Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

22 July 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has insisted that a "sense of mission" akin to the 1969 moon landings can ensure Britain leaves the European Union on 31 October.

The frontrunner to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister took a swipe at his "pessimist" Cabinet critics as he said the UK could leave the EU with a deal if it had the "will" and "drive" to make it happen. His comments came ahead of the the postal ballot of Tory members closing at 5pm on Monday, with the winner declared at 11 o'clock on Tuesday morning. Either Mr Johnson or his rival Jeremy Hunt will then take over from Mrs May on Wednesday when she hands in her resignation to the Queen following her final Prime Minister's Questions clash with Jeremy Corbyn.  Writing in the Telegraph ahead of the voting deadline, Mr Johnson said the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landings showed that Britain could solve the "technical and logistical" problem of avoiding a hard Irish border as it leaves the EU. But Mr Johnson said: "I am afraid that there are technological...
22 July 2019
An image of Earth taken from aboard the International Space Station

The Chair of UKspace writes ahead of a campaign launching shortly calling for a national space programme, backed by significant new funding because “the moment for the Government to act is now”.

As climate change climbs the political agenda again, governments around the world are stepping up their responses and the UK that has taken a lead. As one of her last acts in Number 10, Theresa May laid down an historic commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But, as many have since pointed out, tougher targets are meaningless without new ideas and practical plans to deliver them. So where will these come from? The sector of our economy that is best placed to help develop the ideas needed may be an unexpected one. Yet the UK’s space industry is already equipping policymakers with tools to help monitor and improve the environment as never before. If the next prime minister seizes on this, the UK could yet assume the position of world leader in action as well as words; an endeavour that will not just be a ‘nice thing to do’ – but would make serious gains for British jobs and industry. In the UK, the satellite sector is already starting to show how we can drive down...
22 July 2019
Theresa May

Theresa May will chair a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee on Monday amid mounting criticism of the Government over Iran's seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Gulf.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister would be updated by ministers and officials on the situation and "discuss the maintenance of the security of shipping in the Persian Gulf". Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is also expected to make a statement to House of Commons. But senior Tory MPs are stepping up their criticism of following claims the Government rejected the offer of US naval protection for UK tankers travelling in the Strait of Hormuz, the world's busiest shipping route. Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard boarded the Stena Impero on Friday night, claiming it was a "reciprocal action" following the British interception of an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar earlier this month.  Speaking to the BBC's Westminster Hour, Tory MP Huw Merriman, parliamentary aide to Chancellor Philip Hammond, said: "I take the view that we have dropped the ball here. We knew from 4 July, having seized an Iranian tanker that we suspected was breaching EU sanctions and heading for oil to Syria,...
21 July 2019
shadow cabinet

Labour MPs have hit out at colleagues in the Shadow Cabinet who they say have been “actively complicit” in smearing whistleblowers on the party’s anti-semitism crisis.

In a damning letter, backbenchers condemned the “officially sanctioned spin campaign” against former staff who spoke of anti-Jewish racism in the party’s ranks for a recent BBC Panorama programme. It comes ahead of a crunch Shadow Cabinet meeting on Monday to specifically discuss how to tackle the issue of anti-semitism internally. The document, co-signed by Jewish Labour Movement chair Ruth Smeeth, Wes Streeting and John Mann, called for those on the frontbench to “examine their consciences” - as called for in a separate letter from the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The MPs said: “Since the broadcast of the Panorama documentary, too many members of the Shadow Cabinet have been silent bystanders to, or - worse still - actively complicit in, an officially sanctioned spin campaign against victims of...
21 July 2019
Philip Hammond

Philip Hammond has announced that he will resign as Chancellor if Boris Johnson wins the race to become the next Prime Minister.

In an extraordinary move, the Cabinet minister said he intends to hand in his resignation to Theresa May after her final Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons on Wednesday. Mr Hammond said he could not serve under a Government which was willing to pursue a no-deal Brexit. Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, the Chancellor said: “I’m not going to be sacked because I’m going to resign before we get to that point, assuming that Boris Johnson becomes the next Prime Minister." “I understand that his conditions for serving in his Government would include accepting a no-deal exit on 31 October. “That is not something I could ever sign up to. It's very important that a Prime Minister is able to have a Chancellor who is closely aligned with him in terms of policy and I therefore intend to resign to Theresa May before she goes to the palace to tender her own resignation on Wednesday.”   “I’m going to resign” The chancellor Philip Hammond tells...
21 July 2019
Simon Coveney

Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister has warned the next Prime Minister that they will not be able to “tear up” Theresa May’s Brexit deal and replace it.

Simon Coveney said a “change in personality” did not alter the “complexities” and “vulnerabilities” of issues such as ensuring an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. His intervention comes after both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt said that the controversial backstop solution had to be taken out of any agreement if it were to win the backing of the Commons. Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Ireland's Tanaiste said: “I think it’s important to say very clearly, if respectfully, that the facts don’t change around Brexit. “The complexity doesn’t change, the vulnerabilities around the island of Ireland don’t change and just because there’s a change in personality as British Prime Minister, doesn’t mean that the negotiation of the last three years and the solutions that were designed by the British Government as much as the EU aren’t still as relevant and important today as they were six weeks ago.” He went on to warn against either candidate pursuing a no-deal Brexit...
21 July 2019
Amber Rudd

Amber Rudd has warned senior colleagues such as Philip Hammond that they must row behind the next Prime Minister or risk ushering in a Labour government.

The Work and Pensions Secretary's intervention came after the Chancellor warned frontrunner Boris Johnson that he would do “everything in my power” to halt a no-deal Brexit – including leaving open the possibility of voting to bring down his government. His comments came in the wake of Mr Johnson's repeated refusal to rule out suspending Parliament in a bid to bypass MPs and take the UK out of the bloc "do or die" on 31 October - a stance which has also prompted Justice Secretary David Gauke to announce that he will quit. Ms Rudd, who has backed Jeremy Hintn's leadership bid and previously criticised Mr Johnson’s Brexit approach, said the Tories must come together or risk Jeremy Corbyn being in Number 10 by the end of the year....
21 July 2019
David Gauke

David Gauke has confirmed that he will resign from the Government on Wednesday if Boris Johnson wins the race to be Prime Minister.

The Justice Secretary, who has served in the Cabinet since Theresa May took office in 2016, said he could not sit on the frontbench while the ex-Foreign Secretary pursued a no-deal Brexit. Mr Johnson, who has said he will pull Britain out of the bloc "do or die" on 31 October, is expected to be confirmed as the new Tory leader on Tuesday. Mrs May will take Prime Minister's Questions the following day before formally leaving Number 10. Mr Gauke, who said a no-deal departure would be a “national humiliation”, said would resign before her successor takes over. “Given that I’ve been in the Cabinet since Theresa May came to power, I think the appropriate thing is for me to resign to her,” he wrote in The Sunday Times. He added: “If the test of loyalty to stay in the Cabinet is a commitment to support no-deal on October 31 — which, to be...
21 July 2019
Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer has announced plans for a cross-party alliance with Cabinet ministers on the verge of quitting the Government in a bid to stop the next Prime Minister from pursuing a no-deal Brexit.

The Shadow Brexit Secretary confirmed that would reach out to figures such as Philip Hammond and David Gauke, who are strongly opposed to Britain quitting the EU without an agreement. Mr Johnson, the runaway favourite to take over from Theresa May this week, has insisted that the UK will leave “do or die” on 31 October. His rival, Jeremy Hunt, meanwhile has refused to commit to a hard exit date, but has said that if a deal is not in sight by the beginning of October, he would ramp up preparations for a no-deal exit. The Chancellor, Mr Hammond, last week said he would do “everything in my power” to prevent Britain from crashing out, while the Justice Secretary, Mr Gauke, has vowed to quit on Wednesday. Mr Starmer said the Commons had to be put on a “war footing” to prevent a “disastrous and chaotic” no-deal outcome. Writing in the Observer, he...
21 July 2019
Hilary Armstrong

Labour MPs have hit out at a "disgraceful" move by a local party branch to expel a former Chief Whip from for criticisng Jeremy Corbyn.

Hilary Armstrong was one of 60 Labour peers who put their names to an advert in The Guardian condemning Mr Corbyn's response to the party's anti-semitism crisis. At the annual general meeting of the North West Durham constituency Labour party on Friday night - the seat Baroness Armstrong represented as an MP from 1987 until 2010 - members passed a motion to boot her out. It is understood that Laura Pidcock, the seat's current MP, abstained in the vote. Baroness Armstrong, who was a frontbencher in Tony Blair's government, said: "I'm very sad to hear this. "North West Durham Constituency Labour Party always used to be a place where differing opinions were respected. "This sadly shows how far the party has departed from its roots. "I'm not going to shy away from demanding that the party leadership take real and decisive action to rid anti-semitism from the Labour party." A number of Labour MPs rallied to her defence, including deputy party leader Tom Watson. He said: “This...