‘I would love to give nurses a huge pay rise’

Rishi Sunak spoke to Piers Morgan in an interview to mark his 100th day in Number 10 - Simon Walker /No 10 Downing Street

Rishi Sunak spoke to Piers Morgan in an interview to mark his 100th day in Number 10 – Simon Walker /No 10 Downing Street

Rishi Sunak has said that he would like to “give nurses a pay rise, the strongest hint being that they could get a better deal than other public sector workers to end the strikes.

The Prime Minister said in an interview with TalkTV on Thursday evening that he viewed nurses as an “exception” from other government-paid workers.

“I would love to give the nurses a huge pay rise. Who wouldn’t?” Mr. Sunak said in the interview. “That sure would make my life easier, wouldn’t it?”

He said “nurses should be an exception because they do an incredible job for all of us”, praising their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

But he stressed that the need to reduce inflation, which is eating into people’s pay packets, limits his ability to sign off on big pay rises.

“It’s about choices,” he said. “So at the moment, money is going into the NHS [is the] it’s the biggest it’s ever been but we have to put that in different places.

“We need to hire more doctors, more nurses. We need more scanning equipment to detect cancers.”

The comments will raise expectations that healthcare workers could be offered a better pay rise than other striking workers to end their industrial action.

The statements are noteworthy as the Government has largely tried to avoid speculation about the likelihood of public sector pay rises amid opposition to the unions, many of whom are taking industrial action.

Mr Sunak also doubled down on the Government’s Rwandan deportation plans, confirming it still hopes to send migrants who come to the UK illegally.

The Prime Minister emphasized his desire to break “the cycle” of people smuggling which has resulted in the highest number of small boats crossing the English Channel.

Asked if the Rwandan policy would ever come into effect, Mr Sunak said: “Yes.”

The policy has been fiercely criticized by human rights organizations and opposition parties, but Mr Sunak promised to keep the campaign in place when he ran for the Tory leadership last summer.

Mr Sunak said: “The system that we need, the system that I want to introduce, is a system where, if you come here illegally, you should be detained quickly and then in a few days or weeks we will hear your demand, not months. and years, and then we will remove you safely somewhere else. And if we do that, that’s how we break the cycle.”

Discussing how to implement the new plan, Mr Sunak said: “So look, in the first 100 days what have we done, what have I done?

“Ah, I have a new agreement with France, which is increasing the amount of patrols on French beaches, which is already making a difference.

“Secondly, I have a brand new deal with Albania. Albania accounted for 30 percent of all illegal migrants.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Mr Sunak outlined his views on intersectional issues, stressing that “sex was really biological in women’s spaces”.

The Prime Minister also said he believed his Cabinet career was over when he resigned from Boris Johnson’s front bench last summer. Separately, Mr Sunak said he hoped it was “romantic”.

The Prime Minister refused to comment on who should be invited to the Coronation of King Charles III.

But he said: “One of the proudest parts of my job is going around the world and promoting and celebrating British institutions like the Royal family.

“The Royal family are loved everywhere I go around the world and they do an incredible job. King Charles does an incredible job. We’re lucky to have him – the Coronation is going to be great and we’re going to have a great time.”

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