Politics latest: 'Worst thing we could do' – minister dismisses … – Sky News

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Senior backbencher David Davis says Tory MPs who want Boris Johnson back in Downing Street risk ensuring the Tories suffer a defeat similar to their 1997 shellacking at the next general election.
The abuse of power shown by David Carrick is “absolutely despicable” and urgent action must be taken, the prime minister has told the head of the Met Police.
Rishi Sunak said he’d had “constructive” talks with Sir Mark Rowley and “made clear to him – and he agrees – that the abuse of power that we have seen this week is absolutely despicable and it needs to be addressed immediately”.
Carrick who was with London police for more than 20 years – was found to be one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders after he admitted dozens of rapes and sexual offences following attacks on 12 women.
Mr Sunak said all police forces had been asked to double-check to see if anyone of concern had managed to slip through vetting procedures.
You can read more here:
We’ve been reporting extensively this week’s on the UK government’s decision to block legislation passed by the Scottish parliament which will make it easier for people to change gender.
Political correspondent Joe Pike explains the arguments put forward by the government, and why some disagree with the move, an unprecedented step in 25 years of devolution:
Political correspondent Joe Pike breaks down this week’s clashes between Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer and assesses who came out on top:
The government has puts forward new laws concerning strikes that could restrict the right for some workers to take industrial action. 
What is in the bill and why does the government want to introduce the law?
Political correspondent Mhari Aurora explains:
The former prime minister has said he is “appalled” by the helicopter crash just outside Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, which left at least 14 people dead. 
Ukraine’s interior minister Denys Monastyrskyi was among those killed in the crash, which was near a nursery school. 
Boris Johnson has been a key ally for Ukraine, helping to rally other Western countries to provide more support while he was prime minister. 
We reported earlier on an announcement from George Eustice of his intention to stand down at the next election (see 12.35 post).
The former environment secretary is the latest Tory to say they will be stepping down.
According to a Sky News tally, a total of 29 MPs will be leaving parliament.
The majority are Conservatives – 15. This includes former chancellor Sajid Javid and 2019 intake MP Dehenna Davison.
Among the Labour MPs standing down is Harriet Harman, the longest continuous serving female MP in the Commons.
Matt Hancock, the former health secretary who lost the Tory whip after going on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, will also be departing the Commons.
You can read more about the MPs standing aside in this piece from political reporter Sophie Morris:
Britons have faced weeks of disruption due to strikes across multiple industries – so why hasn’t anything been resolved yet? 
Our political correspondent Liz Bates says ministers have been saying for months the door is open and they are ready to talk – but union chiefs argue the government is not willing to talk about the main issue. 
Liz says the “main sticking point” for unions in almost every ongoing industrial dispute is pay.
But she says there is “no resolution at the moment in any of these disputes” and “if anything, both sides moving further apart”. 
Meanwhile, Labour has been capitalising on the lengthy disruption. 
During PMQs today, Rishi Sunak faced repeated questions on how his government is handling NHS pressure. 
The government was also criticised for its proposed minimum services legislation, which it has said will protect the public by imposing a minimum staffing level. 
However, Labour is not backing the legislation – with one MP calling it the “sack nurses bill”.
The UK economy has lost more money due to rail strikes than it would have if the government settled the dispute with unions months ago, a minister has admitted.
Rail minister Huw Merriman told MPs the row has “ended up costing more” than a resolution but insisted the “overall impact” on all public sector pay deals must be considered.
Transport Select Committee member Ben Bradshaw put it to the minister that “we’re talking of a cost to the government of over a billion (pounds) so far” from the impact of strikes, which have disrupted services for several months.
He asked: “That would easily be enough money to have solved this dispute months ago, wouldn’t it?”

Mr Merriman replied: “If you look at it in that particular lens, then absolutely, it’s actually ended up costing more than would have been the case if it was just settled in that part.”
However, he said it was important to look at “the overall impact on the public sector pay deals”, with multiple industries striking over pay in the face of soaring inflation.
The RMT has now written to business leaders accusing the government of using them as “collateral damage” following Mr Merriman’s admission.
In the letter to companies who have been impacted by the rail strikes, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch wrote: “Today the government admitted that prolonging the rail dispute was part of a deliberate strategy that was dictated by the government’s concern to keep down the pay of rail workers, nurses, ambulance workers and teachers.
“The wider economy and the business interests who relied on pre-Christmas trade were just collateral damage in that policy.”
Mr Lynch repeated his accusation that the government had interfered at the eleventh hour to scupper a deal between RMT and Network Rail to end strikes in December.
You can read more from political reporter Faye Brown here:
Discussions between teaching union leaders and the government are set to continue. 
Teachers are set to strike for seven days in February and March in an ongoing row over pay. 
A Department for Education spokesperson said a further meeting was held with union leaders this morning.
They said Education Secretary Gillian Keegan had “reiterated that strike action would be highly damaging to children’s education, particularly following the disruption experienced over the past two years”.
Speaking with Sky News yesterday, Ms Keegan said she was “disappointed” by the planned strikes. You can watch a clip from her interview below…
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