Dods at Party Conference 2018

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

19 November 2018
Charlotte Simmonds is head of enterprise project management, Corporate ServicesCharlotte Simmonds is head of enterprise project management, Corporate Services

The contrast between life in the concrete jungle of Canary Wharf to the Houses of Parliament was stark for Charlotte Simmonds. But over the last 10 years, she has really made her mark

I came to Parliament in 2008 as Head of Fire Safety & Environment, having been recognised as one of Management Today’s 35 women under 35 in the UK. The contrast between cool Canary Wharf and the heritage of the Houses of Parliament was stark. But over time I’ve got to know and enjoy Parliament – the place, the people and my part in it. Since joining I’ve had two children and worked in four departments: Estates, Committees, Governance and Corporate Services. For 90% of that time I have been bicameral, working for both Houses. Right now, I head up the team that makes sure that there is consistency in the management of the vast number of parliamentary projects that are underway, be they construction, digital or business change. A typical day consists of spending time with people and data, supporting and coaching my direct team and the wider community of project professionals who work hard to navigate our complex governance and deliver ambitious projects in a challenging environment...
19 November 2018
The British Museum in LondonThe British Museum in London

From the British Museum to the V&A, we need to be getting our ‘towels on the beach’ before anyone else using the vast repository of British culture and cultural institutions, writes Tim Loughton

The British Museum is unique and special in so many ways. It was the world’s first national public museum, established by an Act of Parliament in 1753. It holds over 8 million works of enormous variety, 2200 of which were lent to 81 venues outside of the UK last year, while touring exhibitions in China, Hong Kong and India drew millions. Indeed, more people saw British Museum treasures outside London than at the museum itself, even though with 5.9m visitors it is the UK’s top visitor attraction. The museum’s collections are held in trust for the nation by an independent board of trustees. Fortunately, they are well able to resist the disingenuous perennial opportunism of certain politicians who would treat international treasures such as the Elgin Marbles as political baubles to be traded away in the interests of supposedly promoting greater international understanding. Hence recent disingenuous attempts by the governing Syriza party in Greece to make handing over the Marbles a...
19 November 2018

Theresa May will go on the offensive today as she insists her Brexit agreement with the EU is “final”.

The embattled Prime Minister, who is facing the prospect of a leadership challenge as well as mounting pressure from her own Cabinet to renegotiate key parts of the draft deal struck with the EU, will tell the CBI business group that the pact has been "agreed in full". Five Cabinet ministers - including Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom - are expected to meet today to discuss their joint push for changes to the plan, which has drawn anger over its 'backstop' provision to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. Mrs May's critics fear that the current proposals will leave the UK locked in an indefinite customs tie-up with the EU and are demanding the right for Britain to unilaterally pull out of that arrangement. But Mrs May will insist: "The core elements of that deal are already in place. The Withdrawal Agreement has been agreed in full, subject of course to final agreement being reached on the future framework.   "That Agreement is a...
19 November 2018
The mandatory code will ensure drivers that private car park operators will in future treat them in a reasonable and proportionate manner, writes Sir Greg KnightThe mandatory code will ensure drivers that private car park operators will in future treat them in a reasonable and proportionate manner, writes Sir Greg Knight

We need a mandatory code of practice across the private parking sector to end inconsistent practices and unfair treatment of motorists, writes Sir Greg Knight

Parking is an indispensable part of motoring. If you undertake a journey in a car, you need to park it. According to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, there are 38 million vehicles on our roads. Of those, probably 19 million will be driven and undertake at least one parking transaction each day. The number of “penalty” notices issued every year from private car parks is nearly five million; so many drivers have experienced an issue involving excess parking charges. In my view, it is essential that those who park on private land are treated both fairly and uniformly. Motorists should have certainty that when they enter a car park they are entering into a contract that is reasonable, transparent and involves a consistent process. Poor signage, unreasonable terms, exorbitant “fines”, aggressive demands for payment and an opaque appeals process need to be properly outlawed. Some private parking operators deploy tactics which are outrageous. One motorist, Mr O’Keefe, was driving...
19 November 2018
Although the start of building works is still some years away, the team is busy doing all the necessary planning and preparing, writes Liz PeaceAlthough the start of building works is still some years away, the team is busy doing all the necessary planning and preparing, writes Liz Peace

Liz Peace, the chair of the new governing body overseeing the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster, reveals the next crucial steps for the programme – and asks for parliamentarians’ help

Before taking up my position here in Parliament I, like many other people around the country, had very little reason to suspect that there was anything seriously wrong with the Palace of Westminster. It looked solid and stable, and in pretty decent shape for a building of its age. But over the course of the last few months, as I’ve been shown more and more of what lies behind the facade, it’s become increasingly obvious that the Palace suffers from some serious issues that are in increasingly urgent need of addressing. Why is the restoration so important? Those of you who have had the chance to be taken on a subterranean tour of the Palace will have seen the dilapidated and chaotic state of the vital services like plumbing, heating and electrics, may well have seen how the ninety or so risers or service shafts, originally vents for the circulation of air, have become a mess of jumbled cables and layers of pipework, and will have witnessed how the entire building relies on a sewage...
19 November 2018
Lucozade Ribena SuntoryLucozade Ribena Suntory

Lucozade Ribena Suntory's Michelle Norman writes ahead of the launch of the ‘Love Your Forest Impact Report’ which will take place today in parliament from 4-6pm in the Thames Pavilion Room.

Litter is a major problem in the UK. Not only is it a blight on our landscape which can cause environmental damage and harm, but it is very unlikely to ever make it back into our waste systems to be recycled. To help deliver the circular plastics economy we all want, it is not only vital to increase recycling rates, but to also reduce the amount of littering in the UK. Littering is a particular problem in rural areas where it can remain unseen for decades. In 2016, during initial research in the Forest of Dean – one of the UK’s few surviving ancient woodlands and where our factory is located – we discovered litter that was over 35 years old. This is despite the fact that over 250 tonnes of litter is collected and removed from the Forest of Dean every single year. As a responsible company focussed on improving our environment, we joined forces with environmental campaign charity Hubbub in 2016 to try and raise awareness of the issue of rural littering and reduce it in the Forest....
19 November 2018

As NHS England develops their ‘quality of life metric’ for cancer patients, AbbVie’s Pete Williams says it is essential to ensure the unique experience of blood cancer patients is taken into account.

The last 2 decades has seen unprecedented scientific progress against cancer with survival rates for many cancers improving throughout the world during the first 15 years of the 21st century. In certain cancers survival rates have increased at a staggering pace and this success has been due to a number of factors including significant advances in technology and a greater understanding of cancer biology resulting in more detailed descriptions of a patient’s cancer and better targeted treatments. This progress means that there are new challenges for patients and there now needs to be a greater focus on ensuring people with cancer are able to live with the highest quality of life possible. There are currently 2 million people in the UK living with and beyond cancer. Evidence suggests that just because people with cancer are living longer this does not necessarily mean they are living well. According to research from Macmillan at least 1 in 4 of them face poor health or...
19 November 2018
GP speaking with patientGP speaking with patient

From diagnosis to recovery, blood cancer is different to other types of cancer. Chair of the Blood Cancer APPG Henry Smith says it is vital that the wider medical profession understand these difference. 

As the most common type of cancer among children, teenagers and young people in the UK, the upcoming NHS plan needs a strong emphasis on ensuring the needs of blood cancer patients and their families are met and given continued focus by the Government. As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer this is a call I continue to make ahead of the publication of the Government’s Ten Year Plan for the National Health Service. Awareness of symptoms among GPs and the wider public is the first step to reducing the impact of blood cancer. These include, but are by no means restricted to fatigue, unexplained weight loss and easy bruising or bleeding. While a patient may think any of these are perhaps a result of a busy lifestyle, the reality is they could have a cancer which 1 in 19 people in this country will develop at some point in their lives. Blood cancer is the UK’s fifth most common cancer but the third biggest cancer killer. At the start of this year the APPG...
18 November 2018
Labour rosetteLabour rosette

Support for the Tories has plummeted after the agreed Brexit plan put forward by Theresa May sparked a civil war in the party, new polls have suggested.

Two surveys carried out during the height of the bitter Tory in-fighting this week saw the party lose between three and five points, giving Mrs May her worst polling numbers since she became Prime Minister.  Labour snatched leads over the Conservatives after the Brexit showdown saw two senior Cabinet members and a number of other senior figures quit the Government in opposition to the draft deal. A ComRes poll for the Sunday Mirror and Sunday Express saw Tory support fall 3 points since September - from 39% to 36%. Labour has remained steady on 40%, giving Jeremy Corbyn a four-point lead. Meanwhile, an Opinium poll for the Observer found the Tories had slumped five points to 36%, handing a lead to Labour after the party jumped two points to 39%. The fall was driven by Leave voters deserting the party in droves, with 10% now saying they would no longer vote for Mrs May’s Conservatives in a general election. But the poll also found the draft withdrawal deal failed to command...
18 November 2018
EU flagEU flag

Theresa May faces a fresh wave of Tory anger amid claims Brussels will demand a further £10bn from the UK if Brexit is delayed.

The Prime Minister said last month that the post-Brexit transition period could be extended by “a matter of months” if more time was required to reach a deal and protect the Northern Ireland border. She argued a delay could stop the backstop proposal to keep the border open - which has been heavily criticised by pro-Brexit figures in her party - ever having to be triggered. But according to the Observer, the EU will insist that any extension to the transition must last at least a whole year - adding a £10bn bill on top of the £39bn the UK has already agreed to hand to Brussels. Tory MPs already angry about paying the multi-billion pound divorce settlement will be outraged at a further payment and at being tied to the bloc for another 12 months. The EU will demand that the maximum length of time for an extension is confirmed this week, according to the Observer, ahead of a crunch summit of EU leaders, during which the draft withdrawal agreement...