Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

3 November 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has apologised for failing to fulfil his promise to get Brexit done by 31 October.

The Prime Minister said he was "absolutely" sorry for the fresh delay as he urged voters to back him in the 12 December snap election. Mr Johnson was forced to request a three-month extension to the UK's Halowe'en EU exit deadline after MPs refused to back his Brexit deal by a 19 October legal deadline. The move means the UK could now leave the EU as late as 31 January. The Conservative leader - who previously vowed to quit the bloc "come what may" by 31 October - hit out at MPs in an interview with Sky News' Sophy Ridge. "We got Parliament to say it was a good deal, but then they refused to implement it," he said.  "And actually... there was bags of time between that vote to, when they first said it was a good deal, and when they could have got us out on 31 October."  But, asked whether he should personally take responsibility for the delay, Mr Johnson said: "Well, I do. I do and I’m deeply, deeply disappointed." Pressed on whether he was sorry for the...
3 November 2019
Margot James

Former minister Margot James has become the latest female Tory to announce she is quitting as an MP - just days after having the Conservative whip restored.

Ms James, who was one of 21 Tory rebels booted out of the party after backing moves to hand MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit control of Commons business, regained the Conservative whip last week. But she has confirmed she will not contest the snap election, blaming rifts with her local Conservative party. She said in her resignation letter: "I am fortunate to have considerable support in my constituency, but sadly the opposite is the case among too many members of the Stourbridge Conservative Association. I have therefore decided to stand down from Parliament." Ms James - who was first elected in 2010 - told the Stourbridge News there was now a real "conflict" between her views and those of local voters, who voted 64% in favour of leaving the EU in 2016. "I was very pleased to receive the whip back and I wanted to continue in parliament," she said. "It was only after a period of reflection that I realised that I needed to bring the three-and-a-half year conflict between the...
3 November 2019
Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage has claimed that the Conservatives offered him a peerage on two occasions in a bid to stop the Brexit Party running against them.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, the Brexit Party leader accused the Tories of trying to "buy" his support. And he claimed that a senior Brexit Party official as well as an MEP had been approached about standing as Conservative candidates. Mr Farage said: "All sorts of baubles have been offered." On the peerage offer, the former Ukip leader added: "That happened twice, but we are going back a couple of months. They thought the deal was that if I accepted that, we would only fight a few seats. "That came from two very close sources — one from an adviser and one a minister, not a member of the cabinet, suggesting this was the right thing to do. I said I was not interested." And he added: "One of my very close colleagues was offered one of the safest Conservative seats in the country yesterday morning. A very senior figure....
3 November 2019
Jo Swinson

Liberal Democrat women are demanding their leader Jo Swinson be included in TV election debates to “inspire women and girls into leadership roles”.

A group of Lib Dem MPs, MEPs and peers have written an open letter to broadcasters calling for the only female leader of a UK-wide party to be given a platform along Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn in the run-up to the 12 December poll. The move comes after the party lodged a formal complaint to ITV after it announced its first election debate will take place between just the Labour and Conservative leaders. “As Liberal Democrat women, we are immensely proud to have elected our first woman leader,” they said.  “We believe it is important, in terms of inspiring girls and women into leadership roles in future, that the only woman to lead a major UK party is not locked out of the leadership debates. “Over the course of this parliament, women in particular have been subjected to verbal abuse and threats of violence, with many deciding not to seek re-election.  "We have also seen, in our wider society, outrage at the discrepancies between the pay of men and...
3 November 2019
Children in care

Ministers must end the two-child cap on welfare payments which is having “serious and unintended consequences” on families, MPs have warned.

The Commons’ Work and Pensions Committee blasted the controversial policy, which restricts Government support to families on benefits such as Universal Credit to two children - and warned it could be making child poverty worse. Frank Field, chair of the committee, said: “Any family in this country, except the super-rich, could fall foul of the two-child limit if their circumstances changed for the worse.  "This is exactly why social security must act as a national insurance scheme covering people when they’re most exposed to hardship – not increase it.” The two-child limit was introduced by former Chancellor George Osborne and came into force in 2017. It curbs access to child tax credits and other means-tested benefits for any further children born after April 2017.  But the committee said it had seen “no evidence that the two-child limit is working in the way the Government hoped for” after speaking to experts for its inquiry. The MPs also warned that Pakistani,...
3 November 2019
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn

Boris Johnson has promised to end the benefits freeze as part of a multi-billion-pound pre-election welfare spending spree.

Working-age benefits will rise in line with inflation for the first time since they were frozen by George Osborne in 2015, while pensioners are set for the biggest rise in their incomes for eight years. The Government is pledging to boost the state pension by 3.9% - a move worth an extra £344 a year - while working-age benefits will rise by 1.7%.  The promises - which the Mail on Sunday reports will cost £5bn - come as a YouGov survey for The Sunday Times appeared to show Jeremy Corbyn gaining ground in the race for Number 10. While Labour still trails the Conservatives by twelve points, it is now on 27% - climbing by six points between Wednesday and Friday. The Tories have gained three points since the campaign began, according to the YouGov study, while the Brexit Party has slipped from 13% to...
2 November 2019
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn

ITV has announced it will host the first head-to-head election debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on 19 November in the run-up to the 12 December election.

The live debate will be moderated by news presenter Julie Etchingham and will be the first televised debate between the party leaders. Mr Corbyn welcomed the announcement on Twitter, saying he was glad Mr Johnson had had "accepted our challenge" for the "once in a generation election". But other pro-Remain parties have criticised the line-up, with the Liberal Democrats accusing the two leading parties of “running scared”. Former Conservative MP Chuka Umanna, who joined the Liberal Democrats earlier this year, called the move “discriminatory, undemocratic and wrong”. Whatever your politics, this is discriminatory, undemocratic and wrong. Not only is it two blokes deciding to have a debate excluding women, we are not a two party country and the sizeable proportion of the public who want to #StopBrexit won’t have a voice in the room. /1 https://t.co/6wxxPXtdyN...
2 November 2019
My Town Campaign

Government ministers have been criticised for using public funds to target voters in marginal seats using Facebook adverts.

The paid adverts went live on Tuesday, the same day that Boris Johnson secured backing for a general election. Each advert claims that the government is investing £25m in certain towns and adds: “We want local people to determine how this money is spent.” Designed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the adverts refer to the £3.6bn Towns Fund launched by the prime minister in September. The adverts have now been removed by Facebook for failing to run with a political disclaimer. Many of the towns targeted by the adverts, such Northampton, Milton Keynes and Lincoln have very slim Conservative majorities. For example, Mansfield, one of the towns targeted by the ad campaign, was won by the Conservatives in 2017 with a majority of 1,000 votes. Labour MP Ian Lucas has called the adverts an “outrageous” misuse of public money and has written to Michael Gove questioning how much money was spent and how decisions were made over who to target. “These...
2 November 2019
Anti-fracking protesters

Fracking will be banned in the UK until there is "compelling" new evidence to quell safety fears over the process, the Government has said.

Ministers announced the move after an Oil and Gas Authority report found that it is not currently possible to accurately predict the probability or magnitude of earthquakes relating to it. The decision means that exploratory work on whether shale gas extraction could be a major energy source for the UK will no longer go ahead until, and if, fresh evidence can prove that it is safe. The move marks a major victory for campaigners, who have long called for the process - which takes place across the world including in the US, Canada and Argentina - to be banned in Britain. Ministers said tremors close to Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire, which has long been a site for anti-fracking protests, was a further factor in their ruling. Separate proposals to change the planning process for fracking sites will also be cancelled. Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: "Whilst acknowledging the huge potential of UK shale gas to provide a...
2 November 2019
Anti-fracking protesters

Fracking will be banned in the UK until there is "compelling" new evidence to quell safety fears over the process, the Government has said.

Ministers announced the move after an Oil and Gas Authority report found that it is not currently possible to accurately predict the probability or magnitude of earthquakes relating to it. The decision means that exploratory work on whether shale gas extraction could be a major energy source for the UK will no longer go ahead until, and if, fresh evidence can prove that it is safe. The move marks a major victory for campaigners, who have long called for the process - which takes place across the world including in the US, Canada and Argentina - to be banned in Britain. Ministers said tremors close to Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire, which has long been a site for anti-fracking protests, was a further factor in their ruling. Separate proposals to change the planning process for fracking sites will also be cancelled. Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: "Whilst acknowledging the huge potential of UK shale gas to provide a...