Dods at Party Conference 2020

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

30 October 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Tory backbenchers have been criticised after they were accused of “jeering” Jeremy Corbyn over a tie he wore in honour of victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

The colour has become associated with remembering the victims of the disaster and is also worn in a small heart-shaped badge, which Mr Corbyn and Boris Johnson each wore on their lapel during Prime Minister's Questions. It came as Mr Corbyn praised John Bercow ahead of his last day as Commons Speaker, for having “reduced some of the strange customs and strange garments that some people wear”. It prompted some on the opposite benches to shout and gesture at his neckwear, to which he jokingly responded: “It’s alright, it’s alright I know you’re all jealous of my tie but it’s okay.” The tribute came on the day that the long-awaited phase one report from the Grenfell inquiry fire – in which 72 people died in 2017 – was released. But the exchange provoked condemnation among some, with Theresa May reportedly rebuking her...
30 October 2019
Churchill & de Gaulle

A master of his material, Andrew Roberts’s study of nine war leaders is both incisive and engaging, says Julian Lewis MP

The success of deterrent and containment policies in averting a third world war has – mercifully – deprived modern leaders of the opportunity to show what they might have achieved in times of global conflict. Andrew Roberts’ incisive survey of nine war leaders examines six who reached their apotheosis in World War II, with only Margaret Thatcher’s Falklands campaign included from the postwar period. Roberts has written acclaimed biographies of several of his chosen leaders and is a master of his material. All had “a profound sense of self-belief” and almost all had immersed their younger selves in the copious study of history. Roberts believes that people’s characters and outlook are profoundly shaped by historical study and personal experience in early teenage years. De Gaulle’s Anglophobia stemmed from the humiliation of France by Britain in the 1898 Fashoda incident: his jaundiced view of our behaviour was distorted by this prism. Churchill predicted, when only 16, that one day...
Julian Lewis MP
30 October 2019
Prime Minister's Questions ( PMQs )

Follow all the drama LIVE as Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson duke it out.

30 October 2019
Stephen Lloyd

An MP who quit the Liberal Democrats to back Brexit has revealed he will now campaign “full-throatedly” for Remain at the upcoming election.

Stephen Lloyd resigned the party whip in December so he could vote for Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement from the EU, saying it was the right thing to do for his constituents. He is the member for Eastbourne in East Sussex, which backed Leave by 57%  in the 2016 referendum - higher than the national average of 52%. Mr Lloyd went on to vote for the Government’s Brexit deal four times, most recently backing Boris Johnson’s new deal at second reading earlier this month. But after the Prime Minister passed legislation scheduling a snap General Election on 12 December, he said the “slate is clean”. A Lib Dem source said he has not yet been offered the party whip back, but confirmed to PoliticsHome there was an "ongoing conversation". And they have not selected a new candidate for Eastbourne, leaving open the possibility Mr Lloyd could still stand for them in December. The MP made his announcement via a video on social media, explaining: “Whatever my personal views as a Remainer...
30 October 2019
Grenfell tower

Boris Johnson must take “urgent action” over the Grenfell Tower inquiry's findings, its chair has said.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick said ministers had a “responsibility” to enact the recommendations from his long-awaited phase one report into the devastating blaze. The fire left 72 people dead after it ripped through the west London building in the early hours of 14 June 2017. The document was highly critical of the London Fire Brigade and found more lives could have been saved were it not for a delay in revoking the “stay put” policy, where residents were told to remain in the building for nearly two hours after it started. It also found that flammable cladding was the “principal” reason behind the fire’s rapid spread. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Sir Martin said the 1,000-page report exposed the need for “urgent action to be taken by the Government and others who have responsibility for the oversight and direction of the emergency services, in particular the London Fire Brigade”. “I look forward confidently to their implementation without delay,” he...
30 October 2019

David Isaac, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has responded to the findings of the independent inquiry into the tragedy at Grenfell Tower. 

David Isaac, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has responded to the findings of the independent inquiry into the tragedy at Grenfell Tower: “This report shows the Grenfell community were failed by the authorities that had a legal duty to protect them. In the evidence we submitted to the inquiry following our in-depth research, we make very clear that this was a serious breach of human rights law, including the right to life, right to adequate housing and the rights of disabled people. The inquiry must now explore the systemic failures that led to this terrible tragedy and we look forward to helping them understand the human rights implications.”  
30 October 2019
Amber Rudd

Former Tory cabinet minister Amber Rudd has announced that she will not fight to hold on to her ultra-marginal seat in December's election.

Ms Rudd resigned as both Work and Pensions Secretary and a Conservative member in September in response to Boris Johnson's decision to remove the whip from 21 Tory rebels for supporting a Commons bid to delay a no-deal Brexit. She currently holds the Hastings and Rye seat with a wafer-thin majority of just 346 votes. But, speaking to the Evening Standard, she said she felt a "sense of relief" after the Prime Minister readmitted 10 of the rebel MPs to the party on Tuesday evening, just hours before MPs backed his plans for a snap election. And the former senior minister also revealed she would be meeting with Conservative Chief Whip Mark Spencer on Wednesday to formally rejoin the party before Parliament dissolves. "I spoke to the Prime Minister and had a good meeting with him a few days ago. I'm really...
30 October 2019
Theresa May and Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson's new Brexit deal will leave Britain's economy worse off than under Theresa May's agreement, according to a major economics think tank.

Analysis by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimates that Britain's economy will be 3.5% smaller in ten years' time under the Prime Minister's deal compared to staying in the EU. Under Mrs May's deal, the think tank estimated that the economy would take a 3% hit over the next decade when compared to remaining in the bloc - meaning Mr Johnson's plan will leave the UK 0.5% worse off than under his predecessor's. The NIESR, which is Britain's oldest independent economic research institute, put the cost of Mr Johnson's deal at £70bn over the next ten years when compared to staying in the EU. "We don’t expect there to be a ‘deal dividend’ at all,” NIESR economist Arno Hantzsche said.  "A deal would reduce the risk of a disorderly Brexit outcome but eliminate the possibility of a closer economic relationship." The think tank said Mr Johnson's agreement - which opens the door to looser economic ties with the EU than would have been the case under Mrs May's deal -...
30 October 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson should prioritise public spending over the Conservatives' "Thatcherite instincts" on tax cuts to convert sceptical voters and win the election, a leading Tory think tank has argued.

Onward said the 12 December poll would be decided by swing voters who fit the profile of 'Workington man' - a white man over 45 who lives in one of England's northern towns with a strong Rugby League tradition. Such voters - who backed Leave in 2016, did not go to university, and feel the country "has drifted away" from their views on economic issues -  will be crucial to the Tories building a majority, Onward said. The group urged the Conservatives to focus on winning over the so-called 'Rugby towns' - Castleford, Halifax, Oldham, St Helens, Warrington, Wigan and Workington itself - which have only returned one Conservative MP in every ten elections since 1918. 'Workington Man' - who Onward said represents the median voter in Middle England without which the Tories cannot win a majority - "favours security over freedom across both social and economic axes, but leans much more towards security on social issues". And they say: "He wants government to prioritise apprenticeships rather...
30 October 2019
houses

Local councils need powers over short lets to re-introduce a registration system, a licencing scheme and inspection rights to ensure home owners and neighbours are treated fairly and equally, writes Baroness Gardner. 

The present situation caused by the lack of control of ‘short lets’ is cause for concern. In 2015 we did away with the local government system of registration of short holiday lets at just the time when New York, Paris and Berlin were just introducing similar controls. For many years I have shared ownership of two flats in a block in central London. Until 2015 the local council had powers to control some aspects of lettings and there was a registration system required if the flat owner wished to let their property as a ‘holiday let’ or ‘short let’. Under the requirements at that time, short holiday lets had to be registered and a fee paid to the council. This was usually a rather long time ahead of the date of occupancy.  It was appreciated that the travel pattern for many people had changed and discussions that I had at that time with one of the central London councils confirmed that, for a fee to cover costs they would be willing to operate a...