Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss compete for Tory members’ support in Cheltenham leadership hustings – UK politics live

Latest Conservative hustings at 7pm

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will go head-to-head in Cheltenham in around 15 minutes, you can follow all of the action here.

Key events

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Peter Booth, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party Board, said all Tory members should have received their ballot paper by today.

The posting of the ballots had been delayed following security concerns last week.

The hustings is now underway in Cheltenham with the introductory speeches.

Away from the hustings, MPs received almost 70,000 worth of free tickets to concerts and sporting events this summer, including gigs by Ed Sheeran and Adele and the British Grand Prix.

An update to the MPs’ Register of Interests revealed 10 MPs were treated to tickets worth thousands of pounds to the Grand Prix at Silverstone.

MPs given tickets to the Grand Prix included defence secretary Ben Wallace, whose two tickets worth 1,516 were provided by Motorsport UK, and former minister Dame Andrea Leadsom, who received two tickets worth a total of 2,600 from Silverstone Circuits itself.

Crawley MP Henry Smith recorded the single most valuable hospitality declaration, with Emirates Airlines paying 4,248 for two tickets to the Grand Prix.

Other Cabinet ministers to receive hospitality included work and pensions secretaryTherese Coffey, who was given a ticket to an Ed Sheeran concert at Wembley by the Betting and Gaming Council, and Treasury chief secretary Simon Clarke, who received hospitality at Wimbledon worth 1,250 from the Lawn Tennis Association.

Due to the number of people attending, the start of the hustings has been delayed until 7:15pm.

Labour MPs have called for parliament to be recalled to address the cost-of-living crisis.

MPs including John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon and Dawn Butler have signed a letter demanding a recall, alongside Labour peers including Shami Chakrabarti and Bryn Davies.

The letter, address to the prime minister, leader of the opposition and the Commons and Lords speakers said it would be “imperative” for the government to act in the wake of the coming Ofgem price cap announcement.

Latest Conservative hustings at 7pm

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will go head-to-head in Cheltenham in around 15 minutes, you can follow all of the action here.

Councils have called for clarity around the spending of money raised from the soft drinks sugar levy, saying it should be used to tackle physical inactivity and ensure a Commonwealth Games legacy.

The levy, designed to reduce consumption of sugary drinks, has raised around £1.2bn since its introduction.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling for the money to be invested in council-run initiatives to boost physical activity and “find the sporting champions of the future” as the country celebrates the success of the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 football victory and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Only 45% of children are meeting the chief medical officer’s guidelines of one hour of physical activity a day, according to a government report, with data collected by councils also revealing rates of childhood obesity remain above their pre-pandemic levels.

A government spokesperson said: “We have gone above and beyond by spending hundreds of millions more than the levy’s actual revenue directly on programmes to help children get active and eat healthy.

“This funding has expanded the national school breakfast programme, the holiday activities and food programme, and the PE and sport premium for primary schools.”

The shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy, has been found to have breached the MPs’ code of conduct by inadvertently failing to register a total of 16 interests on time.

The parliamentary standards commissioner, Kathryn Stone, said she found “no intention to mislead”, and that Lammy made the breach “as a result of inattention to detail”.

A referral to the standards committee was not necessary, Stone said.

In a letter to the commissioner, the shadow foreign secretary offered his “sincere apologies” for the late submissions, saying he was “thoroughly embarrassed” by the accidental breaches, which were “genuine oversights resulting from administrative errors on my behalf”.

He told Stone the register would now feature on the agenda at his weekly team meetings, with his head of office and executive assistant having separate regular catch-ups on the issue.

Lammy also promised to set reminders in his team calendar to “check and submit standard returns”.


Alex Lawson

Alex Lawson has compiled a list of all the executives from Britain’s largest energy companies the prime minister met to discuss the soaring cost of energy bills for UK households.

Boris Johnson met executives from some of Britain’s biggest energy companies on Thursday to discuss the cost of living crisis.

Johnson was flanked by the chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, and the business and energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng. Zahawi said afterwards that the energy firms agreed to “do more to help the people who most need it” – but did not specify what that would entail.

The executives were from power-generation companies – which own assets including windfarms and nuclear power stations – rather than the oil and gas companies hit by the windfall tax, officially known as the energy profits levy, after raking in bumper profits caused in part by the war in Ukraine.

However, there is a lingering threat that the levy may be extended to electricity generation companies amid accusations that they have also enjoyed a bonanza from high energy prices.

You can read the full report here:

Fleur Anderson, the shadow paymaster general, has said the Conservatives have shown “they can’t be trusted with civil contingencies”.

Anderson added:

This Conservative government’s abject failure to adequately prepare for wildfires is a dereliction of duty that is putting lives at risk.

The threat of wildfires has been recognised on the national risk register for nearly a decade, yet the government’s resilience planning has been nothing short of woeful.

Tory cuts to our fire services and their failure to plan for wildfires puts lives at risk.

Labour has a plan to boost Britains resilience and take climate action. https://t.co/C6FjrwKIjG

— Fleur Anderson MP (@PutneyFleur) August 11, 2022

Labour has accused the Tories of putting “the smoke alarm on snooze” and having been “asleep at the wheel”, in response to the intense droughts and extreme heat the UK has been facing.

The opposition party has also said that the government has not yet published its national resilience strategy, set to cover “environmental hazards” including heatwaves, despite a consultation to shape the plan closing some 10 months ago.

The party has now set out its own proposals for a “more resilient Britain”, including a “whole-system approach” to preparing for national emergencies.

PA reports:

This would involve creating a new Cabinet sub-committee on national resilience, Labour said.

The party would also conduct an urgent review of the UK’s emergency Cobra committee, and appoint a minister for resilience within the Cabinet Office to coordinate department-wide responses.

Separately, Labour would “overhaul” local resilience forums, introducing “clear accountability”, new training standards for officials, and formal inspections.

And it would implement a “whole-of-society approach to resilience”, bringing on board businesses and volunteer groups for national planning.

The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has said that Vladimir Putin is unlikely to succeed in occupying Ukraine.

Speaking at a joint conference pledging more funds to Ukraine, Wallace said it was important to understand that fighting and loss of life was still taking place, but added Russia was “starting to fail in many areas”.

They have failed so far and are unlikely to ever succeed in occupying Ukraine.

“Their invasion has faltered and constantly been re-modified to the extent they are really only focusing in parts of the south and in the east, a long, long way away from their three-day so-called special operation. Three days are now over 150 days and nearly six months in, with huge significant losses of both equipment and indeed Russian personnel.

The defence secretary had earlier said:

President Putin will have gambled that come August, come a few months in we will have all got bored of the conflict and the international community would have gone off in different directions. Well, today is proof of the opposite.

“We have come out of this meeting with more pledges of finance, more pledges of training and more pledges of military aid, all designed to help Ukraine win, to help Ukraine stand up for its sovereignty and indeed to ensure that President Putin’s ambitions fail in Ukraine as they rightly should.

The Conservatives are under pressure to clarify whether they will hand back about £500,000 of donations from a company linked to a Venezuelan-Italian banker charged with conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud in the US.

Rowena Mason reports:

Labour questioned whether the party should give back cash donated since 2019 by Britannia Financial Services, which was founded by Julio Herrera Velutini.

Herrera Velutini was charged by the US Department of Justice with conspiracy, federal programmes bribery and honest services wire fraud in relation to an election in Puerto Rico in 2020, according to a press release on 4 August.

The charges relate to allegations that Herrera Velutini and another man, through intermediaries, offered campaign funding to a candidate to be Puerto Rico governor in exchange for her promising to appoint a new financial regulator. A bank owned by Herrera Velutini was at the time under examination by the Puerto Rico financial regulator.

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