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Sir Keir Starmer says government should ditch its compulsory £200 energy rebate to address “long-term spikes” in energy bills which have been pushed even higher by the crisis in Ukraine.
In a much gentler session of Prime Minister’s Questions, the Labour leader said Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s upfront discount on people’s energy bills “looks certain to fail”, and called for a windfall tax on super profits instead.
But the Prime Minister accused Starmer of being “out of his mind” for pressing a U-turn, saying that energy firms would simply increase their prices.
Indeed, Boris Johnson called out the last Labour government of causing “undue damage” for not investing in renewable energy sources, like nuclear, claiming that it is the Conservatives who have turned Britain into the “Saudi Arabia of wind”.
He said the government would be outlining a long-term energy strategy “in the coming days” in light of its decision to ban imports of Russian oil and gas.
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Attention then turned to the crisis in Ukraine, specifically the government’s refugee policy. The SNP’s Ian Blackford lambasted the Home Office for creating “barriers and bureaucracy” for those fleeing war while the Liberal Democrat’s Sir Ed Davey said the armed forces should intervene to help those on the UK border.
But it was not just opposition MPs who stood up to criticise the government’s handling of refugees’ plight. Tory backbencher Tory MP urged ministers for a “more humanitarian approach” after it was revealed that around 1,000 visas had been accepted out of over 20,000 applications.
Earlier in the day Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, told the Home Affairs Select Committee that bureaucracy was holding back visa applications by Ukrainians fleeing the war, and suggested his officials should help out with the process. “If you can vote for some temporary releasing of us from these rules, to allow people to get here, we will take care of [them],” he said.