Peer warns of ‘disquiet’ over social care reform and Commons may need to think again


The Government’s last-minute changes to its social care plan has caused “a lot of disquiet”, which will put it under the spotlight when it comes to the Lords, a cross-bench peer has warned.

MPs narrowly backed the amendment Health and Social Care Bill, which will see only individual social care costs count toward the new £86,000 cap, by 272 votes to 246 after 19 Tory MPs rebelled and scores of senior figures abstained.

Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary, was among those who failed to back the change, telling BBC Breakfast this morning he was “conflicted” by the Government’s shift on the cap.

“It is one step in the right direction when we hoped for two or three [but] it doesn’t help as many people keep their houses,” he added.

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff said the Lords will scrutinise the Government’s social care reform “very, very carefully”.

The professor of palliative medicine told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I don’t think there will be any quick response one way or another, but I think we will spend quite a bit of time scrutinising….

“It may be that we will say to the Commons, ‘can you think again?’, it may be that we come up with constructive amendments to improve what is on the table at the moment because, clearly, there’s a lot of disquiet.”

​​Follow the latest updates below.

09:18 AM

Criticism of Boris Johnson does not compare to attacks on past PMs, says Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt has admitted Boris Johnson’s speech to the Confederation of British Industry was “not a great one”, but insisted that it will not cut through to the wider public.

The former Cabinet minister told Sky News: “We all have bad moments and yesterday was not a great one for the Prime Minister, but what ordinary people care about is what matters for their life.”

Challenged about the wider issue, he stressed: “I just don’t think there has never been a time when there has been some noises about a prime minister, some complaints from backbenchers.”

He noted the triple dip recession that David Cameron and George Osborne had to grapple with, and “Theresa May battling a hung parliament, and I genuinely don’t think the noises we are getting at the moment… compare to what we have seen previously.

“It has been a bad month, I will absolutely concede that – not just on trivial issues like speeches going wrong but much more serious issues like parliamentary standards. But I think in the end this Government… will be judged on reforms for ordinary people.”

09:11 AM

Nicola Sturgeon invited to appear before Westminster-based committee

Nicola Sturgeon has been invited to give evidence to Westminster’s Scottish affairs committee.

Pete Wishart, the SNP MP who chairs the committee, has invited the First Minister to appear, after Mark Drakeford gave evidence to the Welsh affairs committee in March.

He said: “We are inviting the First Minister to appear before our Committee to discuss a number of issues which are also the responsibility of the Scottish Government, such as areas of welfare policy and higher education. Her evidence will be invaluable in considering the ongoing work between the UK and Scottish governments, and how this relationship could be strengthened to benefit the Scottish people.”

“I look forward to hearing whether the First Minister will accept our invitation, for what will surely be an unmissable event.”

08:58 AM

Caroline Nokes didn’t ‘play the game’ on groping claims, says Rachel Johnson

Caroline Nokes (R) accused Stanley Johnson of having “smacked” her forcefully “on the behind”

Rachel Johnson has said the female Tory MP who accused her father of touching her inappropriately “didn’t really play up and play the game”.

The Prime Minister’s sister questioned the value of Caroline Nokes MP, who chairs the women and equalities select committee, bringing up “historic allegations” about Stanley Johnson 20 years after the events occurred.

“Play up and play the game” is a well-known phrase, often used to mean not playing by the rules, from the poem Vitai Lampada.

Speaking on her podcast Difficult Women, Ms Johnson said: “He’s been in a spot of bother because a female Tory MP didn’t really play up and play the game because she revealed he’d smacked her bottom about 20 years ago.”

She added: “What worries me about it, what does it achieve?”

Read the full story here

08:53 AM

In pictures: Ministers arrive in Downing Street for Cabinet meeting

Michael Gove arrives for Cabinet - PA

Michael Gove arrives for Cabinet – PA

Boris Johnson and co might have had a late night after attending the Black and White dinner for Tory donors in South Kensington – but there is no rest for the Government.

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, arrives in Downing Street - Parsons Media

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, arrives in Downing Street – Parsons Media

There is plenty on the agenda, some of which could prove a further headache for an already-tested Prime Minister – not least Michael Gove’s work on the planning white paper, which is being reviewed amid fears of a widespread backlash.

Mark Spencer, chief whip, will be under pressure to ensure party discipline is restored as criticism of Number 10 rumbles on.

Chief whip Mark Spencer attends the weekly Cabinet meeting - Parsons Media

Chief whip Mark Spencer attends the weekly Cabinet meeting – Parsons Media

08:42 AM

Which Conservative MPs rebelled or abstained last night?

There are backbench rebellions and then there are backbench rebellions. Ultimately, last night’s failed – but yet again, we saw a low turnout among backbenchers, suggesting that while those willing to vote against the Government outright might still be small, loyalty is ebbing.

Here is who voted against the amendment

Peter Aldous * John Baron * Philip Davies * Chris Green * Mark Harper * Kevin Hollinrake * Philip Hollobone * Mark Jenkinson * Andrew Lewer * Julian Lewis* Jason McCartney * Esther McVey * Damien Moore * Holly Mumby-Croft * Mike Penning * Andrew Percy * Dan Poulter * Christian Wakeford * William Wragg.

And here is who abstained…

Lucy Allan * Stuart Anderson * Siobhan Baillie * Simon Baynes * Jake Berry * Peter Bone * Peter Bottomley * Karen Bradley * Andrew Bridgen * Steve Brine * Sara Britcliffe * Robert Buckland * Andy Carter * Christopher Chope * Stephen Crabb * David Davis * Richard Drax * Iain Duncan Smith * Tobias Ellwood * Simon Fell * Mark Francois * Mike Freer * Marcus Fysh * Nus Ghani * Peter Gibson * Jo Gideon * John Glen * Helen Grant * Damian Green * Stephen Hammond * Trudy Harrison * John Hayes * James Heappey * Chris Heaton-Harris * Darren Henry * Antony Higginbotham * Adam Holloway * Neil Hudson * Jeremy Hunt * David Jones * Robert Largan * Jack Lopresti * Tim Loughton * Theresa May * Stephen McPartland * Johnny Mercer * Amanda Milling * Andrew Mitchell * Anne Marie Morris * David Morris * Wendy Morton * Sheryll Murray * Bob Neill * Jesse Norman * Matthew Offord * Neil Parish * Mark Pritchard * Jeremy Quin * Andrew Rosindell * Douglas Ross * Selaine Saxby * Grant Shapps * Alec Shelbrooke * Jane Stevenson* John Stevenson * Julian Sturdy * Tom Tugendhat * Giles Watling.

It’s worth noting that there are a few serving ministers in the above, who would be on the list because they were unable to vote, rather than defying the usual rules on collective responsibility. Others may have been unable to attend for other reasons – but that will not account for the full 68.

08:29 AM

Jeremy Hunt admits ‘last month not good for Government’

Jeremy Hunt has likened Boris Johnson’s CBI speech to the time he called “my Chinese wife Japanese”.

The former foreign secretary stressed that speeches often go awry but the wider public do not remember those moments.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The last month has not been a good month for the Government.

“But the thing that will next count for electorate is whether things we promised for ordinary people are happening.”

Asked if that is the case, he highlighted the booster programme “which means we are more likely here to have a normal Christmas than the rest of Europe”, the health and social care levy and the better-than-expected economy.

“I think there are some things that are making a real difference,” he added.

08:22 AM

Improvements to social care cap ‘unlikely this time around’, admits Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt has admitted it is “unlikely” that the cap on social care costs will become more “generous” in the immediate future.

The former health secretary, who abstained on a vote on social care reform last night, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I would have liked it to be more progressive, more generous than they are. But I am worried we are going on a bit of diversion.

“There is a crisis in social care and it’s not really about how we calculate the cap. In time people will successfully make the case for [changing] the way the cap is calculated.”

Asked if that could be forced as the Health and Social Care Bill makes its way through Parliament, he added: “I think it is unlikely this time around.”

He said it would be “harder to sell to the country” and hoped it would be improved before the next election.

08:18 AM

Conservatives warns of ‘jitters’ after Boris Johnson’s CBI speech

Boris Johnson gave a keynote speech at the Centre for Policy Studies annual dinner at the Guildhall last night - No10 Downing Street

Boris Johnson gave a keynote speech at the Centre for Policy Studies annual dinner at the Guildhall last night – No10 Downing Street

Within Westminster there are concerns that the Prime Minister is being run ragged with his schedule, and whether this is the cause of his rambling speech to the Confederation of the British Industry yesterday.

One Tory MP said the speech “sums up the current approach of Government as a s—show.”

A Westminster source pointed to the fact he had a further two speeches last night after the CBI one, suggesting “perhaps his team are packing too much in”. Another noted that his actions were causing “jitters” among Tory MPs.

Another source said it was “mainly an SW1 b—-fest”, adding: “This s— doesn’t matter but incompetence does. Most still love him. They will continue to do so, but say the PM must get a grip.”

Boris Johnson also attended the Tory donors' Black and White Ball, at The Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington - Jamie Lorriman

Boris Johnson also attended the Tory donors’ Black and White Ball, at The Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington – Jamie Lorriman

08:14 AM

Former minister shrugs off concerns over Boris Johnson’s Peppa Pig speech

Boris Johnson’s speech to the CBI has provoked no small amount of chatter within Westminster – but Jeremy Hunt has shrugged it off.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, the former minister and one-time leadership rival said he had never gone to Peppa Pig World with his daughter, which was “a lucky escape”, but said the Prime Minister was emphasising the “extraordinary success story of British creative industries”.

He highlighted Mr Johnson and the wider Government’s work on the vaccine programme, which would mean we have “a better chance of having a normal Christmas than many countries in Europe”.

This was “the kind of thing that matters more to people”, Mr Hunt added.

08:03 AM

Social care measures are ‘complete nonsense’, says Labour MP

A Labour MP has said them social care measures voted through the Commons last night are “complete nonsense” and breaks the Conservative manifesto from 2019.

Sarah Owen, a member of the health affairs committee, told Sky News: “What we saw last night was absolutely shocking. We saw a number of Conservative MPs rebel.

“We were told no one would have to sell their homes to pay for social care and last night the Tories broke their promise… it doesn’t even solve the crisis – it’s complete nonsense.”

08:01 AM

Jeremy Hunt abstained on social care reform because he was ‘conflicted’ about shift on costs cap

Jeremy Hunt abstained because he was “conflicted” about the Government’s change to the way social care costs would be capped, he has admitted.

The former health secretary was one of dozens of Conservatives who did not vote, while a further 19 colleagues rebelled over the plans for a less generous cap than had previously been expected.

Mr Hunt told the BBC: “I was conflicted, I actually ended up abstaining because it is a big disappointment that they changed the way the cap is calculated. But it is, nonetheless, a step forward.”

Not including council support in calculating whether the cap on care costs has been reached means it “won’t protect the assets of as many people as we had hoped for”.

“We should still remember that for the poorest people they will get more help, earlier, than they currently get.”

07:56 AM

Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer to attend Westminster service for Sir David Amess

Yesterday, mourners lined the streets for Sir David Amess' funeral service in Southend - David Rose

Yesterday, mourners lined the streets for Sir David Amess’ funeral service in Southend – David Rose

Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer will be among the senior politicians attending a Westminster Cathedral service for Sir David Amess, the Conservative MP who was killed serving his constituents.

A message from the Pope will be read as the requiem mass is held in London on Tuesday following a private funeral held in Southend a day earlier.

The Prime Minister and the Labour leader are both set to pay their respects to the father-of-five after he was stabbed to death while holding a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on October 15.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, will preside and Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, will deliver a message from Pope Francis.

Yesterday people lined the streets to pay their respects to the Southend West MP as mourners attended a private ecumenical service at St Mary’s Church in Prittlewell.

07:54 AM

Kate Bingham: Government must ‘do better’ in preparing for future pandemics

The former chairwoman of the UK’s vaccine taskforce has urged the Government to “do better” in its preparation for future disease outbreaks.

Dame Kate Bingham, who stood down from her role at the end of last year, said the UK was “woefully underprepared” for the pandemic and added that if there had been a reliance on Government’s existing machinery the vaccine rollout may not have seen the same success.

She has urged for more scientists to hired as civil servants to help make key decisions in the event of any future deadly disease outbreaks.

Writing in The Times, Dame Kate said: “The machinery of Government is dominated by process, rather than outcome, causing delay and inertia. There is an obsessive fear of personal error and criticism, a culture of groupthink and risk aversion that stifles initiative and encourages foot-dragging.

“The life sciences industry, including the pharmaceutical sector, turns over £80 billion every year. It is vital for our safety and prosperity that it can flourish. Yet the government treats it with hostility and suspicion, causing companies to move to countries with more science-friendly environments such as Belgium and Ireland.”

07:52 AM

​Cut taxes or Brexit will fail, says Lord Frost

Britain cannot carry on as it was before Brexit and must cut taxes and reduce regulation, Lord Frost said on Monday as he called for “free debate” over government policy.

In a speech at a conference attended by Boris Johnson, the Brexit minister urged the UK not to import the “European social model” or it would risk the failure of its split from the EU.

“I can’t share the views of those who think we can treat the private sector as just a convenient way of keeping the public sector running,” Lord Frost said.

“It isn’t just a source of taxes. Nor is it a bunch of people who will inevitably do bad things unless the Government keeps a very close eye on them. We can’t carry on as we were before and if, after Brexit, all we do is import the European social model, we will not succeed.”

07:52 AM

Good Morning

Boris Johnson is digesting another near-miss, after several Tory MPs rebelled and even more abstained on a Government amendment on social care.

The measure has passed – but, with plenty of other grumbles around, there are increasing questions about what toll all this is taking on his leadership.

Here is today’s front page.



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