Politics latest: Asylum backlog hits new high – as Labour claims decision-making has slowed despite PM's vow (2023)

Key points
  • Asylum backlog hits record high - as decision-making 'slows'
  • Car collides into Downing Street gate - what you need to know
  • Video: Moment before silver car crashes on Whitehall
  • Joe Pike: All calm outside gates that protect heart of power
  • Net migration figure hits new peak despite Tory manifesto pledge
  • Beth Rigby:'Take back control' is an easy slogan to create but fiendishly hard to implement
  • Live reporting by Faith Ridler


Sky News Daily podcast: What net migration figures mean for the UK

Net migration to the UK rose to 606,000 in the 12 months to December 2022, the highest number for a calendar year on record - despite a Tory 2019 manifesto commitment to "bring overall numbers down".

The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics, show that most people arriving to the UK last year were non-EU nationals.

The body attributed a "unique year" for migration to "world events" including the war in Ukraine and unrest in Hong Kong.

On the Sky News Daily, Niall Paterson breaks down the numbers with Sky's data and forensics correspondent Tom Cheshire and picks through the fallout in Westminster with political correspondent Ali Fortescue.

Plus, Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, explains how what the government says actually impacts the number of people that come to the UK.

Click to subscribe to the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts


Leaked documents 'show 3,000 asylum seekers could be deported per month under new law'

Here are some interesting potential details on the Illegal Migration Bill, which emerged in The Guardian overnight.

It has been claimed that upwards of 3,000 asylum seekers could be detained and deported per month under the highly divisive legislation.

Leaked briefing papers on the implementation of the Home Office-backed bill, obtained by the newspaper, reportedly suggest that once in place, the legislation could see the removal of 3,163 asylumseekers each month from January.

The documents were allegedly prepared for Justice Secretary Alex Chalk and the Ministry of Justice permanent secretary Antonia Romeo.

The briefing is believed to be a draft and had not been seen by the minister.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: "We do not comment on leaks."

The documents reportedly warned Mr Chalk that the UK could face judicial review proceedings if legal advice is not provided to those detained under the Home Office plans.

(Video) MPs discuss the illegal migration bill in its final stages in the House of Commons – watch live

The briefing is quoted as telling the minister: "You will have a statutory duty to secure that legal aid is available to this cohort... not addressing capacity issues could mean that there are not sufficient legal aid providers to carry out this work.

"This could be challenged by way of judicial review."


Exclusive: Chancellor comfortable with recession if it brings down inflation

By Ed Conway, economics and data editor

Jeremy Hunt has told Sky News he is comfortable with Britain being plunged into recession if that's what it takes to bring down inflation.

The chancellor said that he would fully support the Bank of England raising interest rates higher, potentially towards 5.5%, as it battled higher-than-expected prices.

Asked by Sky News whether he was "comfortable with the Bank of England doing whatever it takes to bring down inflation, even if that potentially would precipitate a recession", he said: "Yes, because in the end, inflation is a source of instability.

"And if we want to have prosperity, to grow the economy, to reduce the risk of recession, we have to support the Bank of England in the difficult decisions that they take.

"I have to do something else, which is to make sure the decisions that I take as chancellor, very difficult decisions, to balance the books so that the markets, the world can see that Britain is a country that pays its way - all these things mean that monetary policy at the Bank of England (and) fiscal policy by the chancellor are aligned."

The comments came after market expectations for the eventual peak of UK interest rates leapt dramatically, followinghigher-than-expected CPI inflation data this week.

You can watch more from Conway's interview with Mr Hunt below:


Asylum decisions fell sharply after PM promised to clear backlog - Labour analysis

Asylum decisions taken by the Home Office have fallen by 18% quarter-to-quarter since December, Labour Party analysis has found.

New government figures also reveal that less than 1% of small boat arrivals in the last year have had a decision, the party said.

Additionally, more than three quarters of all small boat asylum applications since 2018 are still awaiting a decision.

In December 2022, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak vowed to "abolish the backlog of initial asylum decisions by the end of next year".

(Video) Watch NBC News NOW Live - July 21

But data shared by Labour says that the backlog is now at a record high of 172,500 - whilst the number of asylum grants and rejections fell between December 2022 and March 2023.

It comes after the latest immigration figures yesterday saw net migration hit a new high of 606,000 in the year ending December 2022.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said: "The prime minister's plan on small boats is in tatters. He pledged to increase asylum decisions, but they have fallen.

"He pledged to reduce the backlog, but it has gone up. He pledged to hire more caseworkers, but numbers are falling.

"Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman are out of touch and out of ideas."


What happened outside Downing Street last night?

As we reported live yesterday afternoon, a car crashed into the gates of Downing Street in central London on Thursday - with one man arrested.

If you're just joining us - let us get you up to speed on what happened:

  • A silver Kia car crashed into the gates of Downing Street at around 4.20pm yesterday;
  • The car was immediately surrounded by emergency vehicles;
  • The Metropolitan Police confirmed there were no injuries;
  • Counter-terrorism police are not involved in the investigation at this stage, it is understood;
  • Rishi Sunak was inDowningStreet at the time of the collision, but departed after the crash - as he had planned;
  • One witness said he heard a "bang", then saw police pointing Taser guns at a man;
  • A man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of criminal damage and dangerous driving;
  • Cordons were erected around Whitehall, with police officers blocking access to the street from outside the Ministry of Defence;
  • It was quickly reopened to cars.

You can watch the moment of impact in the video below:


Good morning!

Welcome back to the Politics Hub, where we'll bring you live updates from the heart of Westminster.

It's the first day of recess - but here is what's coming up:

  • Questions will likely continue after a car hit the gates of Downing Street last night, leading to the arrest of one person. Rishi Sunak was inside Number 10 at the time - but no injuries were reported;
  • Jeremy Hunt has told Sky News that he is comfortable with Britain being plunged into recession if that's what it takes to bring down inflation;
  • Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is out and about in Scotland today, visiting local business owners as the run-up to the next general election picks up speed;
  • Transport Secretary Mark Harper is at the International Transport Forum, where he is expected to give an address to policymakers;
  • We'll be speaking to Labour's Nick Thomas Symonds at 8.05am.

We'll have all the latest right here, as it happens.


(Video) Watch: NBC News NOW Live - October 12

That's all for today

Thank you for joining us for what has been a very busy day in politics.

Here's a roundup of what happened today:

  • A man was arrested after a car crashed into the gates of Downing Street, triggering a huge security response;
  • Figures released today showed that net migration hit a record high of 606,000 people in 2022;
  • The energy price cap fell significantly on the heels of falling gas and electricity prices;
  • The government scraped its flagship Animal Welfare Bill in favour of passing the measures in smaller pieces of legislation;
  • Ministers failed to move a motion to suspend COVID rule breaking MP;
  • Woking council placed in special measures due to £2bn debt;
  • Tributes were paid to former Tory MP Karen Lumley, who has died aged 59.

We'll be back from 6am with the very latest from the heart of Westminster - do join us!


Tomorrow's papers today

It's been another very busy day in politics today, and although parliament is now in recess for 10 days, government business never stops.

Let's take a look at the political stories on tomorrow's front pages:

The Times leads with tens of thousands more patients to be signed up for clinical trials as ministers promise drug companies better access to the NHS.

It also reports on the dramatic events at Downing Street this afternoon.

Ministers stand accused of losing control over immigration to the UK after figures hit a record high last year, says the Daily Mirror.

"Will anyone stop these eco-clowns?" asks the Daily Mail as it reports on protesters from Just Stop Oil and Animal Rising demonstrating at the Chelsea Flower Show. The paper hits out at the authorities for not stopping the protests.

The Guardian reports that more than 3,000 asylum seekers could be detained and deported from the UK every month to enforce Suella Braverman's asylum bill, according to leaked documents.

The Daily Telegraph leads with borrowing costs reaching levels not seen since the mini-budget under Liz Truss, threatening a new mortgage shock for homeowners.

It also reports on fears that the WHO could be handed powers to "force the UK into lockdown" as part of a new pandemic treaty.

A short while ago, government minister Andrew Mitchell told Sky News that the government supports the treaty being negotiated, but that it will "never" cede sovereign powers to the agency (see post at 22.52).

The Daily Express leads with an exclusive from the prime minister, who has told the paper "we must and will cut the number of people moving to the UK".

Ministers are considering a sweeping reform to the fund that protects savers in company pension plans, according to the Financial Times.

The i paper reports that Britain is on course to become Europe's second-largest population for the first time on record.

(Video) Watch NBC News NOW Live - July 14


UK would 'never' allow WHO treaty to 'prevents the UK from taking decisive action'

Reports have emerged this evening that the World Health Organisation (WHO) could be given the power to impose lockdowns on the UK as part of a new "pandemic treaty" that is currently being negotiated.

According to The Telegraph, ministers fear that signatory countries would be mandated to follow the agency's instructions in the event of a pandemic.

The newspaper reports that Conservative MPs have written to ministers to express alarm that the WHO could become an international authority rather than specialised advisory agency.

This evening, the minister of state for development and Africa has told Sky News that the government supports the treaty being negotiated, but that it will "never" cede sovereign powers to the agency.

Andrew Mitchell, told Sky News: "The UK is supportive of the pandemic treaty currently being negotiated by national governments, which could speed up the sharing of data on new pandemic threats so we are able to respond quickly in the event of future pandemics.

"We're clear that we would never agree to anything that crosses our points of principle on sovereignty or prevents the UK from taking decisive action against future pandemics.

"I think that is what our constituents would expect and that’s our position."


Chancellor: UK determined to compete for green investment as battery announcement awaited

By Ed Conway, economics and data editor

Britain is determined to compete in the global race for green investment, the chancellor has told Sky News, days before the expected announcement that Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata will build a major new battery factory in the country.

Jeremy Hunt said that he was prepared to deploy subsidy money from the government's £1bn war chest to help support these big green projects, despite warning only last month about the dangers of new subsidies.

It came as he unveiled a host of new measures, worth a combined £650m, designed to help encourage the life sciences and pharmaceuticals sector in the UK.

The Tata chairman is due to visit Downing Street next week to confirm that the Indian industrial giant has chosen Britain over Spain as the location of its new battery plant, which will serve its car business in the UK, as well as Europe.

The competition between the nations was hotly fought, and the Tata package is understood to be worth around £500m, including support on a range of matters, most notably energy costs.

"I can't talk about any commercial discussions," Mr Hunt said.

"But what I can say is that we understand - the prime minister and I - that we're in a global race to attract investment, and we will always do what it takes to make sure the UK remains competitive."

(Video) Watch NBC News NOW Live - August 21

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