Close

Boris Johnson has defended his NHS funding as “new money” on visit to Lincolnshire after health experts dismissed the £1.8bn cash injection as a “drop in the ocean”.

It comes as No 10 is reportedly preparing a “people versus politicians” general election campaign after pushing the UK out of the EU without a deal in the autumn.

Health minister Matt Hancock has claimed a no-deal Brexit cannot be stopped by MPs in parliament before 31 October, leading Jeremy Corbyn to state he would call for a no confidence motion in the government in the autumn.

Download the new Independent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live politics coverage from Westminster and beyond. Boris Johnson will visit a hospital in Lincolnshire while his team prepares for a general election campaign, while Jeremy Corbyn is set to make a trip to the sire of the Whaley Bridge dam in Derbyshire.

Plenty of cynicism about the prime minister’s NHS funding pledge. Our political correspondent Benjamin Kentish explains why.

Boris Johnson’s £1.8bn NHS cash boost 'a drop in the ocean', health experts warn

Prime minister to unveil plans to upgrade 20 hospitals across England but is told funding only 'a fraction' of what is needed

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth has had more to say about the £1.8bn NHS funding pledge, claiming there is “scepticism” about whether the apparent cash boost is actually new money.

“What it is beginning to look like is that money hospitals were promised for cutting their costs and cutting back on their spending, they were promised extra money and then ministers came along and blocked them from spending this extra money,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“It now looks like all Boris Johnson has actually done is said they can spend that extra money after all. So there is huge scepticism about whether it is new money."

Asked whether the £1.8 billion boost is part of a bid to “sweeten up” the public in a run up to a possible general election, health secretary Matt Hancock said this is not the case.

Mr Hancock told Good Morning Britain: “I’m concentrating on delivering for the NHS. That isn't a discussion I've had with anybody other than the people who keep asking me about it in the media.

“This money is because the NHS is our number one domestic priority. People rely on it every day and we are absolutely determined to make sure the NHS is the best it possibly can be.”

Advertisement

Matt Hancock has also claimed a no-deal Brexit cannot be blocked by MPs in parliament before 31 October. He said he had changed his mind on the matter during the Tory leadership contest. “When facts change people can change their minds,” he said.

The cabinet minister said he has not spoken to Boris Johnson’s special adviser Dominic Cummings, or to the prime minister, or “anybody else” about calling a general election, and claimed the only people interested in it are journalists.

He added: “I don’t want one. I don’t think we need one.”

Here’s what rebel Tory MP Dominic Grieve had to say about the suggestion that it’s too late for MPs to stop a no-deal Brexit – an idea reportedly being pushed by Dominic Cummings.

MPs could bring down government to block no-deal Brexit, insists Grieve

Remainer says he would join drive to prevent UK’s departure from EU without agreement
We may be in the midst of a summer recess, but Westminster is still buzzing with talk of a general election. Tory party chairman James Cleverly claimed over the weekend that the prime minister does not want to go to the polls this year, but No 10 is thought to be planning for one anyway. According to a report in the Financial Times, Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings is plotting a “people versus politicians” campaign. Cummings is said to be telling Tory MPs it’s too late to stop a no-deal Brexit, and he expects to fight an election soon after the UK crashes out the EU on 31 October.
Advertisement
If you missed our interview with Jo Swinson on Sunday, the Lib Dem leader had some interesting things to say about possible defections from the Tory backbenches.
 
Swinson said she had been in discussions with people who “share our values” and hinted some defectors could be unveiled at her party’s conference in Bournemouth this September. “I’m hopeful to grow the parliamentary party further.”
 

Jo Swinson calls on pro-EU Tories to ‘stand up’ and block no-deal Brexit

Votes this autumn will be ‘big test’ for Conservative MPs, says new Liberal Democrat leader
Labour faces the prospect of its annual conference being overshadowed by another antisemitism row after Chris Williamson said he would be speaking at several events at the fringe of the party’s conference in Brighton.
 
Currently suspended by the party, the Derby North MP said his critics should “pipe down”.
 
Here’s Benjamin Kentish’s exclusive story.
 

Labour facing fresh Chris Williamson row as suspended MP set to speak at 'multiple' events at party conference

Exclusive: Controversial MP told it would be 'inappropriate on every level' for him to attend gathering, but he vows to take part and tells critics to 'pipe down'
A new poll has found a majority of Scots are now in favour of independence. The Lord Ashcroft poll puts support for independence at 46 per cent and 43 per cent against.
 
When those who said they did not know how they would vote, or said they would not vote, were removed, support for independence was at 52 per cent and 48 per cent were against.
 
It found 47 per cent felt there should be a second independence referendum within the next two years, with 45 per cent against the proposal.
 
Nicola Sturgeon said the case for independence was growing stronger by the day as Scotland is “dragged towards a no-deal Brexit”.
Advertisement
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has written to the prime minister to demand a probe into Sajid Javid’s time at Deutsche Bank.
 
The Labour frontbencher raised questions about whether the chancellor was involved in tax avoidance while at the firm, and accused the new chancellor of profiting from the “greed” that fuelled the financial crisis.
 
Here’s our political correspondent Lizzy Buchan with all the details.
 
The Lib Dem MP Chuka Umunna has said businesses in the UK will not be ready for a no-deal Brexit until 2021 if applications for European Union registration and identification (EORI) numbers continue at the current rate.
 
The Streatham MP said businesses exporting to the EU would need to apply for an EORI number to continue trading. “Without it, they are not going to be able to trade as they were before,” he told the Today programme.
 
More on health secretary Matt Hancock’s claim that parliament can longer block a no-deal Brexit.
 
Remember, Mr Hancock said as recently as June: “No deal is not a policy option available to the next prime minister, whether they like it or not.”
 
Our political editor Andrew Woodcock looks at the details.
 

Parliament can no longer block a no-deal brexit, senior Tory insists

Matt Hancock said no-one inside government is talking about an early general election
Advertisement
The People’s Vote campaign is targeting 100 seats in a bid to oust Brexiteer MPs and security a majority for a second referendum if an early general election is called later this year, a leaked document has revealed.
 
Here’s our correspondent Benjamin Kentish with more.
 

Remain campaigners to target 100 seats at next election in push for second referendum

People’s Vote campaign to mobilise activists and funds to help oust Tory Brexiteers and support pro-Final Say MPs
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has arrived in the Derbyshire village of Whaley Bridge, where he is inspecting the work being done to stop the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir from bursting.  Emergency work continues to repair the damage sustained during following heavy rainfall, as police warn there could be “catastrophic” consequences if remaining residents refusing to evacuate their homes and the dam collapses.
 
Jeremy Corbyn inspects the reservoir damaged in heavy rainfall (PA)
 
With Boris Johnson set to begin his visit to a hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire, a reminder that he is announcing a £1.8bn cash injection for the health service, including £850m for 20 NHS hospitals in England to upgrade outdated facilities and equipment. So where will the money be spent?
 
East of England
- Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (FT): £99.5m for a new block in Luton to provide critical and intensive care, as well as a delivery suite and operating theatres
- Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS FT: £69.7m to provide diagnostic and assessment centres in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn
- Norfolk and Suffolk NHS FT: £40mto build four new hospital wards in Norwich, providing 80 beds
- NHS South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group: £25.2m to develop and improve primary care services
 
Midlands
- University Hospitals Birmingham: £97.1m to provide a new purpose-built hospital facility, replacing outdated outpatient, treatment and diagnostic accommodation
- United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust: £21.3m to improve patient flow in Boston by developing urgent and emergency care zones in A&E
- Wye Valley NHS Trust: £23.6m to provide new hospital wards in Hereford, providing 72 beds
- University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust: £17.6m to create three new modern wards to improve capacity and patient flow in Stoke, delivering approximately 84 beds for this winter
 
London
- Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge CCGs and North East London NHS Foundation Trust: £17m to develop a new health and wellbeing hub
- Croydon Health Services NHS Trust: £12.7m to extend and refurbish critical care units at the Croydon University Hospital
- North East and Yorkshire
- South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System: £57.5m for primary care investment
- Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS FT: £41.7m to improve paediatric cardiac services in the North East
- Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust: £12m to provide a single laboratory information management system across West Yorkshire and Harrogate, covering all pathology disciplines
 
North West
- Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS FT: £72.3m to build a new adult mental health inpatient unit
- Mersey Care NHS FT: £33m to provide a new 40-bed low secure unit for people with learning disabilities
- Stockport NHS FT: £30.6m to provide a new emergency care campus development at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, incorporating an urgent treatment centre, GP assessment unit and planned investigation unit
- NHS Wirral CCG: £18m to improve patient flow by improving access via the urgent treatment centre
- Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT: £16.3m to provide emergency and urgent care facilities at Tameside General Hospital
 
South East
- Isle of Wight NHS Trust: £48mto redesign acute services
 
South West
- Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust: £99.9m to build a new women’s and children’s hospital in the centre of the Royal Cornwall Hospital site in Truro
Advertisement
Despite the breakdown of hospital funding, shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth is sceptical about the prime minister’s claims that the money is “new”. Here’s the Labour MP talking on BBC News.
 
Lord Ashcroft was briefly trending on Twitter this morning. It’s because he has another intriguing poll out – this one revealing that the majority of Scots are now ready to back independence. It comes only days after Boris Johnson was booed and jeered on a visit to Edinburgh.
 
Here’s our correspondent Lizzy Buchan with all the numbers.
 

Majority of Scots back independence in shock poll days after Boris Johnson's trip

Protesters booed and jeered the new PM last week when he met Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh
Jeremy Corbyn has just arrived at a school in Whaley Bridge where he is now talking with residents from the Derbyshire village. Earlier he met with emergency officials about the risk of the Toddbrook Reservoir dam collapsing and work going on to shore up the structure.
 
A reminder that deputy chief constable Rachel Swann has told the remaining residents who have defied orders to evacuate that are not only putting their own lives at risk, but also those of emergency services staff who may have to look for them if the dam does break.
 
Jeremy Corbyn meets residents in Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire (AFP)
 
Advertisement
More on those Treasury figures which show how unready British exporters are for a no-deal Brexit, as revealed by Liberal Democrat MP Chuka Umunna earlier.
 
Data obtained by the Lib Dems shows less than three in 10 exporters are not ready for the country to crash out without a deal, and most won’t be ready until 2021.
 
In a no-deal scenario, businesses only trading with EU countries will need to apply for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number to move goods into and out of the UK. 
 
Since December 2018, approximately 66,000 traders who currently trade just with the EU have been issued with an EORI number. 
However, based on 2018 data, HMRC estimate that there are approximately 150,000 VAT registered traders who currently trade with the EU and may therefore need to obtain one.
A leading food policy expert has claimed the UK faces food shortages in the aftermath of a no-deal Brexit that will disproportionately hit poorer households – yet the government is being secretive about the problem. 
 
Here’s our business reporter Ben Chapman with all the details.
 

Government accused of covering up risk of food shortages after no-deal Brexit

Supplies face ‘unprecedented’ disruption, yet ministers have not shared assessments with public for fear of sparking panic-buying by consumers

Comments

Share your thoughts and debate the big issues

Learn more
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Create a commenting name to join the debate

Please try again, the name must be unique Only letters and numbers accepted
Loading comments...
Loading comments...
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Loading comments...
Loading comments...