Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

13 October 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has refused to say he would stand down as Labour leader even if he loses the next election.

His comments contradict his shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who said both he and his boss would quit if they failed to get into Government. The comments expose further splits at the top of the party, after accusations Mr McDonnell is leading a “silent coup” to usurp his old ally as leader. Asked in an interview whether it would be “possible” for Mr Corbyn to continue in the top job in the wake of a second election defeat, Mr McDonnell said: “I can't see...I think it is the same for my own personal position, I can't see so. “What we'd do is as the tradition, which is have an election for a new leader.” He also said the next leader has to be a woman, saying: “If you look at the new youngsters that have come through, they are fantastic.” One of those female shadow cabinet ministers touted to take over from Mr Corbyn, Rebecca Long-...
13 October 2019
Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond

A group of rebel Tory MPs have been accused of “sabotaging” Boris Johnson with a plot to force an extension to Brexit even if a deal is agreed.

Former cabinet ministers Philip Hammond and Dominic Grieve are said to be central to the plan to compel the Prime Minister to request a delay to Article 50 whatever the outcome of this week’s negotiations. Mr Johnson is currently trying to finalise a new agreement with Brussels ahead of a crucial European summit on Thursday. He then hopes to bring a deal back to the UK and get MPs to vote for it on a historic Saturday sitting of the House of Commons. If he can get something approved by Parliament before 19 October the PM hopes to get round the Benn Act, which legally requires him to send a letter to the EU asking for a Brexit extension. But the Mail on Sunday is reporting that the rebel MPs, whose votes he will need to pass a deal, do not think the PM should be allowed to take the UK out of the EU at the end of the month. They believe Parliament must be given more time to examine the deal and pass the necessary legislation. A source close to Mr Hammond told the...
13 October 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Fears Labour could be left bankrupt from the official investigation into anti-semitism have been voiced by members of the party’s top ruling body.

National Executive Committee (NEC) members have raised concerns a damning result from the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) probe into the party’s handling of anti-Jewish hatred could lead to a series of legal battles and payouts to victims.  According to the Independent, party bosses were asked who would be financially responsible in that scenario amid fears that like trustees of a charity, committee members of the party, could be personally liable to pay up if Labour’s finances collapse.  They reported that the discussion was quickly “shut down” by party chiefs and that the uncertainty continues according to sources. On the EHRC inquiry, an NEC member said “If it’s really bad then it opens up all sorts of possibilities and it has been raised that the whole thing could basically bankrupt the party. “People...
13 October 2019
Dominic Raab

The wife of a US diplomat wanted over the death of a British teenager no longer has diplomatic immunity and can face prosecution, Dominic Raab has said.

The Foreign Secretary said UK and US governments have agreed that because Anne Sacoolas, the 42-year-old suspect of a fatal crash in Northampton, returned back to America, immunity is “no longer pertinent”. It comes as Ms Sacoolas spoke out publicly about the incident for the first time, with law firm Arnold and Porter issuing a statement saying she was “devastated” by the “tragic accident” and wanted to meet with the family of Harry Dunn. The 19-year-old motorcyclist died in hospital following a crash with a car in August.  The incident sparked a diplomatic row with Boris Johnson calling on Donald Trump to waive Ms Sacoolas’ immunity and co-operate with Northamptonshire police. But in a letter from Mr Raab to Mr Dunn’s parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, he said she could now be subjected to a criminal investigation.  “The UK government's position is that immunity, and therefore any question of waiver, is no longer relevant in Mrs Sacoolas' case...
13 October 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is to tell EU leaders “let’s finish this off” and deliver a new Brexit deal on Monday or agree to let the UK leave on October 31 with no agreement in place.

The Prime Minister will speak to German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron, and European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker to build on his talks with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. The Sunday Times is reporting that Mr Johnson wants them to press the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to sign off the outline of a deal ahead of next week’s crucial European summit. A source close to the negotiations told the paper: “He’ll be talking to Merkel, Macron and Juncker by the end of Monday to see if there’s agreement on a ‘landing zone’ for Northern Ireland and customs. “The message is: ‘Let’s finish this off.’ The alternative is to agree a friendly version of no deal and finish it that way.” The current proposals would see Northern Ireland remain legally in Britain’s customs union, but with some of the benefits of remaining in...
13 October 2019
Brexit

A Queen's Speech is not required to answer the Brexit question, nor will it tackle the climate crisis or commit to devolved policing to Wales, writes Liz Saville Roberts MP. 

We are now in a pointless prorogation (albeit legal), leading to a largely meaningless Queen’s Speech on Monday. This pomp and ceremony is not required in order to answer the Brexit question. It is not required to bring forward a vote on their deal. It is not required to seek and extension to Article 50. It is not required to call a People’s Vote. Not only is the Queen’s Speech unnecessary, it is seemingly impossible for this Westminster Government to deliver the programme of work which they will outline. They simply do not have the numbers or the credibility needed to deliver what they will promise. Fundamentally calling for an election whilst at the same time outlining a year-long – or perhaps multi-year – programme of legislation is logically incompatible. Whatever way you look at it, it just does not add up.  That said, we are having one. But I am willing to bet, it will fail to answer the big questions facing the four nations of the UK. Let’s start with the big one –...
12 October 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour leader will say that coastal communities have been hit by "nine years of vicious austerity and Tory cuts" in a speech in Hastings on Saturday.

According to the BBC, Mr Corbyn will pledge to end "evil of in-work poverty" and "the need for food banks". His promise comes after new research by the BBC found that workers living in seaside towns earn on average £1,600 less than those living inland. Two-thirds of coastal communities have also seen a real term fall in wages since 2010. But the government has said that it is investing over £200 million in coastal communities by 2021. They also claimed that deprived areas could benefit from the £3.6 billion Towns Fund. Speaking in Hastings, East Sussex today, Mr Corbyn will say that poverty and inequality are “not inevitable”. The Hastings and Rye constituency is one that Labour hopes to win from the Conservative party. In 2017, the seat went to then-Conservative MP Amber Rudd, but the former home secretary recently quit the party and has said she will not stand again in the constituency. Mr Corbyn will say: "In the...
12 October 2019
A cat

Cat owners could have to microchip their pets under government plans to clamp down on the number that go missing.

Ministers said a 12-week consultation would look at bringing forward a law that would also help to tackle pet theft and help identify cats injured or killed on roads. The move involves a vet inserting a chip “around the size of a grain of rice” under a pet’s skin, with a unique serial number that can be read by a scanner. A computer then flags the details of its registered owner, allowing them to be reunited. It brings cats into line with dogs, which ministers imposed compulsory chipping on in 2015. The Government said 92% of dogs had undergone the procedure, meaning those who been displaced were brought back to their homes “much quicker”, while space in kennels was freed up. Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “Today’s call for evidence on cat microchipping will help the government understand how we can better protect this country’s much-loved cats and kittens. “This government is committed to animal welfare and improving the...
11 October 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has played down hopes of an imminent breakthrough on reaching a Brexit deal following the EU's pledge to "intensify" talks.

The Prime Minister said that while both sides could see a “pathway” towards an agreement, there is still “a way to go”. The European Commission has given the green light for negotiators to enter the so-called “tunnel”, where details of a potential agreement are thrashed out by both sides. It followed talks on Friday morning between Michel Barnier, the EU's top negotiator, and Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay. That meeting was prompted by lengthy discussions on Thursday between the PM and Irish Taoiseach in the Wirral, which Mr Varadkar described as “very positive”. But speaking at a school visit on Friday afternoon, Mr Johnson said: “I had a good conversation with the Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, yesterday and I think both of us can see a pathway to a deal but that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. “There’s a way to go, it’s...
11 October 2019
Diane Abbott

"Until you have had to do it, you cannot truly appreciate how scary it is to address a packed House of Commons at PMQs."

Prime Ministers Questions has always been one of the great Parliamentary set pieces. So it was with considerable nervousness that I spent some of last week preparing for it when I stood in for the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition Jeremy Corbyn.  MPs and others place great store in performance at PMQs. But it is not clear that the general public do, certainly not the 10-second clip that some of them may see on the Six o’clock news. Curiously you can be a good performer at Prime Ministers Questions and it have no impact on the fortunes of your party. William Hague is a witty man with a feel for language and some good one-liners. So when he was leader of the Conservatives, he frequently bested Tony Blair at PMQ’s.  Yet it made no difference to the Conservatives. They still lost to Labour at the next general election. But a very bad performance under the eye of not just the entire House of Commons but the entire parliamentary lobby, can seem fatal to personal or...
Diane Abbott MP