10.43am EDT 10:43
Police commissioner accused of victim blaming after Everard case resigns
Here is my colleague Josh Halliday’s story about the resignation of Philip Allott.
And here is an extract about the meeting of the North Yorkshire’s police, fire and crime panel which passed a vote of no confidence in Philip Allott earlier.
Allott’s Conservative colleagues lined up to tell him to resign during the 90-minute meeting. Mike Chambers, a Tory councillor, described the remarks as “indefensible”, adding: “This will continually haunt you, Philip, whether you like it or not. For God’s sake, go, and go now.”
Allott has faced a growing chorus of criticism since his comments 13 days ago, including from Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and Keir Starmer. Demands for his resignation grew this week when colleagues accused him of making “sexist and misogynistic” comments to female staff, allegations he denies.
The details of these alleged remarks have not been made public and Allott said they had been leaked “to damage my credibility” …
Carl Les, a Conservative council leader who chairs the oversight panel, said there was a “catastrophic lack of confidence” in Allott and it was “frustrating” that he could not be dismissed from the £74,400 a year role. Les has said he will write to the government to recommend that PFCCs are able to be dismissed if they lose a vote of no confidence.
Allott, who previously ran a PR firm and wrote a book about donkeys, said his comments had exposed “shortcomings in my understanding of violence against women and girls” and that he thinks about the comments “every hour of every day”.
Philip Allott has resigned as North Yorkshire police, fire and crime commissioner in response to the outcry caused by his comment after Sarah Everard’s murder that women needed to be “streetwise”, PA Media reports.
Earlier he told a meeting, in which local councillors passed a vote of no confidence in him, that he would not be resigning. (See 2.54pm.)
Announcement on temporary visas for butchers and abattoir workers ‘imminent’, peers told
An announcement on temporary visas to tackle an acute shortage of butchers and abattoir workers that has led to a crisis in the pig industry is “imminent”, peers have been told.
Richard Benyon, a peer and environment minister, said an announcement was “imminent” in response to a question in the House of Lords earlier.
Maggie Jones, a Labour peer, asked:
There are 150,000 pigs which are unable to be slaughtered for consumption and already farmers have had to cull and destroy over 6,000 healthy pigs.
Talking is great, but when is the government going to provide those temporary visas and the lower language requirements for skilled butchers which lie at the root of this crisis?
In response, Benyon said:
We care deeply about this sector, the people that work in it, the welfare of the animals concerned, and want nothing more than to smooth out the perfect storm of a variety of different issues which have brought this to a head at this particular time.
I had hoped to be able to come to the house with an announcement – it is imminent.
I think she will be pleased with the hard work that ministers and officials have put in to show that we do care and we want this industry to get back on its feet.
Starmer says it would be ‘unforgivable’ if government let gas price hike lead to steel job losses
Sir Keir Starmer has been speaking to the media on a visit to a steel plant in Sheffield. Here are the main points he has been making.
- Starmer said the plan to improve GP services announced today would not deal with the shortage of doctors. He said:
I think it is very important that people can see their GPs face-to-face if that is what they want to do. That requires a robust plan. What the government has put in place is not a robust plan.
The core problem here is lack of GPs. In the election of 2019, the prime minister promised us 6,000 new GPs. That was his great pledge. We have now got less than we had in 2019.
- He urged the government to help the steel industry cope with soaring gas prices. It would be “unforgivable” if a short-term price hike led to long-term job losses, he said. He said:
What the steel sector needs is support and action from the government. What we have got is a government that is missing in action.
It is not having discussions that it should be with the sector. It is not doing what is necessary to save the jobs that are at risk. They have put the ‘out of office’ sign up. That is not acceptable.
If we have short-term energy prices leading to long-term job losses that is unforgivable by the government.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, has asked the Treasury to help energy intensive industries like steel, but the Treasury has not responded yet.
- Starmer said the government should have had a plan months ago to deal with the supply chain shortages. He said:
What we needed here is a plan that was crafted months ago to deal with these problems.
We have seen it with fuel drivers, we have seen it with delivery drivers and with abattoirs and other sectors. All of these shortages were predicted.
People will look at pictures of Felixstowe which has got containers that are much unable to move and scratch their heads and say ‘Why is there not a plan to get us through this?’.
At the moment the government is sitting back and saying this is somebody else’s problem.
Police commissioner who urged women to be ‘streetwise’ after Sarah Everard’s murder loses non-binding no confidence vote
The Conservative police commissioner whose comments following the murder of Sarah Everard caused a national outcry has received a formal, but non-binding, vote of no confidence from local politicians, PA Media reports. PA says:
But despite calling his own comments “absolutely ridiculous” and “pathetic”, Philip Allott, North Yorkshire police, fire and crime commissioner, told an online public meeting he would not step down from his £74,400 role.
He had been accused of victim blaming after he said in a radio interview that women should be more “streetwise” about powers of arrest and that Everard, whose family live in York, should not have “submitted” to arrest by her killer Wayne Couzens, a serving police officer.
The North Yorkshire fire and crime panel had received 121 complaints and Allott’s office more than 800, the panel heard.
The prime minister was said to have been “outraged” by Allott’s comments.
All 11 members of the panel, which is made up of local councillors and two independent members of the public, gave him a vote of no confidence in continuing in his role.
That vote effectively brought the meeting to a close.
The panel had no powers to sanction the commissioner, but the members who spoke during the meeting urged him to go, saying he had lost the confidence of the public.
Sajid Javid, the health secretary, has claimed that his package of support for GPs will “make a real difference”. Speaking to broadcasters, he said:
Over the pandemic, I don’t think people will be surprised to hear that the cost per hour of locums has risen generally, and this package will help to cover that.
It will also help to hire in further support and clinical support, including from nurses, physiotherapists, podiatrists, and others.
All of this, I think, taken together can make a real difference.
Jeremy Hunt, one of his Conservative predecessors, disagrees. (See 1.05pm.)
Gap between poor and affluent students going to university widest for 14 years, DfE figures show
The gap between poorer students and their more affluent peers attending university has widened to the largest gap for 14 years, PA Media reports. PA says:
Better-off pupils are still significantly more likely to go to university than their more disadvantaged peers and the gap between the two groups – 19.1 percentage points – is the widest it has been since 2005/06.
Data from the Department for Education (DfE) shows that 26.6% of pupils in England who received free school meals (FSMs) at the age of 15 went on to university in 2019/20, compared with 45.7% of those who did not receive meals.
It comes as leading universities are under pressure to widen access to different groups of students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The gap between the numbers of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students entering more selective universities also widened in 2019/20.
Only 4% of pupils eligible for FSMs progressed to high-tariff institutions – universities with higher entry requirements – by the age of 19, compared with 12% of those not eligible for FSMs, the figures show.
The Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, has failed to uphold his duties to provide full abortion services in the region, a high court judge has ruled. My colleague Alexandra Topping has the story.
Javid’s GP rescue plan will fail to ‘turn the tide’, says former Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt
Sajid Javid, the health secretary, won’t be surprised that Labour is criticising his £250m plan to improve GP services in England (see 12.31pm), but Jeremy Hunt, the former Conservative health secretary who now chairs the Commons health committee, has also described the measures as inadequate.
Hunt wants an OBR-style independent body to take charge of advising the government on how many doctors it needs to train. He suggests that would be the best way to address workforce shortages in the NHS in the long run.
He has set out his case on Twitter.
Javid plans to get GPs to see more patients face-to-face ‘already unravelling’, says Labour
Labour says Sajid Javid’s plan to ensure more GPs see their patients face-to-face is “unravelling” aleady. In a statement, Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said:
The NHS is in crisis. Waiting lists are at record levels with more and more patients forced to pay for operations.
GP numbers have gone down, and it’s no wonder Sajid Javid has run away from defending his latest policy announcement in front of doctors – his promise is already unravelling.
The money announced today will mean about £33,000 extra per practice; nowhere near enough to deliver the change needed for patients. In 2019 the Tories pledged to deliver 6,000 extra GPs, and ahead of a tough winter, patients are asking why they have broken that promise.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP leader, had an online meeting this morning with Maroš Šefčovič, the European commissioner dealing with Brexit who yesterday published the EU’s plans for reform of the Northern Ireland protocol. In a statement issued afterwards Donaldson said they had a “useful and honest discussion” but he said the plans fell short of what the DUP wanted. He said:
I also explained why the proposals fall short of what is needed. These negotiations must not be a missed opportunity. There is a window to get this right. To get a deal which can allow Northern Ireland to, once again, get moving forward.
Short-term fixes will not solve the problems that have beset the United Kingdom internal market. Removing some checks today does not solve the divergence problems of tomorrow. State aid and VAT arrangements if left unaltered will be detrimental to Northern Ireland’s long-term prospects.
We need a sustainable solution which removes the Irish Sea border and restores our place within the United Kingdom.
In his statement, which was less confrontational than the one he issued last night, Donaldson also did not directly mention European court of justice oversight of the protocol, which is now one of the main points of dispute between the UK and the EU.