PMQs live: Keir Starmer brands Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda bill ‘a farce’ amid Tory rebellion ahead of key vote | Politics

Starmer labels Rwanda plan a ‘farce’

Starmer says spending £400m on a removals problem that does not remove anyone is not a plan. It is a farce. He asks the question again; where are the missing people?

Sunak list things that are happening: more enforcement raids, more bank accounts blocked (both of which using powers Labour opposed), a record number of people returned. That is a plan that is working. Numbers coming to the UK are down by a third. And it is a bit rich to hear Starmer says he would stop the boats. Starmer has “no values, no conviction and no plan”. It is back to square one, he says.

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Key events

Peter Dowd (Lab) says the PM has taken responsibility for falling inflation. Will he take responsibility for today’s rise?

Sunak says it was 11% when he took office. It has now been more than halved. But in countries around the world it went up in December.

Douglas Ross (Con) asks about government support for the Scotch whisky industry.

Sunak says this is a hugely important industry, supporting thousands of jobs.

Martin Docherty-Hughes (SNP) says 200,000 mortgage prisoners have become trapped because a Northern Rock portfolio was sold off. They are trapped paying extortionate rates.

Sunak says he is familiar with the problem faced by mortgage prisoners. He worked on this as chancellor. It is not easy to fix, but things are being considered.

Charlotte Nichols (Lab) says people across the country are finding it increasingly hard to access ADHD medication.

Sunak says the health secretary is looking at this.

James Gray (Con) asks Sunak to confirm a hotel in his constituency will be returned to its proper purpose in April, and that it will no longer house asylum seekers.

Sunak says he wants to end hotel use for asylum seekers.

Rupa Huq (Lab) says HS2 is meant to transform travel, and Old Oak Common in her constituency. Will Sunak ensure it at least reaches Euston. Or is Sunak just interested in private jets.

Sunak says Starmer might have something to say about private jets. He says Old Oak Common will be one of the most important stations in the country. But the government does intend to go ahead with the HS2 Euston link.

Chris Stephens (SNP) asks about the contaminated blood scandal, and says a compensation scheme should be set up urgently. When will victims be paid?

Sunak says he is aware of the strength of feeling on this issue. He says this is a complex issue. Interim payments have been made in some cases. When the final inquiry report is made, the government will respond as quickly as possible.

Patrick Grady (SNP) asks what is wrong with Rwanda that makes the government think sending people there will be a deterrent.

Sunak says it’s not that anything is wrong with Rwanda; the point is, it’s not the UK. That is why being sent there would be a deterrent.

Greg Smith (Con) asks about overcrowding on Chiltern Railways. He asks if the PM will fast-track plans to improve the service.

Sunak agrees service on the Chiltern network has not been good enough. He says the government is looking at this.

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Nick Fletcher (Con) says he wants a minister for men, and a new hospital in his constituency.

Sunak says he would be delighted to discuss these things when he next visits Fletcher’s constituency.

Caroline Lucas (Green) says the UK government is complicit in the horrors of Gaza until it calls for a ceasefire. Those aren’t her words, but the words of the head of Oxfam. What will it take for the PM to back a permanent, bilateral ceasefire?

Sunak says a ceasefire would be the best way forward. But Hamas would have to agree to release hostages, they would have to no longer by in charge of Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority would have to take over in Gaza.

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