Blog: UK politics – live: Barclay says ‘risk’ patients dying unnecessarily due to NHS delays – The Independent

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Health secretary Steve Barclay has said he does not recognise reports that Britain will seek a Swiss-style deal with the European Union.

It follows reports that senior figures in Rishi Sunak’s government were considering moving Britain towards such relationship with the bloc in pursuing frictionless trade amid the soaring cost-of-living crisis.

The former Brexit minister told the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme on Sky News: “We’ve got a prime minister who himself supported Brexit. I myself did and was Brexit secretary, and worked very hard to maximise our control of our laws, our borders and our money.

“So, it’s absolutely important, particularly in those high-growth sectors, such as financial services, life sciences and the green industries, that we really use the Brexit freedoms we have.

“So, I don’t recognise this story at all.”

Asked if he could support a Swiss-style relationship, he said: “Well, I didn’t support that. I want to maximise the opportunities that Brexit offers.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt signalled last week that Mr Sunak’s administration intends to break ranks with Boris Johnson’s approach by removing the majority of trade barriers with the bloc.

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Kate Devlin: Talking about politics is the only way politicians can make it more boring

Reducing the amount of time spent by ministers on the daily broadcast round might seem like a good idea, but Kate Devlin isn’t convinced.

Reducing the amount of time spent by ministers on the daily broadcast round might seem like a good idea but Kate Devlin isn’t convinced

Emily Atkinson20 November 2022 11:31

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Union boss accuses Barclay of saying ‘frankly pretty dishonest stuff’

A Union boss said he was left “incandescent” by comments made by health secretary Steve Barclay over tackling the backlogs in the NHS.

Gary Smith, who leads the GMB trade union, told the BBC’s Laura Kuenessberg: “I mean this is deluded and frankly pretty dishonest stuff from the secretary of state, the ambulance service, the health service and care were on their knees going to the pandemic and things have got worse.

“Our care homes were turned into morgues during the pandemic because of mismanagement and cuts people are dying because of cuts in services,” he says.

Emily Atkinson20 November 2022 11:03

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Health secretary Steve Barclay admits ‘risk’ patients are dying unnecessarily because of ambulance delays

Steve Barclay was also accused of “frankly pretty dishonest stuff” by the leader of the one of the country’s largest unions as he defended the actions ministers are taking on the health service .

Asked if people were dying because of ambulance delays, Mr Barclay conceded: “If there is a delay in an ambulance getting to someone in terms of unmet need, then obviously that is a material risk”.

Our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin has more:

Defence of NHS plans denounced as ‘frankly pretty dishonest stuff’ by union boss

Emily Atkinson20 November 2022 10:45

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Barclay says delay to social care reform was ‘difficult’, but necessary

Health Secretary Steve Barclay has admitted it was a difficult decision to delay reforms to social care, but insisted that choice had been made in order that the government could focus on fixing issues brought on by the pandemic.

Speaking to the BBC’s Laura Kuenessberg, he said there were 13,500 people in hospital who are ready to go home but can’t because there are not enough care packages for them, which was having a knock-on effect on ambulance waiting times and the flow of patients through hospitals.

He continued by saying the primary cause of people being delayed from leaving hospital is social care which is why the government is putting its investment there.

Mr Barclay later admitted there were “severe pressures” on the NHS but said the origin of those pressures was the coronavirus pandemic, rejecting Ms Kuenessberg’s citing years of underfunding as a primary factor.

Emily Atkinson20 November 2022 10:29

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Asylum seekers ‘can’t afford clothes or toiletries’ on £8 a week government support

Asylum seekers say they cannot afford the clothes and toiletries they need, or to leave their accommodation, as they survive on as little as £8 a week as living costs continue to soar.

People who have fled their countries say they are struggling to get by on their government allowance – and are unable to do anything about it while banned from working.

One man says he is spending “much of his life indoors” in his asylum hotel shared with hundreds as he cannot afford to do much else. Others said they felt “isolated” and “mentally suffering” due to being stuck in similar situations.

‘I’m not thinking about living a life of luxury … but we should be able to meet our basic necessities,’ mother says

Emily Atkinson20 November 2022 09:54

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Dominic Raab facing calls for third probe amid claims of ‘obscene’ language in Commons

Embattled deputy prime minister Dominic Raab is under growing pressure amid calls for a third probe into his alleged behaviour.

The justice secretary faces fresh accusations that he used “obscene” language in the chamber of the House of Commons.

The row centres on claims Mr Raab mouthed the word “w***er” at the Labour leader during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) 10 days ago.

Our Whithall editor Kate Devlin has more:

Accusations the deputy prime minister mouthed ‘w***er’ at Labour leader during PMQs

Emily Atkinson20 November 2022 09:38

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Labour would not propose a return to single market, says Ashworth

Labour does not want the UK to rejoin the EU single market, shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Ashworth has said.

He added that Labour would not adopt a Swiss-style relationship with the EU, which the Ggvernment is reportedly looking at.

Speaking to the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme on Sky News, Mr Ashworth said: “We’re not proposing returning to the single market or the customs union, or anything like that.

“But we do want to negotiate a bespoke deal for the United Kingdom, so that our businesses can export, so that we can get those agreements on agriculture, so we can work together on security issues.

“But we’re not proposing that we just simply adopt the Swiss proposal, which the government now are apparently looking at.

“Of course, we need to fix this deal. Of course, we need to make Brexit work, because this oven-ready deal that we were promised, this great deal, has not worked out in the way in which Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson told the British people that it would do.”

Emily Atkinson20 November 2022 09:24

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Cabinet minister warns he would not support closer Swiss-style relationship with the EU

A cabinet minister has warned he would not support a closer Swiss-style relationship with the European Union following reports the government is considering putting the UK on such a path.

Steve Barclay, the health secretary, instead suggested ministers should focus on maximising what he said were the opportunities of Brexit.

Asked about reports that plans for more frictionless trade with Europe requires moving to a Swiss model over the next decade, Mr Barclay said: “I don’t support that”.

Our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin has this breaking story:

Important to ‘really use the Brexit freedoms we have’, Steve Barclay says

Emily Atkinson20 November 2022 09:19

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Barclay fesses up to Brexit ‘difficulties’

Steve Barclay has admitted that since Brexit there have been “difficulties” with “greater friction” over trade.

Asked on Sky News whether Brexit had had an adverse impact on UK trade, he said: “What I’m saying is you’ve got to look at the issues in terms of Brexit in the round.

“There are areas where there have been difficulties in terms of greater friction and we’re looking to work constructively with EU partners on that.

“But, equally, there are very significant opportunities as a result of Brexit.

“I don’t think we would have done the vaccine rollout in the way that we did had we remained a member of the EU and the significant regulatory opportunities we have, and the autumn statement signalled our determination to take those.”

Emily Atkinson20 November 2022 09:07

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More now from Steve Barclay on reports the government is pursuing a Swiss-style deal with the EU.

The health secretary told the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme on Sky News: “We’ve got a prime minister who himself supported Brexit. I myself did and was Brexit secretary, and worked very hard to maximise our control of our laws, our borders and our money.

“So, it’s absolutely important, particularly in those high-growth sectors, such as financial services, life sciences and the green industries, that we really use the Brexit freedoms we have.

“So, I don’t recognise this story at all.”

Asked if he could support a Swiss-style relationship, he said: “Well, I didn’t support that. I want to maximise the opportunities that Brexit offers.”

Emily Atkinson20 November 2022 08:59

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