Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

17 March 2019
Geoffrey Cox

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has been forced to apologise to parliamentary watchdogs after he failed to declare thousands of pounds in rental income.

The top barrister moved out of his deluxe central London accommodation when he entered the Cabinet last year, according to the Sunday Telegraph. But he admitted to the Commissioner for Standards in Parliament that he had failed to register rent from tenants for six months between August and January this year. In a letter to the watchdog he apologised for finally declaring the rent in the middle of January. “This declaration related to a one-off change in my registrable interests (a decision to let out my former residence in London) brought on by my appointment to the Government on 9 July 2018,” he said. “I omitted to make this declaration within 28 days due to an oversight. “As soon as I realised the error, I caused the interest to be registered and wrote to the Registrar, in a letter dated 16 January, to apologise for the time that had elapsed.” He added: “I...
17 March 2019
Theresa May

Theresa May has issued a last-ditch plea to MPs to back her Brexit deal or risk never leaving the European Union.

The Prime Minister said failure to vote through her deal when it comes before the Commons for the third time this week would mean “we will not leave the EU for many months, if ever”. She said a fresh rejection of her blueprint would likely mean the UK participating in the EU Parliament elections - an outcome she branded a “collective political failure”. And she is set to tell MPs voting down her deal would leave the UK in a “Hotel California Brexit” where “you can check out, but you can never leave”. The Government will ask for a long Brexit extension from the EU if MPs refuse a third time to back the Brexit deal Mrs May struck with the bloc. The Prime Minister has been in last-ditch talks with her confidence and supply partners the DUP, as well as eurosceptics in her own party, in an effort to win their support. In an article for the Sunday Telegraph, she said voting down her...
17 March 2019
Vince Cable

The Liberal Democrats have rejected a proposal by Vince Cable to allow non-MPs to become the party leader.

Delegates at the Lib Dem spring conference in York also voted against a plan that would have allowed people who pay no membership fees to choose who heads up the movement. However they did agree to set up a ‘registered supporters scheme’ in a bid to entice activists into the party without forcing them to become full members. It comes after the 75-year-old Lib Dem boss announced he would quit the party in May this year. Sir Vince proposed the rule changes in a bid to revamp the party - hinting that a high-profile pro-EU campaigner such as Gina Miller could become the Lib Dem boss despite not being an MP. He had hoped that such a move could change the fortunes of the struggling movement after taking inspiration from Justin Trudeau in Canada and Emmanuel Macron in France. But conference delegates yesterday voted to reject the proposal: “Should members other than MPs be permitted to stand for party leader?” They also voted against the proposal: “Should registered supporters be permitted...
16 March 2019
Theresa May

Senior aides of Theresa May have privately claimed that she is “finished” and will announce her departure to ensure she can pass her Brexit dela and “go with dignity”.

According to the Telegraph, two senior figures at Downing Street believe she has “lost the trust of Eurosceptics” and may be forced to set a timetable for stepping down. Their concerns come after the Prime Minister lost her second meaningful vote and MPs voted against the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. One of the aides added that the “only way” Mrs May could regain the support of her party was to promise to quit by the end of the year. The other aide said: "She needs to go with dignity, if she sets a date for her departure she can be remembered as the woman who delivered Brexit." Mrs May has also faced pressure to resign elsewhere in her party, with some MPs warning they could support a vote of no confidence in the Government. Former Tory minister George Freeman said earlier this week that Brexiteers could support the Prime Minister’s deal if she pledged...
16 March 2019
Labour rosette

Government ministers are holding private talks with Labour MPs from Leave-backing seats in a last-ditch bid to secure support for Theresa May’s Brexit plan. 

The Independent reports that Labour Brexiteers have called for legislation to ensure parliament’s right to shape future relations with the EU in exchange for any backing of the Prime Minister's deal. Senior ministers, including Chancellor Philip Hammond, also held talks with the DUP on Friday to try and win support for Mrs May’s deal ahead of the latest vote next week. The Prime Minister will make a third attempt to get her EU withdrawal deal approved by Parliament on Tuesday. Some Labour MPs are believed to have asked for more certainty that the deal will pass before they agree to back it publicly. One Labour MP involved in the talks told The Independent: “Parliament should have an opportunity to be able to express views on all of the different aspects – that was said, it should not be a problem – but it never materialised in writing. “What colleagues were...
16 March 2019
Sajid Javid

Social media platforms have a responsibility to “clean up their platforms” or risk doing “the terrorists’ work for them”, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned. 

Writing in the Daily Express, Mr Javid added that companies that allowed hate messages to be broadcast on their platform “should be prepared to face the force of the law”. His warnings come after 49 people were killed at two mosques in New Zealand by a gunman who live-streamed the attack on Facebook. The original video has since been removed from the site, but the 17-minute live-stream has since been replicated and widely shared on other social media platforms such as Twitter and Youtube. Mr Javid urged everyone to “stop view and sharing this sick material”, describing it as “wrong” and “illegal”. He said: “This terrorist filmed his shooting with the intention of spreading his ideology. Tech companies must do more to stop his messages being broadcast on their platforms.” Speaking on Twitter, he called on social platforms YouTube, Google, Facebook and Twitter to...
16 March 2019
Guy Opperman (right) at his 5-year MRI Scan

Nearly eight years ago, Guy Opperman collapsed suddenly in Central Lobby. Rushed to hospital after being assisted by two colleagues, doctors told him he had a brain tumour. Having survived and raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity, the minister wants to prove that you can always get back on the horse. He talks to Sebastian Whale

Guy Opperman went for a run on the morning of 26 April 2011. He usually had more energy after waking up and wanted to bank three miles before a long day voting on the budget. Opperman had been feeling unwell for some time. Since being elected in 2010, he had become tremendously tired, his eyesight had worsened, and his headaches had become more acute. He would also often lose his train of thought while speaking. He had put that down to the 60-hour week, the unique pressures of being an MP, and his 600-mile commute to his Hexham constituency. As a former jockey, who had a close brush with death years earlier following a racing accident, Opperman felt he could work through the pain barrier. He had not been to a doctor for more than five years. But he had started to think that something was really wrong. He had been waking up during the night to be sick. In Parliament that Tuesday, Opperman was deteriorating. At around 7pm in the evening, he left the Commons to be violently sick. “I...
15 March 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn could wait until after MPs agree a Brexit deal before he launches a bid to secure a second EU referendum, PoliticsHome understands.

The Labour party is mulling whether to table a People's Vote amendment to the legislation needed to deliver Brexit once a deal between the UK and Brussels is done and dusted. A source said it would be “difficult to put a proposition to the public before that proposition is agreed” - but such a delay is likely to anger supporters of the so-called ‘People’s Vote’ campaign. Labour has edged towards backing a second referendum on Brexit after it failed to secure a general election - in line with its official policy agreed at party conference last year. It has tasked backbenchers Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson to prepare an amendment demanding any Brexit deal agreed by MPs is put to the public in a referendum. The Hove and Sedgefield MPs are still expecting to table their amendment before the next so-called meaningful vote on the Brexit deal Theresa May brought back from Brussels. But a Labour source said it would make more sense to push the Commons into backing a referendum once MPs had...
15 March 2019
Nigel Dodds is the deputy leader of the DUP

Nigel Dodds has warned Theresa May the DUP will never “waver” on the party’s Brexit red lines as she battles to persuade them to back her deal.

In an interview with The House magazine, the deputy DUP leader said protecting the United Kingdom’s constitutional integrity “remains sacrosanct and above everything else”. While Mr Dodds said the DUP are in the business of “wanting to get a deal done”, he warned that the party is well versed in negotiations and would not succumb to pressure from outside forces. He also savaged the Prime Minister's negotiating strategy, branding the decision to trigger Article 50 before having a clear strategy in place a “major mistake”. And he accused Karen Bradley of “glaring failures” as Northern Ireland Secretary and called for a change of leadership in the “dysfunctional” department. The DUP once again voted against the Withdrawal Agreement this week after Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, admitted the deal could still see the UK kept in the...
15 March 2019
Nigel Dodds is the deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party

As the leader of the DUP at Westminster, Nigel Dodds could hold the key to unlocking the Brexit impasse. If Theresa May can secure the support of his party for her deal, it could be enough to pass this week. With the public at large growing tired of the fractious debate, is he feeling the pressure to act? He talks to Sebastian Whale

Central Lobby is abuzz after another dramatic night’s voting in Parliament. Broadcasters, desperate to make sense of events for the public at home, are collaring weary MPs for interviews as they leave the Chamber. Members of the public attending evening galas are congregated in the centre of the octagonal meeting place, where corridors from the Lords, Commons and Westminster Hall converge. The atmosphere, aided by the grand chandelier above, is electric.  A member of Nigel Dodds’ team takes me from the heart of Parliament to his office a few floors up. The DUP’s Westminster leader is heading back from the lobbies after MPs vote to seek an extension to Article 50. His spacious workspace is improved immeasurably by the two copies of The House magazine laid out on a coffee table. Dodds arrives looking understandably tired from consecutive late nights, but with his politeness firmly intact. “This has been one of the most incredible weeks in my experience in politics… it’...