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Rishi Sunak To Face Liaison Committee Questions, Second Day Of Nurses' Strikes, Priti Patel Criticises Rwanda Delays

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will face questions from the Liaison Committee in Parliament today (Alamy)

5 min read

Rishi Sunak will face the Liaison Committee for the first time since becoming Prime Minister this afternoon. 

Before Parliament breaks for Christmas recess, Sunak will face questions from 14 committee chairs on issues including the war in Ukraine, the state of the union, and the economy and cost of living. 

The 90 minute session is set to begin at 3pm and will reflect on Sunak’s first eight weeks in No 10 and look ahead to 2023. 

The committee hearing will see a number of select committee chairs appearing for the first time, with a raft of new arrivals following the change of governments in the autumn.

Foreign Affairs Committee chair Alicia Kearns, the head of the Treasury committee Harriet Baldwin, and the health and social care committee's chair Steve Brine have all taken up their positions in recent weeks as their predecessors have moved into government positions. 

Nurses strike in second day of action

Nurses at trusts across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are striking for a second day on Tuesday, as their dispute with government over pay and conditions continues. 

Overall, nurses at more than 70 NHS organisations will strike today, following the ballot by the Royal College of Nursing. 

The union’s general secretary Pat Cullen said this morning that “we are truly sorry” for patients who have their care disrupted as a result of the walkout. 

She told Radio 4’s Today Programme that the health service is “fragile” and something the government “really needs to take a long hard look at”. 

Speaking ahead of the strike, Health Secretary Steve Barclay called the RCN’s pay rise demands of 19 per cent “unaffordable during these challenging times”. 

He added: “I’m open to engaging with the unions on how to make the NHS a better place to work.”

The nurses’ day of action comes ahead of the first scheduled ambulance staff walk out on Wednesday. 

Paramedics and other staff will strike tomorrow, with military personnel brought in to fill some of the gaps in the service. 

This morning, health minister Will Quince warned people against doing “risky” activity, telling BBC Breakfast that “I would strongly encourage them not to do so”. 

Rwanda challenges would "put more lives at risk", claims Priti Patel

Former home secretary Priti Patel has claimed that opposition to the Rwanda asylum scheme has delayed the "implementation of a vital measure" and "put more lives at risk", after the High Court ruled that the policy was lawful. 

Patel, who unveiled the agreement with the east African nation that would see some people deported to the country, earlier this year, wrote in The Sun  that "critics of our approach have never offered any solutions, just attacks". 

The plan, designed to deter people from crossing the Channel was first announced in April, and the High Court ruled yesterday that the proposals were in line with human rights rules. 

"We made sure the partnership agreement was robust when we drafted it and those who opposed it by talking down Rwanda, smearing the policy and misleading the public, have been proven wrong," Patel wrote today.

"All they have done is delay the implementation of a vital measure to tackle this serious problem.

"They continue to criticise those of us committed to facing this challenge and I’m sure we will see more legal challenges.

"But the consequences of their actions are to put more lives at risk and give succour to the evil criminals who facilitate this trade in human misery."

Local MP demands answers after second Brixton concert death

MP Florence Eshalomi
Local MP Florence Eshalomi met with the families of the victims on Monday (Alamy)

Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi has put out a fresh call for answers in response to the death of a second victim in a crowd crush at an Asake concert in Brixton last Thursday. 

A large number of people tried to force their way into a concert by afro-pop singer Asake the O2 Academy in Brixton, causing a crowd crush which injured multiple attendees.

Security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, was critically injured and died yesterday in hospital, becoming the second fatality after Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, a mother of two from Newham in east London, died on Saturday.

Local MP Eshalomi met with the families of the victims on Monday, and another woman remains critical in hospital.

Responding to the death of Hutchinson, Eshalomi said: “I am utterly heartbroken to hear this. Two young lives have now been lost in horrific circumstances.

“We must ensure that a tragedy like this can never happen again. That means piecing together exactly what happened and how.

“If you have any information that can help the investigation, please come forward so that we can get answers for all those impacted by this.”

The day after the incident, Eshalomi published a statement saying an investigation will take place to determine what mistakes might have led to the crush. 

“It is very clear ticketing and security procedures have not performed as they should have for this incident to have occurred,” she said. 

“We need answers about exactly how this happened and safeguards against it in future.”

The incident will be fully investigated by Specialist Crime detectives, supported by Lambeth Council's Licensing Unit.

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