Dods at Party Conference 2020

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

30 October 2019
BVA

BVA President, Daniella Dos Santos, calls on all parties to keep up the pressure and give the "crucial principle" of animal sentience it's final push into law.

Speaking at the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Parliamentary Briefing and Afternoon Tea recently in the House of Commons, Ben Lake MP called on parliamentarians to get involved with the BVA saying they were a "a font of knowledge and advice and assistance" in today’s "hurly-burly world". The MP for Ceredigion stated that in the current climate, "having the ability to fall back on the wealth of expertise and experience that the BVA offers is quite invaluable". At the event, BVA President, Daniella Dos Santos, called on all parties to include ten key commitments in their manifestos ahead of the General Election. The briefing focused on the impact of Brexit on the veterinary workforce, trade, animal health and welfare, food safety, pet travel, veterinary medicines and agriculture. “It is fabulous to see cross party representation here to hear about the workforce and veterinary issues that matter to our 18,000 members”, stated Ms Dos Santos. Brexit impact "We’ve drawn together...
30 October 2019
Priti Patel

Home Secretary Priti Patel's most senior aide had to be escorted from a Commons bar by armed police.

James Starkie, who is Ms Patel's chief of staff, had got involved in an altercation with Tory MP Bob Stewart in Strangers.  He is said to have sworn and punched a door before being asked to leave the popular drinking den. A House of Commons spokesperson said: "We can confirm there was an incident with an individual in Strangers’ Bar. "The individual was asked to leave and was escorted from the estate by parliamentary security." The incident is deeply embarrassing for the Conservatives, who want to persuade voters that they are the party of law and order at the next election. Mr Starkie was a member of the Vote Leave campaign before becoming a special adviser for Michael Gove. However, he resigned from that post in protest at Theresa May's Brexit deal. Mr Starkie later worked on Dominic Raab's Conservative leadership campaign before taking up his role in the Home Office. It is not the first time Ms Patel has been left embarrassed over an incident involving police. At the Conservative...
30 October 2019

Small building companies remain nervous about hiring new staff and are reducing the size of their workforce, according to a recent survey from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The FMB's State of Trade Survey for Q3 2019, found the number of small to medium-sized (SME) construction companies reporting a growing workforce had fallen, from 19% to 15%, while almost a quarter (23%) reported they had reduced their headcount, up from 21%.   The key results are as follows: • Employment levels for SME construction companies remained in negative territory for the second quarter in a row, following a five-year period of positive growth. • Overall SME construction workloads have remained positive with 34% reporting high workloads compared to 27% in the previous three months. 86% of SMEs anticipate a rise in material prices, up from 77% in the previous quarter. • 56% of firms predict salaries and wages to increase, up from 51% in the last quarter. • 56% of SMEs reported difficulties hiring carpenters and joiners, overtaking bricklayers (54%) as the trade that is hardest to recruit....
30 October 2019
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

Female MPs from across the political spectrum have signed an open letter backing Meghan Markle over the "abuse and intimidation" she has received from the media.

A letter organised by Labour MP Holly Lynch and signed by 72 MPs including Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott and former Tory minister Tracey Crouch vows to "stand against" the "often distasteful and misleading" press treatment of the Duchess of Sussex. And it hits out at what the MPs call the "outdated, colonial undertones to some of these stories". Last month the Duchess's husband Prince Harry issued a statement condemning the press for publishing a private letter from her father, as the pair launched legal action against the owners of the Sun and the Daily Mirror. Warning of the "human cost" of the "relentless propaganda" against his wife, Prince Harry said: "There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives."  Backing that stance in their open letter, the 72 MPs vowed to "stand with" the Duchess. "As women MPs of political persuasions, we wanted to express our solidarity with you in taking a stand against...
30 October 2019
Owen Smith and Jeremy Corbyn

Former Labour leadership hopeful Owen Smith will stand down as an MP at the general election.

The Pontypridd MP said he was quitting for "political and personal reasons" in a letter to Jeremy Corbyn, who he failed to dislodge as leader in 2016. He was first elected to the seat in 2010 and had a majority of more than 11,000 at the last election. Mr Smith announced his decision just moments after MPs voted to hold a general election on 12 December.  The former BBC journalist, who has been a vocal campaigner for a second EU referendum, was one of 20 MPs to vote against the snap poll. In his letter to Mr Corbyn, he said: "It has been an enormous privilege to serve as a Labour MP and I am truly proud to have represented by hometown of Pontypridd over the last decade. "I would like to thank all those in the Labour party and the wider community who have supported me. "I woud also like all of my constituents to know that it has been a great honour to serve as their Member of Parliament." Mr Smith challenged Mr Corbyn for the Labour leadership in the wake of the 2016 EU referendum, but...
29 October 2019
Boris Johnson

Voters will go to the polls on 12 December after MPs finally backed Boris Johnson's bid to hold a pre-Christmas election.

The Commons approved the Early Parliamentary General Election Bill by 438 votes to 20, teeing up the first national poll in December for nearly a century. An attempt by Jeremy Corbyn to shift the vote to 9 December had earlier been defeated by 315 to 295. Assuming the House of Lords passes the bill on Wednesday, it means the PM has been successful at calling an election at the fourth time of asking. His most recent defeat was on Monday night, when he failed to get the support of two-thirds of MPs, as required by the Fixed Term Parliaments Act. Mr Johnson's victory was guaranteed after Jeremy Corbyn performed a major U-turn and announced Labour was now backing a December poll. The Labour leader had previously said he would not order his MPs to vote for one until the chance of a no-deal Brexit was completely off the table. But he told a meeting of the Shadow Cabinet: "We have now heard from the EU that the extension of Article 50 to 31 January has been confirmed, so for the next three...
29 October 2019
Boris Johnson Commons

Ten of the 21 Tory rebels sacked for trying to block a no-deal Brexit have had the party whip restored.

The group include seven former ministers, and were made the offer to return to the fold at a meeting with Boris Johnson on Tuesday evening. It comes as the Prime Minister seeks to get the numbers to pass his early election bill through Parliament and trigger a snap poll on 12 December. Alistair Burt, Caroline Nokes, Greg Clark, Sir Nicholas Soames, Ed Vaizey, Margot James, Richard Benyon, Stephen Hammond, Steve Brine and Richard Harrington have all been handed a reprieve by the PM. A Conservative spokesperson said they are now eligible to stand again as candidates, although several of them have indicated they are stepping down. But it means that former Cabinet members Philip Hammond, Dominic Grieve and David Gauke, who were also among the 21 sacked MPs, have not been allowed back into the party and will therefore not be able to stand as Conservatives at the upcoming election. The group met the PM in his House of Commons office where they were offered the whip back,...
29 October 2019
ballot box election

An attempt by MPs to give 16 and 17-year-olds and EU nationals the right to vote in the upcoming general election has been stopped in its tracks.

In a blow for campaigners, Deputy Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle rejected amendments which would have given Parliament a vote on extending the franchise. The decision came after Downing Street warned it would pull its Early Parliamentary General Election Bill if the amendments were carried. The PM’s spokesman said: “I think it’s also important for me to point out that votes at 16 are administratively impossible to deliver in the time available. "There will be less than three weeks before voter registration deadline to register 16 and 17-year-olds.”  On giving EU citizens the vote, he said: “Changing the election franchise days before an election could cause administrative chaos. "There would be between 2.4 million to three million people added to the electoral roll at the last minute, with no idea on the cost or logistical burden this could cause. "This may in turn lead to delays with polling cards, postal votes and at polling stations that could undermine everyone’s ability to vote in...
29 October 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has slapped down plans to allow teenagers and EU nationals to vote in the planned 12 December election as “administratively impossible”.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman also said he would not allow the date to be changed to Monday, 9 December, saying it would be more difficult and costly to administer. He suggested this would not give enough time to pass the Early Election Bill triggering the snap poll to pass through Parliament, nor for the Northern Irish Budget legislation to become law. The spokesman suggested the bill would be destroyed if it was amended in this way, hinting Mr Johnson may pull it rather than let it go through the Commons. It comes after Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would back the PM’s push for a snap election after the EU granted a three-month extension to Brexit. His shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon suggested his party could try and amend the legislation though, so 16 and 17-year-olds and EU nationals are eligible to vote in the poll. The Lib Dems...
29 October 2019

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed findings from the 2018 UK Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance Report (VARSS), published today (29 October 2019) by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

A clinical surveillance of antibiotic resistance shows that most of the key veterinary pathogens remain susceptible to authorised veterinary antibiotics, including those that have been authorised for many years. Some, such as E. coli in poultry, show significant reductions to resistance. British Veterinary Association Junior Vice President James Russell said: “We are pleased to see further reductions in antibiotic sales in the latest VARSS report, which is a testament to the hugely successful collaborative work being carried out by vets, farmers and the industry to steward responsible antibiotic use and champion greater disease prevention measures across each of the eight livestock sectors. “It is particularly commendable to note that sales of antibiotics in food producing animals have fallen by an impressive 53% between 2014 and 2018. “Antimicrobial resistance remains a huge concern for vets, which is why we must maintain this momentum in the face of the ongoing global threat it...