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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Andrew Sparrow

Home Office threatened with legal action over ‘unlawfully detained’ migrants at Manston – as it happened

A demonstration takes place outside a migrant holding facility at Manston Airfield.
A demonstration takes place outside a migrant holding facility at Manston Airfield. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Afternoon summary

  • Lawyers on behalf of charity Detention Action are threatening legal action against Suella Braverman, the home secretary, over conditions at the Manston migrant holding centre in Kent. (See 4.35pm.)

Suella Braverman arriving at the migrant processing centre in Manston.
Suella Braverman arriving at the migrant processing centre in Manston. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters


The foreign ministry in Paraguay has issued a statement through Twitter saying the Daily Express story claiming it is negotiating a Rwanda-style deal with the UK to take asylum seekers (see 12.30pm) is not true.

The Peruvian embassy in the UK has said that Peru is not negotiating such a deal either. The Express said it was a possible candidate for such an agreement.


People thought to be migrants passing the car of home secretary Suella Braverman during her visit to the Manston migrant centre this afternoon.
People thought to be migrants passing the car of home secretary Suella Braverman during her visit to the Manston migrant centre this afternoon. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

Jeremy Hunt is considering increasing taxes on dividends, the Financial Times reports. In a move that it says could raise several billion pounds, it says Hunt has “asked officials to look at raising the dividend taxation rate as well as cutting the tax-free allowance for dividends”. The FT says no decision about whether to go ahead with this has been taken.


Charity writes to Home Office threatening legal action over 'unlawfully detained' migrants at Manston

Lawyers on behalf of charity Detention Action are threatening legal action against Suella Braverman, the home secretary, over conditions at the Manston migrant holding centre in Kent, PA Media reports.

The charity said an urgent pre-action letter, sent to the Home Office earlier this week, represents the first action taken against the home secretary for the unlawful treatment of people held at the facility and is regarding a woman held there.

The letter, sent by Duncan Lewis solicitors which is representing Detention Action and the claimant, said the woman, from a non-European country, “was unlawfully detained by the home secretary at the Manston facility in egregiously defective conditions”.

The complaint also includes “serious threats to the safety of children”, the charity said.

Concerns raised by the woman and the charity about the site near Ramsgate include:

The routine prolongation of detention beyond statutory time limits; failure to adhere to essential safeguarding measures for children; women and children sleeping alongside adult men to whom they are unrelated; inadequate or non-existent access to legal advice for those detained; and exposure to infectious diseases due to overcrowding and poor sanitation.

Detention Action’s deputy director, James Wilson, added:

We have taken this action out of serious concern for the welfare of thousands of people, including children, still being detained at Manston for periods far beyond legal limits. We are calling on the home secretary to declare that anyone held at Manston for more than 24 hours is being detained unlawfully. We are also asking that the home secretary allow access to the facility for organisations qualified to provide support in immigration detention settings.

Detainees wrapped in blankets inside the Manston holding centre for migrants today.
Detainees wrapped in blankets inside the Manston holding centre for migrants today. Photograph: Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Images


Sturgeon says she will attend Cop27 climate summit to show Scotland will 'do its part' to deliver Glasgow climate pact

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has said she is “determined” the country will play its part in responding to the climate emergency ahead of the Cop27 summit. As PA Media reports, Sturgeon will attend the UN talks, which begin in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Sunday.

Speaking at first minister’s questions in Edinburgh, she said:

If the world is to deliver on the Glasgow climate pact, all nations need to continue to increase that ambition and take credible action to reach net zero emissions.

Over the next few days, I will attend Cop27 to do what I can to further collaboration between Scotland and other countries to build upon the agreements that were made in Glasgow and to continue Scotland’s leadership, not least on the issue of loss and damage.

Although we are not yet a member state of the UN or party to the Paris agreement, Scotland will do its part by sharing our own experiences of delivering net zero targets at home as part of a just transition, and also by helping to amplify the voices of those most impacted by climate change but also very often excluded from the debate.

Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish parliament today.
Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish parliament today. Photograph: Ken Jack/Getty Images


UK to open talks with Mauritius with view to reaching deal over future of Chagos Islands, Cleverly says

Perhaps Jeremy Corbyn really is living in Rishi Sunak’s head after all. (See 3.10pm.) Corbyn has for years been campaigning on behalf of the Chagossians, the inhabitants of the Chagos Islands who were expelled from their homes in the British Indian Ocean Territory in the late 1960s and early 70s so that the US could build and operate a military base at Diego Garcia. They have been demanding the right to return ever since.

Today, in a Commons written statement, James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, says the UK and Mauritius, which claims the islands as part of its territory, are going to open talks with a view to resolving “all outstanding issues”, including the fate of the Chagossians, by early next year.

Cleverly says the talks are happening following a conversation between Liz Truss and the Pravind Jugnauth, the prime minister of Mauritius, at the United Nations general assembly when Truss was PM. He says:

Through negotiations, taking into account relevant legal proceedings, it is our intention to secure an agreement on the basis of international law to resolve all outstanding issues, including those relating to the former inhabitants of the Chagos archipelago. This will allow the UK and Mauritius, as close Commonwealth partners, to work even more closely together to tackle the regional and global security challenges that face us all.

He also says both parties have agreed that any deal must ensure the “continued effective operation” of the military base at Diego Garcia, “which plays a vital role in regional and global security”.

US bombers at the air base on Diego Garcia.
US bombers at the air base on Diego Garcia.
Photograph: Pictures from History/Universal Images Group/Getty Images


Suella Braverman travelled by helicopter from Dover to the Manston migrant processing centre, about 20 miles away, the Telegraph’s Jack Maidment reports.

Suella Braverman is seen after disembarking a Chinook helicopter on her way to visit Manston this afternoon.
Suella Braverman is seen after disembarking a Chinook helicopter on her way to visit Manston this afternoon. Photograph: Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Images

Matt Hancock will be paid about £400,000 to appear in I’m a Celebrity, Andy Halls reports in the Sun:

A source said: ‘Matt’s pay deal with I’m A Celebrity is around £400,000 which is one of the largest ever show fees to have been paid out.

‘ITV were keen for viewers to think the deal was worth around £150,000 but in reality it’s over double that.

“They asked him to be on the show three times in a matter of weeks and the money definitely helped seal the deal.’

Hancock has said he will give some of his fee to a hospice in his constituency, and some to dyslexia charities. He has also said he will declare what he gets paid in the register of members’ interests.


Corbyn criticises Sunak for giving MPs 'wholly inaccurate' account of Labour's 2019 manifesto

Jeremy Corbyn has criticised Rishi Sunak for giving MPs a false account of his views, and the contents of Labour’s 2019 manifesto.

Speaking in the Commons, Corbyn also joked that he was living “rent-free” in the prime minister’s head, based on what Sunak said at PMQs yesterday.

During his exchanges with Keir Starmer yesterday, Sunak said Starmer said in 2019 that Corbyn, the then Labour leader, would make a great prime minister. Sunak went on:

Let us remember that national security agenda: abolishing our armed forces, scrapping the nuclear deterrent, withdrawing from Nato, voting against every single anti-terror law we tried, and befriending Hamas and Hezbollah.

There was nothing in Labour’s 2019 manifesto that even remotely matched any of those five propositions, although most of them wholly or loosely matched positions taken by Corbyn at some point in his career before he became Labour leader.

Raising a point of order, Corbyn said Sunak gave him no advance warning of what he was going to say yesterday. He went on:

He gave a wholly inaccurate representation of the 2019 election manifesto, which he must have been fully well aware of because he took part in many debates concerning the content of that manifesto during the election campaign.

Corbyn asked Nigel Evans, the deputy speaker, how he could get Sunak to correct the record. He went on:

If I’m going to live rent-free in his head at least he could accurately reflect what I think and what I say rather than inventions made up by him or his office.

Evans said he was sure Corbyn’s remarks would be passed on to the PM.

But Penny Mordaunt, the leader of the Commons, said Starmer’s support for Corbyn was likely to be raised every week. She also claimed Labour’s 2019 manifesto “would have weakened this country and dismantled Nato”.

That was misleading, too. The 2019 Labour manifesto mentioned Nato just once, saying:

We will maintain our commitment to Nato and our close relationship with our European partners, and we will use our influence at the United Nations to support peace and security worldwide.

Corbyn is currently suspended from the parliamentary Labour party because Starmer wants him to apologise for comments he made that purportedly minimised the significance of the antisemitism problem in the party under his leadership.


Hunt says interest rate hike will be 'very tough' for families, and accepts that past Tory policies made problem worse

Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, has recorded an interview for broadcasters about today’s Bank of England interest rate hike. The news was going to be “very tough” for families, he said.

When it was put to him that Tory policies had contributed to the problem, Hunt did not dispute that, but he did insist his party was doing something about it. He said:

What my party has done is put in place a new prime minister. We also have a new chancellor of the exchequer.

Today’s news is going to be very tough for families with mortgages up and down the country, for businesses with loans.

But there is a global economic crisis, the International Monetary Fund say a third of the world’s economy is now in recession.

The best thing the government can do if we want to bring down these rises in interest rates is to show that we are bringing down our debt. Families up and down the country have to balance their accounts at home and we must do the same as a government.

When it was put to him again that this was not just a global crisis, and that the Conservative party was to blame for the “very significant” UK component to the problem, Hunt said that Rishi Sunak accepted that when he became prime minister, and that Sunak said he was there to fix it. Hunt also said that, as chancellor, he had reversed decisions taken by his predecessor.


No 10 confirms it has abandoned proposal floated by Truss to move British embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

When Liz Truss was prime minister she said the government was considering relocating the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is one of the many Truss policies that has now been abandoned, because Downing Street said today that the proposal had been considered and that there were “no plans to move the British embassy”.

Labour MP says Braverman should resign, or be sacked, because of her failure to safeguard refugee children

A teenage boy was allegedly raped by a man in his 30s at a hotel used to house refugees in east London, and another alleged sexual assault against a child is said to have taken place at the same facility, my colleagues Emine Sinmaz and Jessica Elgot report.

The Labour MP Stella Creasy, who represents Walthamstow, where the attacks allegedly happened, said Suella Braverman, the home secretary, should resign or be sacked because of her failure to ensure the safety of refugee children. She told the Guardian:

These incidents underline just how important it is that those who have responsibilities towards these children do so with the professionalism and compassion they deserve. The home secretary has failed on all counts – if she had an ounce of integrity she would step down, and if she doesn’t the prime minister owes these children the duty of care that been missing to date and must remove her from her post.

Minister says he expects 'urgent action' to be taken in response to report about extent of misogyny in police forces

The Home Office expects “urgent action” to be taken in response to a report saying a failure of leadership, and vetting procedures, has allowed a culture of misogyny and predatory behaviour to flourish in the police, MPs have been told.

Responding to an urgent question about the report from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, which was published yesterday, Chris Philp, a Home Office minister, said that Suella Braverman, the home secretary, had made it clear that “things must change” in response to the findings.

He told MPs:

There are 43 recommendations. Three of those are for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, nine of them are for the College of Policing, 28 of them are for chief constables and three of them are for the Home Office.

The Home Office will most certainly be implementing those three recommendations.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said in a statement yesterday they expect police to act on their recommendations urgently and that is most certainly my expectation as well that all of these recommendations will be acted on as a matter of urgency.

He added: “We do expect urgent action to be taken on these areas.”

Sarah Jones, the shadow Home Office minister, accused the government of failing to “lead from the front” in terms of addressing the problems outlined in the report. She said the report was a record of failure.

Starmer says people paying 'Tory premium' on their mortgages because of government's economic record

Keir Starmer says people are now paying a “Tory premium” on their mortgages because of the government’s economic record. In an interview on Times Radio, commenting on today’s 0.75-percentage-point Bank of England interest rate hike – the largest for more than 30 years – Starmer said:

It’s been hard enough already – this is going to make things much, much harder. And this isn’t just about what’s happening this week or next week, this has been 12 years now of utter failure from this government.

We haven’t had sufficient growth in the economy for over a decade. And that’s left us more exposed than other countries. There is a Tory premium now on mortgages, and families will look at [interest rates], know how difficult things are now and shudder that, because of the failure of the last 12 years, working families across the country can be paying the price.


Belize rejects claim that it might sign 'inhumane' Rwanda-style deal with UK to take its asylum seekers

Eamon Courtenay, the foreign minister of Belize, has denied a report in the Daily Express saying that his country could sign a deal with the UK to take is asylum seekers, like Rwanda. (See 12.30pm.) He says such a policy would be “inhumane” and contrary to international law.


No 10 seeks to repair relations with Albania, saying UK is 'extremely grateful' for its cooperation on asylum cases

At the No 10 lobby briefing Downing Street also sought to repair relations with Albania, saying the government was “extremely grateful” to it for its cooperation on asylum matters.

Yesterday Edi Rama, the Albanian prime minister, used Twitter to accuse the UK government of using his country’s citizens as scapegoats for failed immigration policies. He said repeatedly blaming Albanians for the UK’s border problems was “insane”.

Later, in an interview on Newsnight, Rama said that Britain was becoming “like a madhouse”.

But at the Downing Street lobby briefing this morning the spokesperson declined invitations to hit back. Instead, in a clear sign the government would like to de-escalate the row, she praised Albania. She said:

We remain extremely grateful for the cooperation of the Albanian government, we have a strong working relationship with them, which we would want to continue to build on.

In the Commons on Monday, Suella Braverman, the home secretary, said that, with help from the Albanian authorities, the government was having “some success’” in returning people who did not qualify for asylum to Albania quickly.


No 10 confirms government wants more countries to sign Rwanda-style deals to take asylum seekers

Downing Street has confirmed that the government is trying to find other countries willing to follow Rwanda and reach an agreement with the UK to take people crossing the Channel in small boats and hoping to claim asylum.

In the Daily Express David Maddox says Paraguay is the country closest to signing a deal. Peru and Belize are also possible locations, he reports.

At the No 10 lobby briefing, a Downing Street spokesperson would not deny the report. She went on:

We do plan to negotiate similar deals with other countries, akin to the Rwanda partnership, but it’s not helpful for us to comment on speculation around potential discussions.

Lord Ashcroft, the former Tory deputy chairman with extensive business interests in Belize, says he does not think it will be taking any asylum seekers.


Downing Street has confirmed that Suella Braverman, the home secretary, is visiting the Manston processing centre for asylum seekers this afternoon. A spokesperson said:

The home secretary is visiting Western Jet Foil and Coastguard HQ in Dover this morning. She’ll meet with Border Force staff and military personnel to discuss operations in the Channel, she’ll then be in Manston this afternoon where she will speak with staff and receive an update on the situation on the ground.

Suella Braverman leaving the Western Jet Foil migrant processing centre in Dover this morning.
Suella Braverman leaving the Western Jet Foil migrant processing centre in Dover this morning. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

Bank of England raises interest rates to 3%

The Bank of England has raised interest rates by 0.75 percentage points to 3% to calm inflation that has soared this year in response to spiralling energy and food bills, my colleague Phillip Inman reports. His story is here.

Graeme Wearden has more coverage on his business live blog.

The autumn statement will be unveiled in two weeks today. It could be the most important fiscal announcement of Rishi Sunak’s premiership, and it will involve tax rises and spending cuts intended to fill a “black hole” in the government’s accounts worth an estimated £50bn. Here are some of the stories from today’s papers setting out what it might contain.

  • Steven Swinford in the Times says the government is planning “to extend windfall taxes on oil and gas companies to raise an estimated £40bn over five years” in the autumn statement. He says:

The prime minister and chancellor met yesterday afternoon to discuss items for the autumn budget, which are due to be submitted to the official forecaster at the end of the week.

They want to maximise revenues from the windfall tax by increasing the rate from 25% to 30%, extending the levy until 2028 and expanding the scheme to cover electricity generators.

  • Jason Groves in the Daily Mail says the government may suspend the triple lock for pensions next year, and raise pensions in line with earnings, not inflation. He says:

Under one option considered by the Treasury, pensions would rise in line with average earnings rather than inflation next year, meaning an increase of 5.5%, instead of 10%.

If approved, the state pension of £185.15 per week would rise to £195.35 rather than £203.70, costing pensioners £8.35 a week, or £434 a year.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said the move would save the Treasury around £4.5bn a year.

  • Natasha Clark and Jack Elsom in the Sun says the government is planning to freeze tax allowances for six years in the mini-budget. They say:

Thousands more earners will be dragged into higher tax brackets, which won’t rise in line with inflation.

Middle earners on £50,000 could be around £3,500 poorer, according to research from Blick Rothenberg.

The plans could rake in an extra £5bn a year for the chancellor.

  • Arj Singh in the i says Rishi Sunak has “shelved Liz Truss’s promise to build the flagship Northern Powerhouse Rail”.


Sunak sells poppies at Westminster tube station to raise money for Royal British Legion

Rishi Sunak has surprised commuters by selling poppies at Westminster tube station in London, PA Media reports. PA says:

The prime minister joined several Army personnel and the civil servant Stephen le Roux to raise money for the Royal British Legion’s (RBL) annual poppy appeal at about 8am this morning.

Sunak was seen holding a tray full of poppies and talking to members of the public during the brief appearance to which no media was invited.

The RBL said they were “grateful to the PM for generously giving up his time to collect with us during the morning rush hour”.

Others were also quick to share their surprise over the prime minister’s appearance.

Tory MP Andrew Stephenson wrote: “Good to see the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, selling poppies for Poppy Legion at Westminster tube station on my way into work this morning.”

One commuter tweeted: “Saw Rishi Sunak selling poppies at Westminster station. Bought one off him for a fiver. What a morning.”

The RBL is aiming to raise £1m for the London Poppy Day.

Rishi Sunak selling poppies for the Royal British Legion poppy appeal at Westminster tube station this morning.
Rishi Sunak selling poppies for the Royal British Legion poppy appeal at Westminster tube station this morning. Photograph: @sara_le_roux/PA


When Liz Truss was Tory leader and prime minister, Keir Starmer had a huge, 29-point lead over her on who would make the best prime minister. According to new YouGov polling, Starmer still has a lead over Rishi Sunak on this measure. But it is only a four-point lead, and the more detailed polling suggests that the two leaders are relatively evenly matched when people assess their qualities.

For example, Sunak is seen as more decisive and charismatic, but Starmer is seen as more honest and trustworthy. Sunak is seen as better at managing the economy, but Starmer is seen as better at tackling the rise in the cost of living.

But Starmer does have a decisive lead on who is seen as most likely to understand the challenges of day-to-day life experienced by ordinary people. The stories about Sunak and his family being richer than the King have clearly registered with the public.


UK environment watchdog confronts Thérèse Coffey over missed targets

The head of the independent environmental watchdog is holding talks with the environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, over delays in meeting key targets to tackle water and air pollution and halt the decline in nature. My colleague Sandra Laville has the story here.

Andrew Bridgen has said he is “disappointed” by the standards committee report saying he should be suspended from the Commons for five days. (See 9.31am.) In a statement he said:

Whilst I am extremely disappointed with the recommendations of the committee, I accept them and will comply with them as required to do so.

As well as proposing Bridgen’s suspension, the report says he should apologise to the Commons, and to Kathryn Stone, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, for his conduct.


There are two urgent questions in the Commons today at 10.30am, but neither is about the treatment of asylum seekers. The first is on misogyny in the police force, and vetting arrangements for recruits, and the second is on abuse and deaths in secure mental health units.

Suella Braverman rated fifth worst cabinet performer by Tory members, survey suggests

Although Liz Truss’s election as Tory leader and PM may have come as a shock to casual observers of politics, who may have found it hard to see what obvious qualifications she had for the job, it was no surprise to regular readers of the ConservativeHome cabinet league table. The website surveys Tory members every month to ask them to rate how cabinet ministers are performing, and for a long period Truss was at or near the top, because members were impressed by all the Brexit trade deals she seemed to be negotiating as international trade secretary.

And when Boris Johnson’s ratings in the same league table started to plummet, it was not that long before his party moved to get rid of him.

That is why Suella Braverman, the home secretary, will be alarmed to see that, in the first league table of the new cabinet, she is practically at the bottom. The only ministers with a worse ratings are Grant Shapps, the business secretary, who may be unpopular because of perceptions that he was plotting to bring down Liz Truss, and three retreads who do not have full cabinet minister status and who have all been involved previous scandals that embarrassed the party (Robert Jenrick, Andrew Mitchell and Gavin Williamson).

This is how Paul Goodman explains Braverman’s poor ratings in his write-up.

You may conclude that Suella Braverman is fifth from bottom on 20.5 points because of the controversy over the use of her private devices for government devices, or her consultations with John Hayes, or her liaison with Policy Exchange.

Or you may believe that panel members share Roger Gale’s view of the home secretary’s culpability for what has happened at Manston. Or because of her use of the word “invasion”.

My take is that the panel has marked Braverman low because many members of it believe that for all her rhetoric on stopping small boats nothing much will actually be done.

Cabinet league table
Cabinet league table Photograph: ConservativeHome


Manston asylum centre not operating legally, concedes minister

The government has conceded that the asylum processing centre at Manston in Kent is not operating legally, my colleague Peter Walker reports. His full story is here.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen faces five-day suspension for breaking lobbying rules and for smearing standards commissioner

The Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen faces being suspended from the Commons for five days after a report found he broke the rules on lobbying.

In a report, the Commons standards committee says Bridgen broke the rules on registration, declaration and paid lobbying “on multiple occasions and in multiple ways”. It says:

Mr Bridgen has demonstrated a very cavalier attitude to the House’s rules on registration and declaration of interests, including repeatedly saying that he did not check his own entry in the register.

The report says Bridgen should be suspended from the Commons for two days for breaches of two sections of the MPs’ Code of Conduct and a further three sitting days for an “unacceptable attack upon the integrity” of the standards commissioner.

During the investigation Bridgen sent an email to the parliamentary commissioner for standards, Kathryn Stone. It said:

I was distressed to hear on a number of occasions an unsubstantiated rumour that your contract as parliamentary standards commissioner is due to end in the coming months and that there are advanced plans to offer you a peerage, potentially as soon as the prime minister’s resignation honours list. There is also some suggestion amongst colleagues that those plans are dependent upon arriving at the ‘right’ outcomes when conducting parliamentary standards investigation […] I do apologise if you find the contents of this letter offensive, it is certainly not my intention, but I would be grateful if you would provide me reassurance that you are not about to be offered an honour or peerage and that the rumours are indeed malicious and baseless.

The report said the email was “an attempt to place wholly inappropriate pressure on the commissioner” and that “this was completely unacceptable behaviour”.


Home Office denies it is to blame for asylum seekers being left stranded in London

Good morning. As my colleague Amelia Gentleman reports in our overnight splash, the Home Office abandoned 11 asylum seekers from the Manston migration processing centre in central London on Tuesday, without accommodation or warm clothing. Here is the story.

On the Today programme this morning Danial Abbas, a volunteer with Under One Sky, a homelessness charity that helped the asylum seekers, said that someone from the Home Office told him a “massive error” had been made. Abbas said:

I personally was in touch with a gentleman from the Home Office that whole evening. Very quickly a solution was found. He immediately, you know, put his hands up on behalf of the Home Office and said, ‘This has been a massive error, let’s get this sorted ASAP’.

The Home Office did not provide a comment for our story last night, but this morning it has issued a statement. It says that the 11 asylum seekers who were left stranded had originally told staff they would have somewhere to stay in London, and that it is therefore wrong to say the Home Office made a mistake. A spokesperson said:

The individuals were transported to Victoria coach station, London, because they said they had accommodation in that location which would not leave them destitute. They told us they had accommodation with friends of family available to them.

Any suggestion there was an error in transporting the individuals to Victoria is wrong.

The Home Office worked at pace to find accommodation for the individuals when we were notified that 11 of them did not in fact have a place to stay.

The Home Office also says the group were only in London for a few hours before accommodation was found for them.

This is unlikely to be the last word on the matter. Suella Braverman, the home secretary, is visiting Dover today (although she is not planning media interviews), and there is a good chance we may get an urgent question on this in the Commons.

In other developments, Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, has said the government is facing legal action over the conditions in which people have been held at Manston, and four Commons select committee chairs (two Tories, one from Labour and one from the SNP) have written an open letter to Braverman demanding answers to a series of questions about the “dire conditions” at Manston.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: Kemi Badenoch, the international trade secretary, takes questions in the Commons.

10.30am: Penny Mordaunt, the leader of the Commons, makes a statement in the Commons on next week’s business.

11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.

12pm: The Bank of England announces its interest rate decision, and holds a press conference.

3pm: Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, gives a speech at the Anthropy conference at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

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


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