Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

23 May 2019
Polling station

Labour has blamed the government for causing “chaos” after EU citizens complained that they were being turned away from polling stations.

Hundreds of European nationals living in the UK have taken to Twitter to say they have been denied the opportunity to vote in today’s European Parliament elections due to administrative errors. Those living away from their home nation are required to sign additional forms indicating their intention to cast their votes in the UK, but swathes of voters said they did not receive the papers. Others claimed they were blocked from voting despite filling out the forms ahead of the deadline and even though they had apparently confirmed with their councils that they were correctly registered. Labour slammed the government for the blunder, accusing them of causing "havoc" for EU citizens. Filmmaker Birgit Muller, who has been living in the UK since 1997, told PoliticsHome she was turned away from the polling station despite having previously voted in EU elections while living in the UK. “I was aware that there was a form that I had to fill in in order to decide whether to vote in...
23 May 2019
Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt has called on Theresa May to scrap her flagship Brexit bill rather than force Tory MPs in Leave-backing seats to support it.

The Foreign Secretary set out his concerns to the Prime Minister in a Downing Street meeting as pressure grew on her to announce when she is resigning. Home Secretary Sajid Javid also called on Mrs May to ditch her plan to give MPs a vote on whether to hold a second EU referendum during "frank" talks in Number 10. The PM will hold crunch talks with Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, on Friday morning, during which he will urge her to set a date for her departure. If she decides to fight on, he will then open an envelope to reveal whether members of the committee's executive have voted to change Conservative Party rules to make it possible to oust her within weeks. In a major U-turn, Theresa May was forced to ditch plans to publish the Withdrawal Agreement Bill - the legislation needed to ratify Brexit - on Friday following a Cabinet revolt over its contents. It is understood that in his meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr Hunt told her to pull the...
23 May 2019
Gavin Williamson and Boris Johnson

Ex-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has revealed he is backing Boris Johnson to be the next Tory leader and Prime Minister.

Mr Williamson was sacked earlier this month after a Whitehall probe found him guilty of leaking details from a National Security Council meeting. The former frontbencher later said he had been “tried by a kangaroo court” as he denied giving out the information, relating to Theresa May’s decision to give Huawei a role in developing the UK's 5G network. His latest intervention comes as Theresa May faces being ousted as Prime Minister within days. Speaking to the Express and Star, Mr Williamson branded the former Foreign Secretary “the one who can deliver change for both the Conservative Party and the country”. “I will be enthusiastically backing him and very much hope I can play a small role in making sure that his name is the one that the party chooses as leader,” he added. “The bottom line is that the only person who can deliver Brexit and defeat Labour is...
23 May 2019
Mel Stride

Mel Stride has been appointed as the new Leader of the Commons after Andrea Leadsom quit the post over Theresa May’s Brexit agreement.

The Central Devon MP has been handed the Cabinet role less than a day after his predecessor walked out, saying she no longer believed the Government's approach "will deliver on the referendum result". The move has piled further pressure on Mrs May to announce the date of her departure, following a furious backlash at her Withdrawal Agreement Bill among Tory MPs and ministers. In a hard-hitting resignation letter, Ms Leadsom, who backed leaving the EU in 2016, said: "I stayed in Cabinet to shape and fight for Brexit. "There have been some uncomfortable compromises along the way, but you have had my determined support and loyalty in your efforts to deliver Brexit as our shared goal." The 2016 Tory leadership contender, who dropped out and subsequently handed the top job to Mrs May, said she did not believe the PM’s Brexit deal would lead to "a truly sovereign United Kingdom". She added: "I have always maintained that a second referendum dangerously divisive, and I do not...
23 May 2019
Shadow Minister for Mental Health Barbara Keeley MP

A new report by Diabetes UK calls for emotional support to be included in diabetes care

WHO Diabetes UK, the leading charity for people living with diabetes. WHAT A reception to mark the launch of a new report: 'Too often missing: Making emotional and psychological support routine in diabetes care.'  Diabetes is traditionally seen as just a physical condition, but in reality the demands of living with it can affect how people feel. This in turn can make it difficult to keep on top of self-management, creating what the report calls a “two-way relationship between diabetes and emotional and psychological wellbeing.” To get a better idea of how the condition can impact mental health, Diabetes UK surveyed over 1,000 GPs, 300 parents and carers, 150 NHS healthcare professionals, and...
Geoffrey Lyons
23 May 2019
Nigel Farage and Vince Cable

The Conservatives and Labour will finish behind the Brexit Party and Liberal Democrats at the EU elections, according to an opinion poll carried out hours before voting began.

Ipsos MORI has predicted that Nigel Farage’s new outfit will storm ahead to pick up 35% of the vote today, while Vince Cable's pro-Remain party will take 20%. Labour is to finish third on 15%, while the Tories languish in fifth, a point behind the Greens, on just 9%. Mr Farage's former party Ukip is set to take just 3% of the vote - the same share as the Lib Dems' pro-EU rivals, Change UK. The study, carried out for the Evening Standard between 20-22 May, found that more than half (54%) of Conservative voters from the 2017 general election plan to ditch them for the Brexit Party. In a further blow to Theresa May, who could be ousted as leader by Tory MPs in days, just 20% of voters said they would stick to her team, while 13% will switch to backing the Lib Dems. Jeremy Corbyn's party is expected to lose nearly one in four supporters (22%) from the 2017 snap vote to the Lib Dems, with 15% heading to the Brexit Party and another 15% to the Greens. The...
23 May 2019
Farage and the Brexit Party

A chamber chasing its tail, too sluggish to fill the days, plays into the Faragist fantasy of parliament against the people. MPs need to take a hard look at themselves, writes Tony Grew 

The Commons hasn't been at its best since its return from the Easter recess. Early finishes, multiple backbench, opposition and general debates and a notable lack of legislation have summed the past few weeks. It looks likely to remain the same until after the Whitsun recess. The first week in June should see the Commons shaken out of its stupor. That is when the withdrawal agreement bill will have its second reading. It's a curious title for the bill, given that MPs can't even agree that we should withdraw. Even among those committed to leaving, there is a frustrating array of opinions on when and how we should do so. Given that it is close to three years since the UK voted to leave, that can only be seen as a failure of politics, the Commons, the official opposition and the government. It is no surprise that the simplistic message of the Brexit party is resonating with many frustrated voters. Without wishing to pre-judge the outcome of the European elections, a victory for Mr...
Tony Grew
23 May 2019
Theresa May

Theresa May has been forced to ditch plans to finally let MPs see her Brexit bill after a revolt by her Cabinet.

The Prime Minister had told the Commons that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would be published on Friday "so the House has the maximum possible time to study its detail". But its pledge to give MPs a vote on whether to hold a second EU referendum sparked a furious backlash from a number of Cabinet ministers, and led to the resignation of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom. In a major climbdown, Number 10 announced the publication of the WAB has been delayed to allow Mrs May to "listen to her colleagues' concerns" about the legislation. It has also emerged that the chances of MPs ever getting the chance to vote on the bill are receding. Government whip Mark Spencer - an emergency stand-in for Ms Leadsom at Business Questions on Thursday morning - said ministers had hoped for the crunch vote to take place on Friday, 7 June, but that they had failed to...
23 May 2019

Stephen Mitcham, out-going BSA chair, speaking at the BSA Conference in London on Thursday 23 May 2019

Welcome Good morning and welcome to the 2019 BSA annual conference.  It is fantastic to see so many of you here. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to join this year’s conference which I believe you will find both informative, challenging and enjoyable as you meet up with friends, colleagues and the many businesses that support our sector. Thinking back in preparing my words for today, I realise that this must be about the 18th BSA Conference I have attended. At these various conferences the themes have developed and changed but the consistent point is that each event has been a great source of information to help inform my thinking as to the future opportunities and threats that Cambridge Building Society will be facing in the future. Indeed, much of what I have heard talked about at those many conferences has undoubtedly directly influenced the Society’s Corporate Plans.  This year’s conference has been designed to help with the matters that are...
23 May 2019
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg meets Caroline Lucas on 23rd April 2019 in Westminster

Former Green Party Leader & Co-Leader Caroline Lucas, who was an MEP for ten years writes: "Europe isn’t just about rules and the single market. It is about democracies coming together to tackle some of the major issues which confront us all".

These European elections are turning into the most important for years in the UK and that is, paradoxically, because of Brexit. The backward-looking xenophobia of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has dragged the Conservatives into its orbit, while many many progressive Labour voters, who are pro EU and pro freedom of movement, are abandoning the party for the Greens, after being alienated or confused by Jeremy Corbyn’s ambiguous position on Europe.  This contest is about something even more profound than Brexit alone – it’s about the kind of country we want to be. Democracy  and truth are under attack, and the true agenda of those pulling the populist strings is widespread chaos in which division thrives. And the more we turn inward, the less likely we are to notice that the same damage is being done across the world – from Hungary to Brazil to the US. At such a moment, our values and principles are paramount. Voters are turning to the Greens because they trust us to be honest...