Dods at Party Conference 2020

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

9 November 2019

David Blunkett has blasted "anti-Semitism and thuggery" under Labour, saying the current state of the party makes him "despair". 

Writing in the Telegraph, Lord Blunkett, a former Labour home secretary, also said the current election was more akin to 1983 than 2017.  "The behaviour of the hard-left within the Labour party – the anti-Semitism, the thuggery, the irrational views on security and international issues, and the lack of realisation that you have to embrace a big tent of people in order to win – certainly makes me despair.  "But it also makes the likelihood of an all-out Labour majority in the general election extraordinarily slim. "The political landscape right now is completely different to what the hard-left would have you believe. "We are in a 1983 situation here, not a 2017 – with not only the Lib Dems and the Greens, but the Brexit Party, the Tories and the SNP all seriously vying for traditional Labour votes."  The 1983 General Election saw the Conservatives secure a sizeable majority, after votes for the opposition were split between Labour and the Liberal/SDP...
8 November 2019
Charlie and Natalie Elphicke

The wife of a former Tory MP charged with sexual assault has been chose by the party to stand as an election candidate in his place.

Natalie Elphicke will represent the Conservatives in Dover and Deal after being selected by local party members. Her husband Charlie, who has been MP for the seat since 2010, said he was standing down to fight three charges of sexual assault against two women. Reacting to her selection on Twitter, Mrs Elphicke tweeted: "Delighted to have been selected unanimously to fight my home seat of Dover & Deal tonight for to Get Brexit Done, deliver better healthcare and more jobs & money." Mr Elphicke was suspended from the Conservative Party when he first faced the accusations against him two years ago. He had the party whip restored shortly before a confidence vote in Theresa May's leadership of the Conservative Party last year, but lost it again in the summer when he was charged. Announcing his decision to stand down as a candidate in the election, he said: "I have been subjected to daily...
8 November 2019
Nigel Farage

The Brexit Party has been urged to dump one of its election candidates over his "abhorrent" involvement with a Luftwaffe-themed band.

Graham Cushway is standing for the anti-EU party in Brighton Kemptown on 12 December. But he has been criticised for being a member of the heavy metal band ‘Stuka Squadron’. Named after the infamous World War Two fighter plane, the band perform as "vampire Luftwaffe pilots" dressed in leather trenchcoats and wearing caps used by the German airforce unit. The group describes their fantasy persona as a "band of vampire warriors who have fought through the ages on innumerable battlefields". Dr Cushway, who has also stood for Ukip in the past, and is an ex-Army reservist, was one of 500 Brexit Party candidates who attended a general election launch event with party leader Nigel Farage in London last week. In one promotional shot for the group, Dr Cushway appears on stage wearing false vampire fangs and a tie with a skull and cross bones emblem similar to that used by the Nazi paramilitary group, the SS. However, the group insist that "no band member has ever been affiliated to...
8 November 2019
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn

A major new poll has found support for Labour is collapsing across the country, while growing backing for the Brexit Party threatens Boris Johnson’s chances of securing a majority.

The latest study from YouGov of over 11,500 voters has given the Conservatives a lead in every English region apart from London and the North East, despite support for both main parties dropping across the country. The figures will come as a boost for Boris Johnson, whose party now leads the polls in former Labour heartlands, including the North West and Yorkshire & the Humber. The Conservative lead in the regions are driven by plummeting support for Jeremy Corbyn’s party, who have dropped 25 points in the North West to 30%, leaving the Conservatives with a narrow three point lead. In Yorkshire the same pattern has handed the Tories a five point lead. Labour have retained their lead in the North East with 32% support, down from 55% in 2017. Meanwhile, the Tories have dropped eight points since the last election to 26%. The region also has the highest support for the Brexit Party across the country, with 19% of voters backing Nigel Farage’s party. The figures also show a boost...
8 November 2019
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn

The BBC has been accused of an "establishment stitch-up" after announcing that Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson will go head-to-head in a live debate less than a week before the election.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said the party was launching legal action against the corporation in a bid to prevent her being excluded from the televised clash. Today programme presenter Nick Robinson will moderate a debate between the Labour leader and Prime Minister on 6 December, just six days before the country goes to the polls. He will also present a separate debate on 29 November featuring representatives from seven different political parties. A Question Time leaders' special debate, hosted by Fiona Bruce, will be held on 22 November and feature Mr Corbyn and Mr Johnson alongside Ms Swinson and the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon. But the Lib Dem leader is furious at her exclusion from the main debate. She said: "The BBC are now complicit in another establishment stitch up to shut down debate on the most important issue for generations: Brexit.  "Millions of people voted to Remain in 2016. After three years of chaos, it is shocking that the Liberal Democrats - the strongest party of Remain...
8 November 2019
Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has said it is “clear” that Jeremy Corbyn would allow another Scottish independence referendum to go ahead if he became Prime Minister.

Scotland’s First Minister said it would be “mighty strange” for the Labour leader to reject her government’s demand for another poll in 2020 given he “supports self-determination for literally every other country in the world”. In comments that will prompt angst among Labour’s top team, the SNP leader said Mr Corbyn’s public stance that he would not allow a referendum to take place in the early years of a Labour government was an effort to “spare the blushes” of his party’s chief north of the Border, Richard Leonard. Launching her party's general election campaign in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon insisted that SNP MPs were prepared to help form a “progressive alliance” to allow a minority Labour government at Westminster. But she said her party would "drive a hard bargain" in any negotiations, a strong hint that allowing a second independence referendum would be a red line. When asked about whether support for a prospective Corbyn-led administration depended...
8 November 2019

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has welcomed the Labour party’s ‘Warm Homes for All’ plan.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “Our members are equipped to support Labour’s ambition of warm homes for all. It’s a great first step towards tackling fuel poverty and meeting our climate commitments. “Another forward-thinking step that we’d recommend to all parties would be to reduce VAT on renovations from 20% to 5% - or even make it zero rated, as is the case with new builds. “However, before we can deliver on these ambitions, we must identify and prioritise those buildings with the greatest need, train energy assessors and solve the barriers to success, such as the planning process, which is beset by delays and not fit for purpose.” The NFB also cautions the Labour party not to underestimate the costs or the complexity of implementation. 5.3 million UK homes do not have cavity walls and more than 500,000 buildings are listed. These properties are some of the least energy efficient in Europe and will require special considerations, such as exterior cladding...
8 November 2019

NFB has reacted to the Government's recent announcement of the successful contractors to win places on the £30bn framework for public sector constructio

NFB has reacted to the Government's recent announcement of the successful contractors to win places on the £30bn framework for public sector construction. Chief Executive, Richard Beresford, commented: “What’s disappointing is that despite the Government knowing how late payment can seriously damage smaller businesses, as many NFB members will testify, these awards show that late payers are still winning public sector contracts. With small businesses paying the price for the Government's inaction, the Crown Commercial Service must ensure that that it champions best practice and doesn’t give late payment another free pass. “Despite small and medium-sized enterprises training four in five construction apprentices, being the UK’s predominant rural employers and making up 99% of the construction industry, only 44% of contract winners were SMEs. While this is an improvement on recent years, with seven lots still to be awarded, the Government must do more to make sure a greater number of...
8 November 2019
Labour party

A Labour election candidate has quit over accusations he used an anti-semitic term in front of a Jewish councillor.

Gideon Bull quit as the party’s candidate for Clacton-on-Sea after admitting he used the term “Shylock” during a council meeting. Speaking to BBC Essex, the Haringey Councillor said he had used the term - which is a reference to the villanous Jewish moneylender in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice  - but denied he had aimed the comments directly at Jewish Councillor Zena Brabazon. “The allegation that I called a Jewish Cabinet Member ‘Shylock’ is entirely false,” he told the BBC. Instead, Mr Bull said he was not aware the term was offensive and claimed it was a “common saying" where he grew up.  “I used an analogy when referring to a housing decision being called in by backbenchers,” he said in a statement. “I was not referring to the councillor, who was not part of the call-in. When she politely informed me that this saying was offensive, I immediately apologised and explained that I did not know that Shylock was Jewish and I would never have mentioned Shylock if I had known this...
8 November 2019

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) are calling on all political parties to address the current housing crisis by making house building a national infrastructure priority, read their key policy asks below.

The urgent need to build more homes for everyone should be a key priority for all the political parties during the General Election campaign, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). The FMB is calling on all the political parties to make house building a national infrastructure priority, along with 11 other key policy areas in its ‘Programme for Government’ published today.  The programme calls for the political parties to commit to the following: Housing • Make house building a national infrastructure priority and build 1.5 million new homes  • Free up more public land for housing and break it up into small plots for small builders • Invest in local authority planning departments to speed up the planning process  Skills  • Promote vocational education and invest in Further Education  • Reform the UK Apprenticeship Levy so it works better for small...