Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

18 March 2019
Civil service

Dods People draws together a list of appointments in Westminster politics, the devolved administrations and the public affairs sector in the last week.

Houses of Parliament: House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee – Conor McGinn and Catherine West replaced Ian Austin and Mike Gapes as members. Procedure Committee – Gareth Snell replaced Dan Carden as a member. Welsh Affairs Committee – Jonathan Edwards replaced Liz Saville Roberts as a member.   Government Departments Department for Work and Pensions Sarah Newton resigned as Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work. Home Office Paul Masterton resigned as PPS. Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Sarah Healey named as the new Permanent Secretary, replacing Sue Owen who retires at the end of the month. Tate Museum Board – Anna Lowe named as the Youth Engagement Trustee. Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art - Hayden Phillips reappointed as Chair and Christopher Rowell and Peter Barber as members. Department of Health and Social Care Fiona Caldicott to become the first National Data Guardian. NHS - Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent...
18 March 2019
Armed Forces

A negative press briefing shows the MoD to be fighting back against misjudged cuts. Defence Select Committee chair Julian Lewis reports on the coup that failed

In a scoop last summer, the Guardian’s Defence Correspondent Ewen MacAskill set out the story of a reckless raid on the Armed Forces’ budget. Luckily, it did not succeed. The report was sourced to a “well-placed” senior civil servant and was not meant to be friendly to the secretary of state: “Gavin Williamson on Dangerous Ground in Defence Budget Row”, ran the headline. What followed was a striking account of bureaucratic intrigue. It centred on the National Security Capability Review (NSCR) conducted by Sir Mark Sedwill – then the National Security Adviser, now Cabinet Secretary as well. His brief was “to look at the UK security needs in the round, taking in the intelligence agencies as well as the MoD” and “also to evaluate the risks posed by terrorists and cyber-attacks as well as from conventional forces”. According to the Guardian report: “By the autumn [of 2017], it was clear the intelligence agencies had come out on top and the MoD was looking at being forced to make cuts,...
Julian Lewis
18 March 2019
We deserve better banner

Northern Ireland’s dangerous power vacuum would only be further aggravated by the reintroduction of Direct Rule. A jointly appointed ‘facilitator’ by the British and Irish governments may help overcome this impasse, writes Alf Dubs 

I was in the Castle Buildings in Belfast when the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement was reached. I never imagined then that we’d be in a position, two decades later, where its very future would be under threat. The fact that there has been no assembly or executive for over two years is a crisis – a crisis that comes at a particularly serious time for the future of the people of Northern Ireland.  As I write, the outcome of key Brexit votes in the Commons is uncertain.  What is certain is that half the population of Northern Ireland has been locked out of the Brexit negotiations for the last two years. And whatever the outcome, the people of Northern Ireland will need an executive and assembly to deal with the consequences. Whether in relation to a second referendum, the backstop, or further negotiations, the people of Northern Ireland will surely need a voice.  “Time is running out for Brexit, for politicians and potentially for peace” Beyond Brexit, the political...
Lord Dubs
18 March 2019
Health Secretary

NHS Trusts that move resource from disadvantaged to advantaged areas have a moral and statutory duty to evidence how they are narrowing health inequalities, writes Lucy Allan 

The inequality of health outcomes between affluent areas and areas of deprivation continues to widen. This injustice has many causes, from unemployment to poor housing. As the Government announces its NHS 10-year plan, it is right to expect healthcare spending to be focused on tackling this issue. The previous Health Secretary was committed to tackling the widening gap in health outcomes between rich and poor saying: “everyone should have the same opportunity to live a healthy life no matter where they live or who they are”. This Government has just committed to the largest longest funding settlement in history, with a long-term plan to spend £20.5bn by 2023/24. So, it is timely to remind the new Secretary of State of the legal obligations he has to narrow health inequalities and to ask him to reinforce the importance of this obligation with Commissioners and NHS England.  The Health and Social Care Act 2012 introduced these legal duties and has a requirement “to move towards...
Lucy Allan MP
18 March 2019
Since security and prosperity go hand in hand, we’re ensuring our Defence industry can grasp the benefits of the post-Brexit world, writes Gavin Williamson

Since security and prosperity go hand in hand, we’re ensuring our Defence industry can grasp the benefits of the post-Brexit world, writes Gavin Williamson

As Defence Secretary, I’ve witnessed first-hand the incredible global work of our Armed Forces. In the Middle East, they’ve helped root out the last remnants of Daesh: our Tornados, Typhoons, and Reapers have released over 4,300 weapons against Daesh targets while our troops trained some 90,000 Iraqis and Kurds. In Eastern Europe, HMS Echo in the Black Sea and our 800 strong Battle Group in Estonia continue deterring Russian aggression. In Africa, our brave personnel are building hospitals and stopping innocents being used as weapons of war. This year we’ve also seen our future force take shape. Our mighty HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier is up and running. We now have 17 world class Lightning fast jets capable of land-based operations anywhere on the globe. As we mark the 50th anniversary of our continuous-at-sea deterrence, we’ve named three of our next generation nuclear submarines – Dreadnought, Valiant and Warspite.  We have benefitted from an extra £1.8 billion which...
18 March 2019
Home Office

There are significant questions about whether the use of children as Covert Human Intelligence Sources contravenes the UN convention on the rights of the child, writes Jenny Jones 

At last, after much nagging, the government is starting to count the number of juveniles used as police spies, or as they call them, Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS). In a Lords’ debate last year, peers criticised the government for extending to four months the time that children can be used by the police before the operation is reviewed and can be extended. I have organised another airing of this issue with an oral question to the minister on 18th March. Thanks to the work of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, a relatively minor piece of secondary legislation has been given the full scrutiny that it deserves. There are significant questions about whether the use of children as CHIS contravenes the UN convention on the rights of the child, with the organisation Just for Kids trying to crowdfund for a legal challenge. The work these child spies undertake can potentially involve terrorist groups and drugs gangs. One ministerial defence is that these young people are already...
Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb
18 March 2019
Palestinian flag

Not recognising Palestine undermines the UK’s position of working towards a two-state solution which ends the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, writes Layla Moran

Next week my Private Member’s Bill to recognise the state of Palestine has its second reading. I have laid bills before, but this is one of the most personal and poignant. I am the first MP of Palestinian descent and have been in Parliament during a time of extreme violence and hardship in the region. Just a few months ago, following the anniversary of the Nakba, horrific images of the dead or injured Palestinian men, women and children were everywhere. The violence was unjustifiable and unacceptable. My heart broke for Palestine and Palestinians. I have family there, it’s part of who I am. Trump’s inflammatory decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem in the same period added to the acute feelings of injustice. His decision and rhetoric served as a catalyst for the violence and to demonstrate his disregard for the peace process, the two-state solution, and Palestine. Watching from my still new position on the green benches I felt, and still feel, a responsibility to do all I...
Layla Moran
18 March 2019

A study published on 15th March showed associations of dietary cholesterol or egg consumption with higher incidences of mortality and cardiovascular disease. BANT would like to take the opportunity to comment on the research since the consumption of eggs and links to heart disease have been controversial for decades.

BANT would like to advise the public that the study in question only shows an association, rather than a cause and effect and therefore cannot conclude links between eggs, cholesterol and mortality. Furthermore, it should be pointed out that: There are other factors to consider when looking what is causing high death rates in people who eat a lot of eggs. The associations reported in the study are only a “modest” association especially when compared to other risk factors such as smoking. The study does not report how the eggs were consumed, whether someone was eating a boiled egg each day or consuming as part of a fry-up, which is less healthy. Many other studies including meta-analyses show null effect of egg consumption on Cardiovascular Health Risk. At al times, BANT is urging all to consider the study quality and biases before taking the headlines as gospel. BANT Registered Nutrition Practitioners consider individuality that enables personalisation of dietary advice based...
18 March 2019
Paul Sweeney

Jeremy Corbyn has been urged to sack a Labour frontbencher after he said MPs who quit the party to form the Independent Group were part of a “necessary cleansing” of moderates.

Shadow Scotland Office minister Paul Sweeney said former colleagues such as Chuka Umunna and Chris Leslie were “self-centred careerists”. They were among eight Labour MPs who resigned from the party last week, claiming they were unhappy with Mr Corbyn's handling of Brexit and anti-semitism. They were joined in the new centrist group by Tory MPs Heidi Allen, Sarah Wollaston and Anna Soubry. One Labour MP told PoliticsHome Mr Sweeney's remarks were a chance for the Labour leader to “show that he is serious about dealing with anti-semitism and bullying in the Labour party” by sacking him. Speaking at a launch of the Tribune magazine in Glasgow last Friday, Mr Sweeney took aim at the Labour TIG members, except for Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger, who he said had faced unacceptable bullying. According to the Morning Star, he said Mr Leslie was “aloof and arrogant,” adding: “The venom and the vitriol...
18 March 2019
David Trimble, Tony Blair and John Hume

Theresa May's beleaguered Brexit deal has received a rare boost as an arch-critic of the Northern Ireland backstop said she had secured "substantive changes" to the plan.

Northern Ireland's former first minister Lord Trimble last month launched legal proceedings against the Government over the plan to avoid a return to a hard Irish border in the event Brexit talks break down. But the Conservative peer - who used to lead the Ulster Unionist Party and was a key architect of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement - said Mrs May had now "succeeded in securing substantive changes that will affect and limit the impact of the Irish backstop" if it is ever triggered. In a joint Policy Exchange paper with Lord Bew, who also worked on the historic peace deal, Lord Triimble said Mrs May had now "improved" her chances of getting her Brexit deal through the Commons. And he said the Prime Minister had "opened up the possibility of a deal with the DUP", whose support for the agreement will be crucial in swinging hardline Conservative Brexiteers and many Labour MPs behind the agreement in a third Commons vote. The pair list three "notable" sets of changes to the...