK-US free trade deal. But Sunak said they did discuss trade generally, and he said he was “filled with optimism about our ability to do more trade with the US”. At one stage Brexiters said that a free trade deal with the US would be a major, post-Brexit boost to the economy, but recently the government admitted there is no prospect of anything being negotiated in the short or medium term.

  • Sunak refused to accept that Brexit was a significant factor behind the UK’s economic dificulties. Asked if he accepted that Brexit was “in any way” responsible for Britain’s problems, Sunak did not say that he did. In his reply, he did not mention Brexit at all – although he did allude to it when he spoke of “idiosyncratic things” being a factor in particular countries. He said that at the G20 summit it was clear that countries all around the world were facing economic trouble. That was because of Covid and the war in Ukraine, he said.

So that’s the global economic context. That is what’s dominating what’s happening. Every country is going to have idiosyncratic things but those are the overwhelming dominating factors that are leading to the economic challenge that we’re facing at the moment.

  • Sunak confirmed that, in future, he wanted to prioritise quality over speed when negotiating trade deals. He made the comment in response to a question about George Eustice’s criticism of the free trade deal with Australia, and Sunak seemed to be accepting Eustice’s argument – that because Liz Truss was determined to conclude a deal quickly, as international trade secretary, she gave away too much to Australia.

Rishi Sunak holding his press conference in Bali.
Rishi Sunak holding his press conference in Bali. Photograph: Reuters


Here is the broadcaster Piers Morgan’s take on the Rishi Sunak press conference.

Watching @RishiSunak press conference live from Bali. Whatever you think of him, it’s reassuring after the last few shambolic years to now have a Prime Minister who at least looks & sounds serious & statesmanlike, and seems to know what he’s talking about.

— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 16, 2022

Q: How is the UK going to work with other countries to implement the proposals in the G20 communique?

Sunak says the communique is “substantive”, “comprehensive” and “action orientated”.

A lot of positive things have come out of the summit that will be carried forward by the Indian presidency, he says.

And that’s it. The press conference is over.

Sunak refuses to accept Brexit signficant factor behind UK's economic difficulties

Q: Do you accept Brexit has made the economic situation worse? And do you agree with George Eustice that the trade deal with Australia is a dud?

Sunak says global factors are mainly behind the economic situation. He does not address the point about Brexit.

On trade, he says every trade deal has good and bad points. In future he does not want to sacrifice quality for speed, he says.

(Eustice says the Australia deal was bad because Liz Truss rushed it.)


Sunak says government working 'incredibly hard' to ensure to autumn statement delivers fairness and compassion

Q: The autumn statement is going to be tough for people. Why do they need to accept what is happening?

Sunak says inflation is people’s number one concern. It eats into people’s living standards. He wants to get it down, and limit the increase in mortgage rates.

That will require difficult decisions, he says.

He says over the summer people got a glimpse of what can happen when you do not get these things right.

But the decisions will be based on fairness and compassion. He says he thinks people will see that the government has “strived incredibly hard to deliver fairness, to deliver compassion”.

UPDATE: Sunak said:

I want to tell people that the decisions that we’ll be making tomorrow will be based on fairness. They’ll be based on compassion.

And I am confident that, when people see the set of decisions in the round when the chancellor has delivered his statement, they will see that we have strived incredibly hard to deliver fairness, to deliver compassion, and put the UK on a positive economic trajectory.


Q: In one interview yesterday you said inflation was your number one priority. In another you said it was illegal immigration. Which is it?

Sunak says tackling inflation is his number one priority.

Once the UK has a stable economic foundation he is confident it can move ahead.

We need to get a grip on inflation first, he says.

He says the G20 communique released today made the same point.

Illegal immigration is the next priority after that, he says. He says, after the autumn statement, it is the issue he has been spending most time on.

He says the deal with France shows the first fruits of that effort.


Q: [From ITV’s Anushka Asthana] When you were woken up at 5am, did that bring home to you how this war could spread?

Yes, says Sunak. That is why he spoke to the Polish president. And he spoke to President Zelenskiy of Ukraine too.

He says the G20 leaders were trying to find solutions to these problems as Russia was deploying more than 80 missiles against Ukraine. That shows “utter contempt” for the international system.

Sunak is now taking questions.

The BBC’s Chris Mason asks what he would say to people worried the war in Ukraine could provoke a global conflict.

Sunak says they are still establishing the facts as to what happened yesterday. That is happening as we speak, he says.

Sunak says economic stability and confidence are at the heart of the government’s agenda.

The autumn statement tomorrow will show how the government is putting the country on a positive trajectory, he says.

Sunak says Russia's war in Ukraine is threat not just to global security, but to global economy

Rishi Sunak is speaking at the start of his press conference.

He says Vladimir Putin launched indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Ukraine yesterday.

The UK is steadfastly behind Ukraine, he says.

As long as the war goes on, it poses a threat to the security of the UK and the world.

And it is devastating for the global economy, he says.

Two-thirds of G20 members are currently experiencing inflation rates over 7%, and the IMF predicts a third of the world’s economy will be in recession this year, or next.

At a time when countries are tentatively emerging from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic, households across the world have been hit by punishing price rises and are facing an uncertain future.


Good morning. Rishi Sunak is still at the G20 summit in Bali, but as a result of the missile that landed in Poland, the G20 also turned into a G7/Nato summit. My colleague Patrick Wintour has the latest here.

Sunak has had a bilateral meeting with Joe Biden, the US president. But his planned bilateral with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping – which would have been Xi’s first face to face meeting with a UK PM for almost five years – was cancelled.

Sunak is due to hold a press conference at 8.30am. Speaking earlier, asked about reports that the Polish deaths may have been caused by a missile fired by the Ukrainians as part of their air defences, Sunak said:

I think the most important thing to recognise is the reason Ukraine is having to use missiles is to defend its homeland. It is having to defend its homeland against an illegal and barbaric set of strikes by Russia.

Here is the agenda for the day.

8.30am: Rishi Sunak holds a press conference in Bali.

9am: Steve Barclay, the health secretay, speaks at the NHS Providers conference in Liverpool

12pm: Dominic Raab, the deputy PM, faces Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, at PMQs.

After 12.30pm: MPs debate the remaining stages of the national security bill.

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.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at

Rishi Sunak sitting with Joe Biden (left) at the emergency meeting of G7 leaders in Bali.
Rishi Sunak sitting with Joe Biden (left) at the emergency meeting of G7 leaders in Bali. Photograph: Leon Neal/PA



Andrew Sparrow

The GuardianTramp

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