Angela Rayner tax probe continues as Tories face fresh scandal as Mark Menzies loses whip – UK politics live


Related video: Tory MP who reported Rayner to police refuses to say what alleged offences he thinks she has committed

A Tory MP has been suspended after being accused of using campaign funds to pay off “bad people”.

Mark Menzies, who represents Flyde, is alleged to have used thousands of pounds given by donors to fund medical expenses and to have made a late-night call to a 78-year-old aide asking for help because he had been locked up by people demanding money for his release.

The Fylde MP disputes the allegations reported by The Times, but the Conservative Party has launched an investigation into the claims.

Elsewhere, the police investigation into the sale of Angela Rayner’s former council house continues.

Sir Keir Starmer accused Rishi Sunak of trying to “smear a working-class woman” after the prime minister suggested the Labour leader should spend more time reading his deputy’s tax advice during an exchange at Prime Minister’s Questions.

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MPs hear call for creation of minister to ‘protect and cherish’ flags

MPs have heard a call for the creation of a ministerial post to oversee use of national symbols as well as introducing legislation to protect the “cherished national flag”.

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell (Romford) said people were “quite angered” by attempts to alter the appearance of flags.

In the Commons on Thursday, Mr Rosindell said: “I think many people will be quite angered by the way certain national organisations have tried to change our national flags – the cross of St George and the Union Jack.

“Isn’t it time that we protected and cherished our national symbols by appointing a minister of the crown to oversee this from the Cabinet Office. And will he also look at the Union Flag Bill of 2008 which enshrines in legislation the protection of our cherished national flag?”

Matt Mathers18 April 2024 11:20

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Starmer to set out plans for ‘historic’ £1.8bn investment in Britain’s ports

Labour plans to kick-start a “historic investment” in Britain’s ports as part of its green spending plans.

The party has already committed to spending £1.8 billion over five years on upgrading the UK’s port infrastructure if it wins the next election as part of its flagship Green Prosperity Plan.

On a visit to the North East of England on Thursday, Sir Keir Starmer is expected to say the money will lead to the most significant upgrade of Britain’s ports in a generation and billions more pouring into the UK’s energy industry from the private sector.

Matt Mathers18 April 2024 11:10

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Cut foreign aid budget to boost defence spending – Jenrick

Future Tory leadership hopeful Robert Jenrick has suggested the foreign aid budget should be cut to fund a boost in defence spending.

The former immigration minister told The Sun’s Never Mind the Ballots podcast that a third of the foreign aid budget should be immediately diverted to bolster Britain’s defences.

He said: “To govern is to choose and if you’re faced with a difficult choice, I think protecting our national security and investing in defence is more important today than our international aid budget.”

(UK Parliament/Maria Unger /PA Wire)

Matt Mathers18 April 2024 10:55

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Mark Menzies ‘quite troubled’, Shapps suggests

Suspended MP Mark Menzies is potentially someone who is “quite troubled,” Grant Shapps has suggested.

The defence secretary was speaking after it was reported that Mr Menzies allegedly used campaign funds to pay off “bad people” after being locked in a flat late at night.

“It sounds to me that there is potentially somebody who’s quite troubled in the mix here,” he told Times Radio.

Matt Mathers18 April 2024 10:40

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Labour ahead on all major political issues – poll

Labour leads the Conservatives on every major political issue, according to new poll revealing the scale of the challenge facing Rishi Sunak at the general election.

A poll by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft for the Daily Mail found the Tories trailing Labour on the cost of living, NHS and social care and immigration and asylum and other areas traditionally seen as Conservative strengths, such as crime and national security.

Some 34 per cent of voters said Sir Keir Starmer would make the best prime minister, against 19 per cent for Rishi Sunak.

Matt Mathers18 April 2024 10:25

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UK must bolster economic defences, deputy PM to warn

Britain needs to boost its economic defences to counter the “security risks” of globalisation, the deputy prime minister is set to warn.

In a speech on Thursday, Oliver Dowden is expected to set out plans to bolster the UK’s ability to deal with “economic security shocks” such as the rise in energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He was expected to announce new curbs on trade and investment with China and other countries with frosty relations with the UK.

Matt Mathers18 April 2024 10:05

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Rayner will claim kitchen renovation meant no capital gains tax was due on sale of house – report

Angela Rayner will reportedly claim that she was not required to pay capital gains when she sold her former council house because the tax was offset with a kitchen renovation.

The Times reports Labour’s deputy will say that the property revamp meant that there was no tax to pay.

Greater Manchester Police has launched an investigation into the saga and is said to be looking at multiple allegations.

Matt Mathers18 April 2024 09:52

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Three-quarters of public fear misinformation will affect UK elections – report

More than three-quarters of people fear misinformation and deepfakes will affect forthcoming elections and interfere with the democratic process, according to a new report.

The Future Of Trust study, carried out by tech firm Adobe, found that 94 per cent of people it surveyed in the UK want the government to work with tech companies to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) because of fears around misinformation.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults found that 81 per cent agree that misinformation is one of the biggest threats facing society, with 76 per cent saying they currently find it hard to verify whether online content they see is trustworthy.

A number of high-profile UK politicians, including prime minister Rishi Sunak, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and London mayor Sadiq Khan, have been the subject of deepfakes in attempts to spread misinformation about them online.

Matt Mathers18 April 2024 09:40

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Watch: Liz Truss calls on David Cameron to give Israel more support after Iran attack

Liz Truss calls on David Cameron to give Israel more support after Iran attack

Liz Truss has called on foreign secretary David Cameron to give Israel more support following Iran’s attack. Iran launched a drone and missile attack on Israel last Saturday (14 April). The former prime minister said she is “concerned” the Foreign Office is “not wholly supportive of Israel”. Ms Truss appeared on ITV show Peston on Wednesday (17 April) when she was asked by the presenter: “Do you think that David Cameron, the current foreign secretary, is supportive enough of Israel?” Ms Truss replied: “I would like to see more support for Israel.”

Matt Mathers18 April 2024 09:30

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Mark Menzies: Who is the Tory MP suspended over alleged misuse of funds?

Mr Menzies is the Ayrshire-born Tory MP for Fylde, Lancashire, who won his seat at the 2010 general election.

The University of Glasgow graduate spent years at some of Britain’s biggest supermarkets including Marks & Spencer, which he joined as a graduate trainee in 1994 .

He has been an active member of the Conservative Party since 1987 and was president of his university’s Conservative Association.

Matt Mathers18 April 2024 09:29

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