Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

22 May 2019
PMQs

Theresa May faced MPs in the Commons for a gruelling session of PMQs. She was taken to task by Tory MPs angry about the ongoing investigations into Troubles veterans.

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22 May 2019
Go-Ahead’s landmark air-filtering bus in Southampton, which cleans the air around it as it travels

The Go-Ahead Group warmly welcomes today’s report from the House of Commons Transport Select Committee, which calls for a national strategy to support bus use across the United Kingdom.

A dedicated national strategy for Britain’s buses is long overdue. The Government has strategies for walking, cycling, for the railways and aviation yet there’s no joined-up strategy for buses, which account for two thirds of public transport journeys.   More than 3.5 million people travel to work by bus and many more rely on them for access to schools, hospitals, shops and local services. As this country faces an epidemic of loneliness, it’s vital that we ensure communities are connected.    Too often, we are seeing housing developments built with no thought paid to bus links, leading to sterile, isolated communities dependant on car use. Buses need to be considered in the planning process at the very beginning of new housing developments.   We fully endorse the committee’s call upon the Government for a joined up approach with local authorities to set targets for bus use. We urge a co-ordinated approach, too, in tackling worsening traffic congestion and in giving...
22 May 2019
PMQs

Theresa May will face MPs in the Commons for a gruelling session of PMQs followed by a statement about her 'new deal' Brexit plan. Watch the whole thing below the blog window.

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22 May 2019
Poverty

A damning UN report has compared the controversial Tory welfare regime to the infamous Victorian workhouses of the 19th Century.

UN extreme poverty and human rights expert Philip Alston said the glue holding Britain together had been "deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos". He slammed the "ideological" cuts to public services since the Tories came to power in 2010 and lamented their "tragic social consequences" in his final report on UK poverty for the global body. And he said the lives of the least well off were condemned to be “nasty, brutish and short” under Government policies. But the Government shot back that the report was "barely believeable" and "completely inaccurate".  The Australian lawyer gathered evidence during a two-week trip to towns and cities in the UK in November, and received more than 300 written submissions. He found that despite the UK position as the fifth largest global economy, 14 million people live in poverty and 1.5 million experienced destitution in 2017. Those who met with Prof Alston included people dependant on...
22 May 2019
Grenfell - fire service

Research released today, regarding Fire and Rescue Services’ current readiness for a similar disaster to Grenfell demonstrates that the government have not grasped the current threat posed to many communities across the UK, says Karen Lee MP.

We must never forget the 14th June 2017. On that fateful night 72 people lost their lives in Grenfell Tower. The lasting damage to the community has been devastating and many survivors and local residents are still displaced. It is shameful that the government are not providing Fire and Rescue Services with the necessary resources to prepare for a similar disaster. While the survivors continue to mourn, politicians have a duty to address how the disaster happened and prevent it from ever happening again. Research released today, regarding Fire and Rescue Services’ current readiness for a similar disaster, demonstrates that the government have not grasped the current threat posed to many communities across the UK. Grenfell was not the first catastrophic tower block fire caused by the failure of fire regulations. Lessons should have been learnt after fires at Harrow Court in 2005, Lakanal House in 2009 and Shirley Towers in 2010. But due to government inaction, the threat remains for...
22 May 2019
Lord Cashman

A Labour peer faces being booted out of the party as he slammed Jeremy Corbyn and revealed he would be voting for the Liberal Democrats in this week's European elections.

Lord Cashman - a former MEP and the founder of the Stonewall LGBT charity - said he could not "trust" the Labour leader on Brexit and threw his weight behind the Lib Dems for their "absolute consistency" on the EU. The move risks seeing the Labour peer expelled from the party, as Labour's rules state that any member who backs a group other than Labour will "automatically be ineligible" to stay on as a member. Writing on Twitter, Lord Cashman backed former Tory MP Matthew Parris's own declaration of support for the Lib Dems at the Euro elections on BBC Newsnight. And he said: "I can’t trust Corbyn or the people around him on the defining issue in postwar Britain so on Thursday I will not be voting for the Labour Party. "As Matthew Parris said, I am not a Liberal Democrat, but I support their absolute consistency. Voting Libdem in the EU elections." In a later post, the former Eastenders actor acknowledged he may have "just resigned from the Labour party by declaring that I will...
22 May 2019
Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid is preparing to ditch the Government's post-Brexit plans for a £30,000 minimum salary threshold for EU migrants, it has been reported.

According to a letter obtained by The Sun, the Home Secretary has urged the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to come up with fresh evidence justifying the proposals, which were included in the Government's Immigration White Paper published late last year. The plans - which were the subject of a heated Cabinet row before their unveiling - mean some EU migrants will be forced to earn at least £30,000 before they are able to settle in the UK, a move designed to put immigration from the bloc on the same footing as the rest of the world. But The Sun reports that Mr Javid has told the committee, which advises ministers on immigration policy, to consider letting companies pay the "going rate" for EU recruits post-Brexit. And he is said to have instructed the...
22 May 2019
Sir John Major

Sir John Major has accused the Conservatives of "sheer folly" after the party suspended Tory grandee Lord Heseltine for backing the Liberal Democrats.

The former Prime Minister hit out at "blinkered people" in his own party for removing the Tory whip from Lord Heseltine, who had accused the Conservatives of becoming "infected with the virus of extremism" and said he could not vote for them at the European elections. A Conservative spokesman had said the ex-Cabinet minister's comments were "not compatible with taking the Tory whip". But, in a letter to The Times, Sir John said the "sheer folly of suspending Michael Heseltine from the Conservative whip defies both logic and belief". He added: "Michael has served the Conservative Party loyally and well for more than 40 years — in good days and bad. "At a time of growing cynicism in politics, his convictions — his Conservative convictions — have remained solid, constant and true. Millions of Conservatives — myself included — share those convictions." The...
22 May 2019
Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May

Theresa May has called on Jeremy Corbyn to "compromise" and back her Brexit bill despite widespread criticism of her plans from MPs across the Commons.

The Prime Mnister has written to the Labour leader insisting the Government has made significant concessions in an effort to meet his demands. Mrs May made her plea in a three-page letter as Tory leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab vowed to vote against her revised plan. Despite six weeks of negotiations between Labour and the Government collapsing without a deal, the PM said the Withdrawal Agreement Bill - which MPs are due to vote on next month - contains measures aimed at ensuring workers' rights and environmental protections, as demanded by Mr Corbyn. She said the Government had also shifted on customs arrangements and single market access, and would also give MPs a vote on whether to hold a second referendum. "I have shown that I am willing to compromise to deliver Brexit for the British people," Mrs May said. "I ask you to compromise too so that we can deliver what both our parties promised in our manifestos and restore faith in our politics." Speaking in the wake...
22 May 2019
Apprentices with Theresa May and Philip Hammond

The Government is set to fall short of its target for three million new apprentice starts by 2020, MPs have warned.

The cross-party Public Accounts Committee (PAC) found that an unexpected 26% drop in the number of people taking up the schemes in the first year of reforms had slowed the whole programme. The group say the setbacks which followed the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in 2017 meant that while the level is now recovering, it would be unlikely to make up lost ground on time. The levy sees employers pay a 0.5% levy on their annual pay bill, where it is over £3m. While ministers underspent the programme’s budget by 20% in 2017-2018 as a result of the fall, the committee also found employers’ preference for higher-cost apprenticeships meant that the programme will likely come under growing financial pressure in the coming years. Elsewhere in their report, the group criticised the Government’s “unambitious” targets on bringing in female apprentices and those from black, minority ethnic groups, despite making it one of the programme’s four main...