Dods at Party Conference 2020

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

1 November 2019
Antoinette Sandbach

Antoinette Sandbach has become the latest Tory Brexit rebel to defect to the Liberal Democrats.

The Eddisbury MP surprised Westminster by announcing that she will contest the seat for her new party at next month's general election. Ms Sandbach was one of the 21 Tories sacked by Boris Johnson in September for voting to stop a no-deal Brexit. She joins Heidi Allen, Sarah Wollaston, Philip Lee and Sam Gymah as former Tory MPs who have jumped ship to the Lib Dems. Former Labour MPs Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger and Angela Smith have also joined the party in recent months. Announcing her decision on Thursday night, Ms Sandbach, who was first elected to the Commons in 2015, said: "This general election will be the most important in my lifetime. People have a very clear choice, the Conservative Party offers years of uncertainty whilst the Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit. "I’m so proud to stand alongside other Liberal Democrat candidates across the country to fight for a brighter future with Jo Swinson, our candidate to be Prime Minister. "I will stand on my strong local record,...
31 October 2019
Boris Johnson and Donald Trump

Donald Trump has warned Boris Johnson his Brexit agreement could prevent the UK striking a free trade deal with America.

In a major blow for the Prime Minister, the US president said he was concerned about "certain aspects" of the accord struck with Brussels earlier this month. Speaking to Nigel Farage on LBC, he also suggested that the Conservatives should agree an election pact with the Brexit Party. And he mounted an outspoken attack on Jeremy Corbyn, who he said would be "so bad for your country" if he became PM. Mr Johnson defied expectations two weeks ago by securing a new Brexit agreement after successfully removing the Irish backstop from the deal struck by his predecessor, Theresa May. Giving his first assessment of the deal, President Trump said: "He’s in a very difficult position, and I think he’s doing what nobody else was willing to do. “I also think he’s looking at the United States because we can do much more on trade.” He added: “We want to do trade with UK, and they want to do trade with us. “And to be honest with you under certain aspects of this deal, you can’t do it, you can’t trade...
31 October 2019
Keith Vaz

Keith Vaz has been banned from Parliament for six months – but could still stand for Labour in December’s snap election.

And the veteran MP may only serve two days of the suspension if he is returned as the member for Leicester East at the upcoming poll. The Committee on Standards recommended the record suspension after Mr Vaz was found to have offered to buy cocaine for two male escorts That was upheld by the Commons on Thursday, but Labour has yet to decide whether to remove the party whip or if he will be prevented from standing in his seat on 12 December. In the Commons, Labour chief whip Nick Brown said it is a "sad day for us", but that they fully accepted the report by the Standards Committee into Mr Vaz's actions. Labour's ruling national executive committee, which Mr Vaz is a member of, is due to discuss his case this week. The Standards Committee report into Mr Vaz said there was "compelling evidence" he offered to pay for a class A drug and paid for sex. It also said he was "evasive or unhelpful" during the investigation into allegations he met two men at his London flat, claiming they came...
31 October 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has challenged both Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid to publish their tax returns ahead of the general election.

The Labour leader made the demand as he launched his election campaign with a pledge to "go after" tax dodgers and take on the UK's "corrupt" financial system. Mr Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell have routinely published their tax returns since 2015, with the most recent figures showing the Labour leader paid just over £46,000 to the HMRC for the 2017/18 tax year. Meanwhile, Mr McDonnell coughed up £25,533 over the same period. Speaking to supporters during his campaign launch in Battersea on Thursday, Mr Corbyn urged the Prime Minister and Shadow Chancellor to be transparent about their tax affairs. “There are two people who must publish their tax returns in my opinion, and that is the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Prime Minister," he said. "I’m not sure they do, but John McDonnell and I do publish our tax returns in full.” He added: “In fact, the first time my tax return was published they realised - after they managed to read my handwriting - that actually I’...
31 October 2019
Roland Rudd

Roland Rudd has been urged to resign as chair of Open Britain by the pro-EU campaign group's own board, PoliticsHome can reveal.

The top advertising executive has been at the centre of a storm since sacking People's Vote chiefs James McGrory and Tom Baldwin. Staff at the campaign for a second EU referendum have been in open revolt since Mr Rudd announced the pair's dismissal in an email on Sunday night. Dozens have refused to turn up for work in the last two days, while they also passed a motion of no confidence in him and Patrick Heneghan, People's Vote's new chief executive, at a heated meeting on Tuesday. Open Britain is one of five separate organisation's which makes up the People's Vote campaign. Board members Peter Mandelson, Will Straw, Joe Carberry and Mr McGrory met on Wednesday morning and agreed a statement in which they said Mr Rudd's behaviour was "unforgivable" and demanded that he quit as chairman. It said: "We are appalled by the recent actions of Roland...
31 October 2019

The Go-Ahead Group has achieved year-on-year reductions in its carbon emissions as it works towards an ambitious goal of operating a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2035.

2019 saw the FTSE-250 listed public transport operator record its lowest ever carbon emissions per vehicle mile, which dropped to just 1.15kgs, down from 1.28kgs last year. Go-Ahead’s continued efforts have seen emissions per mile fall by 35 per cent over the past five years. The figures show Go-Ahead is continuing to reduce emissions, with the business on track to record a 25 per cent three-year reduction in all carbon emissions by 2021, a vital milestone on the road to a zero emissions fleet. It revealed the figures today in a sustainability report for the year to 1 July 2018, which showcases Go-Ahead’s five sustainability strategy priorities – building thriving communities, tackling climate change, raising supply chain sustainability, improving air quality and boosting inclusion and diversity. The reduction in emissions comes, in part, thanks to the launch of innovative new services, such as Go-Ahead’s new geo-fenced buses, which switch over to zero-emissions mode while driving...
31 October 2019
Sir Henry Bellingham

A senior Tory MP has been ordered to “apologise in writing” to the House of Commons after failing to disclose his chairmanship of an African mining and development company.

Sir Henry Bellingham, who is running to be the next Commons Speaker, began being paid £30,000 a year by Clifton Africa in October 2018. But he did not register it with the Parliamentary authorities in time, and he was found to have given erroneous information about it. He also didn’t reveal he was in receipt of 3,000 shares from the firm, and was late in registering changes to his interests in four other companies. Sir Henry, a Government trade envoy to Libya, was therefore found to have breached the code of conduct for MPs by the standards commissioner Kathryn Stone. She said he was “unfailingly courteous” during her inquiry, sparked by an investigation by the Times in January, and did not originally plan to send the case up to the Commons’ standards committee. But the Commissioner accused the 63-year-old MP of taking “far too long” to correct the records at Companies House, and then found he “committed a further breach of paragraph 14 of the Code”. Sir Henry said in mitigation...
31 October 2019

The government has not done enough to prepare businesses and the self-employed for the changes to IR35 coming into force next April, IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has warned.

The warning comes in response to research by Hays, which shows a third of private sector organisations that engage temporary contractors are unaware of the changes to IR35 next April. It also found less than half (43%) of medium and large private sector organisations who engage contractors have begun preparing for the changes. Of those who have heard about the changes to IR35, 68 per cent believe the biggest risk is an increase in costs, while 56 per cent said they were worried about losing key talent. 46 per cent also said they believed the changes would make it harder to engage temporary contractors. Andy Chamberlain, Deputy Director of Policy at IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), said: “It is clear the government has done nowhere near enough to prepare businesses and contractors for the changes to IR35 next April. Not only do a third not know anything about them; those that do are extremely concerned – and with good cause. “The...
31 October 2019
Diane Abbott and Keith Vaz

Diane Abbott has urged Keith Vaz to rule out standing at the general election after a probe found the Labour MP offered to buy cocaine for male escorts.

The disgraced political veteran faces a six-month ban after a Commons watchdog investigation concluded he "expressed willingness" to acquire the drug. MPs will be asked to sign off their recommendation of an extensive censure for causing “significant damage” to Parliament’s reputation and for failing to cooperate with an official inquiry. When asked if her colleague should stand again, Ms Abbott told the BBC’s Today programme: "I’ve known Keith for a very long time, we were young people together looking to go forward in the Labour Party. "I think he should consider his position and I think he himself should agree not to be a candidate. I think it’s been a very sad issue, not just for him, but for his family and his children." When it was put to her that the Labour whip had not yet been pulled from Mr Vaz, the Shadow Home Secretary responded: "Not yet, but I think Keith should consider his position." An inquiry was launched by the Commons Standards...
31 October 2019

ESA respond to Baroness Neville-Rolfe. 

Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), Jacob Hayler said: "ESA and its Members agree that the Government should fast-track its proposals for more consistent recycling and waste collections across local authorities. This, combined with clear and uniform product labelling, will reduce consumer confusion and boost recycling, helping to avoid contamination caused by householders putting material in the wrong bin.  We also need the Government to get its producer responsibility proposals right. These should encourage packaging producers to make their items easier to recycle in the first place, helping to reinforce and support the efforts made by consumers to recycle properly.  Furthermore, the Government should also bring forward its proposed tax on virgin plastics, which would incentivise producers to use more recycled product and drive the market for recycled material, further bolstering the recycling system. It is important, however,...