Dods at Party Conference 2018

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

16 September 2018
Lord Archer and wife Mary

Former Tory grandee Lord Archer has said he would cast his vote at the next election for Jeremy Corbyn's Labour if he lived in the north of England.

The novelist and ex-Conservative deputy chair - who was jailed for perjury in 2001 and now sits as an independent peer in the House of Lords - said he mulled support for Mr Corbyn's party on a recent trip away from London. "I was travelling through the north-west of England recently, where I was giving a speech at a school, and as I looked out of the window it did make me think I’d vote for Corbyn if I lived up here," he told the Sunday Telegraph. "I felt I had too much, that I’m over-privileged. And with half of what Corbyn says, I find myself agreeing with him 100 per cent. It’s the other half that’s the problem." Despite his praise for the Labour leader, Lord Archer said he objected to Mr Corbyn's backing for a rise in inheritance tax, and warned that Labour's general tax policy could trigger a 1970s-style "brain drain". REES-MOGG 'THE WRONG MAN' Elsewhere in his...
16 September 2018
Ruth Davidson and Theresa May

In a crowded field, it has probably been the most boring Westminster guessing game of recent years.

Forget ‘When will Boris challenge Theresa’ or ‘Will the Labour Party split’. For my money, the ‘When will Ruth Davidson just admit that she wants to come to Westminster and lead the Tories’ beats either of those snoozeathons hands down. Commentators and Tory MPs - at least those on the Remainy/Cameroon wing of the party - have driven themselves half-daft trying to work out the convoluted process by which the Scottish Tory leader could come south and succeed Theresa May. The fact that she is not an MP and is therefore, under party rules, barred from standing in any contest, did not prevent the increasingly-fevered speculation. One theory was that she would remain in Scotland until the 2021 Holyrood election and, assuming the Tories lost, be found a safe seat for the general election due the following year. Once in Westminster, she could bide her time and make a pitch for the top job when a vacancy arose. The most recent - and possibly the most implausible - suggestion was that Davidson...
16 September 2018
Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner

A second Brexit referendum would throw the Government "a lifeline", Labour frontbencher Barry Gardiner has said, as he pushed back against his colleague Sadiq Khan's call for a fresh vote.

London mayor Mr Khan today became the most prominent Labour figure to back a so-called 'People's Vote' on the final Brexit deal Theresa May strikes with Brussels. He argued another referendum would let voters "take back control" over a process that had become "mired in confusion and deadlock". But Mr Gardiner - a frequent critic of calls for a fresh vote - said Labour should instead focus its efforts on trying to "change the government" as talks with the European Union go down to the wire. "Actually to have a second referendum would be to throw this government a lifeline," he told Sky News host Sophy Ridge. The Shadow International Trade Secretary added: "Here we have a PM who is facing going to parliament with whatever she eventually manages to conclude with the European Union and find that it is not possible to get it through...
16 September 2018
Michael Gove

Tory minister Michael Gove has refused to condemn controversial Hungarian PM Viktor Orban - instead choosing to show the strongman “generosity of spirit”.

The Environment Secretary suggested laying into Mr Orban - who has branded migration a “poison” and migrants “invaders” - could hinder UK attempts to get a good Brexit deal from the EU. Conservative MEPs were taken to task this week after a number of them voted to protect the Hungarian premier from censure by the bloc for his authoritarian behaviour. The motion for disciplinary action against the regime was neverheless passed, following accusations of racism, anti-Semitism, restricting press freedom and undermining judicial independence. Tackled on the Tory approach this morning on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Gove insisted the MEPs were simply refusing to give the green light for the EU to meddle in the domestic affairs of a member state. He said: “It’s not for me to rank a league table of EU leaders and to say that one is my favourite or that one have less time for. “Because I believe in cooperative diplomacy - I believe in generosity of spirit towards EU partners.” Environment...
16 September 2018
Michael Gove

A future Prime Minister could alter the Brexit deal Theresa May strikes with Brussels, Michael Gove said today.

The Environment Secretary threw red meat to anti-EU Tory backbenchers as he said the Chequers plan the Government is working to was only the right strategy "for now". Hardline pro-Brexiteers have savaged the Government blueprint that proposes Britain remains in a single market with the EU for goods. David Davis and Boris Johnson quit their Cabinet jobs over the plan and were followed out by a stream of junior ministers and ministerial bag carriers. Pro-Brexit Tories in the European Research Group argue it will leave the UK a rule-taker on goods and compromise sovereignty, among other gripes. But anti-EU Mr Gove suggested the Chequers plan was only temporary, and a future administration could renegotiate with Brussels. "There's one critical thing, a future prime minister could always choose to alter the relationship between Britain and the European Union," he told the BBC Andrew Marr show today. "But the Chequers approach is the right one for now because we have got to make sure that...
16 September 2018
Ballot box

More than half of the public could back a brand new political party at the next election, a poll has suggested.

Some 52% of voters said they would mull voting for a new centre-ground movement in a future contest, according to a BMG survey for the Independent.  The result marks a massive increase of nine percentage points since the question was previously asked by the same pollster in April. It comes amid increasing speculation that a new centre-ground movement could be formed by Lib Dems, Labour MPs disillusioned by the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and Tory MPs who want to stop Brexit. Meanwhile, an Opinium poll for the Observer found 42% of voters would be likely to vote for a new centre-ground movement if one were formed tomorrow. According to the survey, 35% of voters said they felt unrepresented by the existing top...
16 September 2018
Ruth Davidson

Ruth Davidson has ruled out ever running for the Conservative leadership - as she revealed a history of depression and self-harm.

The Scottish Tory leader said: “I value my relationship and my mental health too much for it.” Ms Davidson has been tipped as a potential future prime minister since the party overtook Labour support north of the border under her stewardship. She also won accolades after the Conservatives secured 12 Scottish seats at the general election last year - their best performance since the 1980s - and helped Theresa May cling on to power. But after years of speculation, Ms Davidson finally ruled out ever taking the reins of the Tory party, telling the Sunday Times: “You have to want it, and I don’t want to be prime minister.” Asked if she would “ever” run, the MSP said: “No. I value my relationship and my mental health too much for it. I will not be a candidate.” Ms Davidson said she spent her teenage years suffering bouts of depression that led her to self-harm and suicidal...
16 September 2018
Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid has reportedly urged the Treasury to cut taxes and slash regulations if Britain and the European Union fail to strike a Brexit deal.

The Home Secretary - tipped as a future Tory leader - is said to have told a specially-convened Cabinet session last week that ministers should offer a string of free-market policies in a bid to prevent a no-deal downturn. According to the Sunday Times, Mr Javid set out a "huge shopping list" of economic policies for no-deal - including major tax cuts and a bonfire of regulations covering workers' rights and the environment. One minister told the paper: "He referred to it as a shock-and-awe strategy." Another said: "It was a classic pro-growth, pro-enterprise Tory policy list. There is a lot you can do to get businesses investing and growing." The intervention is likely to be welcomed by Brexiteers in the Conservative party, who have long argued that a no-deal outcome will present opportunities to remodel the British economy. It...
16 September 2018
London mayor Sadiq Khan with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Sadiq Khan has thrown his weight behind a second vote on Britain's membership of the European Union.

The London mayor - who on Friday was reselected as Labour's candidate for the next mayoral election - said a referendum on the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations would allow the public to "take back control" over a process "mired in confusion and deadlock". The move will pile pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to shift Labour's stance on a second vote. Writing in the Observer, Mr Khan - who campaigned to remain in the EU in the 2016 vote - said he had sought to work with ministers "to push for the best possible deal". "In good faith, I’ve given the Government every bit of advice and information available to City Hall and every opportunity to strike a deal that would minimise the impact on people’s livelihoods," he said. "But I’ve become increasingly...
15 September 2018

Boris Johnson has urged fellow Conservatives to “chuck Chequers – not Theresa May” as speculation about the Prime Minister’s leadership grows.

A string of Tory Brexiteers are said to have spent Tuesday evening openly discussing a way of toppling Mrs May. But challenging them directly in an interview with the Telegraph, Mr Johnson said: “It’s not about the leadership. It’s about the policy. “It’s not about changing prime minister. It’s about chucking Chequers.” His latest intervention came as Tory grandee Lord Heseltine suggested Mr Johnson could yet become Prime Minister. The former deputy PM - a frequent critic of Mr Johnson - told BBC Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster that he had not “done himself any irreparable harm” with his recent interventions on the burqa and Brexit. He said: “Has he done himself any irreparable harm? Well I don’t think he has. "What you have to say to yourself is who the Tory Party membership of the House of Commons is going to choose to send to the activists of the Conservative Party in any...