Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

7 August 2019
Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon

Last weekend, The Sunday Times reported what it claimed was Dominic Cummings's strategy for winning a majority in a snap election.

According to the paper's impeccably plugged-in political editor Tim Shipman, the Conservatives aim to become the Brexit Party in all but name, with a pledge to take the UK out of the EU come hell or high water on 31 October. They are then prepared to sacrifice up to 30 seats to the Lib Dems, safe in the knowledge that they will scoop up traditionally Labour-voting seats in Leave areas across the north of England, the Midlands and Wales. "That's how the next election is going to be run," a source told Shipman. "(Dom) has seen a pathway where the left are split and Boris wins through the middle." There did seem to be a major omission from this battle plan, however. No consideration appears to have been made for how a snap election could play out in Scotland, where the Tories scooped 13 seats in 2017. Without those, Theresa May would not have been able to govern, even with the DUP on board. Senior Tories north of the Border fear that an election before Brexit would precipitate a near...
7 August 2019
Woman with iPad

Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister of State for Disabled People, writes on the DWP's Access to Work Scheme following recently released statistics.  

For many disabled people, finding and keeping a job can be unfairly challenging. Barriers such as the additional cost to business of employing a British Sign Language translator or ensuring workplaces are fully accessible can mean that millions of British adults are effectively locked out of the workplace. All businesses worry about the bottom line, so I understand concerns about how much it can cost to make reasonable adjustments to help new, and existing, colleagues. This is where our brilliant Access to Work scheme comes in. It enables businesses to be more accommodating by removing the financial burden that employing someone with additional needs may incur. It also allows disabled people to enjoy a long and fulfilling career, without having to worry about how they will do their job to the best of their ability. Access to Work provides reasonable adjustments to help people with physical, mental health and learning disabilities assimilate into the workforce. Each person can...
7 August 2019
Dominic Cummings and Dominic Grieve

Boris Johnson’s top adviser has hit back at Dominic Grieve after he branded his claims on a no-deal Brexit “arrogant” and “ignorant”.

Dominic Cummings’ first public intervention since taking up the Number 10 post came after he was criticised for insisting that MPs could not stop a hard exit from the EU by the 31 October deadline. Former attorney-general and vocal opponent of Brexit, Mr Grieve, said the claim displayed the former Vote Leave campaign chief's "characteristic arrogance and ignorance". When asked about the Tory MP’s remarks outside his home, Mr Cummings told Sky News: “I don’t think I am arrogant, I don’t know very much about very much. “Mr Grieve will see what he’s right about.” When asked how preparations for a no-deal Brexit were going, he responded: “Great. The most simple thing is the Prime Minister believes that politicians don’t get to choose what votes they respect, that’s the critical issue.”   "Mr Grieve will see what he's right about" Boris Johnson's adviser Dominic Cummings responds to criticism from Conservative MP Dominic Grieve and delivers an update on no-deal Brexit...
7 August 2019
Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has been warned that refusing to quit after losing a vote of no confidence would trigger the "gravest" constitutional crisis since the English Civil War.

Conservative former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind used a letter to The Times to speak out following claims that the Prime Minister could seek to stay in office even if the House of Commons brings him down in a bid to thwart a no-deal Brexit. Mr Johnson's top Number 10 adviser Dominic Cummings is reported to have told colleagues that the PM would refuse to quit if Conservative Remain-supporters teamed up with Labour to bring down the Government. But Sir Malcolm warned Downing Street that such a move risked "flouting the constitution". "If the Prime Minister refused to respect the normal consequence of losing a confidence vote and if he sought to prevent both Parliament and the electorate having a final say on no-deal, he would create the gravest constitutional crisis since the actions of Charles I led to the Civil War," the Tory grandee - who has...
7 August 2019
Matt Hancock

Ministers have promised to scrap "unfair" pension rules brought in by George Osborne amid warnings they are penalising NHS staff for taking on extra work.

Higher earners are currently hit by an additional tax if they put more than £10,000 a year into their pension - a move that the British Medical Association has warned is forcing consultants and family doctors to consider early retirement and cut their hours. It has also led to staff shortages and longer waiting times as senior doctors refuse to take on extra hours. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a "major overhaul" of the so-called annual allowance taper - brought in under former Chancellor Mr Osborne - was now needed. Writing in The Telegraph, the Cabinet minister said the rules meant senior staff were "disincentivised from taking on extra shifts and face unexpected tax bills because they can’t control their pension contributions". Mr Hancock added: "The way the system works at the moment, doctors and some nurses in certain circumstances have to pay to...
7 August 2019

In every sector, project professionals will be tasked with delivering the future and realising the benefits promised by new technologies, says David Thomson is Head of External Affairs at the Association for Project Management (APM).

It has almost become a cliché of policy and business discussion that we are at the start of a fourth industrial revolution – but it’s true. Digital technologies are set to transform nearly aspect of how we live and work, and in many areas are already doing so. The astounding pace of digital change over the last decade will pale in comparison with the changes promised by automation, artificial intelligence and robotics in the years ahead. But how will that change be achieved – and who will deliver it? Technologists, business leaders, policy makers, for sure: but at the heart of change will be a frequently-overlooked group. In every sector, project professionals will be tasked with delivering the future and realising the benefits promised by new technologies. Whether it is implementing digital transformation programmes in business, digitizing key government services, or building technology-enabled...
7 August 2019

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has written to Sajid Javid MP, the chancellor of the Exchequer, asking for the 1 October 2019 introduction of domestic reverse charge VAT to be delayed until April 2020.

Reverse charge VAT means that the customer receiving the service will have to pay the VAT to HMRC instead of paying the supplier. The reverse charge applies through the supply chain where payments are required to be reported through the Construction Industry Scheme. The NFB, together with other trade federations, has highlighted the effect the change will have on cashflow and administration costs for an industry already facing increased material and labour costs. The guidance issued by HMRC was delivered late, is not clear and leaves some questions unanswered. A delay before introducing the charge would give the industry and government time to properly prepare the industry to understand the changes and update systems. Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB said: “For an industry facing lighter workloads, increasing pressure on cash flow and an already high rate of insolvency, reverse charge VAT could not have come at a worse time. By delaying the introduction of this measure...
7 August 2019
Jeremy Corbyn and Rebecca-Long Bailey

Labour does not want to hand Boris Johnson a "get out of jail free card" by supporting a national unity government aimed at stopping a no-deal Brexit, Rebecca Long-Bailey has said.

The Shadow Business Secretary - a key ally of Jeremy Corbyn - warned that such a plan would not be able to muster a "clear majority" in the Commons if the Prime Minister is defeated in a confidence vote. The proposal has been talked up by key Remain-backing figures, including former attorney general Dominic Grieve, in recent days. He said a "number of people" - including former Labour frontbenchers - could head up a cross-party anti-Brexit administration if Mr Johnson's government is brought down when Parliament returns next month. "There’s nothing that the Prime Minister could do to prevent such an administration being formed if the majority of the House of Commons wanted it," Mr Grieve said. Senior Liberal Democrat Sir Ed Davey has also suggested that former Labour frontbenchers Yvette Cooper or Hilary Benn could head up such an administration. But speaking to Channel 4 News, Ms Long-Bailey appeared to sound the death knell for the plan. She said: “We’re happy to...
6 August 2019

New Research shows GPs lack sufficient awareness and understanding of Living Wills, writes Compassion in Dying. 

Research finds GPs have insufficient awareness of Living Wills (Advance Decisions), are reluctant to initiate conversations with patients about end of life care, and have misconceptions about refusals of treatment Charity warns this could result in patients failing to receive personalised care at the end of life because their wishes are not sought, recorded or respected GP and broadcaster Dr Sarah Jarvis “saddened but not surprised” by findings; urges GPs to take up Compassion in Dying’s recommendations GPs may be failing to support patients to plan ahead for their care and treatment due to a lack of awareness of and misconceptions about Advance Decisions, a new report from Compassion in Dying reveals today. Key findings include GPs failing to understand the legal status of Advance Decisions and charging for appointments to discuss them. The charity is...
6 August 2019
John McDonnell

Labour would not try to block a second independnce referendum if the Scottish Parliament voted for one, John McDonnell has revealed.

In a major shift in the party's policy, the Shadow Chancellor insisted it was up to MSPs at Holyrood to decide whether "indyref2" should happen. His comments were immediately condemned by Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray, who accused Mr McDonnell of "betraying" the party's values of internationalism. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said she wants to hold another referendum before the next Scottish Parliament elections in 2021. Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has previously said that his party would refuse Holyrood the legal power to hold another poll. But appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Mr McDonnell said: "The Scottish Parliament will come to a considered view on that and they will submit that to the Government and the English Parliament itself. "If the Scottish people decide they want a referendum that's for them." He added: "We would not block something like that. We would let the Scottish people decide. That's democracy. There are other views within the party but...