Tory MP Says Winning Election Is "Nearly Impossible", Childcare System Is "Failing", Senior Tory To Quit
Charles Walker has announced he won't seek re-election as an MP (Alamy)
Conservative MP Charles Walker has said his party "scored an own goal" with Liz Truss's short-lived premiership and accused the government of "playing fast and loose with people's finances".
Walker told Times Radio he thinks it will be "nearly impossible" for the Conservatives to bounce back in popularity in time for the next general election, as Labour shows record leads over the governing party in the polls.
The Broxbourne MP has announced he won't seek re-election, after more than 15 years in Westminster, adding to a growing list of MPs who are standing down.
"I suspect we will lose the next general election," he said.
"I hope what Rishi Sunak does is make sure Labour doesn't wipe the floor with us and that we perhaps win 220 seats and form a viable opposition."
His decision to quit came after he reportedly became “fed up” with the abuse politicians regularly receive, and he thinks a lot more may continue to do the same.
"Many of my colleagues won't have made their minds up yet, but I think it's inevitable. I think politics is quite a gruelling vocation to be in.
"Most of my colleagues are realists. They know it's going to be an incredibly difficult two years."
He thinks the opinion polls will narrow but even if they do, that Labour will still secure a comfortable majority.
Commenting that the Conservative Party does not have a "freehold on power" but only a "leasehold", he pointed out they have already been in government for 12 years and that "the democratic wheel turns".
"We scored an own goal with the 50-day premiership of Liz Truss," he said.
"I think that's ultimately what will pay the price for – playing fast and loose with people's finances at a very serious time in their lives."
Sajid Javid standing down at next election
Former chancellor and long-serving Cabinet minister Sajid Javid has confirmed he will not stand again at the next election.
The MP for Bromsgrove is the latest high-profile Conservative who has announced they are quitting Parliament.
"After much reflection I have decided that I will not be standing again at the next General Election," he tweeted on Friday.
“Serving as the Member of Parliament for Bromsgrove remains an incredible privilege, and I will continue to support the Government and the causes I believe in.”
Although Javid, alongside many other Conservative MPs, is quitting, former prime minister Boris Johnson will not be standing down, according to The Guardian.
A source told the paper Johnson will stand again in Uxbridge at the next election, although he may face a tough fight to retain his seat.
Labour celebrates decisive victory in Chester by-election
Labour's shadow cabinet have celebrated a "decisive victory" over the Conservatives after holding the City of Chester constituency.
Labour candidate Samantha Dixon emerged victorious on Friday morning after winning over 60 per cent of the votes in the contest which was triggered by the resignation of Labour MP Chris Matheson following allegations of "serious sexual misconduct".
In a tweet on Friday morning, the party's deputy leader Angela Rayner said the result was a "decisive victory" for her party.
"The worst result for the Tories since 1832. Britain has so much potential but it’s being held back," she wrote.
"The message voters have sent is clear. It’s time for a Labour government."
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the "landslide result" sent a clear message that it was "time for a Labour government".
But Conservative peer Lord Hayward said the result would be a "relief" for the Tories, despite a major drop in support for the party.
"Labour have to be pleased. They got over 60 per cent, the swing is 13 per cent," he told Sky News.
"It's good cheer for the Labour Party, no doubt about it. But the Conservatives will be relieved they got over 20 per cent – there's a psychological thing there and it's not quite as bad as the opinion polls have been suggesting."
He added: "So pleasure on the Labour side, relief – a bit – on the Conservative side."
Fresh allegations of Westminster sexual misconduct emerge
A joint investigation by TalkTV and The Sun has said that a Conservative MP has been reported to police over allegations of rape and sexual assault.
They claimed a group of Tory MPs reported their colleague to the police in relation to the allegations, which reportedly span a two-year period.
But the report added that despite the party allegedly knowing about the allegations for around two years, they have not suspended the MP from the party or removed the whip in Parliament.
A spokesperson for the Met told The Sun and TalkTV: "On October 28, police received allegations of serious sexual assault reported to have taken place on unknown dates at undisclosed locations. The reports were submitted via a third party. Officers are making enquiries into these allegations."
Report calls for tighter rules on private lobbying
A major new report from the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has said former ministers and civil servants who breach the rules regulating the "revolving door" between government and private firms should face legal action.
The call to toughen up the rules comes in the wake of the Greensill scandal and the resignation of two ethics advisers to the Prime Minister in the last 12 months.
Conservative MP William Wragg, who chairs the committee, said it was incumbent on the government to ensure there was a "robust and effective" system for upholding standards, and that those who break the rules should face "proper sanction".
He added: "Our inquiry has found that although we have a sophisticated landscape of ethics watchdogs in the UK to safeguard standards in public life, they lack the power to enforce the rules."
The report also heavily criticised Prime Minister Rishi Sunak over his decision to reappoint Suella Braverman as Home Secretary just weeks after her resignation for breaching the ministerial code.
MPs on the committee said the decision sent a "dangerous precedent" for how breaches are handled, adding a new Prime Minister should not be able to "wipe the slate clean" when appointing ministers.
Report indicates childcare system is failing families
A report by a leading think tank suggests the UK's childcare system is not fit for purpose, with exclusive polling showing the financial burden childcare places on families.
As the cost of living crisis unfolds, the Onward think tank has published its findings on childcare, with polls to show that half of parents say childcare costs have risen in the last year, while only 9 per cent have been able to cut back on childcare.
Nearly a third of families say childcare is one of their most expensive costs and fewer than half of parents agreed that the amount they receive each month makes childcare costs "manageable".
The report suggested that the current state of the childcare system is harming children’s development and placing a huge strain on household finances.
It recommends introducing a system of childcare credits and scrapping the current maternity and paternity leave system in favor of a 12-month block of parental leave that parents can divide between themselves.
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