Starmer rules out taking UK back into single market or customs union if Labour win election–UK politics live

Starmer accused by SNP of trying to ‘out-Tory the Tories’ with speech saying firms should end ‘immigration dependency’

The SNP has accused Keir Starmer of trying to “out-Tory the Tories” with his speech to the CBI this morning. In a statement referring in particular to Starmer’s comments about the need for employers to end their “immigration dependency” (see 9.11am), Kirsten Oswald, the SNP’s deputy leader at Westminster, said:

It was depressing to watch the Labour leader try to out-Tory the Tories – again – on Brexit and migration, and essentially tell CBI that they are wrong …

The CBI has raised legitimate and very real concerns over Brexit and its impact on immigration and our workforce. Instead of heeding the warnings, both the Tory and Labour leaders have chosen to double down on the delusion of Brexit, when it is obvious it isn’t working.

With both Labour and the Tories committed to the damage of Brexit, the only route to escape its long-term harm and rejoin the largest single market in the world – a market seven times greater than the UK – is for Scotland to become an independent country.

Kirsten Oswald
Kirsten Oswald Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA

“No 10 signals that inquiry into Raab bullying allegations could extend beyond formal complaints already submitted

The inquiry into bullying allegations about Dominic Raab, the justice secretary and deputy PM, could extend beyond the two formal complaints that have been submitted, No 10 has signalled.

As PA Media reports, the PM’s spokesperson indicated the inquiry could examine new allegations reported in the Guardian that Raab behaved so badly in a meeting with the Home Office during his first stint as justice secretary that his department’s top official had to personally apologise to counterparts.

An independent investigation has been promised, although Downing Street said the person who will lead that inquiry has not yet been appointed. As PA reports, asked for Rishi Sunak’s response to the latest allegations about Raab’s behaviour, the spokesperson said:

“The prime minister has asked for an independent investigator to establish the facts and provide their findings. In the first instance, we will appoint an investigator and then there will be the process … It will be for the investigator to decide what they do or do not choose to look at.

13.06 GMT

Ofsted chief says some schools now revealed as no longer outstanding may have seen standards slip ‘many years ago’

Amanda Spielman, the head of Ofsted, has confirmed that 80% of schools in England rated “outstanding” that were inspected last year had their status downgraded.

When Michael Gove was education secretary, he said schools rated outstanding would no longer receive regular Ofsted inspections, unless there were particular concerns about them. That policy applied from 2012 until it was lifted in 2020.

Today Ofsted has revealed that more than 300 schools lost their “outstanding” status after inspections last year. It says:

“Over 80% (308) of these schools that had a graded inspection last year did not retain the outstanding grade. The majority were judged to be good. However, around a fifth were rated requires improvement (17%) or inadequate (4%).

When selecting schools for inspection, Ofsted prioritised those that had gone the longest without inspection, which for some was as long as 15 years ago. The average for schools inspected last year was 13 years.

When the exemption ended, 43% of exempt schools had not had a graded inspection for at least 10 academic years, and a further 38% had gone between 5 and 10 academic years.

Giving evidence to the Commons education committee this morning, Spielman said the fall in standards at these schools may have happened “many years ago”. She said:

“The ones we inspected last year in the main hadn’t been inspected for 13, 14, even 15 years – a great deal of time in which all of the staff, including the head, all of the governors are likely to have changed, sometimes a number of times.

So, at one level there is no surprise that the profile doesn’t look extremely similar to what it did for those 300 schools all that time ago.

It’s important to say that in many cases the downward shift … may have happened many years ago.

12.50 GMT

No 10 urges MPs to ignore guidance allowing them to claim some Christmas party costs on expenses

Downing Street has criticised guidance that says MPs can claims expenses to cover the cost of food and refreshments, but not alcohol, for Christmas parties for their parliamentary staff.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has said it would approve such payments, although it has also urged MPs to make sure any gathering “represents value for money, especially in the current economic climate”.

At the No 10 lobby briefing, the PM’s spokesperson said Rishi Sunak did not believe MPs should be claiming for parties on expenses. He said:

Questions on these sorts of arrangements are for Ipsa, they’re independent of both parliament and government, they set the allowances. But the prime minister certainly doesn’t intend to use this and his view is that MPs will want to justify all spending to their constituents.

12.41 GMT

Government has ‘failed’ millenials on housing, childcare and wages, says Tory thinktank founder as he quits

Ryan Shorthouse, the founder of an influential Conservative thinktank, is to quit his post, accusing the government of betraying younger people who face stagnant wages and little help with punishing housing and childcare costs, my colleague Jessica Elgot reports. Shorthouse told the Guardian:

“The Tory government has failed my generation – millennials – who have come of age and entered the labour market under 12 years of Tory rule, with punishing housing and childcare costs – combined with stagnant wages – preventing the building blocks of what Conservatives believe make the good life.

The full story is here.

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