Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

21 May 2019
Conservative Brexiteer MPs

Theresa May's hopes of finally winning backing for her Brexit deal have been dealt a savage blow as Tory MPs lined up to criticise it.

The Prime Minister outlined plans aimed at trying to win support from both Labour MPs and Tory eurosceptics for the "new deal" contained in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. In a major concession, Mrs May said it will include a pledge to give the Commons a vote on whether to hold a second EU referendum. It also contained guarantees to match EU standards on workers' rights and the environment, as well as a vow to put the Government under a legal obligation to find "alternative arrangements" to the controversial Irish backstop before the end of 2020. And on trade links with the EU - the main bone of contention between Labour and the Government - the PM said Parliament would get to decide on the best way to break the impasse. Mrs May said those who refused to back the deal would be “voting to stop Brexit”. But within minutes of Mrs May setting out her...
21 May 2019
Theresa May

Theresa May has offered to give MPs a vote on whether to hold a second EU referendum as she launched a last-ditch bid to win backing for her Brexit deal.

In a dramatic move, the Prime Minister said the Withdrawal Agreement Bill will include a requirement for the Commons to vote on calls for a so-called "People's Vote". If it was to pass, she vowed that the Government would make time available for the necessary legislation to be passed setting up another referendum. But she warned supporters of another vote that in order to make their dream a reality, they would first need to vote for the WAB. Mrs May also unveiled a package of measures she repeatedly called a "new deal" aimed at trying to woo both Labour MPs and Tory eurosceptics to finally back her deal when it is voted on at second reading in the Commons next month. They included guarantees to match EU standards on workers' rights and the environment, as well as a vow to put the Government under a legal obligation to find "alternative arrangements" to the controversial Irish backstop before the end of 2020. And on customs - the main bone of contention during the fruitless six weeks...
21 May 2019
Liam Fox

MPs who vote against the Withdrawall Agreement Bill will be breaking their "contract" with voters to deliver Brexit, according to Liam Fox.

In a boost for Theresa May, the leading eurosceptic said opponents of the flagship legislation would be "voting against the delivery of Brexit itself" and would pay the price at the ballot box. The International Trade Secretary insisted that opponents of the Prime Minister's strategy should still vote for the WAB because they could then try to amend it later in the parliamentary process. Speaking in London, Mrs May urged MPs to back her "new deal" with Brussels when the WAB is voted on at second reading in the Commons next month. In a bid to woo some Labour MPs, the PM said the Commons will be given a vote on whether to hold a second referendum. She also vowed that the UK would match EU standards on workers' rights and the environment, and that the Government would be under a legal obligation to find "alternative arrangements" to the Irish backstop before the end of 2020. But with Labour, the DUP and Brexiteer Tories already vowing to oppose it, she is facing the prospect of yet...
21 May 2019

The Environmental Services Association (ESA), the voice for the UK’s resource and waste management industry, has today responded to the Mayor of London’s statement on Energy from Waste (EfW) in London.

ESA’s Executive Director, Jacob Hayler said: “It is a shame that the Mayor of London is so ill-informed about the role and benefits of energy from waste facilities as part of a circular economy. These facilities are vital for preventing non-recyclable wastes from ending up in landfill. Contrary to the Mayor's statement, the emissions from these plants are among the most tightly regulated of any industrial installations in Europe, and therefore the world.” “The proposed development would bring investment and jobs to London and would save over 200kg of CO2 for every tonne of material diverted from landfill. It is a win-win for the environment and the economy.” “We sincerely hope, for the benefit of Londoners, that this investment in much needed new waste treatment capacity is granted.” The Mayor’s statement can be found here:
21 May 2019
Houses of Parliament

Parliament's expenses watchdog has been criticised after the cost of its multi-million pound new IT system nearly doubled.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) estimated its new digitised expenses sytem would cost £4.6 million to build and would be up and running by 2017-18. But over three years later, the system is still not fully functional - and the bill has soared to more than £8.25 million. Ipsa chiefs have said the "unexpected" general election in 2017 was partly to blame for the rise in costs. The overspend is the latest blow for the watchdog which has faced criticism for its high running costs since it was established in 2009 in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal. In response to a written question from MPs, the parliamentary body said the overspend was also driven by a "longer than anticipated" testing phase. "The increase in cost was due inpart to the unexpected General Election of June 2017 which diverted all Ipsa work for up to nine months to supporting MPs who left or joined parliament, and increased supplier costs," they said. "Costs also increased following...
21 May 2019
John McDonnell

John McDonnell today revealed he could join Labour HQ staff on the picket line if they strike in a bitter row over pay and conditions.

The Shadow Chancellor said he felt sympathy with workers in line for a below-inflation increase and declared that he was “not averse to joining picket lines”. Labour staff edged closer to industrial action earlier this month when they rejected a “final” pay offer from bosses of an £800 one-off payment each, plus a guarantee of five non-bank holiday days off over Christmas. Some union members shouted “strike, strike, strike” when the offer - which would have meant a real-terms pay cut for some staff as it would be below the rate of inflation - was rejected by 137-37 votes. Mr McDonnell, who has a history of supporting workers during industrial disputes, today hinted he could join staff on a walkout if they strike over the row. “I am not averse to joining picket lines,” he said when asked by PoliticsHome whether he might show solidarity in a strike. He added: “I’m hoping it gets settled as rapidly as possible. I’m hoping both sides will get around the negotiating table and resolve it as...
21 May 2019

Urgent Government action is needed so that all children are able to have access to, and benefit from, the education that is their right, says Baroness Janke.

We are used to hearing about the rise in the use of food banks in every part of the country, but now there are reports of the rise in ‘visible child poverty’ from schools and colleges. The Survey of more than 8,000 teachers, school leaders and support staff across the UK, which was carried out by the National Education Union in April, makes shocking reading. When asked to identify the impacts on learning that could be attributed to poverty, over three-quarters of respondents said that students demonstrated fatigue, poor concentration, and poor behaviour, with half of respondents adding that students had experienced hunger and ill health. “Most of my class arrive at school hungry and thirsty.” More than a third of respondents mentioned a rise in bullying. “The poverty gap has clearly got bigger. The number of students displaying difficult behaviours has increased and poverty is most certainly a factor.” Another problem is clothing. “Children coming to school with holes in their...
21 May 2019
andrea leadsom

Andrea Leadsom has dealt a blow to Theresa May as she refused to confirm she will vote for the Withdrawal Agreement next month.

The Cabinet minister backed the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal in its previous three bids, but speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she said she would only support it "so long as it continues to be leaving the European Union". Ms Leadsom, who previously said she was “seriously considering” running for the Tory leadership, also said leaving the bloc was the “most important thing” - even meant a no-deal exit. The comments come as Cabinet is due to meet this morning to discuss Mrs May’s “bold new offer” of a revised Withdrawal Agreement Bill that could accept some of Labour’s Brexit demands on workers' rights and a customs union. Asked whether she would back the flagship Brexit law, Ms Leadsom said: "Absolutely key for me is that it does deliver Brexit. I will back something that remains Brexit." And the Commons leader added: "I continue to support the Prime Minister to get her Withdrawal Agreement Bill through. It is leaving the EU and so long as it continues to be leaving the...
21 May 2019
Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab has launched a fresh bid to woo Conservative MPs as he called for a 5p cut in the basic rate of income tax.

The former Brexit Secretary - who polls suggest is Boris Johnson's closest rival in the impending race to become the next Tory leader - said slashing taxes would "give working Britain a fairer deal". The plan was outlined in a head-to-head debate with four other senior Conservatives organised by The Telegraph, and came as Theresa May prepares to step down and trigger a leadership contest. Mr Raab said: "We should cut the basic rate of income tax by a penny each year as Nigel Lawson did in the 1980s... we, as Conservatives, are defending the enterprise economy and lower and middle-income aspirational working Britain." The basic rate income tax is paid by those earning from £12,501 to £50,000. Reducing it by a penny a year would see the...
21 May 2019
Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond

Boris Johnson and his fellow Tory leadership contenders have no mandate to pursue a no-deal Brexit if they become Prime Minister, according to Philip Hammond.

In a major intervention in the Conservative leadership race, the Chancellor will argue that leaving the European Union without an agreement would represent a "hijacking" of the 2016 referendum result that would "knowingly" put the economy at risk. And he will tell MPs they now face the "real risk" of a new Prime Minister "abandoning" efforts to leave the bloc with a deal. The intervention will be seen as a clear warning to Tory leadership hopefuls including Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and Esther McVey who have in the past pushed for a no-deal exit from the bloc. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Liz Truss - another who is pondering a leadership bid - have also said the UK should be prepared to leave without a deal if necessary. In a speech to the CBI business group on Tuesday evening, the Chancellor will warn: "On the populist Right, there are those who claim the only outcome that counts as a truly legitimate Brexit is to leave with no deal. "Let me remind them – the 2016 Leave...