Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

4 November 2019
Jo Swinson

Police investigated the House of Commons office of Jo Swinson on Monday morning after she was reportedly sent a parcel containing a suspicious powder.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police were called in to Portcullis House just before 10am on Monday. ITV News reported that a member of the Lib Dem leader's staff had contacted the police over a suspicious letter addressed to her office. A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “Police attended Portcullis House, Westminster at 0951hrs today following reports of a suspicious package delivered.  “Officers attended & the contents of the package are being assessed. “No reports of any illness or injuries. The premises have not been evacuated. Enquiries continue.” They later added: “The package delivered to Portcullis House, Westminster at 0951hrs today has now been assessed as non-suspicious.” A House of Commons spokesperson said: “Today the Metropolitan Police investigated a suspicious package on the Parliamentary Estate. "The package was found to be non-harmful. For further information please contact the Metropolitan Police.” The Liberal Democrats declined to comment.
4 November 2019

Commenting on the UK Construction PMI data published today showing overall volumes of work in construction falling for the sixth consecutive month.

Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), Brian Berry commented: “Following a Halloween Brexit delay, the spectre of uncertainty continues to haunt the construction industry, and this is leading to a sustained decline not seen in over six years. A Brexit delay, while giving some respite by avoiding a no-deal Brexit, has just led to further uncertainty and stagnation, which is leading to subdued client demand. We know that many homeowners are holding off undertaking home improvement works due to Brexit uncertainty and this is having a knock-on effect of builders workloads. It is unclear how long clients will hold off waiting for certainty, and invest their money elsewhere” Berry continued “Ahead of the General Election, political parties should provide clear and unambiguous support for business and back this up with pro-enterprise policies. Now is the time for politicians to come up with some radical policies to give a much-needed boost to the UK’s construction...
4 November 2019
Conservatives

Labour has demanded the Tories drop one of their general election candidates after she called for people featured on Benefits Street to be "put down".

Francesca O'Brien, who is standing in the marginal seat of Gower, posted a series of inflammatory remarks about welfare claimants appearing on the hit Channel 4 show. Posting on Facebook in 2014, the Tory hopeful said: "Benefit Street... anyone else watching this?? Wow, these people are unreal!!!" Replying to a comment from a friend she added: "My blood is boiling, these people need putting down." And she went on to like a comment from a friend which talked about taking "batts to the street" for "twat a tramp Tuesday". Ms O'Brien, who was chosen by the party last month to contest the Welsh seat, apologised on Sunday for her "off the cuff" remarks which have now been deleted. On Radio Four's Today programme, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said the comments were "clearly wrong" but appeared to defend her position as the Conservative candidate. She said: "I think it's a matter for the people of Gower on whether they her want to be their next MP, and they...
4 November 2019

Grenfell inquiry shows that the regulatory regime failed – we must honour the victims by ensuring this tragedy is never repeated

The British Safety Council has today responded to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, published on Wednesday 30 October. Sir Martin Moore-Bick led the inquiry and the first part considers how the fire started at Grenfell Tower and the response of the emergency services that night. The second phase will consider the underlying causes of the disaster, including the decisions made around the design and construction of the cladding, the regulatory regime and the response of central and local government. At the time of the tragedy in 2017, the British Safety Council asked that the prime minister “scraps the government’s approach to health and safety deregulation and thinks again”. The organisation reiterates that sentiment today. Commenting on the findings of Phase 1 of the inquiry, Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council, said: “This is a lengthy and detailed report and the industry will rightly take time to digest its details. However, it is clear there were serious...
4 November 2019
A staff member of the tissue typing laboratory DKMS Life Science Lab extracts DNA from tissue samples in a lab in Dresden

The APPG on Blood Cancer's inquiry will investigate the promises and challenges of whole genomic sequencing to ensure patients receive optimum treatment, writes Henry Smith MP

As chair of the APPG on Blood Cancer, I was delighted that NHS England established a Genomic Medicine Service last year. People diagnosed with blood cancer will be among the first to benefit from this ground-breaking and innovative facility.   Your genome is your body’s instruction manual and there is a copy of it in almost every healthy cell in your body. The study of that genome and all the technologies needed to analyse and interpret it is called genomics. NHS England is the first healthcare system in the world to offer whole genome sequencing as part of routine patient care. The decision to offer it to all recently diagnosed patients with acute myeloid leukaemia, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, all children with cancer (of which blood cancer is the most common type), and adults with sarcoma, follows the great success of the 100,000 Genomes Project and recognises that the research already shows there is a strong genetic link with these cancers.  In 2012, the then...
Henry Smith MP
4 November 2019
A staff member of the tissue typing laboratory DKMS Life Science Lab extracts DNA from tissue samples in a lab in Dresden

The APPG on Blood Cancer's inquiry will investigate the promises and challenges of whole genomic sequencing to ensure patients receive optimum treatment, writes Henry Smith MP

As chair of the APPG on Blood Cancer, I was delighted that NHS England established a Genomic Medicine Service last year. People diagnosed with blood cancer will be among the first to benefit from this ground-breaking and innovative facility.   Your genome is your body’s instruction manual and there is a copy of it in almost every healthy cell in your body. The study of that genome and all the technologies needed to analyse and interpret it is called genomics. NHS England is the first healthcare system in the world to offer whole genome sequencing as part of routine patient care. The decision to offer it to all recently diagnosed patients with acute myeloid leukaemia, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, all children with cancer (of which blood cancer is the most common type), and adults with sarcoma, follows the great success of the 100,000 Genomes Project and recognises that the research already shows there is a strong genetic link with these cancers.  In 2012, the then...
Henry Smith MP
4 November 2019
Signs reading 'Zero tolerance for antisemitism' in front of the Israeli and Union flag

Lord Mann talks to Georgina Bailey about his new role as Independent Adviser on Antisemitism

Who Lord Mann What Mann, until recently Labour MP for Bassetlaw, has started his role as the government’s Independent Advisor on Antisemitism (“Not a tsar, that’s a media term”, I am firmly corrected). Mann was chair of the APPG on Antisemitism for 15 out of his 17 years in the Commons, and was known for his outspokenness – and for calling Ken Livingstone a “f**king disgrace” and “Nazi apologist” on TV in 2016. Mann has joined the Lords as a non-affiliated peer, with his new position sitting within MHCLG. Why Mann clearly sees his new role as one of working with all strands of society to tackle antisemitism. “Opposing antisemitism: to me the only odd thing is why everyone doesn’t do it”. “The notion that anyone feels unsafe in this country, feels that they don’t have a future in this country because of antisemitism is abhorrent to everything that is British, everything about our country, everything about our values, everything about our Parliament.” And the role of Parliament...
Georgina Bailey
4 November 2019
Representatives of the NHS taking part in the parade kickstarting Birmingham Pride

A lack of understanding among medical professionals contributes to poorer health outcomes for LGBT people. Action is needed to improve inclusivity, writes Maria Miller MP

“Another professional said they don’t want to treat people like me.” Some of the shocking words I heard at an outreach event held by the Women and Equalities Committee, which I chair, at the start of our inquiry into health and social care and LGBT communities. We launched our inquiry in August 2018. The report containing the committee’s findings and recommendations to the Government was published on 22 October 2019. The inquiry received 80 pieces of evidence from individuals, medical and social care professionals, organisations and researchers. A private informal meeting with service users and five evidence sessions allowed the committee to hear from more than 30 people about the provision of health and social care services to LGBT people and explore the views of those using, providing and commissioning services. Throughout the inquiry, we heard from LGBT people of all genders and all ages that the NHS and social care services were not always treating them with respect or...
Maria Miller MP
4 November 2019
John Bercow

Whichever candidate prevails as the new Speaker, they will have an important duty to enhance staff wellbeing, writes Dods Monitoring's Guinevere Poncia. 

After one of the most turbulent Parliamentary decades in living memory, John Bercow’s time as Commons Speaker has ended. His retirement signals the end of an oft-controversial era, where relations between the Speaker and the Government reached a new low, and the relationship between the public and Parliament is under increasing strain. The new Speaker will continue to be a pivotal figure as these circumstances develop and will face the daunting task of guiding Parliament through what remains of Brexit, as well as the responsibility of addressing other challenges facing the Parliamentary community, including bullying and harassment and MPs’ safety.  View full Speaker Election report from Dods Monitoring. How is a Speaker elected? Electing a new Speaker is a speedy process. Over one day, MPs cast secret votes for their preferred candidate under the supervision of the Father of the House, currently outgoing Rushcliffe MP Ken Clarke...
4 November 2019
HM Treasury

Government spending is likely to return to levels not seen since the 1970s regardlelss of whether the Conservatives or Labour win the general election, a leading think tank has said.

New research by the Resolution Foundation found that both parties are set to usher in "a new era for the public finances" with a raft of big-ticket spending promises that will have to require tax rises. Analysis of the party's existing pledges predicts that public spending will rise to 41.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2023-24 under the Tories. That figure is "higher than in any pre-crisis year since 1984-85", the think tank says, and comes in just slightly under the 42% recorded between 1966-67 and 1984-85. Meanwhile the Resolution Foundation predicts that Labour's plans would take public spending to 43.3% of GDP - a figure that would "easily surpass the 1970s average". Labour's spending would also be "higher than any pre-crisis year since 1982-83", the think tank says, with spending as a share of GDP only higher in eight years since the Second World War. "Ahead of the publication of the election manifestos these scenarios are no more than speculative," the report says...