Millions will shun trains for ever, Government warns strikers

“A generation of passengers will be put off travelling by train for good because of industrial action, ministers fear, as Britain enters the worst week of rail disruption for 30 years. Millions of people have been advised to avoid using the railways as the country faces five days of industrial action, effectively delaying the return to offices by a week as an estimated 80,000 trains are cancelled. The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is staging two 48-hour walkouts on Tuesday and Friday, and drivers from the Aslef union will strike on Thursday. Rail industry sources have claimed that 16 million journeys could be affected this week.” – The Times

  • Britons face five days of misery in most disruptive rail strikes yet – Daily Telegraph
  • Striking workers ‘could be handed more perks in bid to end crippling industrial action’ – The Sun
  • RMT locked in two separate disputes with 14 train operators – FT

Unions expected to take legal action against new anti-strike laws

“Unions are expected to take legal action against anti-strike laws being prepared by Rishi Sunak amid reports the curbs will be unveiled when parliament returns this month. The legislation being looked at by Sunak would extend plans already announced by ministers to enforce minimum service levels on public transport – meaning 20% of regular rail services would need to continue during strike action. That could be extended across the public sector to include NHS workers including ambulance staff, as well as teachers, the border force and fire services. Ministers are also considering beefing up strike laws that already impose tough conditions to allow strikes to go ahead.” – The Guardian

  • Militants warn new legislation won’t block strikes – The Sun


  • Unions urge teachers to vote for strikes as posties’ walkout may delay ballot forms – The Sun

Health chiefs clash over warning that delays are killing 500 a week

“An NHS leader has sought to downplay a claim that the deaths of up to 500 patients a week are being caused by delays in emergency care, even as other health service bosses admit that the situation is “life-threatening” for patients. The Liberal Democrats urged the recall of parliament to tackle the “life or death situation for huge numbers of patients” posed by the NHS “collapsing in front of our eyes”. The British Medical Association said the situation in the NHS was “intolerable and unsustainable”, claiming that patients were “dying unnecessarily” because of a political choice not to invest in the service. The president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) told Times Radio on Sunday that between 300 and 500 deaths a week were a result of delays and problems with urgent and emergency care.” – The Times

  • NHS unions say plans for two per cent pay rise next year could mean more strikes – The Guardian


  • Hospital tells NHS staff to pay back Christmas bonus after error – Daily Telegraph
  • Sturgeon’s pressure to bring MSPs back from recess as NHS crisis deepens – Daily Express

Lords will delay Sunak’s bonfire of EU laws

“Rishi Sunak will be forced by the House of Lords to abandon plans for a bonfire of European Union laws by the end of the year, The Times has been told. The government has committed itself to removing about 4,000 pieces of EU-derived laws from the British statute book by December. Ministers will have to decide which they want to retain, which to scrap and which to change. However, the scale of the task means that it is increasingly seen in Whitehall as an impossible deadline, with internal estimates that thousands of officials will have to be diverted to review legislation full time.” – The Times

  • Thousands of officials would be needed to review the regulations to be on time – Daily Mail
  • Cruddas claimed the Prime Minister is “showing his true colours” – Daily Express

Ministers studying plans for UK child-specific terrorism orders…

“New legal terrorism orders specifically for children should be brought in to tackle the growing numbers being arrested, the official adviser on terrorism law has told the government. Ministers are studying plans that would result in children being compelled to accept help or face jail, devised by Jonathan Hall KC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation. The move comes as the number of children arrested has increased, mainly for lower-level terrorism offences, such as sharing propaganda or downloading material. The rise has been fuelled by growing internet use and an increase in terrorist propaganda available online, with children as young as 13 being arrested.” – The Guardian

  • MPs wearing stab vests for security to meet constituents – The Times
  • Ministers’ phones ‘could be hacked in 20 minutes’ using online data – The Times

…as Raab blocks Home Office plan to update treason laws

“A cabinet row has erupted after Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, blocked Home Office plans to update Britain’s 650-year-old treason laws, The Times can reveal. Suella Braverman, the home secretary, and Tom Tugendhat, the security minister, had drawn up a plan to introduce new offences to prosecute jihadists, hackers and other “malign” actors who swear allegiance to a hostile foreign power. It was designed to make it easier to prosecute individuals such as Shamima Begum, the Isis bride trying to return to Britain, and other British jihadists such as Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, part of the so-called Beatles group of Isis killers.” – The Times

  • Britain will declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group – Daily Mail

Sunak vows ‘fightback starts here’ as Tories trail Labour in polls

“Defiant Rishi Sunak vowed the ‘fightback starts here’ as it emerged wavering voters could turn their backs on Sir Keir Starmer before the next election. The Prime Minister issued the rallying cry despite Labour’s substantial poll lead, saying he was the right person to lead the country out of a “perfect storm” of troubles. He faces a nightmare in-tray as he tackles a profound economic crisis, being ambushed by Labour with their sights on No10 and a general election on the horizon. But in a letter to donors and supporters – reflecting on the Tories being in power since 2010 – he says: “This is every challenge of the last twelve years rolled into one.”” – The Sun

  • Welsh Labour is readying for snap general election, says Drakeford – The Guardian

Cash boost to low-income UK households to stretch at least 12 months

“Millions of low-income households in Britain will receive payments totalling up to £1,350 spread over at least 12 months, the government announced on Tuesday as part of its measures aimed at easing the cost of living crisis. The extra help was first announced by chancellor Jeremy Hunt in November’s Autumn Statement but the government had not previously set out when the extra cash would be paid. The Department for Work and Pensions said the bulk of the cash would be made up of a £900 cost of living payment for more than 8mn households paid in three instalments over the course of about 12 months from spring 2023.” – FT

Force employers who deny working from home to justify why, says Nokes

“Employers should have to give a “proper” justification for denying employees a request to adopt flexible working patterns, the Tory chairman of the Commons women and equalities committee has said. Caroline Nokes urged the Government to go further on giving workers the power to request less regularly structured hours, calling flexible working “the way forward in the future”. Under a Bill going through Parliament, employees will no longer need 26 weeks of continuous employment to qualify for the right to request flexible working. However, it would remain only a right to request and not a right to have flexible working…” – Daily Telegraph

Paul Goodman: The time has come for the Tories to move on from Johnson

“The Truss collapse exposed an inconvenient truth: that Britain’s credit is weak in the markets and that Johnson’s appetite for higher spending was a cause. One can’t escape the conclusion that he views economics as a form of entertainment. What reason is there for believing that he would change? There are fewer crises under Sunak. To put it another way, life is more dull. But while many Tory MPs are unconvinced by the prime minister, some appreciate the change. “Ring out the old, ring in the new,” Tennyson wrote of the new year. Perhaps Johnson’s time will come again one day. But for the moment, it’s time to move on.” – The Times

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