Dods at Party Conference 2018

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

17 January 2019
Theresa May

Conservative MPs, voters and even political journalists don't want to hear it, but going back to the country could be the Prime Minister's only escape from the trench warfare at Westminster, writes George Parker 

Don’t tell Brenda from Bristol but an intriguing new rumour is sweeping Westminster: that Theresa May could try to extricate herself from the Brexit morass by going back to the people. Not in the form of a second referendum, but in a general election. When you suggest the idea to most politicians they recoil. “Noooo,” said one cabinet minister in a low moan of despair. An adviser to Mrs May looked intently at me when I suggested the idea: “Look into my eyes: do you really want an election?” To be honest, even political journalists who live for the kind of drama thrown up by an election have had just about enough excitement for now, thanks. Perhaps that is why the idea has received so little media attention. However in the last few days cabinet ministers have started discussing the idea. One minister says: “When you have this kind of chaos, things normally end up with a general election.” Meanwhile William Hague, the former Tory leader who correctly predicted that Theresa May would...
George Parker
17 January 2019

The lights are going out on a coherent UK energy policy, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today, as Hitachi suspends work on the Wylfa nuclear power station.

Unite said that today’s announcement that Hitachi was halting construction at the site on Anglesey was ‘the latest chapter in the sorry saga of recent UK energy policy’.   Unite pinpointed a number of factors that are leading to a crisis about how the energy needs of businesses and households will be met in the decades ahead.  The withdrawal of Toshiba from the Moorside nuclear power station project in Cumbria in November The controversy over the financing of the Hinkley Point nuclear in Somerset being built by French company EDF, with a stake from Chinese state-owned investor CGN Security concerns over future Chinese involvement in the UK nuclear programme The reluctance of the Tory government to commit to large-scale funding of infrastructure projects. Unite national officer for energy Peter McIntosh said: “The decision taken today by Hitachi is a disaster for the UK economy and future energy needs of the country. It is the latest chapter in the sorry saga of...
17 January 2019
Vince Cable

Vince Cable today refused to back Labour in any further bids to topple Theresa May as he accused Jeremy Corbyn of playing “political games” on Brexit.

The Lib Dem boss lashed out at the Labour leader over his refusal to enter into talks with the Prime Minister to find a compromise, after the deal she clinched with Brussels was rejected by MPs. Mrs May last night offered to talk to senior parliamentarians, including Mr Corbyn, in a bid to find a consensus on Brexit that the Commons can support. She held out the olive branch after defeating a motion of no-confidence in her government tabled by the Labour leader in his attempts to trigger a general election. But Mr Corbyn refused to meet with the PM unless she takes the threat of a no-deal Brexit off the table - which she has refused to do. Sir Vince - who held talks with Mrs May last night - echoed Welsh party Plaid Cymru, which said it would not back any further no-confidence motions from Labour unless Mr Corbyn joins the talks. “Since he appears to be determined to play party political games rather than acting on the wishes of his own members and MPs, he will no longer be able to...
17 January 2019
Police and army

The government has laid the ground work for reservists to be called into permanent service with the army in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The Ministry of Defence today confirmed that reservists could be called into permanent military service for up to a year from February 10th to assist the government in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal. In December, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that 3,500 troops, including regulars and reserves, were being held at readiness to support any government department which requested assistance in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Up to 10% of the total force could be made up from reservists. In a written statement to MPs, Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said the troops would be ready to mitigate against “immediate impacts” on the “welfare, health and security of UK citizens" as well as the "economic stability of the UK.” Today’s announcement is the latest move from the government to prepare for the possible consequences of a no-deal Brexit. Earlier this month, the Department for Transport...
17 January 2019

Nuclear Industry Association reaction to Hitachi’s decision to suspend work on Wylfa Newydd project:

Hitachi has announced today that it has suspended work on the Wylfa Newydd project on Anglesey. This follows formal discussions between Hitachi and the UK Government and the Government of Japan on the financial structure of the project to ensure it would deliver for both investors and the UK electricity consumer. Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “Today’s news is disappointing, not just for the Wylfa Newydd project but for Anglesey and the nuclear industry as a whole. Wylfa remains a strong site for vital new nuclear power for the UK. “It’s regrettable that this project has been suspended, especially as a considerable amount of groundwork has already taken place on the Wylfa project, including creating a supply chain to deliver the project. Nuclear at Wylfa has local support, and the Horizon project would provide 60 years of reliable, secure, low carbon power for homes, businesses and public services – with a strike price much below any...
17 January 2019
Michael Gove

Ministers have been urged to step up their war on plastic to stop the oceans being treated "like a sewer".

A new report from the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee said the Government should clampdown on exports of highly-polluting plastic waste to other countries who dump it in the sea. The committee found that 40% of the world's oceans are "heavily affected" by human activities, with climate change, overfishing and pollution among the greatest threats to marine life. Blasting an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude to the seas, the Committee said the Government could be doing "much more" to stop waste reaching the ocean - including "stopping exports of waste to countries with poor recycling infrastructure". And they warned: "We are treating our seas as a sewer. Most of the action required to protect the seas relies on action on land." The group of MPs has demanded that ministers set new legally-binding targets for water quality in a bid to cut chemical pollutants that pour into the ocean from the land. The Committee has also urged ministers to bring forward the...
17 January 2019
Amber Rudd

Cabinet splits on Brexit burst open last night as senior figures scrapped over whether Theresa May should pursue a softer EU departure.

Eurosceptic ministers Liam Fox and Liz Truss warned the Prime Minister not to offer permanent membership of the customs union in talks with opposition parties as a way of breaking the parliamentary deadlock. But big-hitters on the other side of the divide, including Amber Rudd and David Gauke, said all options must remain on the table after the Brexit deal Mrs May clinched with Brussels was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs. The Prime Minister reached out to Jeremy Corbyn and other party leaders after her government survived a no-confidence motion last night - inviting them for talks in Downing Street to explore possible ways ahead. Labour has insisted that permanent membership of a customs union with the EU must be part of any solution to the crisis - something Number 10 has so far ruled out because it would prevent the Government from agreeing...
17 January 2019
Philip Hammond

A "significant majority" of MPs could team up next week to stop a no-deal Brexit and revoke Article 50, Philip Hammond has told business chiefs.

In words that could spark fresh anger from Brexiteers, the Chancellor told the leaders of 330 top firms on a conference call that a bid by former Tory minister Nick Boles to rule out quitting without a deal was "properly drafted" and could succeed. And he raised the prospect of extending Article 50 - the mechanism by which Britain is due to leave the EU on 29 March - after Theresa May has finished cross-party talks on changes to her ill-fated Brexit plan. The reassurances to business leaders emerged in a leaked transcript of the Tuesday night call obtained by the Telegraph. Mr Boles, Nicky Morgan and Oliver Letwin this week unveiled a bill aimed at allowing...
17 January 2019
People's Vote march

After Theresa May's government survived last night's no-confidence vote, the prospect of an immediate general election has receded. Labour must therefore support calls for a so-called "People's Vote" to break the logjam, says Luciana Berger.

Following the decisive rejection of Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday - the greatest-ever parliamentary defeat for a government - last night I voted in support of the no confidence motion, to demand a general election as soon as possible. The Government survived the vote of no-confidence, by a majority of just 19.  We are told the Labour leadership’s plan is to harry the Tories with regular no-confidence motions. That’s one tactic, but it doesn’t add up to a strategy. The parliamentary arithmetic is not helpful to Labour. The Tories have 50-odd more parliamentary seats than the Opposition. The Tory ‘confidence and supply’ deal with the DUP is holding firm.  After this week, we remain in parliamentary deadlock. For Labour, though, there is a clear route-map out of the quagmire. It was spelled out in the resolution passed at Labour Party conference back in September. The exact words of the motion’s text are ‘should Parliament vote down a Tory Brexit deal or the talks end in no deal,...
17 January 2019
COBA reception

The British TV industry is no longer just about Public Service Broadcasters it is a thriving mixed ecology of different players, which the UK is particularly brilliant at encouraging - says Heather Jones COBA Chair. 

Just before Tuesday’s meaningful vote, the Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA) welcomed politicians and senior broadcasting executives to a Parliamentary reception to celebrate a UK success story. For two hours at any rate, we could all unite in welcoming the record levels of investment in British TV being made by COBA broadcasters. According to our 2019 Content Report, a major independent study for COBA, our members invest more than £1 billion per year in UK television production. Shows like Save Me, Sky’s searing drama which gripped more than 1.7 m people an episode. Or award-winning British children’s content like 101 Dalmatian Street - Disney’s biggest UK series ever. Factual entertainment such as Al Murray’s Why Does Everyone Hate the English?, from my own company A+E Networks.  Taskmaster from UKTV - one of the biggest players in the UK - and gold-standard news from Sky and others; CNN, for example, makes no less than four hours of news each day, right here in the...