Boris Johnson latest news: PM warned of national strike over 90,000 job cuts

Boris Johnson promises ‘compassion’ to get people through cost of living crisis

The government has been warned that plans to slash tens of thousands of civil service jobs could trigger a national strike.

Boris Johnson has tasked his cabinet with cutting around 90,000 civil service jobs, with the prime minister telling colleagues on Thursday that the workforce should be slashed by a fifth, as he moved to free up cash for measures to ease the cost of living crisis with possible tax cuts.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which represents workers in the public sector, is to hold an emergency meeting next week to discuss its response.

General Secretary Mark Serwotka condemned the plans and said: “Our members will not be the scapegoats for a failing government. We have our conference in 10 days’ time: taking national strike action is very much on the table.”

He added: “Let’s be clear, this is not about efficiency. This is about the prime minister trying to create a smokescreen to detract from his utter shambles of a government.”

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‘New Cold War’ calls for stronger UK army, Conservative MPs say

Tory backbenchers are calling for increased defense spending and warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has marked the start of a “New Cold War”.

There should be a “meaningful” increase in spending on the armed forces and weapons stockpiles, the Conservative MPs have suggested in a report published today.

The members of the backbench 1922 Defense Committee said the government should re-evaluate its planned cuts to the size of the armed forces and rebuild weapons stockpiles to Cold War levels.

Tory MPs have called for more soldiers and more military equipment

(Steve Parsons/PA)

The Ministry of Defense should aim for specific targets in terms of number of soldiers, ships and aircraft rather than the current goal of spending 2 per cent of GDP – they said, adding that Germany’s increased defense spending would mean the UK no longer had Nato’s second -largest defense budget.

Committee chair and former Army officer John Baron said: “Across the Conservative backbenches there is a wide consensus that the Russian invasion of Ukraine requires an increase in defense spending alongside a broad reassessment of manpower and capabilities.

“In particular, the report concludes that there should be a moratorium on defense cuts until this reassessment exercise is.”

In 2020, the Government pledged to spend an extra £24 billion on defense over the following five years, but the committee said there was “still substantial scope for more spending as befits what many regard as the beginning of the New Cold War”.

Lamiate Sabine13 May 2022 15:30

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Unions hit out at ‘outrageous act of vandalism’ over civil service cuts

Three more union leaders have criticised the proposal to cut civil service staffing by a fifth.

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA, which represents senior civil servants, said: “The reason for the civil service’s expansion since 2016 isn’t because the government loosened the purse strings. The government needed civil servants to deal with the consequences of two unprecedented events: Brexit and the Covid pandemic.

“To govern is to choose and ultimately this government can decide to cut the civil service back to 2016 levels, but it will also then have to choose what the civil service will no longer have the capacity to do. Will they affect passports, borders or health?

“Without an accompanying strategy, these cuts appear more like a continuation of the Government’s civil service culture wars, or even worse, ill-thought out, rushed job slashes that won’t lead to a more cost-effective government.”

Mike Clancy, general secretary of the Prospect union, called the plan “an outrageous act of vandalism on our public services.”

He said: “Through Brexit, and then the pandemic, we have never been more reliant in peace time on our civil service.

“Our members are highly skilled and there is a real risk to government delivery from losing their vital expertise.

“The big cuts to public services since 2010 have often proved an expensive error – these proposals risk doubling down on the mistake.”

Paul Nowak, the TUC deputy general secretary said: “The government is yet again treating the civil service with contempt.

“Civil servants are key workers who keep this country running. They deliver vital services, collect taxes, help people back into employment, regulate medicines, negotiate trade deals and thousands of other things that bind society together.

“It is shameful that the prime minister is throwing them under a bus to distract from the government’s failure to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.”

Tom Batchelor13 May 2022 15:08

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No apology from Boris Johnson, after hostage Nazanin tells him she ‘lived in the shadow of his words’

More on the missing apology from Boris Johnson from our political editor, Andrew Woodcock.

He writes that Boris Johnson made no apology to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe after she told him she had “lived in the shadow of his words” during years in an Iranian jail.

You can read the full, breaking story here:

Tom Batchelor13 May 2022 14:46

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PM did not apologise for Nazanin failings, says husband

Richard Ratcliffe said Boris Johnson did not specifically apologise for his handling of his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention in Iran, following talks at No 10.

Asked if the PM apologised during their first meeting since her release, Mr Ratcliffe told reporters in Downing Street: “Not specifically.”

Tom Batchelor13 May 2022 14:26

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Johnson threatened with national strike over civil service cuts

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union is to hold an emergency meeting next week to discuss its response to government plans to cut jobs in the civil service, warning that “national strike action is very much on the table”.

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka condemned the plans and said: “Cuts have consequences. Not just on those whose jobs are being sacrificed to throw red meat to the dwindling number of Conservative voters, but on everyone who relies on the services our members provide.

“The government complains about longer delays for passports and driving licenses at the same time as sacking the people who are working so hard to clear the backlog.

“Let’s be clear, this is not about efficiency. This is about the prime minister trying to create a smokescreen to detract from his utter shambles of a government.

“He has chosen to cause our cost-of-living crisis and is desperate to point the blame somewhere – and he has chosen to point the finger at hard working PCS members who kept the country running throughout the pandemic.

“Our members will not be the scapegoats for a failing government. We have our conference in 10 days’ time: taking national strike action is very much on the table.”

Tom Batchelor13 May 2022 14:13

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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe at Downing Street for meeting with PM

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has arrived at Downing Street with her family and MP Tulip Siddiq for a meeting with Boris Johnson.

Asked how they were, her husband Richard told the media: “Much better times.”

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe did not respond to reporters’ questions on what she would talk to the Prime Minister about.

The family and Tulip Siddiq posed for photos outside the front door with their seven-year-old daughter Gabriella joking to reporters: “You can only take one photo.”

Tom Batchelor13 May 2022 13:52

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Wakefield local Labor committee resigns en masse over by-election selection process row

The executive committee of Wakefield’s local Labor Party has resigned en masse in protest over the national party’s handling of the selection of a candidate in a forthcoming by-election.

In a major bust-up with Labor HQ , the 16-strong body hit out at the lack of a “local candidate” on the shortlist, and decided to quit their positions during a meeting on Thursday evening.

Here is the full story from my colleague, Ashley Cowburn:

Tom Batchelor13 May 2022 13:38

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No 10 fails to rule out weaselly redundancies under plan to cut civil service

Downing Street has failed to rule out weaselly redundancies under Boris Johnson’s plans to slash tens of thousands of jobs from the Civil Service.

A No 10 spokesman said: “I’m not going to pre-empt specific measures.”

But he added that a lot of the cuts are hoped to be done through “natural wasteage”.

Tom Batchelor13 May 2022 13:25

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ICYMI: Boris Johnson plans to cut 90,000 civil service jobs to help fund tax cuts

The government could cut as many as 90,000 civil service jobs in a cost-saving exercise touted by Boris Johnson, as ministers come under increasing pressure to help ease the cost of living crisis with possible tax cuts.

my colleague Tom Batchelor reports on the story that has been making a splash today:

Matt Mathers13 May 2022 13:15

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Do MPs understand what the cost of living crisis means for people?

Conservative MP Lee Anderson caused uproar this week when he claimed there wasn’t ‘this massive use’ for food banks in the UK and that people could really do with a few cooking lessons instead, writes Cathy Newman.

Read Cathy’s piece here:

Matt Mathers13 May 2022 12:50

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