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Nigel Farage said the Conservative Party deserves to be "wiped out" after net migration to the UK hit a new record high of 504,000.
The number for the 12 months to June this year was revealed by the Office for National Statistics this morning and it is 170,000 more than the previous post-war record of 331,000 in 2015.
Mr Farage, the former leader of the Brexit Party, said: "These net migration figures are hard to take in. 500,000 is nearly double the previous record. The Tories deserve to be wiped out."
The ONS said the 504,000 figure was the result of an "unprecedented" combination of events, including the end of Covid lockdown restrictions and the war in Ukraine, with a surge in visas for foreign nationals to live, study and work in the UK.
The record high will pile the pressure on the Government, with Rishi Sunak having recently insisted he wants to see a reduction in overall migration levels – a long-standing Tory pledge.
Downing Street said at lunchtime that "the Prime Minister is fully committed to bringing overall numbers down and the public rightly expect us to deliver control over our borders".
Follow the latest updates below.
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Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of resorting to the "Trump playbook" with "dangerous" language suggesting that Scots opposed to her independence referendum plans are not democrats.
Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tory leader, said the First Minister insulted millions of Scots who do not want a separation vote after arguing that her fellow nationalists are the "supporters of Scottish democracy".
He said she had used "dangerous and harmful language" that branded those who would rather she focused on the NHS crisis as "democracy deniers".
Alex Cole-Hamilton, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, tweeted: "This ‘Scotland’s democracy movement’ title is straight out of the Trump playbook and can get in the bin."
You can read the full story here.
Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary, said talks with Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the RMT union, today had been "constructive".
He said: "This morning I had a constructive meeting with Mick Lynch, where we had an open and honest conversation about the serious challenges facing the railways.
"We have common ground – we both want the dispute to end and we both want a thriving railway which delivers for passengers and workers alike. To achieve this though, we need to work together, across the entire industry to ensure our railway industry thrives.
"There is a deal to be done, and I believe we will get there – I want to facilitate the RMT and the employers to reach an agreement and end the dispute for the benefit of the travelling public."
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, accused the Tories of having "completely mismanaged" the immigration and asylum systems as she responded to today’s migration figures.
She told Sky News: "I think the Conservatives have completely mismanaged the system, they have failed to crackdown on the criminal gangs that are making huge profits from putting lives at risk and they have also allowed a huge backlog to grow in the asylum system because decision making has collapsed."
Politicians at Westminster are blocking demands for a second Scottish independence referendum because they fear the outcome, Nicola Sturgeon has claimed.
The Scottish First Minister was speaking the day after the Supreme Court ruled the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to legislate for a vote on independence without the agreement of Westminster.
Speaking during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon said: "Unionist Westminster politicians want to silence Scotland’s voice because they are scared of what Scotland might say. It is quite simple."
Government departments have been ordered to stop installing CCTV cameras made by Chinese firms at "sensitive sites" because of security concerns.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden told MPs in a written statement to Parliament: "The Government Security Group has undertaken a review of the current and future possible security risks associated with the installation of visual surveillance systems on the government estate.
"The review has concluded that, in light of the threat to the UK and the increasing capability and connectivity of these systems, additional controls are required.
"Departments have therefore been instructed to cease deployment of such equipment on to sensitive sites, where it is produced by companies subject to the national intelligence law of the People’s Republic of China.
"Since security considerations are always paramount around these sites, we are taking action now to prevent any security risks materialising."
The national intelligence law requires Chinese firms to co-operate with Beijing’s intelligence agencies if requested.
Mick Lynch said he is "no closer" to calling off strike action planned on the nation’s railways in December and January following his meeting today with the Transport Secretary Mark Harper.
The general secretary of the RMT union told reporters: "No, we are no closer. We won’t be any closer until we have a reasonable offer on the table that we can put to our members.
"He is not going to give me that offer, he has got to get his agents to do that. But they have got to sort out what their role is in this dispute."
Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the RMT union, has emerged from his meeting with Transport Secretary Mark Harper at the Department for Transport.
Mr Lynch told reporters it was a "positive meeting in the sense that we have got rid of the bellicose nonsense that we used to have from Grant Shapps and his cohort in his era and we are now starting to get a dialogue".
Mr Lynch said that Mr Harper had committed to writing him a letter "saying how he sees this going forward and taking forward steps towards a resolution".
Mr Lynch said that it is "no good having these warm words" from the Government and that he wants Mr Harper to "set down in writing what he is going to do about the mechanics of how a resolution will be facilitated".
Yvette Cooper, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said today’s migration numbers demonstrated the Government has "failed to get a grip" of the UK’s borders.
She said: "Whilst there are unique circumstances behind today’s figures including the support the UK has rightly given to Ukraine, Hong Kong and Afghanistan, they also show serious problems with Conservative mismanagement of the immigration and asylum systems where they have completely failed to get a grip."
She added: "The asylum and immigration systems need to be properly controlled and managed. But the Conservatives have had eight immigration ministers, and six home secretaries in seven years. This chaos means they have no proper grip or control and they just ramp up the rhetoric instead of putting sensible policies in place."
Chris Heaton-Harris has announced he is setting a budget for Northern Ireland for 2022/23 in the absence of a powersharing Executive at Stormont.
The Northern Ireland Secretary said in a written statement to Parliament that "not only did the former Executive fail to agree a Budget, but the Ministers who remained in their posts during the 6 months from May to October 2022, left Northern Ireland’s public finances with a black hole of some £660m".
Mr Heaton-Harris said he was "extremely disappointed that this situation has come to pass" but he recognised "that the people of Northern Ireland must be protected in future by bringing the public finances under control today".
He said: "Difficult choices cannot be deferred any longer without continuing the lamentable trend of storing up ever deeper trouble. I am therefore setting a Northern Ireland Budget for 2022/23 today. I will bring forward legislation for this Budget in a Budget Bill in due course."
The Office for National Statistics said that foreign students coming to the UK was one of the reasons why today’s migration figures are so high.
Downing Street hinted at lunchtime that the Government could seek to lower this number by restricting which degrees foreign students can access. There could also be a crackdown on students bringing other family members with them when they come to the UK.
Asked if Rishi Sunak could look to limit the number of students who can come to the country to study, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said: "We will be looking at these figures, obviously they were published earlier today, we are considering all options to make sure the immigration system is delivering and that does include looking at the issue of students’ dependents and low quality degrees.
"As I say, our points based system is specifically designed to give us flexibility over these sorts of issues and so we are keeping them under constant review."
Rishi Sunak has not set a date for when he wants to see overall net migration to the UK falling, Downing Street has said.
The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said: "There are some unprecedented and unique circumstances… which are having a significant impact on these statistics and I think the public would recognise that.
"But the Prime Minister has said he wants net migration to reduce. He hasn’t put a specific date on that."
Downing Street said Rishi Sunak is "fully committed" to bringing down net migration to the UK after the number to June 2022 hit a record high.
The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said: “As the ONS themselves have recognised, today’s statistics naturally reflect the impacts of unprecedented major global events over the last year. The ONS call them unique.
“That includes the generous support we have provided through our safe and legal routes and the Home Office statistics today show we have helped over 144,000 people from Hong Kong, 144,600 people fleeing war in Ukraine and 22,000 from Afghanistan, helping them to safety in the UK.”
He added: “The Prime Minister is fully committed to bringing overall numbers down and the public rightly expect us to deliver control over our borders.”
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said he is expecting a "positive meeting" with Transport Secretary Mark Harper.
Arriving at the Department for Transport, Mr Lynch said: "We’re expecting a positive meeting. We’re (hoping for a) constructive approach. And we’ll see what he says."
Sunder Katwala, director of think tank British Future, said: "Despite these exceptionally high numbers, inflated by new arrivals from Ukraine and Hong Kong, our research finds public support for immigration as high as it’s ever been.
"Neither Rishi Sunak nor Keir Starmer plans to make significant cuts to immigration because of the social and economic benefits it brings to Britain.
"So political leaders should now be setting out a vision for how we make this work well for all of us in the UK, focusing on integration, citizenship and training up the UK workforce to fill skills gaps.
"Making vague promises to reduce numbers, without any plan or policy to make it happen, will only damage public trust."
Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said "we cannot assume" that today’s record high net migration number represents a "new normal".
She said: "All the forecasts suggested that migration would fall as a result of the post-Brexit immigration scheme, which greatly restricted the options for EU citizens to move to the UK. And indeed, EU net migration remains negative.
"But non-EU migration has risen, primarily not because of the policies designed to replace EU free movement. The humanitarian routes for Ukraine and Hong Kong and a rebound in international students have played the largest role in boosting immigration levels.
"These unusually high levels of net migration result from a unique set of circumstances following the war in Ukraine and the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.
"We cannot assume they represent a ‘new normal’, and it would be rash to take major policy decisions based only on these numbers."
These net migration figures are hard to take in.
500,000 is nearly double the previous record.
The Tories deserve to be wiped out. https://t.co/oVKqvVQqD0
Promises to reduce net migration to the UK have been a fixture of Conservative Party manifestos for more than a decade.
The old Tory pledge to get numbers down to the "tens of thousands" has been ditched but Rishi Sunak has said he wants to see an overall reduction while Suella Braverman said reducing it to below 100,000 still remains her ambition.
Today’s numbers from the Office for National Statistics showing net migration in the year ending June 2022 hit a new record high will pile the pressure on the Government and reignite scrutiny of its border policies.
Reducing immigration was a key theme of the Leave campaign during the Brexit referendum campaign but more than five years after the vote to quit the EU, the numbers have gone up – massively – instead of down.
The ONS said the latest number is the result of an "unprecedented" mix of factors and it is unsure whether such levels will be sustained into the future.
But even if today’s number is a one-off it has struck a further blow to the Government’s credibility on the issue and ministers are now facing an increasingly uphill battle to persuade voters that they mean what they say on border control.
Today’s net migration figure of 504,000 for the year ending June 2022 represents a new record high, surpassing levels seen even before Brexit.
The latest figure published by the Office for National Statistics is 170,000 more than the previous post-war record of 331,000 in 2015.
You can read the full story here.
Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary, has urged union bosses to "get back around the table" as the nation braces for further strike action.
Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: "I want a sustainable, thriving rail network but with 20 per cent of passengers not having returned following the Covid pandemic, reform is vital.
"I would urge all trade union leaders to get back around the table with employers to hammer out the detail ogf that reform. The Government will work to facilitate this and to that end I will be meetoing with trade union leaders in the coming days."
Almost 300,000 EU nationals left the UK in the year ending June 2022, the Office for National Statistics said.
The ONS said that the total number of people who left the country in that period was 560,000.
"The provisional estimate of the number of people emigrating out of the UK long-term in the year ending (YE) June 2022 was approximately 560,000," it said.
"Non-EU nationals accounted for 195,000 of this long-term total, EU nationals accounted for 275,000 and British nationals 90,000."
Jay Lindop, director of the Centre for International Migration at the Office for National Statistics, said today’s migration numbers (see the posts below at 09.42 and 09.40) are the result of an "unprecedented" combination of events.
He said: "A series of world events have impacted international migration patterns in the 12 months to June 2022. Taken together these were unprecedented. These include the end of lockdown restrictions in the UK, the first full period following transition from the EU, the war in Ukraine, the resettlement of Afghans and the new visa route for Hong Kong British nationals (Overseas), which have all contributed to the record levels of long-term immigration we have seen.
"Migration from non-EU countries, specifically students, is driving this rise. With the lifting of travel restrictions in 2021, more students arrived in the UK after studying remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. However, there has also been a large increase in the number of people migrating for a range of other reasons. This includes people arriving for humanitarian protections, such as those coming from Ukraine, as well as for family reasons.
"These many factors independent of each other contributing to migration at this time mean it is too early to say whether this picture will be sustained."
Net migration to the UK stood at more than 500,000 in the 12 months to June this year.
The Office for National Statistics said: "Overall, net migration continued to add to the population in the YE June 2022, with an estimated 504,000 more people arriving long-term to the UK than departing; net migration of non-EU nationals was estimated at 509,000 in the YE June 2022, compared with negative 51,000 and 45,000 for EU and British nationals respectively."
The numbers do come with a health warning, with the ONS saying the data is "experimental and provisional".
More than one million people moved to the UK in the year to June 2022, according to new numbers published this morning by the Office for National Statistics.
The ONS said long-term immigration in that period stood at an estimated 1.1 million people. That is an estimated increase of 435,000 in total immigration compared to a year earlier.
The ONS said this was "driven by non-EU nationals (up 379,000 to 704,000 in the YE June 2022); increasing arrivals of international students and people travelling from Ukraine under the visa support scheme were all contributing factors".
The stats body said the "period leading up to June 2022 was unique, with simultaneous factors coinciding to affect long-term immigration". This included the recovery in travel following the pandemic.
We’ve released new long-term international migration figures for the year ending (YE) June 2022.
A range of factors contributed towards record levels. Total long-term immigration was an estimated 1.1 million.
➡️ https://t.co/mqFW1II3JQ pic.twitter.com/GSETGPhYCk
Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the RMT union, has accused Sir Keir Starmer of "trying to sit on the fence" on the issue of workers striking over pay and conditions as he said the Labour leader must decide whose side he is on.
He told ITV’s Peston programme: "I’d like to see him be slightly less vanilla. I think he is trying to sit on the fence on a lot of these issues. When there is big disputes and workers are suffering, the Labour Party, and it was my union that founded the Labour Party, has to decide whose side is it on.
"Is it on the side of the super rich – Shell, BP, and others that are making vast profits all through this period, through Covid, through the energy crisis and all the rest of it – or is he on the side of the low paid?"
“Well, I’d like to see him be slightly less vanilla. I think he’s sitting on the fence on a lot of these issues.”@RMTunion leader Mick Lynch says Keir Starmer needs to decide whether he's on the side of the super rich or the workers. #Peston pic.twitter.com/PGlSGVU8QX
Neil Gray, an SNP MSP, was told that a general election cannot be used as a referendum on a single issue after Nicola Sturgeon said the election in 2024 would be a "de facto referendum" on independence.
He told Sky News: "Nobody says that it cannot. Perhaps people would prefer that was not the route and we certainly think that the best way of people determining their future is the gold standard of the 2014 referendum where there was an agreement reached between the two governments and a referendum was held that allowed people to have their say."
He added: "If the plan B route, whereby we allow people to express their view in an election event such as the next general election, then that is what we have to do."
Mr Gray was told that even if the SNP was to win a majority at the election, the UK Government could still refuse to engage on the issue of independence.
"Then you will have nations around the world looking on agog at the UK and its anti-democratic approach," he said.
The UK Government’s refusal to grant permission for a second referendum on Scottish independence "makes the case for independence better than any of us in the SNP possibly could", a Scottish Government minister has claimed.
Told that the SNP is now a "busted flush" because it has been confirmed that it is unable to hold a breakaway vote without permission from Westminster, Neil Gray, an SNP MSP, told Sky News: "Well, I think that makes the case for independence better than any of us in the SNP possibly could because the UK that people voted for in 2014 no longer exists.
"It is no longer a voluntary union of nations. We are held against our will. And the UK that was voted for in 2014 no longer exists because we were ripped out of the European Union against our will and we were told that the only way to stay in the European Union would be to vote ‘No’.
"So I think it is incumbent now on people to respect democracy. This is not a small question. This is fundamental to our democracy and the way that we are viewed around the world and I do expect Rishi Sunak to have to answer that question around the voluntary Union and how people in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK are able to decide upon their futures."
Neil Gray, an SNP MSP and the Scottish Government’s culture minister, said the pro-independence movement in Scotland will now become "the democracy movement" after the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday.
Told that yesterday’s ruling signified the end of the SNP’s push for independence, Mr Gray told Sky News: "No, it is not. The ‘Yes’ movement, the independence movement in Scotland, now becomes the democracy movement in Scotland because it is incumbent, it is not a small question, it is not a small issue, to expect governments to respect democracy.
"The people of Scotland elected a Scottish parliament last year with a record number of pro-independence supporting MSPs. The last time that a majority of pro-independence MSPs was elected was in 2011 when the then prime minister David Cameron respected that outcome and granted the section 30 order which granted the temporary power to the Scottish Parliament to legislate to hold an independence referendum.
"It is incumbent now on Rishi Sunak to answer the question about whether or not the UK is indeed a voluntary nation. If it is, what is the route by which people in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK can determine their future and get round the table with Nicola Sturgeon and agree either the temporary or permanent transfer of powers that allows people in Scotland to determine their future."
Michael Gove said the Government does not think it will hit its annual target of building 300,000 new homes this year as he insisted the target "remains our ambition" amid a Tory row over housebuilding.
He told Times Radio: "We want to build as many as 300,000 a year, that remains our ambition. But again, one of the difficulties that we face at the moment is that inflation has meant that the cost of building materials has risen.
"We all know that there’s quite a tight labour market at the moment in Britain and elsewhere. So we’re not going to be able I think this year to hit that number.
"But we will be doing everything we can in order to bring people with us in order to ensure that we can have a pipeline of homes being built in the future. But it’s important to ensure that those homes are built in the right places."
Transport Secretary Mark Harper is due to hold talks with Mick Lynch, the general secretary, of the RMT union, later today.
Michael Gove, the Levelling Up Secretary, said this morning that the way to resolve disputes and to avoid disruptive strike action is "through talking".
He told TalkTV: "The way to resolve some of these disputes is through talking, through negotiation, through listening.
"And it will be the case the Transport Secretary, my friend Mark Harper, will be meeting Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the RMT, later today to talk about this.
"I hope the two of them and others can hep set the framework so the people who are actually the key negotiators, the railway bosses, can find a way through with Mr Lynch."
Michael Gove has conceded that taxpayers will ultimately have to foot the bill for the Government’s energy price guarantee.
The cost of the scheme is set to double next year after Ofgem announced an increase to the energy price cap this morning (see the post below at 08.20).
Mr Gove told TalkTV: "You are absolutely right that Ofgem’s energy price cap, the independent regulator’s energy price cap, has just been announced but already as you quite rightly point out Liz [Truss] when she was prime minister and Jeremy [Hunt] more recently in the Autumn Statement have confirmed that the Government is intervening in order to help everyone with their bills.
"You are also right of course that this is taxpayers’ money and that is why Jeremy in the Autumn Statement had to take steps in order to ensure that we bore down on spending elsewhere and we made some tax changes in order to help people in particular the most vulnerable through this difficult winter."
Ofgem, the energy regulator, announced this morning that its price cap will rise to £4,279 next year.
The decision will not impact households because the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee will limit the amount people have to pay.
However, the new price cap does mean that the cost of the Government’s guarantee will now more than double, with taxpayers ultimately having to pick up the tab in the long run in the form of taxes.
The increase in the cap will push up the cost of running the Government’s guarantee from £7.8 billion in the last three months of 2022 to £15.1 billion in the first three months of next year, according to estimates by energy consultancy Auxilione.
The guarantee currently means that the average household will not pay more than £2,500 a year for energy. However, that support will become less generous from April when that number will increase to £3,000.
The Government is set to launch a £25million public information campaign to advise people on how they could cut their energy bills, according to a report in The Times.
Michael Gove, the Levelling Up Secretary, suggested this morning that there is a risk such a campaign could come across as "patronising".
Asked during an interview on TalkTV if people really need to be given such advice by the Government, he said: "Well, I do recognise the danger, particularly if you have got people like me who as a Cabinet minister is relatively well off, we have to be careful about not, as you say, coming across patronising or nannying."
Michael Gove warned holding another vote on Scottish independence would be "polarising and divisive".
The Levelling Up Secretary told TalkTV: "We have had a number of referendums recently. I believe in respecting the result of those referendums and I think that at the moment most people I think want the governments in Edinburgh, in Westminster, to work together on some of the challenges we have just been discussing.
"I think that people are anxious for us to deal with the energy price challenge. People want us to work together to improve housing. People want us to look at the economic picture in the future and try to make sure we can get through a difficult winter and get back to growth.
"All of those things are areas where we should be working together and another referendum I fear would just be polarising and divisive at a time like this."
Michael Gove has told Nicola Sturgeon to stop "wrangling about the constitution" and to focus on addressing domestic challenges after the Supreme Court ruled against the Scottish Government on Indyref2 yesterday.
The Levelling Up Secretary told Times Radio: "The Scottish Government referred a case to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court ruled on that case and we must all respect that judgement.
"And that judgement I think leaves us now in a position where for both the Scottish Government and the UK Government, the responsibility is not to wrangle about the constitution but to work together in order to help improve people’s lives on a daily basis and that is the approach that I take."
Good morning and welcome to today’s politics live blog.
The fallout from yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on Scottish independence continues this morning as all of the key players try to figure out their next steps.
Michael Gove, the Levelling Up Secretary, is on the broadcast round for the Government so let’s start by looking at what he has been saying about the ruling.
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