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Top Stories: Migrants Boats Plan, Ambulance Strikes Cancelled, Boris Johnson Nominates Father For Knighthood

The new plan would involve detaining thousands of migrants (Alamy)

4 min read

The government is expected to bring in powers to remove asylum seekers who arrive in small boats from the UK and implement a lifetime ban on them returning or claiming British citizenship.

Under the plans, migrants would be sent to Rwanda or another “safe” country, an operation that could involve detaining tens of thousands of people.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to speak with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, on Monday to discuss immigration policy.

The potential Bill is estimated to cost around £3bn, according to The Times.

Science secretary Michelle Donelan told BBC Breakfast: “We can’t take everybody. We’re tackling people coming here illegally.

“Many of those people have come through a number of safe countries before they even make that journey to the UK. That’s not okay, we have to close down that route.”

Donelan suggested that many people travelling on boats are “economic migrants” rather than refugees.

Multiple human rights groups have protested the plans, with the director of British Red  Cross, Christina Marriott, telling BBC News: “What the government has done so far, talking about removing people to Rwanda, talking about harsher asylum systems, isn’t working.

“We know numbers for crossings across the Channel are going up while removals from the country are going down. This isn’t the way we will reduce numbers. 

“One of the reasons we have more people coming across the Channel is because we have less people coming in lorries. This isn’t the crisis it’s made out to be.”

She suggested the government instead focus on “good, safe, controlled routes to asylum”.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting accused the government on Sky News of going after “headline-grabbing gimmicks that won’t work”.

Ambulance strikes called off

Ambulances
Ambulance strikes were originally set to go ahead this week (Alamy)

Ambulance strikes, which were planned for Monday and Wednesday in England, have been called off as the Unite union enters pay talks with the government. 

Unite represents approximately 3,000 workers, and is the smallest of the three main ambulance unions. 

Tens of thousands of ambulance workers had been expected to take part in the industrial action this week. 

Unite head of operations Gail Cartmail said: "Following further assurances from the government over the weekend Unite has in good faith agreed to pause the strike action."

The union confirmed that the talks will include discussions on money for workers, as well as “efficiencies” and “productivity savings”.

Three other health unions had already called off strikes in England at the end of last week, including GMB, Unison and Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

The new rounds of talks suggest the government may be willing to make significant concessions to end ongoing and widespread strike action.

Boris Johnson nominates father Stanley Johnson for a knighthood

Boris Johnson and stanley Johnson on tube
Boris Johnson has faced accusations of 'cronyism' for nominating family members for honours (Alamy)

Former prime minister Boris Johnson has nominated his father Stanley Johnson for a knighthood in his resignation honours list. 

The Times reported that Johnson's nominations includes up to 100 names – considerably more than either of his predecessors Theresa May or David Cameron.

The Cabinet Office will vet the list, but Stanley Johnson's nomination has already raised questions due to him having recently been accused of sexual harassment by senior Conservative MP Caroline Nokes. Johnson denies the allegation. 

Boris Johnson also previously nominated his brother, Jo Johnson, for a peerage.

Corporation tax hike expected to go ahead

Jeremy Hunt on Downing Street
The Budget will take place next week (Alamy)

The Treasury seems increasinly unlikely to give in to pressure to cancel an increase in corporation tax in the forthcoming Budget. 

The Conservative Growth Group, a group of Tory MPs who believe lower tax rates will boost the economy, are calling for a cancellation of a scheduled increase in corporation tax from 19 to 25 per cent.

According to the i, the corporation tax hike will go ahead regardless. 

A group of Conservative MPs have also written to the Chancellor asking him to freeze or reduce fuel duty, according to a letter obtained by The Sun.

The Times has reported that the defence secretary will only receive up to £5bn of the £11b he requested from the Treasury for defence spending.

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