- The Labour party has suspended the Bradford West MP Naz Shah over antisemitic Facebook posts made before she was elected to parliament. The announcement came a few hours after Jeremy Corbyn issued a statement which condemned her comments but did not suspend her. Labour has not yet explained why action was not taken earlier. Ken Livingstone, the Corbyn ally and former London mayor, has told LBC suspending Shah was a mistake. This is from LBC’s Matthew Harris.
- David Crompton, the chief constable of South Yorkshire Police has been suspended in the wake of the Hillsborough inquest findings. On Tuesday Crompton admitted the force got the policing of the match “catastrophically wrong” and “unequivocally” accepted the inquest jury’s conclusions. South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said he had no choice but to act “based on the erosion of public trust and confidence”. Earlier in the Commons, in a statement widely praised by MPs from all sides of the House, Theresa May, the home secretary, said she was “disappointed” by how the force responded to the inquest verdicts. Andy Burnham, the shadow home secretary, said the force was “rotten to the core” in his own speech which was so powerful it was applauded by MPs. (See 2.14pm.)
- Officials implicated in the unlawful killing of 96 Liverpool fans in theHillsborough disaster could face prosecution for criminal negligence and perjury, May has said.
- David Cameron has hinted at concessions on his plan to force all schools to become academies, saying they will still be able to work with councils. As Rowena Mason reports, he said further plans would be brought forward at the Queen’s speech next month, and suggested schools who wanted the support of local authorities would be able to receive it. His comments suggest the government may be preparing a compromise that would let local authorities be involved in running academies, amid a threatened rebellion.
- Cameron has rejected an attempt by the House of Lords to force the UK to take in child refugees from Europe, arguing that they are in safe countries and not comparable to those fleeing Nazi Germany.
- Kezia Dugdale has put her party’s plan to increase income taxes to 50p for Scotland’s richest residents at the centre of Scottish Labour’s election campaign, a week before polling stations open. The last to unveil a manifesto for the Holyrood election, the Scottish Labour leader said raising income tax was the “big choice” facing voters on 5 May, in stark contrast to the £3bn in cuts she claimed the Scottish National party would need to make.“ But, as Severin Carrell reports, minutes after her speech a new poll for STV by Ipsos Mori predicted that Scottish Labour could finish third behind the Tories – echoing some other polls putting the two parties neck and neck. The poll found the Tories two points ahead of Labour in the regional vote to select 56 MSPs but one point behind in the constituency vote to choose 73 directly elected members. It forecast that this would result in the Tories taking 23 seats against Labour’s 20 – 17 seats down on Labour’s take in 2011.
- Britain’s economy slowed sharply in the first three months of 2016 as factors unrelated to the looming in/out EU referendum put a brake on growth.
- George Osborne’s decision to impose a £10,000 tax-free cap on pension contributions is deterring well-paid lawyers from becoming judges, the lord chief justice has said. As Owen Bowcott reports, appearing before the House of Lords constitution committee, Lord Thomas said the move was having a very serious effect on judicial recruitment from an “immensely prosperous” profession. The cut in the £40,000-a-year cap for those earning more than £150,000 in last July’s budget had significantly reduced the financial attractiveness of posts on the bench compared with lucrative work in the private sector, he said.
- British households will be saddled with a tax-like financial burden for years if they vote to leave the EU, one of the world’s leading forecasting groups has warned.
- Lord Heseltine has said Margaret Thatcher would have voted to remain in in the EU. In an interview with the New Statesman the pro-European Heseltine, whose leadership challenge led to her resignation in 1990, said:
She would have voted to stay in. That’s what she always did. There were two Mrs Thatchers: what she did and what she said. Party management often demanded language which perhaps didn’t completely reflect the decision-making for which she was responsible. She knew that Britain’s self-interest was inextricably interwoven with Europe and that’s why she was personally responsible for the biggest sharing of sovereignty in British history - the Single European Act.
That’s all from me for today.
Thanks for the comments.
More on the BuzzFeed allegation. (See 3.55pm.) This is from the Jewish Chronicle’s Marcus Dysch.
South Yorkshire Police chief constable suspended over response to Hillsborough
David Crompton, chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, has been suspended over his response to Hillsborough, the BBC reports.
Earlier in the Commons Theresa May, the home secretary, said she was “disappointed” by the force’s reaction to the verdicts. (See 1.45pm.)
Labour party suspends Naz Shah
The Labour party has suspended the MP Naz Shah. A party spokesman said:
Jeremy Corbyn and Naz Shah have mutually agreed that she is administratively suspended from the Labour Party by the general secretary.
Pending investigation, she is unable to take part in any party activity and the whip is removed.
This is rather odd. Jeremy Corbyn issued a statement about her this morning, after they had spoken, which did not say she would be suspended. (See 11.47am.) Since then she has issued a written apology (see 12.02pm) and apologised in the Commons (see 2.53pm). And now she is being suspended. I will try to find out why.
Here is a Guardian video of Naz Shah’s apology.
Naz Shah apologises 'wholeheartedly' to MPs for her Facebook posts
Here is the full text of Naz Shah’s apology to MPs.
Mr Speaker, can I can seek your advice on how I can express my deep sorrow for something the prime minister referred to earlier. As you know, when a government minister makes a mistake they can correct the record. I hope you will allow me to say that I fully acknowledge that I have made a mistake and I wholeheartedly apologise to this House for the words I used before I became a member.
I accept and understand that the words I used caused upset and hurt to the Jewish community and I deeply regret that. Antisemitism is racism, full stop. As an MP I will do everything in my power to build relations between Muslims, Jews and people of different faiths and none.
I am grateful and thankful for the support and advice I have received from many Jewish friend and colleagues, advice I intend to act upon.
I truly regret what I did and I hope, I sincerely hope, that this House will accept my profound apology.
The Hillsborough statement is now over.
Immediately afterwards the Labour MP Naz Shah rose to make a point of order and used it to make a “wholehearted apology” to the Commons for the Facebook posts she made before she became an MP.
She said she understood why the words she used caused offence. Antisemitism is racism, full stop, she said.
She said that as an MP she would do everything she could to improve relations between Muslims, Jews and people of all faiths.
I will post the full quotes shortly.
Labour’s Toby Perkins asks May if she has confidence in the chief constable of South Yorkshire Police.
May says there will be elections to for the police and crime commissioner next week. She goes one to say:
It behoves South Yorkshire Police to recognise the import of the verdicts that were brought out yesterday. I hope that we will not see attempts to try and somehow suggest that those verdicts were not clear, or in any way wrong. That jury sat through 296 days of evidence and they were clear about the role of South Yorkshire Police officers.
Andrew Slaughter, the Labour MP and shadow justice minister, asks May to think carefully about her plan to get rid of the European convention on human rights. He says the ECHR guarantees that inquests like this one go ahead.
May says the attorney general made a statement on the ECHR yesterday. But she says she is concerned about the need to get to the truth when there are unexplained deaths. That is why she set up an inquiry into deaths in custody, she says.
Labour’s Mike Kane says he used to follow his football team at Hillsborough. “Apart from going to hell”, what will happen to those who lied about what happened there, he asks.
May says that is a matter for the criminal investigations.
The Times has admitted today that it made a mistake when it did not mention Hillsborough on the front page of its first edition, my colleague Jane Martinson reports.
Labour’s David Anderson asks May what action will be taken to expose everyone, including elected officials, who played any role in this cover-up, by omission or commission. Because they are as guilty as everyone else, he says. There are people who need to be called to account.
May says the report from the Hillsborough Independent Panel showed the truth of what had happened. That required organisations that had previously been silent to come forward and give evidence.
She says there has been a “collective recognition” in the Commons today that the procedures that should have led to the truth coming out failed.
Andy Burnham's statement - Extracts
MPs are not supposed to clap in the House of Commons (a rule introduced to stop MPs using sustained clapping to disrupt proceedings) but occasionally, after an exceptional speech, MPs do applaud. It happened when Hilary Benn spoke in the debate on bombing Islamic State in Syria. And it happened again today after Andy Burnham’s statement.
Here are edited extracts.
On why the verdict took so long
When it came, their verdict was simple, clear, powerful, emphatic.
But it begged the question – how could something so obvious have taken so long?
First, a police force which has consistently put protecting itself above protecting people harmed by Hillsborough.
Second, collusion between that force and complicit print media.
Third, a flawed judicial system that gives the upper hand to those in authority over and above ordinary people.
On the need for a ‘Hillsborough clause’ in the policing bill
Of course, the behaviour of some officers, while reprehensible, was not necessarily criminal.
But, through retirement, police officers can still escape misconduct proceedings.
In her Policing and Crime Bill, the Home Secretary proposes a 12-month period after retirement where proceedings can be initiated.
One of the lessons of Hillsborough is that there must be no arbitrary time limits on justice and accountability.
So will the Home Secretary work with me to insert a Hillsborough clause into her Bill – ending the scandal of retirement as an escape route and of wrong-doers claiming full pensions – and apply it retrospectively?
On South Yorkshire Police
The much bigger question for the South Yorkshire Police to answer today is this: why, at this Inquest, did they go back on their 2012 public apology?
When the Lord Chief Justice quashed the original inquest, he requested that the new one not degenerate into an “adversarial battle”.
Sadly, Mr Speaker, that is exactly what happened.
Shamefully, the cover-up continued in this Warrington court room.
Millions of pounds of public money were spent re-telling discredited lies ...
Does the home secretary agree that, because of his handling of this Inquest, the position of the Chief Constable is now untenable ...
Will the home secretary now order the fundamental reform of this force and consider all potential options?
On the links with Orgreave, and the need for full disclosure
I promised the families the whole truth about Hillsborough.
I don’t believe they will have it until we know the truth about Orgreave.
This force used the same underhand tactics against its own people in the aftermath of the miners’ strike that it would later use, to more deadly effect, against the people of Liverpool.
There has been an IPCC report on Orgreave. But parts of it are redacted. It has been put to me that those contain evidence of direct links between Orgreave and Hillsborough.
This is a time for transparency, not secrecy – time for the people of South Yorkshire to know the full truth about their police force.
So will the Home Secretary accept the legal submission from the Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign and set up a disclosure process?
This force hasn’t learned and hasn’t changed.
Mr Speaker, let me be clear – I don’t blame the ordinary police officers, the men and women who did their best on the day and who today are out keeping our streets safe.
But I do blame their leadership and culture, which seems rotten to the core.
Orgreave, Hillsborough, Rotherham – how much more evidence do we need before we act?
On the press, and the need for phase two of the Leveson inquiry to go ahead
No-one in the police or media has ever been held to account for the incalculable harm they caused in smearing a whole city in its moment of greatest grief ...
Leveson recommended a second-stage inquiry to look at the sometimes unhealthy relationship between police and press.
I know the Hillsborough families feel strongly that this must be taken forward.
So will the government end the delay and honour the Prime Minister’s promises to the victims of press intrusion?
On the judicial system
Why should the authorities be able to spend public money like water to protect themselves while families have no such help?
So will the government consider further reforms to the coronial system, including giving the bereaved at least equal legal funding as public bodies?
On Theresa May not playing any part in the cover-up
This cover-up went right to the top.
It was advanced in the committee rooms of this House and in the press rooms of 10 Downing Street.
It persisted because of collusion between elites in politics, police and the media.
But this home secretary stood outside of that. And today I express my sincere admiration and gratitude to her for the stance she has consistently taken in righting this wrong.
On the Hillsborough relatives
It has been the privilege of my life to work with them all.
They have prevailed against all the odds.
They have kept their dignity in the face of terrible adversity.
They could not have shown a more profound love for those they lost on that day.
They truly represent the best of what our country is all about.
The Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke asks May if she would support merging the various Yorkshire police forces. That would get rid of the name of South Yorkshire Police, he says.
May says Shelbrooke knows that government’s view on merging police forces. (She is opposed.) But she says South Yorkshire Police needs to reflect on yesterday’s verdict.
- May says she is opposed to merger of Yorkshire police forces.
Theresa May says South Yorkshire Police must 'recognise the truth' and accept it
Here is the full quote from Theresa May on South Yorkshire Police.
I think everybody will be disappointed and indeed concerned by some of the remarks that have been made by South Yorkshire Police today. There was a very clear verdict yesterday in relation to the decisions that were taken by police officers and the action of police officers on 15 April 1989 and I would urge South Yorkshire Police force to recognise the verdict of the jury.
Yes, they must get on with the day to day job today of policing within their force area. But I think they do need to look at what happened, at what the verdicts have shown, recognise the truth and be willing to accept that.
May criticises South Yorkshire Police for refusing to accept the inquest verdict
Chris Heaton-Harris, a Conservative, asks May what she thinks of South Yorkshire Police’s conduct.
Theresa May says everybody will be concerned by some of the remarks made by South Yorkshire Police today.
There was a very clear verdict yesterday, she says.
She urges South Yorkshire Police to accept the verdict and “recognise the truth”.
- May criticises South Yorkshire Police for refusing to fully accept the inquest verdict. It should “recognise the truth”, she says.
I will post May’s full quote shortly.
And this is what Theresa May said in her opening statement about the criminal investigations underway, and the possible offences that may have been committed.
The House will understand that I cannot comment in detail on matters that may lead to a criminal investigation. I can, however, say that the offences under investigation include gross negligence manslaughter, misconduct in public office, perverting the course of justice and perjury, as well as offences under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Here is the start of the Press Association story about Theresa May’s statement.
Ministers must consider how the state responds to disasters like Hillsborough to make sure the suffering of families is better taken into account, Theresa May said as she praised victims’ relatives for their “extraordinary dignity and determination”.
An inquest jury ruled that the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the Sheffield stadium disaster in 1989 were unlawfully killed and there are now calls for further action to be taken.
The home secretary read the jury’s determinations in full to a hushed House of Commons as she outlined the criminal charges that are being investigated.
The inquest lasted two years and found that blunders by South Yorkshire’s police and ambulance services “caused or contributed to” the deaths.
The jury found that Liverpool fans were not to blame for what happened.
May said the outcome of the inquest was of “national significance”.
“The conclusion of the inquest brings to an end an important step since the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report,” she said.
“Thanks to that report and now the determinations of the inquests we know the truth of what happened on that day at Hillsborough.
“Naturally the families will want to reflect on yesterday’s historic outcome which is of national significance.
“I am also clear that this raises significant issues for the way that the state and its agencies deal with disasters.
“Once the formal investigations are concluded we should step back, reflect and act if necessary so that we can better respond to disasters and ensure that the suffering of families is taken into account.”
These are from the BBC’s Vicki Young.
South Yorkshire Police apologises for perception it was trying to defend its failures at inquest
South Yorkshire Police has issued a fresh statement this morning saying that during the inquest it never sought to defend its failures over Hillsborough.
It also says that the coroner himself said that its previous apology should not be admitted into the proceedings because that would be prejudicial.
Here is the statement, as reported by the Press Association.
In 2012, the chief constable made a full apology for the failures of South Yorkshire Police (SYP) and the force has stood by that ever since. In the aftermath of the verdicts, the chief constable apologised again and unequivocally accepted the jury’s conclusions.
We have been asked about our conduct at the inquests. The coroner himself gave a clear ruling that specifically addresses the relationship between apologies and evidence at the inquests.
He ruled that to admit the previous 2012 apology by the chief constable into proceedings would be ‘wrong’ and ‘highly prejudicial’. He also ruled that the conduct of SYP during the inquests was not inconsistent with this earlier apology.
The force has taken careful note of the coroner’s comments during the inquests and has sought to be open and transparent at all stages.
It is important to remember that inquests are not about guilt, liability or blame, but about establishing the facts.
The intention throughout these proceedings has been to assist the jury understand the facts.
We have never sought, at any stage, to defend the failures of SYP or its officers. Nevertheless, these failures had to be put into the context of other contributory factors. In other words, where do the failings of SYP stand in the overall picture?
We are sorry if our approach has been perceived as at odds with our earlier apology, this was certainly not our intention.
And here is my colleague Vikram Dodd’s take on it.
Joanna Cherry, the SNP’s justice and home affairs spokeswoman, says this ranks with Bloody Sunday as “one of the most disgraceful cover-ups of our time”.
She says she agrees with Burnham about the need to take action to stop police officers being able to evade disciplinary action by retiring.
And she says the relatives might never have got another inquest if it had not been for the European convention on human rights, because the ECHR guarantees the right to have incidents of this kind properly investigated.
May says responds to the ECHR by saying the right to request an inquest, and fresh inquest, existed in the UK long before the ECHR was drawn up.
Dominic Grieve, the Conservative former attorney general, says mistakes will always be made. The real issue is how long it took for the relatives to get redress, and a proper account of the issues. This is not a unique event, he says. There have been similar episodes, like Bloody Sunday. He says Theresa May has done “everything right”. But this is not just about systems; it is about attitudes, and the tendency to brush away problems that make us uncomfortable.
May is responding to Burnham.
She says most of the general public believed the stories they read about the fans.
To have stood up against that showed a steely determination, and a passionate commitment to justice. We will rarely see that again, she says.
On the timings of the decisions about criminal prosecutions, she says files will go to the CPS around the end of the year. Then the CPS will need time to consider them. She understands why people want this to happen more quickly. But this has to be done quickly.
On police officers avoiding misconduct proceedings by retiring, May says she has always thought this was wrong. She is happy to meet Labour to discuss this.
On the Leveson inquiry, she says the government will consider whether to go ahead with phase two of the inquiry when all prosecutions are over.
Burnham says he wants to finish by paying tribute to the relatives. It has been the privilege of his life to stand alongside them, he says. They represent the best of what this country is.
Burnham receives a round of applause - a highly unusual move in the Commons, and a tribute to what was a remarkably moving and powerful statement.
Burnham says the families were not properly represented at earlier stages in this process. One of the reasons they were successful at the inquest was that, at last, they had the best legal representation.
He says it is wrong that public bodies can spend as much as they want defending themselves in inquests, while families cannot do that.
He says Westminster was involved. He says the cover-up was defended in committee rooms in the Commons, and in the press room at Number 10.
But Theresa May played no part in that, he says. He pays tribute to her for ensuring the inquest got to the truth.
Burnham says collusion between the police and the print media made Hillsborough worse.
He says the Leveson inquiry recommendations need to be fully implemented.
Burnham is now going through those issues in detail.
He urges May to ensure that decisions on prosecution are taken before the end of the year.
Will the government include a Hillsborough clause into the crime bill to ensure that police officers cannot evade misconduct charges by retiring, with no cost to their pension. And this should be retrospective, he says.
He says millions of pounds were spend during the inquest recycling discredited lies. If the South Yorkshire Police had maintained their apology, the inquest would have been much shorter. He says South Yorkshire Police had apologised, but they went back on that. He says it pains him to say Yorkshire Ambulance Service did the same. He says the South Yorkshire chief constable should resign.
- Burnham calls for South Yorkshire chief constable to resign.
He says there were similarities between what happened at Hillsborough and what happened at Orgreave. He calls for full publication of the papers relating to Orgreave.
- Burnham claims secret Orgeave papers show a direct link between what happened at Hillsborough and what happened at Orgreave.
He says South Yorkshire Police was corrupt. All solutions should be considered to clean it up, he says.
Andy Burnham, the shadow home secretary and leading campaigner on behalf of the Hillsborough families, is responding to May.
He says there was a 27-year cover up.
He thanks the jury for what they did. The verdict was “simple, clear, powerful and emphatic”.
But how could something so obvious take so long? There are three reason.
First, the police force covered up what they did.
Second, there was collusion between the police and the print media.
And, third, the justice system was flawed.
May says for 27 years the families have fought for justice. They have faced opposition, hostility and obfuscation.
The authorities tried to protect themselves, instead of acting in the public interest.
The families did not give up. They were extraordinary. She says MPs should recognise their courage and resolve.
She says she hopes that for the families and survivors yesterday’s verdict will bring them closer to the peace they deserve.
She says Bishop James has agreed to stay on as her adviser on Hillsborough.
May says the Crown Prosecution Service will decide whether there will be prosecutions, on the basis of the criminal investigations.
She says possible offences being investigated include gross negligence manslaughter, misconduct in public office, perverting the course of justice, perjury, offences against the Sports Grounds Act and offences against the Health and Safety Act.
She says decisions on prosecutions should be taken around the end of the year.
But she says she wants to ensure that support for the families continues.
May says the jury also heard evidence about the “valiant efforts” made by many fans to save people. There is cheering for this.
She says the verdict that the victims were unlawfully killed is of great public importance.
But they do not amount to a finding of criminal liability. And no one should impute criminal liability while investigations are still being carried out, she says.
This is from the Mirror’s Jack Blanchard.
And this is from the former Independent on Sunday political editor Jane Merrick.
May is now summarising the jury’s findings.
She says she wants to put those findings on the record. She reads them out.
The 14 questions for the jury, and the answers the jury gave to each of them, are set out here.
May says there are two criminal investigations underway.
Since the fresh inquest opened in 2014 the jury heard 296 days’ of evidence. It was the longest inquest in British legal history.
She says MPs will want to thank the jury for their public service.
May says the relatives suffered the injustice of hearing their loved ones blamed.
She has met members of the families on a number of occasions. She has never failed to be struck by “their extraordinary dignity and determination”.
She says they have never given up.
She pays tribute to Andy Burnham for campaigning tirelessly on their behalf, and to other Liverpool MPs for their campaigning too.
May says her statement will cover the inquest, and the steps that will now take place.
She says the events at Hillsborough shocked the country. She summarises what happened. It was this country’s worst disaster at a sporting event.
She says the search by families to get to the truth has been “long and arduous”.
Theresa May's statement on Hillsborough
Theresa May, the home secretary, is now making a statement on Hillsborough.
The Conservative Julian Lewis says Britain’s admiration for France will never diminish, no matter what happens in the referendum. He asks Cameron to pay tribute to Bill Cash’s father, who was killed fighting in France after the Normandy invasion, and to a veteran who is due to receive the legion d’honneur in his 90s for his wartime service.
Cameron pays tribute to those who served in the war.
Labour’s Emma Reynolds says millions of Britons from the European health insurance card. What would happen to that if we left the EU?
Cameron says this is one of the benefits we have year. We can make the system better. It is those in favour of leaving who need to explain what would happen to that system if we left.
Labour’s Yvette Cooper says Cameron, in his reply to Angus Robertson earlier (which I missed because I was doing the PMQS summary) said child refugees in Europe are safe. They are not, she says. She says there are 1,000 in Greece who have nowhere to sleep. And they are exposed to sexual exploitation. Why won’t the government accept the Dubs amendment?
Cameron says the government is taking child refugees from refugees camps. It has nothing to be ashamed of, he says.
John Stevenson, a Conservative, asks if decisions on nuclear power and nuclear submarines will be made soon.
Cameron says there will be a vote in the Commons on Trident.
Labour’s Judith Cummins asks if Cameron is committed to the electrification of the Calder Valley line.
Cameron says commitments have been made on electrification. He wants everywhere to benefit from the Northern Powerhouse.
Mike Wood, a Conservative, asks about an enterprise zone in his Dudley South constituency.
Cameron says enterprise zones have been a success.
Labour’s Liz McInnnes asks if Cameron agrees that sentences for causing death by dangerous driving should be higher.
Cameron says he has every sympathy for families affected. The maximum current sentence is 14 years, but the government will look at this, he says.
Suella Fernandes, a Conseratives, asks Cameron to reassure MPs of his commitment to fighting antisemitism.
Cameron says antisemitism is racism and we should fight it. He says it is “extraordinary” that a Labour MP who talked about the “transportation” of Israel and that being a “solution” still has the Labour whip.
Cameron says there was no British steel in the new Forth Bridge. He says, unlike the Scottish government, the Westminster government backs the British steel industry.
Labour’s Ben Bradshaw asks about the EU referendum and Nigel Farage - pronouncing his name to rhyme with garage.
Cameron says he is pleased Bradshaw has gone for the English pronunciation, rather than the rather “poncy” foreign one that is more common.
PMQs - Snap verdict
PMQs - Snap verdict: Corbyn said that repeats often attract more viewers than the first broadcast, but they often disappoint too, and that was his experience today. Last week he successfully exposed Tory divisions over forced academisation, and exposed the rather shallow evidence base for the policy. Today he devoted all six questions to the same issue, but he did not have enough new material to discomfort Cameron, and Cameron’s willingness to give a direct answer to the question about whether the academies bill will be in the Queen’s speech (yes), plus his ability to reference Wilshaw and the OECD, allowed him to see Corbyn off. You could tell Cameron was winning because his references to the need for a strong economy etc were kept to a minimum, and, having made a very brief reference to Naz Shah, he did not feel the need to launch a lengthy counter-offensive on Labour anti-semitism.
Corbyn says the number of pupils in over-sized councils is getting worse. And he quotes Conservative council leaders who are opposed to the policy.
Cameron says he is glad Corbyn is quoting Tory council leaders. He hopes there will be more in 10 days’ time. There are 13,000 more teachers than in 2010. He quotes someone from the Academies Trust saying she used to be opposed to academies, but is now coming round to the idea. He says he backs aspiration and opportunity. Labour want to hold it back.
Corbyn says there seems to be a pattern developing here.
(That generates laughter, because Corbyn is asking similar questions to last week.)
Corbyn says, in health and education, ministers are imposing solutions. When will the goverment listen to the professionals, and trust other people to run services.
Cameron says 1.9m more people are being treated in the NHS, and there are 1.3m more children in good schools. There is another pattern he can see. He is on his fifth Labour leader. Soon he could be on his sixth.
Corbyn says it has been claimed the government will let councils form academy trusts. This would give them more power. So why bother with forced academisation?
Camerons says he wants schools to be good or outstanding. And good and outstanding schools can improve.
He urges Labour MPs to be quiet, and to deal with the anti-semites in the party.
There are lots of ways schools can become academies. They can look at working with local authorities. Academies are great, he says. He says Labour is moving in favour of them.
Corbyn says sometimes repeats on TV get more viewers than first time round. (Cameron said earlier he favoured repeats.) Teacher shortages are more important, he says. Parents and teachers do not want this. Who does want this top-down reorganisation.
Cameron says Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, and the OECD are in favour. And academy trusts.
On teacher shortages, Camerons says there are more teachers and more school places than under Labour.
Jeremy Corbyn says, after 27 years, the 96 people killed at Hillsborough finally got justice. He is glad Cameron has apologised for the action of previous governments. He pays tribute to the relatives, and to Andy Burnham, Steve Rotheram and other Labour MPs who campaigned on this.
Corbyn says last week Cameron said he would put rocket boosters under the academisation programme. Now the wheels seem to be falling off the rocket boosters. Can Cameron confirm that?
(He is referring to reports the government is backing down over forced academisation.)
Cameron says he has not met a rocket booster with a wheel on it, but rocket science is not his subject - or Corbyn’s. Academies raise standards, he says.
Corbyn says Cameron did not provide much of an answer. Will he legislate to force schools to become academies in the Queen’s Speech.
Cameron says he cannot pre-empt what is in the Queen’s Speech. But, on this, he can. We are going to have academies for all and it will be in the Queen’s Speech.
Mims Davies, a Conservative, says in Eastleigh the service that GPs provide is crucial. Does Cameron agree the recent announcement about £2.4bn for GPs is only possible because there is a strong government.
Cameron, as you would expect, says she’s right.
David Cameron starts by saying yesterday was a “momentous day” for the Hillsborough relatives. Their search for justice was met with obfuscation, not openness. But they never faltered. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.
Naz Shah has just tweeted this.
This is from LabourList’s Conor Pope.
PMQs is about to start.
Here is the list of MPs on the order paper down to ask a question.
The Jewish Chronicle’s Marcus Dysch thinks it is a mistake for Labour to reignite the Naz Shah story just before PMQs.
Corbyn says Naz Shah's Facebook posts were 'offensive and unacceptable'
Jeremy Corbyn has just issued a statement about Naz Shah. But he has not said he is withdrawing the whip from her, suggesting he will not take Lisa Nandy’s advice on this.
What Naz Shah did was offensive and unacceptable. I have spoken to her and made this clear.
These are historic social media posts made before she was a Member of Parliament.
Naz has issued a fulsome apology. She does not hold these views and accepts she was completely wrong to have made these posts.
The Labour Party is implacably opposed to anti-Semitism and all forms of racism.
Lisa Nandy calls for Naz Shah to be suspended from Labour
On the Daily Politics Lisa Nandy, the shadow energy secretary, has just said she thinks the Labour MP Naz Shah should be suspended from the party (ie, lose the Labour whip) pending an investigation into her pre-election Facebook posts. Nandy said that was the party’s procedure for anyone accused of anti-semitism, and that Shah should not be exempt.
In Scotland Kezia Dugdale, Labour’s Scottish leader, has been launching her party’s manifesto for the Holyrood elections next week.
My colleague Severin Carrell published an interview with her yesterday. Here it is.
Here’s an extract.
Now she is finding “genuine warmth”, Dugdale said, on the campaign trail. Voters, she believes, like the fact that Labour is openly fighting for higher taxes on the rich, campaigning for a 50p top income tax rate in Scotland. So too do Labour activists.
“When I compare that to the sentiment during the general election, the mood has changed,” she said. “There’s a sense now that the anger has dissipated. People really like the tax policy. They like the honesty of it. They like the simple recognition that we now have the power to do things differently.”
Dugdale and her colleagues point to several seats they hope to hold or even win back from the SNP – despite the pessimism which grips Labour at national level. Given its dire standing in the polls and last year’s annihilation, winning four or five constituencies would be seen as a good result, as long as Labour comes second overall.
And here are some tweets from Sev from the manifesto launch this morning.
OECD says Britain has already started paying 'Brexit tax' because of impact of EU referendum
And here are some quotes from the speech Angel Gurria, the OECD secretary general, gave at the news conference this morning where he published the OECD’s Brexit report.
- Gurria said Brexit would effectively impose a permanent tax on Britons.
Brexit would, rather like a tax, hit the wellbeing and the pockets of UK citizens. Unlike most taxes, however, this one will not finance the provision of public services or close the fiscal gap. The “Brexit tax” would be a pure deadweight loss, a cost incurred with no economic benefit. And this tax would not be a one-off levy. Britons would be paying it for many years.
- He said Britons were already paying the “Brexit tax” because of the economic impact of the uncertainty generated by the EU referendum.
Our estimates are too cautious. For one thing, they focus entirely on future effects, whereas in fact the first payments of the “Brexit tax” are already being made. Just this morning, the Office for National Statistics announced the lowest quarterly GDP growth figures since 2012. And already in the previous quarter, business investment was weak as the Brexit issue gained prominence. Brexit costs can also be seen in financial markets. Since the autumn, the pound has weakened against the euro and the dollar, and the cost of insuring against exchange rate volatility has risen significantly. The costs are piling up, and we are still two months away from the referendum!
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, says today’s growth figures (see 9.42am) confirm the need for the government to invest more. In a statement he said:
There is clearly a growing Tory threat to our economy, whether from the Conservative backbenchers screaming for Brexit despite the mounting evidence against the case, or a Tory chancellor who is also refusing to listen to the expanding coalition of international organisations that not only warn of the risks of Brexit, but also the risks of his policy of under investing in our economy.
It is vital for the UK that George Osborne listens to the expert advice telling him not only that we must stay in the EU, but also that he must not starve our economy of investment any longer.
Labour would not stand by when we see a recovery built on sand due to George Osborne’s failure, we would stand up for jobs and growth by setting realistic targets to get rid of the deficit on day-to-day spending whilst allowing government the capacity to invest in the high-tech, high-wage economy of the future.
And here is another OECD chart, from its news release. It shows that, under the OECD’s most pessimistic scenario, Brexit could lead to GDP being almost 8% lower by 2030 than it otherwise would be, equivalent to a cost per household of £5,000.
Here is the OECD report (pdf).
And here is the key chart it contains. It shows the impact of Brexit on growth and the equivalent cost per household in pounds (GBP), in the near term (by 2020) and in the long term (by 2030). There are three long term forecasts, a central one, a pessimistic one and an optimistic one.
OECD says Brexit would cost families £2,200 after a decade
The OECD report is now out.
Here is Larry Elliott’s story about it.
And here is how it starts.
The west’s leading economics thinktank has warned that a British decision to leave the EU in this summer’s referendum would cost each household £2,200 by the end of a decade and continue to impose “a persistent and rising shock” on the UK in the following years.
Adding its voice to negative assessments by the Treasury and the International Monetary Fund, the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said a so-called Brexit vote on 23 June would provide a major negative shock to Britain and have ripple effects on the rest of Europe.
“In some respects, Brexit would be akin to a tax on GDP, imposing a persistent and rising cost on the economy that would not be incurred if the UK remained in the EU,” the OECD said.
The OECD’s policy paper said that even before the EU’s formal departure from the EU, which the thinktank assumes would happen in late 2018, the UK would be hit by weaker confidence and more expensive credit.
Once the terms of a divorce settlement had been agreed, Britain would face higher trade barriers and feel the early impact of restrictions on immigration.
“By 2020, GDP would be over 3% smaller than otherwise (with continued EU membership), equivalent to a cost per household of £2,200 (in today’s prices),” the OECD added. The rest of the EU would see GDP shaved by one percentage point by the decade’s end.
Farage fails to name any economic organisation saying Brexit will make UK better off
Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, was interviewed on the Today programme this morning. If Lord Patten is worried about the BBC becoming “excessively deferential” to Leave, he will have been heartened by this interview, because Nick Robinson gave Farage quite a hard time.
- Farage dismissed the OECD claims about the impact of Brexit - but failed to name a single economic organisation saying Britain would be better off if it left the EU. Here is the key exchange, starting with what Farage (NF) said to Robinson (NR) when asked about the OECD conclusions.
NF: Yeah, yeah, yeah: IMF, OECD, a whole series of international organisations stuffed full of overpaid people who failed in politics mostly.
NR: Would you like to give us a list of the organisations that agree with you, because it would be very useful to have them.
NF: Yeah, they’re called markets, they’re called consumers, they’re called people. And they are called the real world.
NR: Can you name an organisation of economic forecasters, private or public, that agrees with your view that you would be better off outside the EU.
NF: I’m in Cardiff. The professor of economics at Cardiff University, Patrick Minford, said very clearly that outside the European Union the average British family would be £40 a week better off.
NR: He’s one individual, Mr Farage. He’s not an organisation. He’s not an international body.
NF: Well, of course. These international bodies, there is virtually nobody working for any of them that has manufactured a good or traded a product globally. I did that for 20 years before getting into politics. And the fact is, whether we are in the European Union or outside the European Union, we’ll go on buying and selling goods between France and Germany and Britain and Italy because ultimately markets aren’t created by politicians. It’s about consumers making choices.
- Farage refused to say what model he thought the UK should follow in terms of negotiating a trade deal with the EU. The UK would create its own model, he said.
I would like to have a relationship like the eurozone’s biggest export market in the world, the market they need more than any other to have as free as access to as possible. If little countries like Norway and Switzerland can get their own deals, then we can have a bespoke British deal that suits us.
When it was put to him that Norway and Switzerland had to accept free movement as part of their free trade deal, he said they had been betrayed by their leaders.
They’ve been betrayed by their politicians in both Norway and Switzerland and then they’re rebelling against that.
- He claimed that he was not involved in the Ukip’s decision to suspend Suzanne Evans - although he also refused to say that he wanted her reinstated. Asked if it was his decision to suspend her, he replied:
I’m party leader, I tour the country, I try and raise money, I try and get the party coverage, I try and enthuse the troops, I don’t deal with discipline of candidate selection and I never have done.
Then, asked if he wanted her back, he replied:
I don’t think she behaved terribly well, so. I don’t think she behaved terribly well. She’s suspended for a short period of time.
We may have some discussions about who should and should not be candidates in winnable positions but I look at the Conservative party, which is literally ripping itself to pieces, and the Labour party where over 80% of the MPs don’t want Corbyn as leader, I look at their problems and I think, what I’ve got is nothing.
- He claimed that Ukip was the only party with a chance of winning candidates in the Scottish parliament, the Welsh assembly, the London assembly and the Northern Ireland assembly.
For me, the big goal on May 5th is to win representation in the London assembly, the Scottish parliament, the Welsh assembly and the Northern Irish assembly, and I think I’m the only party leader who’s got a chance of winning seats in all four of them.
This is a hollow boast because Labour and the Lib Dems do not officially put up candidates in Northern Ireland (although Labour has some unofficial candidates standing), and the Conservatives (who for years never stood in Northern Ireland) only have about a couple of candidates standing. And the chances of Ukip winning any seats are thought to be slim.
And here is Chris Giles, the Financial Times’s economics editor, on the growth figures.
Here is George Osborne, the chancellor, on the growth figures.
ONS figures showing growth slowing to 0.4%
The first quarter growth figure is out.
- The UK economy grew by 0.4% in the first three months of 2016, down from 0.6%
in the fourth quarter of 2015, the ONS says.
Lort Patten says BBC being 'excessively deferential' to pro-Brexit camp
On the Today programme Lord Patten, a former European commissioner and a former chair of the BBC Trust, was interviewed about the EU referendum. As you’d expect, he’s strongly in favour of Remain. But he also said he thought the BBC was being “excessively deferential” to the pro-Brexit case. He told the programme:
The BBC has an extremely difficult job. It is having to cover this referendum with the shadow of a charter review and [John Whittingdale, the culture secretary] hanging over it.
I think that may make people excessively deferential when trying to produce balance.
You have the governor of the Bank of England on, or the IMF chief, so you feel obliged to put up some Conservative backbencher that nobody has ever heard of on the other side of the argument.
It does occasionally raise eyebrows. But I think I would prefer the BBC to be being criticised for being excessively balanced rather than for doing anything else.
It is a very great broadcaster which is dedicated to telling the truth and that is an unusual thing in the world of the media.
The OEC secretary general is known as Angel Gurria, but his formal name is Jose Angel Gurria and that was the name Vote Leave used in its news release. I left out the Jose when quoting their statement for the sake of consistency. But I can now see why Vote Leave included it. It was so they could use the #NoWayJose hashtag.
Vote Leave rejects OECD claims, saying it is 'in the pay of the EU'
Vote Leave has issued a statement rejecting the OECD claims, saying the organisation is “in the pay of the EU”. This is from Robert Oxley, a Vote Leave spokesman.
The OECD is in the pay of the EU. Angel Gurría is part of a global bureaucracy that feathers its nest with vast expenses claims paid for by taxpayers. OECD officials themselves avoid paying tax in most countries - he is in no place to lecture us about taxes.
The OECD said that the UK would receive “great benefits” from joining the ERM. It recommended that we should join the euro. So why should we listen to their doom-laden predictions about leaving the EU?
After Vote Leave and take back control we will be able to cut our tax bill because we will no longer have to fund overpaid and under taxed international bureaucrats in Brussels. This will be bad for fat cat officials but good for the British people.
Vote Leave says the OECD received €30m from the EU between 2007 and 2014.
Angel Gurria may not be as well known in the UK as Barack Obama but his intervention in the EU debate - which has come today - may be almost as powerful as the US president’s. Gurria is secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the pro-trade body representing 34 of the world’s richest countries, and it is publishing a report today on the impact of Brexit. It seems it is going to be even more blunt about the disadvantages of leaving the EU than the Treasury’s own report was, because the OECD is saying Brexit would effectively cost Britons a month’s salary by 2020.
At least, that is what Gurria said when he was interviewed on the Today programme earlier. He said:
Brexit is like a tax. It is the equivalent to roughly missing out on about one month’s income within four years but then it carries on to 2030. That tax is going to be continued to be paid by Britons over time.
In comparison with a baseline scenario [for UK growth] they would otherwise have had in their pocket, in hand, to spend, they will not have - therefore it is as powerful, as real, as a tax or as if you would just give it over to somebody.
We have done the comparisons, we have done the simulations. In the end we come out and say: why are we spending so much time, so much effort and so much talent in trying to find ways to compensate for a bad decision when you do not necessarily have to take the bad decision?
Gurria also said that the Leave camp were wrong to think the UK could get better trade deals outside the EU.
There is absolutely no reason why you would get a sweeter trade deal than you already have, no reason why you would have a sweeter investment deal.
I will post more on this this morning.
9.30am: The ONS publishes its first quarter growth figure.
9.30am: Lady Altmann, the pensions minister, gives evidence to the work and pensions committee on intergenerational fairness.
10.30am: The OECD publishes its report on the economic consequences of Brexit.
10.30am: The Conservative MP James Cleverly gives a Vote Leave speech on the impact of the common agricultural policy on African farmers.
10.30am: Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, gives evidence to the Lords constitution committee.
10.30am: Kezia Dugdale, the Scottish Labour leader, launches her party’s election manifesto.
12pm: David Cameron faces Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs.
12.30pm: Theresa May, the home secretary, makes a Commons statement on Hillsborough.
2.15pm: Arron Banks and Richard Tice, the founders of Leave.EU, give evidence to the Commons Treasury committee about the EU referendum.
2.30pm: Nicky Morgan, the education committee, gives evidence to the Commons education committee.
I will be focusing in particular on PMQs, the Hillsborough statement and then, probably, the Treasury committee hearing, but as usual I will also be covering other breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I will post a summary in the afternoon.
If you want to follow me or contact me on Twitter, I’m @AndrewSparrow.
I try to monitor the comments BTL but normally I find it 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 direct questions, although sometimes I miss them or don’t have time. Alternatively you could post a question to me on Twitter.
If you think there are any voices that I’m leaving out, particularly political figures or organisations giving alternative views of the stories I’m covering, do please flag them up below the line (include “Andrew” in the post). I can’t promise to include everything, but I do try to be open to as wide a range of perspectives as possible.