Rob Merrick, The Independent

Rob Merrick

The Independent

United Kingdom

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Recent articles by Rob:

Corporate witnesses in Grenfell Tower inquiry given immunity from prosecution

Witnesses from firms called to the Grenfell inquiry have won their fight for immunity from prosecution for their evidence, despite a lawyer for the victims describing the idea as “abhorrent”. → Read More

Sajid Javid warns Boris Johnson against spending splurge after shock resignation and takes swipe at Dominic Cummings

Sajid Javid has warned Boris Johnson not to go on a spending splurge in next month’s Budget, as he took a swipe at Dominic Cummings’ role in his shock resignation. In a Commons statement, the former chancellor said the “critical” rules he drew up – to balance the budget and reduce debt – must not be abandoned, or taxes raised. → Read More

'Cover-up': DWP destroyed reports into people who killed themselves after benefits were stopped

The department for work and pensions has been accused of “a cover-up” after destroying reports into suicides linked to benefits being stopped. Around 50 reviews into deaths following the loss of social security payments before 2015 have been shredded, officials have admitted – blaming data protection laws. → Read More

Boris Johnson faces angry backlash from farmers after dismissing post-Brexit food fears as 'mumbo jumbo'

Britain’s farmers have taken a swipe at Boris Johnson after he attacked resistance to US food as “mumbo jumbo”, warning that slashing standards would be “the work of the insane”. The president of the National Farmers Union insisted that nothing is more important than what people will eat after Brexit: “This is not hysteria. This is not mumbo jumbo.” → Read More

Boris Johnson told to take personal charge to reverse shocking fall in life expectancy for UK's poorest since Tory austerity

Boris Johnson has been urged to take personal charge of stemming a shocking decline in life expectancy for the poorest women in England, blamed on a decade of government cuts. → Read More

Heathrow expansion will wreck Boris Johnson’s promises to ‘level up’ UK, economists warn

Heathrow expansion will wreck government promises to “level up” the UK, economists have warned – ahead of a crucial court ruling that could derail the controversial project. The third runway will trigger a £43bn shift in the nation’s income to London and the southeast from other regions, with 27,000 jobs also relocating to those richer areas, their report estimates. → Read More

Cabinet secretary rebukes civil servants and ministers for 'briefings and leaks' after Priti Patel allegations

The cabinet secretary has rebuked civil servants and ministers for “unattributable briefings and leaks”, in a bid to settle the feuding surrounding Priti Patel. In a highly-unusual email to all staff, Mark Sedwill said “good government” depended on politicians, their aides and officials being able to operate with “candour, confidentiality and courtesy”. → Read More

Priti Patel warned her immigration crackdown will 'cut the legs off' the UK music industry

Priti Patel’s immigration crackdown will “cut the legs off” the thriving UK music industry, a leading figure says, warning artists will be forced to cancel tours and small venues put in jeopardy. In a blistering attack, the Incorporated Society of Musicians says the Home Office has turned its back on the creative arts worth £111bn a year to the economy – similar to banking – → Read More

Dominic Cummings criticised by Tory MP for ‘brutal’ attack on BBC

A Conservative MP has hit out at Dominic Cummings for his “brutal” attack on the BBC and accused him of having a “nasty streak” that will backfire on the party. Huw Merriman, who is chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on the BBC, attacked what he called “ideological trench warfare” against the corporation, in a recent No 10 briefing. → Read More

EU wages 'slide wars' against UK to convince Boris Johnson it will not back down in trade deal row

The EU is waging ‘slide wars’ against the UK to convince Boris Johnson it will refuse a tariff-free trade deal if he insists on the right to break its rules. A graph sets out why the UK – a powerful economy on its doorstep – will not be allowed to wriggle out of past commitments not required of Canada, South Korea, Japan and other distant countries. → Read More

Tory peer Baroness Warsi backs Dave after grime star called Boris Johnson 'racist' during Brits performance

A former Conservative party chairwoman has backed grime star Dave after he branded Boris Johnson a “racist”, calling it “a necessary wake-up call”. → Read More

Tory migration plan will shut out 140,000 EU workers

Tough immigration laws could shut the door on 140,000 workers from the European Union and citizens from the continent may have to provide their fingerprints. The Home Office has floated the hardline proposal as part of a “firm and fair” post-Brexit crackdown that will replace free movement with a minimum salary threshold of £25,600 for most workers. → Read More

Britons should be able to keep EU citizenship despite Brexit, says Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan has made a last-gasp plea for Britons to be able to keep EU citizenship despite Brexit, as the best way for the country to be “reconciled”. The idea – long advocated by some senior figures in Brussels – would help people left “heartbroken” by departure from the European Union, the Mayor of London said. → Read More

Racists must not be allowed to enter No 10, minister says, after aide forced to quit over comments

A minister has demanded curbs on Dominic Cummings’ power to recruit No 10 staff as he attacked the “racist” views of an adviser forced to resign. Kwasi Kwarteng broke with Boris Johnson – who had refused to condemn Andrew Sabisky – by branding his past comments “racist”, “offensive” and “reprehensible”. → Read More

‘No time to lose’: Food importers tell Boris Johnson to act to prevent price hikes and shortages from hard Brexit

Concerned food importers have revealed the “mountain of paperwork” they face under Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit, making price hikes and shortages inevitable. The prime minister has been told there is “no time to lose” to reach an agreement with the EU to prevent the worst possible damage – and to begin expensive preparations at channel ports. → Read More

Boris Johnson told to sack adviser who backed compulsory contraception to prevent 'a permanent underclass'

Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to sack a new adviser after it emerged he called for the young to undergo compulsory contraception to prevent “a permanent underclass”. Andrew Sabisky – already under fire for attacking women’s sport and backing a risky mind-enhancing drug – also suggested more black people are “close to mental retardation”. → Read More

Tories to reinstate all 3,000 bus routes axed in spending cuts, claims transport secretary

All 3,000 bus routes axed because of government spending cuts will be restored and passengers could soon be “calling one up on your app”, the transport secretary has claimed. → Read More

Rebecca Long-Bailey says women's refuges must accept trans women and urges Labour members to 'stop having this debate'

Rebecca Long-Bailey has vowed to change the law to prevent women’s refuges excluding trans women, telling Labour members to “stop having this debate”. → Read More

Keir Starmer 'not concerned' with being labelled a Blairite or a Corbynista in Labour leadership race

Keir Starmer says he does not care whether people “badge” him as a Blairite or a Corbynista in the Labour leadership contest – describing both as “historical figures”. The race favourite was told that the public was “unclear” whether he is “a centrist or a left winger”, but insisted what matters is his ability to bring all parts of the party together. → Read More

Has Boris Johnson abandoned his promise to make his cabinet less pale and male?

No 10 could not have been clearer when it vowed, last summer: “Boris will build a cabinet showcasing all the talents within the party that truly reflect modern Britain.” With Sajid Javid installed as the UK’s first chancellor from an Asian background, it pointed to a determined effort to rid the Tories of the stigma of being male, pale and obscenely privileged. → Read More