Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

15 July 2019
Donald Trump and Theresa May

Theresa May has hit out at Donald Trump over tweets in which he told ethnic minority Democratic politicians to go back to their own countries.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said the posts were "completely unacceptable", piling pressure on Tory leadership candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to follow suit. The US President sparked an angry backlash after he took aim at the prominent black and minority ethnic congresswomen. In a string of tweets, the commander-in-chief claimed that representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts "originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe". Despite three of the women being born in the United States, President Trump said they had come from "the worst, most corrupt and inept" countries in the world. He added: "Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough." The remarks drew condemnation on Monday from Mrs May's official...
15 July 2019

A new report by HfT highlights the challenges faced by a social care sector in financial crisis at a time when demand is growing.

A new report is being launched in Parliament today setting out the case for a deal for the learning disability sector, focusing on realising the potential of technology to boost investment and transform the way care is delivered. National learning disabilities charity, Hft, supported by Tunstall Healthcare, produced the paper outlining the key arguments for an economic partnership with the government as part of the UK Industrial Strategy – a long term plan for the future aimed at backing businesses to drive productivity through investment in skills, industries and infrastructure. The report, which is being officially launched at the House of Lords, highlights the challenges faced by a social care sector in financial crisis at a time when demand is growing. Hft and Tunstall believe the successful negotiation of a learning disability Sector Deal would enable effective investment that could unlock the potential of assistive technologies. In turn, this would stimulate innovation...
15 July 2019
Children at the nursery 'Seepferdchen' learn coding in a playful way

If we’re to prepare our children for working and living with AI, we must reshape the national education system and prioritise the skills that will allow younger generations to thrive in the new digital age, says Stephen Metcalfe

AI technologies already play a huge role in our daily lives. From preventive healthcare to personalised learning, and from easier access to government services to fighting crime, AI is rapidly transforming both our economy and our society. As co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence (APPG AI), I have now heard from over 140 experts unpacking AI’s impact across different sectors and domains. The opportunities are clear. AI technologies can bring a huge number of economic benefits on the individual, corporate, national and global level – including increased efficiency, profitability and productivity. More than just economic benefits, however, AI has the power to bring significant social benefits as well. Some of these benefits are already being realised across various spheres including health, education and public safety. We can now use AI to predict health issues that people are likely to face in their futures, to teach a child in a remote part of the...
Stephen Metcalfe
15 July 2019
Prime Minister Theresa May goes canvassing with local Conservative candidate Joy Morrissey in Ealing

May Days: May showed herself to be a decent person who did her best for the country and was an advocate for local government, says Lord Porter

As Theresa May’s time as prime minister comes to an end, I am pleased to have this opportunity to reflect on her legacy from a local government perspective. As a former councillor (she served on Merton council for eight years), shadow secretary of state for local government, and party chairman, Theresa has always taken a keen interest in local government and she has been a good friend to, and supporter of, the Local Government Association (LGA) Conservative Group and the Conservative Councillors’ Association over many years. As prime minister, she continued to set aside time to regularly canvass residents in her Maidenhead constituency along with local councillors – a signal from the most powerful politician in the country that change can be affected at the local level as well as in Whitehall. Although Brexit crowded out much of the domestic agenda that she spoke about outside Downing Street three years ago, there were positive developments for local government during her time in...
Lord Porter
15 July 2019
Commuters cross London Bridge

Flexible working is good for business, the economy and work-life balance. It must be offered as standard, not haggled for later down the line, says Helen Whately

The 40-hour, five-day working week made sense in an era of single-earner households and stay-at-home mums, but it no longer reflects the reality of how many modern families want to live their lives. At the moment, too many women are reluctantly dropping out of work or going part-time after having children because their employers won’t allow them flexibility. This entrenches the assumption that men are the breadwinners and women are the homemakers. As a result, men don’t get to spend as much time as they might like with their children, women miss out on career opportunities, and the country loses out on the contribution they could and would like to make – if only they could do slightly different hours or work some days from home. That’s why I’m introducing the flexible working bill, to make all jobs flexible by default unless the employer has a sound business reason why particular hours in a particular place are required. An estimated 87% of employees would like to work flexibly,...
Helen Whately
15 July 2019
An anti Brexit sign in the village of Jonesborough, on the border between Dundalk in the Republic of Ireland and Newry in Northern Ireland.

May Days: Theresa May never quite understood how to build on the success of the Brady amendment, says Lord Bew

The collapse of power-sharing government in Northern Ireland is not remotely the fault of Theresa May. The faults were local to the province and reflect badly on the political class on both sides in Stormont. The “confidence and supply” deal she struck with the DUP in 2017 has its critics but it is, in principle, no different from Gordon Brown’s attempt to strike the same deal and save his premiership in 2010. But the paradox of May’s premiership is clear. No one doubts the sincerity of her defence of what she calls “the precious union”. In particular, she saw the absurdity of any form of Brexit which brought about the disintegration of the United Kingdom. Yet from the moment she unveiled the Withdrawal Agreement it was a racing certainty that the Irish backstop would destroy her premiership. The collapse of the UK’s negotiating position embodied in the DExEU document of August 2017 has yet to be full analysed, though Tom McTague has thrown important light on the surprise of EU...
Lord Bew
15 July 2019
UK students take part in a strike for the climate crisis outside Parliament Square

May Days: May’s government has gone for headline grabbing policies but dodged the systemic change that is needed, writes Caroline Lucas

Theresa May arrived at No 10 to the smoking embers of environmental legislation left by her predecessor David Cameron. After he promised the “greenest government ever”, the bonfire of policy that followed rivalled any Guy Fawkes celebrations, with zero carbon homes scrapped, new onshore wind blocked and support for solar slashed to name but a few. Instead of reversing these hugely damaging policies Theresa May will leave No 10 with most of them still intact. On climate and energy, May will take credit for the UK’s falling emissions, the majority of which come from ditching coal. In reality the policy to end unabated coal generation preceded her, and the 2025 target was too late. May could have used her time as PM to signal the end of the age of fossil fuels but failed – offering yet more support to a new fossil fuel industry in the form of fracking. This included proposals to bring exploration under the permitted development regime, massively reducing communities’ right to a say over...
Caroline Lucas
15 July 2019
Newspaper front pages on the refugee crisis

May Days: Despite a humanitarian crisis, three and a half years on, fewer than half of the children who could have arrived under the government’s tokenistic cap have been brought here to safety, writes Alf Dubs

Theresa May was Home Secretary when the Immigration Bill was going through Parliament and I moved an amendment to bring in unaccompanied child refugees from Europe. Her response was to ask for a meeting where she urged me to withdraw the amendment, citing what she believed would be the “pull factor” of any legislation that made it easier for unaccompanied child refugees to find safety in the UK. My view then, as now, was that we cannot abandon children to their fate in Calais, Greece, Italy and elsewhere in Europe when we know that for many of them this means trafficking, criminality and prostitution. The amendment passed in the Lords, was narrowly defeated in the Commons, was amended and passed again in the Lords – this time with a bigger majority – before reaching the Commons for a second time. This prompted Theresa May to ask to see me again, this time to tell me that the government proposed to accept the amendment. I believe a major reason why the government changed its position...
Alf Dubs
15 July 2019
May visits a lab

May Days: Theresa May has shown admirable resolve in her education reforms – but there is still much to do to tackle the burning injustices in our society, writes Robert Halfon

When Theresa May stood on the steps of No 10 and pledged to create a country that worked for everyone, there was huge optimism about her mission to end the burning injustices that exist in our society. Three years on and looking back on the legacy of the prime minister’s efforts to create a better Britain for all, there are achievements that should not be forgotten. Firstly, recognising the scale of the problem which had emerged with funding for the further education (FE) sector, she commissioned the independent Augar Review with an acknowledgement of the powerful role FE can play in transforming people’s lives and growing the economy. The prime minister also demonstrated admirable political resolve to overhaul technical education and keep on track T-levels, which will provide a fantastic groundwork for our young people in the skills needed by employers. On top of this, there has been a shifting balance from teacher recruitment onto retention, to stem the tide of valued and...
Robert Halfon
15 July 2019
Robotic arms rivet car panels together

Living and working in an area and understanding the nuances and intricacies of that place makes you best positioned to decide what should happen, writes Lord Bilimoria

UK manufacturing has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years. However, clouds loom on the horizon with Brexit threatening just-in-time supply chains, and technological change heightening uncertainty for workers. This is precisely why a well-crafted industrial strategy that reaches all parts of the UK is essential for future prosperity. Since the financial crisis, Britain’s productivity levels have stagnated. While we have come a long way since our nadir as the ‘sick man of Europe’ in the 1960s, we need effective action to reinvigorate the economy and drive productivity forward. Low take-up of readily available technologies and management best practices is driving the UK’s productivity problem. While the UK’s best performing firms are highly innovative, best practice must reach a greater range of businesses, improving productivity through the adoption of proven technologies and ideas. This would help to close the productivity gap between the ‘best’ and the ‘rest’ of UK...
Lord Bilimoria