Dods at Party Conference 2018

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

15 January 2019
Theresa May

Theresa May does not have her troubles to seek at the moment.

She is just a few hours away from having the Brexit deal she has devoted the past two and a half years to negotiating comprehensively rejected by MPs. Her strategy, such as it is, appears to be to keep returning to the Commons with slightly amended versions of her plan in the hope that eventually the Commons will vote it through. The Prime Minister was given little comfort at this morning's Cabinet that her colleagues are united behind her approach. In fact, it only served to further underline the deep split within her top team. May's senior colleagues are divided on what happens when she loses tonight. In the moderate corner - the likes of Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark - believe she must reach out to centrist Labour MPs and try to win them over to her cause by offering permanent membership of the customs union. But that is rejected by Brexiteers - born-again or otherwise - like Jeremy Hunt, Liz Truss, Sajid Javid and Brandon Lewis, who say that the Prime Minister should...
15 January 2019
Theresa May

Plaid Cymru's Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts writes that the Prime Minister's Stoke speech "shows a disregard for Wales, devolution and democracy, but today’s Brexit mess extends much beyond one dishonest speech".

The chaos on display in Westminster right now has perhaps been best encapsulated by yesterday’s bizarre behaviour from the Prime Minister.   A key section of Theresa May’s plea to MPs to support her dying deal was changed at the last minute after someone with at least a rudimentary knowledge of modern Welsh history pointed out that a comparison she planned to make was, as we say, sbwriel [rubbish]. Whether out of ignorance or incompetence, the Prime Minister distastefully and hypocritically sought to compare the referendum some two decades ago which created the Welsh Assembly to that which gave us this Brexit mess in the first place – a stretch by any reasonable measure. The Prime Minister set out to claim that all parties backed the creation of the Welsh Assembly after a narrow referendum result.   This is simply not true. In 1997 she herself voted against legislation to establish the National Assembly for Wales and in 2005 stood on a manifesto calling for a...
15 January 2019
John Bercow

John Bercow has risked a fresh row with Tory eurosceptics after rejecting two amendments designed to swing wavering MPs behind Theresa May's Brexit deal.

In a further blow for the Prime Minister, the Commons Speaker announced that just four amendments to the deal will be voted on by MPs - with two bids to provide firmer guarantees on the controversial Northern Ireland backstop left out. Ahead of the meaningful vote on Mrs May's deal, the Speaker confirmed that MPs will get to vote on tweaks put forward by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the SNP's Ian Blackford, and Conservatives Edward Leigh and John Baron. But Mr Bercow - who has the power to choose which amendments get voted on - opted not to pick two aimed at winning round Brexiteers and the DUP, and which had the tacit support of the Government. Former minister Hugo Swire's attempt to rein in the backstop with six new conditions - including allowing MPs to have a vote on whether to enter it or extend the Brexit transition period - did not make the cut. Meanwhile Conservative MP and Northern Ireland Affairs Commitee chairman Andrew Murrison had sought to fix a firm end date to...
15 January 2019

Before MPs cast their verdict on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, they’ll be voting on a string of amendments. While legal debate rages over the ability of the Commons to actually alter the deal - and it remains unlikely any of them will garner enough votes to pass - the four amendments could help point the way forward if the deal is defeated. PoliticsHome walks you through them.

Corbyn amendment (A) - Rejecting the deal for failing Labour’s ‘six tests’ on Brexit This amendment from Labour’s frontbench is a straightforward bid to rubbish the deal and lay out the opposition’s objections in clear terms. It says MPs reject the deal because it “fails to provide for a permanent UK-EU customs union and strong single market deal" and accuses the Prime Minister of failing to "protect workers’ rights and environmental standards" while putting Britain's security at risk. Expect voting on this one to fall along party lines. In a cheeky bit of Parliamentary trolling, the amendment itself has been amended by the Lib Dems, who want it to include a pledge to back a second referendum “as endorsed by the Labour Party Conference 2018”. Blackford amendment (K) - laying out Scottish and Welsh objections to the deal The amendment from the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford and Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts again registers straightforward objections to the deal and...
15 January 2019

Our shared aim must be to place the stigma attached to sexual violence where it rightfully belongs – on the perpetrators, writes Lord Ahmad

The suffering caused by war is never confined to the battlefield. Behind the frontline, armed men use rape and other forms of sexual violence against defenceless women, children, and men. The damage wrought upon whole communities persists long after the fighting ends. In countries previously convulsed by war many thousands of people live with the trauma of rape. In nations where conflict still rages, armed groups continue to prey upon vulnerable populations. In the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo decades of unrest have imposed a terrible burden of suffering. Here, a small number of dedicated and courageous surgeons, including the Nobel Laureate Dr Denis Mukwege, strive to heal the wounds inflicted by these acts. Six years ago the initiative to prevent sexual violence in armed conflict was launched. It was followed by the 2014 Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, where the UK told the world that it was #TimeToAct. Five years on from that summit, we...
Lord Ahmad
15 January 2019
Pound sterling

For healthy growth we need to support our entrepreneurs and small businesses, writes Debbie Abrahams MP, and it’s time that late payment is viewed as being as unethical, and unacceptable, as tax evasion. 

It’s exactly a year ago today since the construction giant, Carillion, announced it was going into liquidation.    There was widespread concern about what this would mean for the completion of major public sector projects already underway, including hospitals and HS2, which Carillion was also working on as part of a consortium.    But we also mustn’t forget the 30,000 or so small businesses, sub-contracted by Carillion to work on these public sector contracts, and what the collapse meant for them.   After Carillion’s liquidation a survey of building, engineering and electrical firms showed that these small businesses were, on average, owed £141,000 by Carillion out of a total of £2bn owed to suppliers. Around 780 small building firms went into insolvency in the first quarter of 2018 as a direct consequence of Carillion’s collapse.   Neil Skinner, whose construction firm Johnsons Brothers is based in my constituency, was...
15 January 2019
Armed police

Liberal Democrat Lords Home Affairs spokesperson, former Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lord Paddick writes ahead of the final stage of the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill in the House of Lords.

Under the cover of Brexit, the Conservatives, aided and abetted by Labour, are continuing to erode human rights in the UK in ways that are counter-productive to our safety and security, and that run the risk of unfairly targeting minorities and endangering Press freedom. The Liberal Democrats, the only party to oppose Brexit, are also the lone voice when it comes to ensuring our freedoms. Today is the last stage of the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill in the House of Lords. Thanks to Liberal Democrat amendments and arguments, we have secured some concessions. You might not get locked-up for 15 years for clicking once on a website that contains information that may be of use to a terrorist, provided you’re doing academic research or you’re a journalist, for example. These legitimate reasons are now specified in the legislation. But if you click accidentally, or out of curiosity, you might still be arrested and charged before getting a chance to mount your defence. We have...
15 January 2019
Labour rosette

The Electoral Commission has imposed a record fine on Labour for failing to provide an accurate account of its donations.

The elections watchdog levied the mammoth £12,000 on the party after it produced an inaccurate quarterly report of cash handed over by donors. The party was fined a further £500 for not delivering accurate weekly pre-poll reports ahead of the 2017 General Election. A Labour Party source confirmed the fine had been paid in full and that the error had resulted due to an inadvertent duplication of reported donations. They added that there was no suggestion of a deliberate attempt to conceal donations. Louise Edwards, Director of Regulations at the Electoral Commission, said: “The sanction we have imposed on the Labour Party for an inaccuate donations report is the highest fine we have issued for an offence of this kind. As a well-funded political party it should be able to meet its legal requirements.” The latest figures also reveal that a Conservative Party branch in High Peak was hit with a £200 fine for failing to return an impermissible donation within 30 days of receipt....
15 January 2019
Michael Gove

Michael Gove warned MPs seeking to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal that “winter is coming” if they fail to back her tonight.

The Cabinet minister quoted lines from hit TV series Game of Thrones in a bid to warn MPs off inflicting a crushing defeat on the Prime Minister's EU agreement when it is put to a vote later today. In an interview on the BBC’s Today programme, Mr Gove told MPs that democracy would be "damaged" if they failed to swing behind Mrs May’s plan. He said: "I think if we don’t vote for the deal tonight, I think in the words of Jon Snow, ‘winter is coming’. I think if we don’t vote for the deal tonight we will do damage to our democracy by saying to people we are not going to implement Brexit." The motto is used in the HBO series to warn of the approach of a horde of killer ghouls that carry out a massacre on the civilian population. The Environment Secretary said: "The real danger is that if people do not vote for the government this evening we face either a no-deal Brexit with the short-term economic damage that would bring, or worse no Brexit at all. “We know there are people in the...
15 January 2019
European Union Flag

Chair of Parliament’s Justice Committee Bob Neill MP warns colleagues that leaving the EU without a deal "risks undermining one of this country’s key exports – the legal services sector – but could also weaken our ability to protect the public and fight terrorism and other serious crime".

Chair of Parliament’s Justice Committee Bob Neill MP warns colleagues that leaving the EU without a deal "risks undermining one of this country’s key exports – the legal services sector – but could also weaken our ability to protect the public and fight terrorism and other serious crime". Time and again, we see the same six words precede declarations of support for the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement – ‘reluctantly, and with a heavy heart.’ It’s a repetition I’m guilty of committing myself, not due to a belief a better deal is achievable – it isn’t, unless we were to revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU – but because it takes our country in a direction I had not, and still do not, want.  Throughout my political career (which has spanned longer than I care to admit), I have been firmly of the view that, on almost any measure, we are better off in the EU than out. That is a view I maintain, but as a democrat, one I recognise was not shared by a majority of the electorate on...