Dods at Party Conference 2020

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

12 November 2019
London commuters

UK employment has suffered its biggest quarterly fall in four years ahead of the general election, according to new figures.

The number of people in work dropped by 58,000 between July and September, to 32.75 million people, the biggest decline since May 2015 where employment fell by 65,000. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the decrease was driven by a record fall in the number of women in work, by 93,000, and part-time workers, by 164,000.  Job vacancies meanwhile plummeted by 53,000 to the end of October compared to the same period in 2018, the sharpest fall since 2009. But the third quarter data also showed an 106,000 increase in full-time employees, and by the end of September a 323,000 boost in the number of people in work compared to a year earlier. The unemployment rate also continued to decrease. An ONS spokesperson said: “The employment rate is higher than a year ago, though broadly unchanged in recent months. "Vacancies have seen their biggest annual fall since late 2009, but remain high by historical standards. "The number of EU nationals in work was very little changed on...
12 November 2019
Rishi Sunak

A Cabinet minister has apologised following a row over a heavily-edited video produced by the Conservatives on Labour's Brexit policy.

A furious row erupted last week over the clip, which appeared to show Keir Starmer struggling to answer a question while being interviewed on Good Morning Britain. It was chopped to make it look like the Shadow Brexit Secretary froze when asked by Piers Morgan about the EU's willingness to negotiate a new withdrawal agreement with Labour. Tory chairman James Cleverly initially tried to defend the video, which was viewed more than a million times, by claiming it had to be "shortened" for social media. But appearing on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak admitted the Conservatives had gone "too far". He said: "I think it probably did go a bit too far and there are some lessons we can learn from, I appreciate that. “It was done in the spirit of humour, but I appreciate it didn’t land properly and it...
12 November 2019
Vote Labour poster

Labour has foiled a "sophisticated and large scale" attempt to hack the party's database.

The cyber attack took place on Monday, slowing down some of the party's general election campaign activities. However, the party insisted its "robust security systems" meant the attack was unsuccessful and that it was now "back up to speed". The source of the cyber attack is unknown, but will increase the debate around the UK's susceptibility to foreign interference in its democratic systems. Labour says it has reported the incident to the National Cyber Security Centre. A party spokesperson said: "We have experienced a sophisticated and large scale cyber attack on Labour digital platforms. "We took swift action and these attempts failed due to our robust security systems. The integrity of all our platforms was maintained and we are confident that no data breach occurred. "Our security procedures have slowed down some of our campaign activities, but these were restored this morning and we are back up to full speed. We have reported the matter to the National Cyber Security Centre. "...
12 November 2019

On Monday 11 November 2019 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released the latest data on GDP for July to September 2019 suggesting that the UK economy avoided a recession.

Official figures showed that the UK economy grew by 0.3% in Quarter 3, up from a 0.2% contraction in Quarter 2. In comparison to Quarter 3 in 2018, UK GDP has grown by 1%, the slowest rate of quarter-on-year growth in 9 years. The first half of 2019 saw increased volatility due to the original planned departure from the European Union. This saw many firms bring forward their activity in the first quarter of the year and many halting projects or production of products in Quarter 2. We also saw manufacturing sites such as car producers closing which also had an impact on GDP for the second quarter of the year. Heading into Quarter 3, both the service and construction sectors provided positive contributions to the UK economy. Construction output in Quarter 3 rose by 0.6% following a weak Quarter 2 performance, however the growth of GDP remains subdued. Monthly estimates from July to September suggest that construction’s output remained positive due to housing, private commercial work...
12 November 2019
John McDonnell vs Sajid Javid

A fresh election row has erupted as the Conservatives claimed a Labour government would see workers cough up an extra £2,400 in taxes every year because of a "black hole" in the party's spending plans.

In figures which have been dismissed outright by Labour, the Tories said a Jeremy Corbyn administration would leave a £374bn gap in the public finances. Chancellor Sajid Javid claimed that Labour would have to "hike up taxes" to pay for their plans to "massive increase borrowing and debt". The latest Conservative estimate repeats the party's previously-disputed claim that Labour would spend £1.2tn over the next five years. It assumes the party would allocate £651bn of this to day-to-day government spending. But the Tories argue that on current tax levels and with Labour's own borrowing rules, the party could only raise £277bn - leaving a shortfall of £374bn.  The party has then divided that £374bn by the total 31,199,000 taxpayers in the UK to put a cost of £12,000 per person over five years to close the gap - working out at £2,400 a year. Mr Javid said: "Jeremy Corbyn is planning a reckless spending spree which we will all have to pay for. He will open up a huge...
12 November 2019
Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage is coming under pressure from senior Conservatives not to stand candidates in Labour-held marginals.

The Brexit Party has already announced that the Brexit Party will not contest the 317 seats won by the Tories at the last election. Announcing the U-turn on Monday, Mr Farage said the move guaranteed there would be no second EU referendum. But he is now facing calls to stand down in swathes of Labour seats being targeted by the Conservatives on 12 December so avoit splitting the Leave vote. Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said: "It’s a good start but if they want to deliver Brexit they’ve still got to focus on the fact that if they divide the vote they’ll let Labour in. "He’s going to have to go further. This is a game of two halves — we’ve had the first half and now we’re going to have the second half. "The second half is where he gets to decide which seats he stands down from, and he’s going to have to stand down from some of them." Mr...
12 November 2019
Doncaster flooding response

Boris Johnson has called a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee amid mounting criticism of his response to major flooding in northern England. 

A government spokesperson confirmed that the Prime Minister would convene the crisis committee on Tuesday after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged him to "take personal charge" of the response. Thirty-eight flood warnings are currently in place across England, with five severe warnings - meaning there is a "danger to life" - on the River Don in South Yorkshire alone. Hundreds of homes have been flooded and more than 1,000 evacuated. A government spokesperson said on Monday night: "The Prime Minister will chair an emergency COBR (Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms) meeting tomorrow to discuss the response to recent flooding." Jeremy Corbyn had earlier written to Mr Johnson to demand action and lambast the Prime Minister for previously saying the floods were "not looking like something we need to escalate to the level of a national emergency". In his letter, the Labour leader said it was "far more likely" that a national emergency would have been declared had the floods taken place in a...
12 November 2019
Tory rosette

Labour has urged the Conservatives to ditch an election candidate over a string of "disgusting" articles about Muslims and the spread of the HIV virus.

The party has called on Boris Johnson to intervene to dump Anthony Browne, a former aide to the Tory leader, from running in South Cambridgeshire over the "shocking" comments. The row centres on a series of articles penned by Mr Browne for The Spectator between 2002 and 2003, as well as his book 'Do We Need Mass Immigration?', which have been brought to light by The Guardian. In a January 2003 piece, Mr Browne said: “It is not through letting in terrorists that the government’s policy of mass migration - especially from the third world - will claim the most lives. "It is through letting in too many germs.” He also called on the then-government to stop "the influx of HIV immigrants" as a more effective way to halt the spread of the virus than promoting contraception. Similar passages in his book urge Britain to stop treating African...
12 November 2019
Angela Rayner

Labour has pledged to guarantee voters the right to study for up to six years free of charge as part of a wider boost to adult education.

The party said it would give every adult the chance to study qualifications at level four to six, such as undergraduate degrees and Higher National Certificates and Diplomas. Foundation Degrees, Certificates and Diplomas of Higher Education in areas such as rail engineering, nursing, and professional accounting would also be included. The party would also allow those without A-levels or equivalents to attend college and study for them for free, with maintenance grants for those on low incomes. Labour insisted that workers would be able to demand “paid time off” for their education and training. Elsewhere the party said employers would have a role in designing qualifications to make sure learners are being taught the skills they need, in an age where automation is growing and amid climate change fears. Addressing an audience in Blackpool on Tuesday, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner will say: “Labour will throw open the door for adults to study, whether they want to change...
11 November 2019
Vote Labour poster

Local Labour members have called on the party to drop a candidate who shared an image of Theresa May with a gun pointing at her head.

Jarrow Constituency Labour Party said it was "astonishing" that Kate Osborne had been imposed on them by senior officials. Ms Osborne was forced to apologise for sharing the offending image on Facebook in the run-up to the 2017 election. A special Labour selection panel unanimously agreed on Saturday that she will stand in Jarrow at the general election - despite a plea by female MPs for the party to think again. In a letter to Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby, members of the Jarrow CLP and other branches insisted their protest "not about political views” and pointed out that Ms Osborne shared the image less than a year after the murder of Jo Cox. “In an environment of increasing threats of violence against woman politicians of all political parties (including several signatories to this letter), it seems astonishing to us that...