Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

18 August 2019
Jo Swinson

Dods People draws together a list of appointments in Westminster politics, the devolved administrations and the public affairs sector in the last week. 

See the makeup of the new government, including the ongoing Parliamentary Private Secretary announcements here. Houses of Parliament: House of Commons Sarah Wollaston (formerly Conservative, had been sitting as Independent) has joined the Liberal Democrats. Government Departments: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Homes England – Edward Lister resigned as Chair. Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Tate – Tim Davie reappointed as a Trustee, and Farooq Chaudhry appointed as Artist Trustee. Historic Royal Palaces - Sarah Jenkins appointed as a Trustee. Department for Education School Teachers’ Review Body - Lynn Lawrence and Martin Post appointed as members. Foreign and Commonwealth Office Alan Gogbashian has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia in succession to Ms Judith Farnworth. Non-Ministerial Departments Forestry Commission - Mike Seddon is the new Chief Executive of...
18 August 2019
Kwasi Kwarteng

Kwasi Kwarteng has dismissed the Government’s own dire warnings about a no-deal Brexit as “scaremongering”.

The business minister said “a lot of people are playing into Project Fear” after the leak of the a batch of files on the Cabinet Office’s Operation Yellowhammer preparations for a no-deal outcome. He was speaking after the Sunday Times published a series of official Whitehall documents revealing Britain would face shortages of food, fuel and medicine as well as a hard border with Ireland if it left the EU with no agreement in place. The dossier warns months of border delays could disrupt key supplies to the UK, while social care providers - who would be hit by rising staffing and supply costs - could face a raft a closures. But appearing on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Kwarteng said: "I think there's a lot of scaremongering around and a lot of people are playing into Project Fear and all the rest of it.  "We've got to...
18 August 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has urged MPs opposed to no-deal to back his plan to lead a caretaker Government and “seize the opportunity before it’s too late”.

And the Labour leader accused the Tories who will not back him as a temporary Prime Minister of flirting with disaster. The comments came as more Conservatives confirmed they would not be in favour of removing Boris Johnson in a vote of no-confidence to then install Mr Corbyn in Number 10 to call for an extension to Article 50. Former minister Sir Oliver Letwin, who has been a key figure in the Parliamentary efforts to block no-deal, said he would not back a Corbyn-led emergency administration. Conservative rebels insist it must be led by a neutral figure, with Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, also opposed to the Labour leader being put in charge, suggesting veteran MPs Ken Clarke and Harriet Harman. Mr Clarke has indicated he would be willing to head up a government of national unity if it was the "only way" to prevent Britain exiting...
18 August 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has accused Conservative Brexit rebels of "gravely damaging" the national interest and making it more likely that Britain will leave the European Union without a deal.

The Prime Minister said it was "plain as a pikestaff" that EU leaders would "simply not compromise" and agree a favourable deal if Tory MPs openly discussed stopping a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. The warning, in a letter leaked to the Mail on Sunday, will be seen as a thinly-veiled attack on former Chancellor Philip Hammond, who this week said he was "very confident" the Commons would come up with a way to stop the Government leaving the EU without an agreement in place on Hallowe'en. Mr Hammond has warned such a scenario would represent a "betrayal" of the 2016 referendum result, and has accused "unelected" advisers to Mr Johnson of pushing him into a more hardline stance since taking office. But Mr Johnson hit back, writing in his letter that "any such Parliamentary campaign, any tricks of procedure or alliance of...
18 August 2019
An anti Brexit sign in the village of Jonesborough, on the border between Dundalk in the Republic of Ireland and Newry in Northern Ireland.

Britain would face shortages of food, fuel and medicine as well as a hard border with Ireland if it leaves the European Union without a deal in October, a leaked batch of official government documents has revealed.

A Cabinet Office dossier obtained by The Sunday Times warns months of border delays could disrupt key supplies to the UK, while social care providers - who would be hit by rising staffing and supply costs - could face a raft a closures. The paper has published a series of 'Operation Yellowhammer' documents, prepared earlier this month, which shed light on Whitehall's contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit. The file warns that efforts to avoid the return of a hard border in Ireland are likely to prove "unsustainable" in such a scenario, with warnings of "direct action" and road blockades. While it says there will be "no new checks, with limited exceptions" on the border, it warns of "significant economic, legal and biosecurity risks" that would make it difficult to keep it open. The documents say:  "Disruption to key sectors and job...
18 August 2019
House of Commons

More than 100 MPs have written to Boris Johnson urging him to recall Parliament because the country is facing “a national emergency” over Brexit.

The group have thrown down the gauntlet to the Prime Minister by saying a “true democrat should not fear such scrutiny", adding: “The question is whether you are one.” Signed by members of every political party in the House of Commons excluding the DUP, the letter criticises Mr Johnson for spending billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money “to back up your reckless no-deal plans”. The MPs said: “You claim to speak for the people, and yet the people’s parliament is in recess at this most crucial of times.” The Commons is not due to return from summer recess until 3 September, and can only be recalled at the behest of the Government. But it has been brought back on a number of occasions in the past, including the Suez crisis in 1956, the invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982 and the 2011 UK-wide riots. The MPs write: “Parliament must be recalled now in August and sit permanently until October 31, so that the voices of the people can be heard and there is proper scrutiny...
18 August 2019
Undated artist impression issued by HS2 of the proposed HS2 station at Euston.

With a new Office for Fair Funding, no longer would Whitehall be judge, jury and executioner. Wales would stand on an equal footing with London and get a fair hearing when it comes to funding, says Jonathan Edwards MP, Plaid Cymru Treasury Spokesperson.

For decades, British Governments – red and blue alike - have tinkered around the edges of the broken economic system without challenging its fundamental problems. That is why, when Westminster returns, I will propose a piece of legislation to try and make the basis of the economic model fairer. London and the south east of England continues to act as a black hole, sucking in talent and investment from the rest of the UK. In January this year, Plaid Cymru uncovered figures which showed that the inequality between London and Wales was the worst in Europe. But what can you expect when, for years, the British State has spent more per head in London than Wales? That is why, as a first step in rebalancing things, the new law that I will table would establish an independent Office for Fair Funding. At its core would be a statutory obligation to deliver geographic wealth convergence. In other words, it would be legally bound to deliver a fairer economic balance between the nations and...
17 August 2019

Theresa Villiers has vowed to "reshape our food system from farm to fork" with a new review first promised by her predecessor Michael Gove.

The Environment Secretary has launched a call for evidence into the UK’s food system, following an initial pledge from Mr Gove made seven months ago. The review will look at the production, marketing, processing, sale and purchase of food, as well as the consumer practices, resources and institutions involved in the UK's food chain. Ms Villiers said the review would be led by Henry Dimbelby - co-founder of the Leon restaurants chain and a lead non-executive director at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - and will launch a call for evidence this summer. The Environment Secretary said: "As well as keeping us alive and healthy, food plays a central role in our culture and our national life. The threats from climate change, loss of biodiversity and the need to deliver safe and affordable food gives rise to new challenges we must address. "As we leave the EU and seek to capitalise on the opportunities this can provide for the UK’s farmers and food producers, we...
17 August 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson will hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel next week ahead of the G7 summit in Biarritz. 

The Prime Minsiter is set to go to Paris and Berlin respectively to meet both leaders, with the visit being his first time meeting either leader since entering Number 10. Mr Johnson is likely to repeat his demand the EU scrap the Irish backstop from the current Brexit withdrawal agreement, with leaked German government documents anticipating the Prime Minister will use the summit to create a “big moment” in order to secure a breakthrough.  But the documents, which were leaked to the German Handelsblatt newspaper, say that even if the backstop were to be removed, there would be no guarantee that British MPs would approve the Withdrawal Agreement. They also admit it is “currently unforeseeable that Prime Minister Johnson will change his tough negotiating position”.  "In view of this, it is important from the EU perspective to stick to the previous line," the documents say. The leaked document also indicates that the EU’s no-deal preparations are largely complete, with the...
17 August 2019
Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid has announced he is looking into a controversial shake up of stamp duty and other supply-side econmic policies in his first interview since being appointed as Chancellor.

Speaking to The Times, Mr Javid outlined plans to charge stamp duty to those selling houses as opposed to house buyers, in a move aimed at helping first-time buyers. Discussing the policy, the Chancellor said: “I’m looking at various options. I’m a low-tax guy. I want to see simpler taxes”. However, the move could also see a reduction in homeowners downsizing to smaller properties if there was an increased tax burden to doing so.  Javid also refused to rule out a further cut to the top rate of income tax, saying “Wait and see for the budget...but it wouldn’t be any surprise that I think taxes should be efficient. "We want to set them at a rate where we are trying to maximise revenue, and that doesn’t always mean that you have the highest tax rate possible. Generally I want to see lower taxes, but at a level that is going to pay for the public services...