Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

8 June 2019
Michael Gove

Michael Gove has admitted taking cocaine "on several occasions" but said it should not disqualify him from becoming Prime Minister.

A forthcoming biography of the Environment Secretary 'A Man in a Hurry' by Owen Bennet, reveals that during the 2016 Tory leadership contest Mr Gove told advisers that he had used the Class A drug whilst working as a journalist 20 years ago. In response to the revelation, Mr Gove told the Daily Mail: "The book is correct. I did take drugs. It is something I deeply regret. Drugs damage lives. They are dangerous and it was a mistake." Nominations for the Tory leadership contest close on Monday and the Cabinet big-hitter has the second highest number of MP nominations behind Boris Johnson. He said: "It will be for my colleagues in Parliament and members of the Conservative Party to decide now if I should...
8 June 2019
Lisa Forbes

Jeremy Corbyn has insisted that Laabour is not yet ready to fully back a second EU referendum.

Speaking in Peterborough following Labour's by-election victory, he said his party “is not at the stage yet” of calling for a so-called "people's vote", despite mounting pressure from MPs and members. Instead, he said Labour's first preference remained a general election. Mr Corbyn said: “Obviously every party discusses its own position and its own strategy. I have said all along that we would put to Parliament our proposals on a customs union on a trade relationship and the dynamic protection of consumer and workers’ rights."  “As our conference resolution agreed last September, we would then be prepared to put that to a public vote. We are not at the stage yet where Parliament has actually voted on that. I think it would be much better if there was actually a general election." Mike Buckley, from the campaign group Labour for a Public Vote, told the...
8 June 2019
Dominic Grieve

Tory activists have stepped up their bid to oust Dominic Grieeve as their local MP over his anti-Brexit views.

 

Following a special general meeting of the Beaconsfield Constiuency Conservatives Association on Friday evening, Mr Grieve has been asked to apply for re-adoption as their candidate for the next election. The move is part of the process which must be followed in order to deselect a sitting Tory MP. In a statement posted on Twitter, Beaconsfield CCA chairman Jackson Ng: "I understand that there are feelings of disappointment, anger and frustration from many of our membership. "Therefore, following this evening's special general meeting and on behalf of our executive council, I have immediately written to our MP Dominic Grieve QC to formally request that he now submits a written application to us to seek his re-adoption as our parliamentary candidate for the next general election expected in 2022." Local Tory member Dylan Kenny said on Twitter: "It was heartening that everyone spoke respectfully and with dignity. Dominic made an impassioned and highly intelligent speech. I am glad there...
8 June 2019

What further horror must people endure before the UK government decides ‘enough is enough’, asks Alison Thewliss MP.

It is difficult to fully describe the horror that is the entrenchment of poverty in the UK. The ongoing crisis has been covered widely by experts, charities, support workers, politicians and think tanks, and the latest report by the UN’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Philip Alston, is very much the culmination of this damning evidence and the horrific experiences of families all over the country.  Alston compares the UK welfare system to a Dickensian workhouse, and describes child poverty in the UK as a ‘social calamity’. He warns that the glue holding society together is being ‘deliberately removed’ by the Tories. This Tory UK Government is systematically violating the UK’s human rights obligations, Alston writes, through the ideological austerity policies they are blindly pursuing. Billions of pounds of social security cuts have left local authorities and health services picking up the pieces of intensifying poverty and desperation. The evidence is tangible. Under...
7 June 2019
Theresa May sets our her departure

Theresa May has formally resigned as leader of the Conservative party - officially triggering the race to succeed her in Downing Street.

The Prime Minister handed her resignation letter to Charles Walker and Dame Cheryl Gillan, the acting chairs of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, this afternoon. It means Mrs May is now the acting leader of the Conservative party, under Electoral Commission rules, and remains as Prime Minister until a replacement is found. Eleven candidates are fighting to succeed Mrs May in Downing Street, with Boris Johnson the current frontrunner. The winner is set to be announced in the week of 22 July. After the exchange of letters this afternoon, the 1922 Committee bosses said nominations for the contest had formally opened. They close at 5pm on Monday. Mrs May fired the starting gun on the Tory leadership race two weeks ago when she announced outside Number 10 that she was quitting over her failure to deliver Brexit. "I tried three times I believe it was right to persevere even when the odds against success seemed high," she said. "But it is now clear to me that it is in the...
7 June 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson will no longer face a trial over claims he lied during the Brexit referendum campaign, after he launched a successful appeal to the High Court.

Campaigner Marcus Ball raised money for a private prosecution and claimed the former Cabinet minister "lied" when he claimed the UK sends £350m a week to Brussels. But judges today ruled that a summons for him to appear in court was unlawful, after the ex-Foreign Secretary launched a legal challenge. Mr Ball accused the Tory leadership frontrunner of knowingly making false statements about how much money the UK sends to the EU during the 2016 campaign. At Westminster Magistrates Court on 29 March, District Judge Margot Coleman said that there was a “proper case” to issue summons for charges over misconduct in public office. In her initial ruling, she said: “The allegations which have been made are unproven accusations and I do not make any findings of fact. "Having considered all the relevant factors I am satisfied that this is a proper case to issue the summons as requested for the three offences as drafted. The charges are indictable only. "This means the proposed...
7 June 2019
Lisa Forbes

Labour is facing calls to suspend its new MP for Peterborough just hours after she was elected amid a row over anti-semitism.

Lisa Forbes saw off the Brexit Party by 683 votes to hold the seat last night, which was vacated when voters triggered a by-election against disgraced Fiona Onasanya. But the new MP came under pressure during the campaign after it was revealed she liked a Facebook post saying Theresa May had a “Zionist Slave Masters agenda” alongside a video of children praying after the New Zealand terror attack. In another comment she said she had “enjoyed reading” a thread that said Isis was created “by the CIA and Mossad”. It was also discovered that Ms Forbes signed a letter calling on Labour bosses to reject the adoption of the International Holocaust Rememberance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism. She later apologised for the comments, saying: “I apologise wholeheartedly for not calling out these posts. I liked a video of school children praying in solidarity with the Christchurch attacks, not the views expressed in the accompanying text. I am sorry.” It comes as the ...
7 June 2019
Andy McDonald

Labour frontbencher Andy McDonald today became the closest ally of Jeremy Corbyn to signal that Labour wants a second referendum on Brexit and will campaign to stay in the EU.

The Shadow Transport Secretary said Britain was “looking down the barrel” of a no-deal Brexit and the only alternative was continued membership of the bloc. But he also insisted that any Brexit deal agreed by parliament must be put back to the people. He made the comments after the Labour party scraped a victory in the Peterborough by-election, seeing off the insurgent Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, by 683 votes. Labour leader Mr Corbyn has previously said he wants a general election and that a referendum would be a last resort - although senior figures have been pushing him to change course. A number of the Tory MPs fighting to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister have meanwhile insisted they will take the UK out of the EU on 13 October, deal or no deal. Mr McDonald said no deal would mean “our economy is completely trashed,” including the destruction of the steel, car and other manufacturing industries. “We accepted the outcome of the referendum and we would leave the EU on...
7 June 2019
Lisa Forbes

It is no good to see Labour people demanding loyalty on the basis of being the lesser of two evils, says Wes Streeting MP. 

Normally, an opposition party winning a by-election nine years into a government wouldn’t be a surprise, but these aren’t normal times and this result is remarkable. The by-election was called in terrible circumstances that made this election the Tories’ to lose. In the end, their vote collapsed into third place, having been swallowed up by the Brexit Party and Labour denied Nigel Farage their first MP. The result shows that Labour can win in Leave seats by addressing the issues that matter to people - and which have been drowned out by Brexit - like policing, schools and the NHS. The result is also a testament to the superb ground organisation in place led by some brilliant staff and two of our best MPs, Vernon Coaker and Louise Haigh. Our vote share was down and it is a reminder that, in a country that remains polarised by Brexit, we cannot afford to lose Remain voters to the Lib Dems and Greens. If we had lost many more, the result would have been very different. Both anti- and...
7 June 2019
Becky and Henry, who are members of the Hft's speak-out group

Conservative MPs are four times more likely to judge a person by the shoes that they wear than Labour MPs, according to a poll by national learning disabilities charity Hft.

The poll, conducted by YouGov, found that 42% of Conservative MPs said they would judge a person by the shoes that they wear, compared to just 9% of Labour MPs. Overall, around a quarter of all MPs (23%) from across Parliament admitted that they would judge a person by the shoes that they wore*. Hft questioned politicians to mark the one-year anniversary of their Walk In Our Shoes campaign, which calls on MPs to spend more time with adults with learning disabilities to find out more about the issues that matter to them. On 7 June 2018, members of the charity’s Voices to Be Heard group delivered a pair of custom-made shoes to 10 Downing Street for Prime Minister Theresa May, decorated with faces of people supported by Hft. Since then, the charity has hosted several MPs at their services across the country.  The Walk In Our Shoes poll also found that: MPs that support Brexit are slightly more likely to judge a person by the shoes that they wear, with 37% of MPs who voted “...