Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

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...
21 May 2019

The Government has been warned it faces “serious” challenges in district nursing, as figures revealed a major drop in staff numbers.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) called for an “urgent” boost in funding, after it emerged the number of staff working in district nursing fell by 43% over the last decade. NHS Digital revealed the drop in workforce since September 2009 had left just one district nurse for every 14,000 Brits, compared to one GP for every 1,600. In a new report, the groups said those in the job were unable to provide consistent high-quality care since they were “working to capacity, at sometimes unsafe staffing levels”. “There are serious retention and recruitment challenges, with an older workforce and insufficient qualified nurses to replace those who retire,” the report said. It added that the Government pledge to make community care a priority in the NHS Long Term Plan will not become a reality unless more district nurses are recruited. Yinglen Butt, Associate Director of Nursing at the RCN, branded the "chronic...
21 May 2019

If cases of abuse toward those in public service is not tackled, what human talent is our society going to lose because individuals may, understandably, choose not to put themselves or potentially their family at risk?

We live in what appears to be an increasingly challenging world when it comes to fulfilling all manner of public duties. The routine abuse of individuals in social media is well known, the standard of what appears to be “acceptable” comment has, in many cases, reduced public debate to the worst type of bullying. Twenty years ago, were the concepts of trolling, ghosting, sexting something we all knew about? Probably not.  If the core behaviour existed, it wasn’t in the form that it does now. Outside print journalism, the public didn’t have the facility, or the online presence, to be able to either traduce or demonise you, in front of thousands of people at the click of a button, they do now. No one is immune or “safe”, be they public servants, police, medical staff or politicians. They have all been the focus of anger and violence, and we are all aware that the issue of the protection of MPs has been highlighted given the number of threats towards them, particularly, but not...
21 May 2019

Families across the country who have felt the devastating effects of the blanket ban on assisted dying have come together today (Tuesday 21 May 2019) to launch a new campaign calling for a change in the law. 

‘Acts of Love’ is led by Ann Whaley, who was interviewed under caution earlier this year after police were anonymously notified of her plan to accompany her terminally ill husband Geoffrey to Dignitas. Ann is due to meet with the Secretary of State for Justice, David Gauke, next month, whose support for a change in the law was recently revealed (Sunday Express, 19 May 2019). Ann will be urging Mr Gauke to look at the dreadful consequences that the current law on assisted dying is causing for families like hers. The campaign, comprised of over 30 relatives and friends from across the country, launches as Lord Sumption’s first Reith lecture is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 today. At its recording, Ann asked the former Supreme Court judge for his views on the current law, to which he replied...
21 May 2019
Boris Johnson

Tory bosses are to discuss whether to allow four candidates to go on the final ballot paper for the party's leadership election, PoliticsHome has learned.

At the moment, only two contenders are allowed through to the final run-off, with a ballot of party members deciding which of them is the winner. But it has emerged that the executive of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers and the party's ruling board are to consider calls to double that number to four. That would be a huge boost for Boris Johnson, who is considered the favourite among the membership but faces a campaign by Tory MPs to keep him off the final ballot paper. One member of the 1922 Committee executive said: "The next big battle is over how many candidates get through to the final ballot. "Some people want it expanded to four, but others believe it should stay at two, so we'll need to figure that out. But the final rules for the leadership contest have yet to be decided." At least a dozen Tory MPs are expected to take part in the leadership race, which could begin as early as next month. Theresa May has agreed to set out a timetable for her departure if MPs reject the...
21 May 2019
Geoff and Ann Whaley

Due to an anonymous tip-off to local authorities that Geoffrey planned to end his life abroad, he and his wife Ann Whaley were both investigated by police and social services.  Ann has now written an open letter to parliamentarians calling for a change to laws around assisted dying. 

Dear Members of Parliament and Peers, Acts of love and compassion should not be criminalised. I wanted to alert you to the broadcast on Tuesday 21st May of the Reith Lectures 2019 with Lord Sumption on BBC Radio 4. I attended the recording of the first lecture, where I was able to talk about my experiences with the current law on assisted dying. In February, my husband of more than fifty years, Geoffrey, died at Dignitas in Switzerland. He had terminal motor neurone disease and in December was told he had just months left to live. He decided that he wished to control his death rather than suffer a drawn-out, traumatic end. Due to an anonymous tip-off to local authorities that Geoffrey planned to end his life abroad, we were both investigated by police and social services. The day they knocked on our door was the first time I had...
21 May 2019
Theresa May

Senior Tories will consider a fresh attempt to change party rules in a bid to boot Theresa May out of office more easily, PoliticsHome can reveal.

A meeting of the executive of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers will hear calls for the Prime Minister to face a fresh confidence vote next month. Mrs May has said that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill - the legislation needed to take the UK out of the EU - must be passed before Parliament's summer recess at the end of July. The draft legislation will be put to a Commons vote in the first week of June, and Mrs May has agreed to set out when she will stand down if it is defeated. However, some MPs are concerned she could take the extraordinary step of cancelling the summer recess to buy herself more time to get it through. Under current rules, a Tory leader cannot face a vote of no confidence more than once a year, which means MRs May cannot be challenged again until December. An attempt to reduce that to six months was defeated 9-7 at a meeting of the 1922 Committee executive last month. Now one member of the executive has revealed they will call for another vote on the proposal...
21 May 2019
How we’re helping young people across the UK to Reach Up

GB Community Partnerships Manager, Holly Firmin, discusses what Coca-Cola European Partners is helping to tackle youth unemployment.

At Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), we believe every young person has the potential to thrive. We’re also committed to giving back to the communities we operate in. That’s why last year, we partnered with national charity, UK Youth, to deliver the Reach Up programme – to equip young people with the skills, experience and confidence needed to secure employment. It’s been a huge success, and we’re pleased to announce we’ll be expanding the programme to four new locations this year, as we help to transform the lives of 160 more young people. With employment figures at their highest since the 1970s, it may surprise you to discover many young people still struggle to find a job. According to an impact report...