Politics live: Elgin Marbles and immigration raised at heated PMQs

The Prime Minister sparked a diplomatic row over the weekend that saw a backlash from his own MPs.
Rishi Sunak has been criticised for cancelling a meeting with the Greek Prime Minister.Rishi Sunak has been criticised for cancelling a meeting with the Greek Prime Minister.
Rishi Sunak has been criticised for cancelling a meeting with the Greek Prime Minister.

Rishi Sunak faced a difficult PMQs today following rows over the Elgin Marbles and the latest immigration figures.

Earlier MPs heard from the Scottish Secretary Alister Jack at Scottish Questions, while the Chancellor is now being grilled on the Autumn Statement by the Treasury Commitment.

Good morning politics fans. The Prime Minister faces a tricky PMQs today, where he'll have to explain his strop over the Elgin Marbles, as well as why the Government has missed its immigration target, again.

If that wasn't enough for you, we've also got Scottish Questions at 11:30, and the Chancellor before the Treasury Committee at 14:15.

Go get yourself a pastry and make a strong brew, it's going to be a big one

They go to another school

Britain held an investment summit yesterday, at which the business secretary Kemi Badenoch claimed investors were threatening to leave if Labour won the election, because they don't support business.

Her former Boris Johnson of course once said "f**k business" and numerous firms moved HQs because of Brexit, but I'm sure this actually happened.

Hostile environment

The environment secretary Steve Barclay has admitted more needs to be done on immigration, describing the numbers as "too high".

He's also denied there is a conflict of interest in him being environment secretary while his wife is director of Anglian Water.

Mr Barclay told GB News: “I think most people realise in the 21st century women are entitled to her own careers and spouses. The propriety and ethics these things are all disclosed, propriety and ethics have looked at that and they sort of have cleared all that, so everything has been looked at, everything's transparent".

That's that sorted. 

It's all Greek to me

Rishi Sunak's decision to cancel the meeting with his Greek counterpart caused consternation among many Tory MPs, who thought the whole thing was really embarrassing.

Here's a piece on the mood in Government on the issue, written by some politics nerd you probably haven't heard of.

We're about half an hour away from Scottish Questions, where SNP MPs are likely to attack the UK Government, and Tory MPs will probably praise it.

Sorry for the spoilers, kick off 11:30.


In Westminster being broken latest, there has been a system update so not all entry passes are working.

For lobby journalists, this means they can't get into office rooms, whereas MPs don't seem to be impacted.

Please, won't someone think of the journalists.

Meanwhile at the Covid inquiry, Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dame Jenny Harries has been confronted over emails suggesting people with Covid should be discharged into care homes.

An email showed she told officials it was "entirely clinically appropriate" to send positive patients back into care homes.

She says: "My message on the 16th ... this was a look ahead and think 'this is what will happen in due course', it doesn't give a timeframe.

"You should not take my email as to say 'the NHS is suddenly going to discharge lots of Covid-positive patients and that's absolutely fine'.

"What it was doing was painting a picture to the person who was contributing to policy on the official side at the Department of Health."

Knowing me, knowing EU

Quite the story breaking from Politico, who report that the president of the European Commission has claimed the UK is on a clear “direction of travel” toward rejoining the EU.

Ursula von der Leyen said: “I must say, I keep telling my children: ‘You have to fix it. We goofed it up, you have to fix it.’ So I think here too, the direction of travel — my personal opinion — is clear.”

Polling has consistently shown a majority of voters in the U.K. would back rejoining the EU, but let's not get too carried away.

New Labour MP Michael Shanks is up first, now a shadow Scotland minister. He jokes there wasn't "much stiff competition for the role", which gets a few laughs.

Dropped like a stone

Lib Dem MP Jamie Stone says the Scottish Government must step into to help keep Post Offices open in rural communities.

Scotland minister John Lamont says he agrees, and will offer a meeting with his colleagues to help work with Holyrood on this issue.



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