Dods at Party Conference 2020

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

31 October 2019
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage

The Brexit Party could step aside in hundreds of seats in what would be a huge election boost to Boris Johnson, it has emerged.

Senior figures in the anti-EU party, which topped the European elections earlier this year, say the party should field as few as 20 candidates to avoid splitting the Leave vote in key seats. Brexit Party MEP John Longworth told The Times that it should focus on areas where it was likely to have the most impact, rather than contest hundreds of seats across the country. "I think we ought to be targeted in terms of the number of seats that we decide to address,” he said. "I can imagine that might be 20 or 30. They would be entirely winnable then if you poured all your resources into them. You probably would not get any more if you concentrated on the 600. But you would also get a better result for Brexit too." The...
31 October 2019

The Government have promised a series of reforms for the recycling of plastics, but the new system will not come into effect until 2023 - poor recycling rates must improve sooner, writes Baroness Neville-Rolfe. 

Since I first started drawing attention in Parliament in 2017 to the absurdities of recycling, especially of plastics, I have been amazed by the support I have received. The remarkable differences in recycling rules between adjacent authorities seem to engage people of all ages and opinions – a win/win therefore for politicians. So why has so little happened? The good news is that the Government have promised action in a series of reforms ‘for immediate priority’. Local authorities will in future have to collect the same core materials for recycling and, in the case of plastic, this will comprise through a plastic bottles including clear drinks and milk containers, detergent, shampoo and cleaning products as well as plastic tubs and trays. There is still a row going on about food and drink cartons, plastic bags and film. But what is so disappointing is that the intention is that the new system will not come in until 2023. It reminds me of the road improvements past Stonehenge,...
31 October 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn will vow to take on a "corrupt system" of wealth and privilege as he fires the starting pistol on Labour's general election campaign.

Launching the party's campaign in Battersea on Thursday, the Labour leader will say the 12 December poll marks a "once-in-a-generation chance" to change Britain and "take on the vested interests holding people back". And he will single out a host of business chiefs and landowners as representatives of a "rigged system" that his party will take on if he becomes Prime Minister. Arguing that Labour stands "for the many" while Boris Johnson represents "born-to-rule Conservatives", Mr Corbyn will pledge "real change" under his party's plans to renationalise utilities and "rebuild our public services". “This election is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country, take on the vested interests holding people back and ensure that no community is left behind," he will say. The Labour leader will add: "You know what really scares the elite? “What they’re actually afraid of is paying their taxes. So in this election they’ll fight harder and dirtier than ever before. They’ll throw...
31 October 2019
WASPI women

Conservative changes to the state pension age disadvantaged 1950's women the most. Free bus travel would benefit many who are in limbo between their working lives and retirement, writes Jim Cunningham MP. 

1950’s women have been unfairly punished by the Conservatives. The changes made to state pension age were rushed through the House. The impact of the legislation has been colossal. Pushing back the age at which women born in the 1950s could collect their pension so quickly gave them no time to plan for their retirement. Women who were expecting to retire in a few years began to work less days or left their career entirely knowing they could afford to take time off as they would soon be in receipt of their state pensions. The state pension is not a lottery win that people get once they retire. It is the return of money that hardworking people have paid into the system to support them once they are too old to work. The worst effected women have lost out on tens of thousands of pounds and will retire 6 years later than they expected. Last month the High Court was sympathetic with the 1950's women but ruled that they had not been discriminated against. However, the pace at which the...
31 October 2019
An officer closes a prison door

Ministers have let the prison system fall into an "appalling" state due to a lack of leadership, an influential group of MPs has said.

A damning new report from the Commons Justice Committee found prisons were in an "enduring crisis of safety and decency" as levels of violence and self-harm hit record highs. In August, Boris Johnson pledged £2.5bn to help create a further 10,000 prison place by 2025 in a bid to "reverse the balance of fear" by "coming down hard" on criminals. But MPs on the cross-party committee accused the Prime Minister of developing "policy by press release" which lacked a clear plan for how his Government would reform prisons. It comes as Ministry of Justice figures show prison staff suffered 10,311 assaults in the year from March 2018, a rise of 15%, while prisoner-on-prisoner attacks rose 10% to 24,541. "We are concerned about the condition of prisons, particularly a backlog of maintenance work currently estimated at £900 million, beyond routine day-to-day maintenance," the report said. "Current arrangements for facilities management do not work, and we call for greater autonomy for...
30 October 2019
Nicky Morgan

Nicky Morgan has become the latest female Tory MP to announce that she is standing down at the general election.

The Culture Secretary said "the abuse for doing the job of a modern MP" was one of the reasons for quitting after nine years in Parliament. Her announcement, in a letter to the chairman of the Loughborough Conservative Association, came just hours after former Cabinet minister Amber Rudd also revealed she would not be standing on 12 December. Ms Morgan, who was Education Secretary under David Cameron, said: "The clear impact on my family and the other sacrifices involced in, and the abuse for, doing the job of a modern MP can only be justified if, ultimately, Parliament does what it is supposed to do - represent those we serve in all areas of policy, respect votes cast by the electorate and make decisions in the overall national interest." Seema Kennedy, Mims Davies, Justine Greening and Claire Perry are among the other female Tories who have announced that they will not be standing at the election. Overall, more than 50 MPs have so far announced that they will not be putting...
30 October 2019

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) today announces the creation of the Construction Summit 2020, a brand new conference designed to become a focal point for the whole construction industry.

"We're very ambitious for the Construction Summit," says Nick Sangwin, National Chair of the NFB. "Our aim is to make this the annual event that is inked into everyone's diaries, where the construction industry comes together to learn, share ideas and best practice, discuss critical issues, influence policy makers and cement relationships. I am really heartened by the level of industry commitment we have seen with a number of high profile speakers already committing, organisations planning fringe meetings and suppliers to the sector committing to exhibit.    "While there are a number of other excellent conferences that serve particular industry niches very well, there is nothing quite like this to embrace the whole sector. This will be where the industry meets, debates, shares and collaborates."   This enthusiasm is shared by the CITB, an important partner to both the NFB and to all in the sector, who have chosen to be principal sponsor of what they view as a...
30 October 2019
Scottish independence

A second Scottish independence referendum could take place in 2021 if Labour wins the election, it has emerged.

A party spokesman ruled out granting one next year, but refused to say whether they would turn it down the year after. They said: "In the early years, in the formative years of a Labour government, we wouldn’t agree to such a request. “But in the longer run if there was a democratic and properly formulated request on the basis of a majority of the Scottish Parliament or the Scottish Government it would be wrong to block it." However amid repeated questioning by reporters as to when the “formative” period would end, the spokesman would not explain further. And pressed on whether that meant in 2021, they simply pointed reporters to Mr Corbyn’s recent words on the issue. It came after a Tory spokesman claimed there had been a “backroom deal” between Labour and the SNP to grant a second independence poll in exchange for Nicola Sturgeon’s MPs supporting Mr Corbyn in a potential future government. And Boris Johnson said Labour would seek to use 2020 to hold two more referendums; one...
30 October 2019
Amber Rudd

Downing Street has denied claims by Amber Rudd that Boris Johnson asked her to stand again for the Tories in a row over removing the party whip from her.

The former Home Secretary revealed on Wednesday morning that she would not be defending her Hastings and Rye seat in the 12 December snap poll. After her announcement a letter from the Chief Whip Mark Spencer was leaked to the press saying she would not be offered the whip back. She had resigned from the Conservative parliamentary party and the Cabinet in September over the direction of the Prime Minister on Brexit. Mr Spencer said he has “the utmost respect” for Ms Rudd, but added that Mr Johnson needs “a team alongside him who believe in him and feel able to support the policy aims of the Government”. “When you surrendered the Conservative Party whip and resigned from the Cabinet just eight weeks ago, you were clear that you did not support the approach of the Prime Minister and did not have confidence in him”, he added. “You have failed to provide me with assurances that you will not change your mind once more.” Criticising her for resigning the whip, Mr Spencer said it...
30 October 2019
John Bercow

Boris Johnson led cross-party tributes to John Bercow as the outgoing Commons Speaker presided over the longest session of Prime Minister's Questions on record.

The Prime Minister praised Mr Bercow - due to step down on Thursday after more than a decade as Speaker - as a "great servant" of Parliament, while Labour's Jeremy Corbyn said he had given "real power to backbenchers". The tributes came during a one hour and eleven minute-long PMQs marathon - smashing the previous record of 58 minutes set during Theresa May's final appearance at the despatch box. Paying homage to Mr Bercow, the Prime Minister quipped that he had "done more than anyone since Stephen Hawking to stretch time in this particular session". And he made reference to the former tennis career of the departing Speaker, who was once ranked as Britain's number one junior player. "I know the whole House will want to join me in recording that, after ten tumultuous years, this is your last Prime Minister's questions," Mr Johnson said. "And as befits a distinguished former Wimbledon competitor, you have sat there in your high chair not just as an umpire - ruthlessly...