Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

22 July 2019

The summer holidays bring extra financial costs to families, and for those who are already struggling it can lead them to take out exploitative high cost credit. Responsible finance providers help families to smooth fluctuations in their income and expenditure, and can offer a helping hand to struggling families at times of increased expenditure.

Poverty is the strongest statistical predictor of how well a child will perform at school , and in a typical classroom of 30 children, 9 are now living in poverty . Over time, the difference in educational outcomes between pupils from low-income families and more wealthy families have persisted. Recent research from Cardiff University has shown that over the summer holidays, children from low income families are at a higher risk of experiencing hunger, loneliness, social isolation and physical inactivity than their more affluent peers, and are more likely to report poorer mental health and wellbeing on their return to school in the autumn.    The long summer break can disproportionately set back children from poorer backgrounds. During term time, children from low-income families are often entitled to free school meals, but many struggle to find the money for nutritious food during the summer holidays. At the same time, limited affordable opportunities for school holiday...
22 July 2019
Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown has said that Boris Johnson could be remembered as "the first Prime Minister of England" in a warning over how a no-deal Brexit could threaten the Union.

The former Labour Prime Minister said the Tory leadership frontrunner's opposition to devolution and Scottish representation at UK-level was "well-known" and could put the future of the country at risk. He also warned that a hard exit from the European Union would hurt millions already affected by austerity. Speaking at a Hope Not Hate and Institute for Public Policy Research event in London, Mr Brown warned the former foreign secretary not to push the economy “off a cliff”. “A No Deal Brexit also threatens a United Kingdom that even now seems united in name only,” he said.  “Boris Johnson has no workable answer to the Northern Ireland border problem. “And his opposition to the fundamental lynchpins of Scotland’s relationship with Britain is well known. "He opposes the level of Scottish representation in the UK; he opposes the devolution settlement and the powers the Parliament has; he opposes the funding format based on needs and demography and he thinks it’...
22 July 2019
Charlie Elphicke

Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke has been charged with sexually assaulting two women, prosecutors have announced.

The Dover MP - who had the Tory whip restored last year to allow him to vote in no-confidence move against Theresa May - will appear in court in September to face the charges. In a statement released on Monday, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it had charged Mr Elphicke with three charges of sexual assault against two women. A CPS spokesperson said: "The CPS made the decision to charge Mr Elphicke after reviewing a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police. “The CPS reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Mr Elphicke are now active and that he has a right to a fair trial. "It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings." Mr Elphicke will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 6 September. In a statement, his solicitor Ellen Peart said: "Charlie Elphicke has said from the outset that he denies any wrongdoing. "He will defend himself...
22 July 2019
Alan Duncan

Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan has resigned from the frontbench ahead of the new Prime Minister taking over later this week. Read his full letter to Theresa May.

“Dear Prime Minister, “It is customary for all Ministers to stand down on the departure of a Prime Minister, and I am writing to resign now in anticipation of the change on Wednesday. I am doing so a couple of days early in order to be free to express my views in advance of you relinquishing office. “Despite playing an active role in your leadership campaign I had not sought further ministerial office, but remain deeply grateful to you for recalling me to the colours three years ago. “I have served with two very different Foreign Secretaries, holding responsibility for 77 countries across all of the Americas, Europe, Russia, Turkey, and Central Asia. “I was pleased to build a strong relationship with Turkey in the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt. I have re-set our relationship with Argentina and established additional flights to the Falklands; have put the UK in the forefront of international co-operation on Venezuela; have negotiated the eviction of Julian Assange from...
22 July 2019
Philip Hammond

Public sector workers will see their pay rise above inflation for the second year running, Philip Hammond has confirmed.

The Chancellor revealed that teachers, doctors, soldiers and police officers would all see their salaries jump by more than 2%, with raises backdated to the start of each workforce’s financial year. The Treasury says the 2.75% boost for classroom teachers amounted to an extra £1,000, while a hospital doctor's 2.5% rise will see them earn on average £1,500 more. A soldier at Corporal level would see a 2.9% raise, worth £995, while an officer’s starting salary is to go up by £769. Police constables will earn up to £978, 2.5%, more in the coming year, while prison officers will see their earnings rise by 2.2%. Elsewhere, dentists' pay will go up by 2.5%. The salaries of senior civil servants and senior military staff will rise by 2% - just above the current 1.9% rate of inflation. Mr Hammond, who has announced that he will stand down as Chancellor this week if Boris Johnson wins the race to become the next Prime Minister, said the pay boosts would help the public sector to “recruit...
22 July 2019
polling station

Controversial plans to make all Brits show ID at polling stations are set to go ahead - despite more than 1,000 have been denied a vote during trials.

The Electoral Commission said the system “ran well” in the ten local authorities which took part in a trial run at May’s local elections. And the Cabinet Office said voters were more confident their election was secure from voter fraud when they were required to show photographic ID at the polling station. But Labour pointed out that more than 1,100 people had been denied a vote due to the pilots in 2018 and 2019 as they accused the Government of trying “to shut down democracy”. Shadow minister for voter engagement Cat Smith said: “It is now clear that the Government’s fixation with Voter ID is a blatant attempt by the Tories to rig the result of future elections by voter suppression.” She said Labour had been warning for years “restrictive identification requirements will make it harder for people to vote”, and is “calling for these undemocratic and unpopular pilot schemes to be abandoned immediately”.   The party flagged figures from the Electoral Commission's study...
22 July 2019
Sir Alan Duncan

Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan has resigned from the Government ahead of Boris Johnson's expected Tory leadership win.

He is expected to be the first of a wave of ministerial departures in advance of Mr Johnson entering Number 10. Mr Johnson's victory is expected to be confirmed on Tuesday morning, and he will formally take over as Prime Minister from Theresa May the following day. Sir Alan is a longstanding critic of Mr Johnson, who he served under when he was Foreign Secretary. He described him as a "circus act" when it emerged that Mr Johnson had described the French as "turds" over their approach too Brexit during the filming of a fly-on-the-wall documentary on his time in the Foreign Office. And earlier this month, Sir Alan accused his fellow Tory MP of throwing Sir Kim Darroch, the UK's former ambassador to Washington, "under a bus" by failing to stand up for him over the leaking of top-secret diplomatic cables in which he criticised Donald Trump. "His disregard for Sir Kim Darroch and his refusal to back him was pretty contemptible and not in the interests of the country he is hoping...
22 July 2019
Whaling protest

International pressure is the best way to end Japan’s commercial whaling. Our next Prime Minister must condemn this despicable practice in the strongest possible terms, writes Anne Main

Earlier this month a Japanese fleet of vessels caught a whale on the first commercial whale hunt in decades. This cruel act was a consequence of Japan’s announcement to withdraw from the International Whale Commission (IWC) in December 2018. Japan’s withdrawal from the IWC came despite clear indications that the Japanese appetite for whale meat has markedly decreased in recent years and there is little in the way of market demand globally. In 2017, the Japanese consumed only 3,000 tons of whale meat, which per capita comes to two tablespoons of whale meat per year. The decision to leave the IWC was pushed by a small but powerful coalition of politicians and whaling industry leaders. Despite the ban by the IWC in 1986, Japan has killed between 200 and 1,200 whales each year under an exemption to the ban allowing hunting for scientific purposes. This pursuit of ‘scientific’ whaling has always been a source of much debate and has meant that many species of whale popular with...
Anne Main MP
22 July 2019
Obesity

Despite this growing body of public support, there have been relatively few social policy and legislative approaches to address weight bias and there is still no particular provision in UK law that protects against discrimination on the grounds of weight, says Baroness Bull.

At some point in our lives, many of us will experience teasing, criticism or bullying about the way we look and, in particular, about our weight. Sometimes it’s aimed to hurt, but oftentimes it’s careless rather than malicious: a throwaway comment that meant nothing to the person who said it and everything to the person to whom it was directed. Occasionally it’s intended (or at least justified) as a spur to action – a short, sharp shock that will precipitate a carefree life in which well-balanced eating and exercise play nothing more than a bit part. Unfortunately, the evidence shows that weight- related teasing is more likely to be a precursor to disordered eating, unhealthy dietary restrictions and longer-term obesity. Weight bias and weight stigma are the terms used by the research and medical professions to refer to discriminatory attitudes and behaviours towards people on the basis of their body mass index (or BMI) – how much they weigh in relation to their height. Weight bias...
22 July 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

More than half of Labour members still want Jeremy Corbyn to lead the party into the next general election despite rows over the party's approach to Brexit and anti-semitism, a new poll has found.

The YouGov study for The Times found that despite a sharp drop in confidence in Mr Corbyn's leadership, most grassroots activists still believe he is the right man for the job. However, the level of his support within the party has fallen sharply since March last year. At that time, 74% of members told the pollster that Mr Corbyn should lead Labour into the next election. That number has now dropped to 56%. Meanwhile 27% of members agreed that Mr Corbyn should "step down now" - up from 12% in March 2018.  Some 12% said he should resign "before the next general election", a slight rise on the 10% recorded a year ago. And 56% of Labour members now believe Mr Corbyn is "doing well" - down from 80% in March last year. ANTI-SEMITISM AND BREXIT While 47% of members believed Mr Corbyn had responded either "very well"...