Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

15 March 2019
Vince Cable

Sir Vince Cable has announced he will step down as leader of the Liberal Democrats in May after less than two years in the role.

He said he wanted to quit following May’s local elections to make way for a “new generation”. The 75-year-old, who plans to remain as the MP for Twickenham, made the announcement hours after MPs voted in the Commons to delay Brexit. Sir Vince, who was elected leader following the 2017 election, had previously said he would remain in post until “Brexit is resolved or stopped”. In a message to party members, ahead of the party’s spring conference, which begins today in York, he said: "I indicated last year that once the Brexit story had moved on, and we had fought this year's crucial local elections in 9,000 seats across England, it would be time for me to make way for a new generation. "I set considerable store by having an orderly, business-like succession, unlike the power struggles in the other parties. "So I wanted you, our members, to know that, assuming parliament does not collapse into an early general election, I will ask the party to begin a leadership contest in May...
15 March 2019
Metropolitan Police Constable talks to a woman

Female Genital Mutilation has been illegal in the UK for 34 years, so why has it taken until 2019 for the first conviction to take place, and what can the Government do to stop it? Dods Monitoring's Sofie explains. 

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is one of the rare issues that has overwhelming cross-party support, nevertheless, tackling the issue has proved to be complicated. It has been outlawed to perform FGM on children or adults since 1985, and it has been an offense to arrange FGM outside the country for a British citizen or permanent residents since 2005. Yet, Daughters of Eve a non-profit organisation dedicated to stopping FGM and helping their survivors, estimate that 23,000 girls are cut in the UK every year. Despite legislation being in place for over 34 years, it has taken until February this year for the first prosecution to successfully take place. A Private Members Bill which would amend the current legislation on FGM under the Children Act 1989 was objected to by Christopher Chope, in February and has since been pushed through on Government time. The Bill itself would address the issue of interim care orders which are currently not in place under the current legislation,...
15 March 2019
IKEA Bromley

IKEA UK has today announced that the new Planning Studio in Bromley will open on Thursday 28th March 2019. 

IKEA’s second Planning Studio will specialise in helping customers to plan and order bedrooms and kitchens in an inspirational setting This is the next step in IKEA’s city centre approach in London, following the launch of IKEA’s first Planning Studio on Tottenham Court Road in October and the opening of our leading sustainable store in Greenwich last month The new store will have a dedicated workshop space which is available for the local community to use IKEA Bromley will be the retailer’s second Planning Studio to open in London, following on from the opening of its first on Tottenham Court Road in October 2018. The new Planning Studio will be located at the former Mothercare and Early Learning Centre site on Bromley High Street and will offer a personalised service dedicated to planning bedrooms and kitchens. Customers will have the opportunity to book one-to-one in-store appointments with specialist co-workers, ensuring an easy and convenient way to get the advice and...
15 March 2019

George Webb, Chief Executive of UKLPG, the trade association for the LPG industry, comments on the release of A Plan for Wales’ Renewable Energy Future by the Institute of Welsh Affairs.

“UKLPG welcomes the report, specifically acknowledging the significant role that biogas can play in the decarbonisation agenda, especially in hard-to-heat rural homes located off the gas grid where a variety of technologies will be needed. LPG is already the lowest carbon conventional energy source available to these off-grid homes, and provides immediate, expedient and cost-effective heat and energy. Switching to LPG today from oil and coal results in significant CO2 and air quality improvements, helping the UK reach its climate change objectives. Further to this, the LPG industry has already begun rolling out bioLPG which delivers a long term low carbon solution for off-grid heat. Available for use now, bioLPG is derived from production processes that use a variety of biological materials as feedstocks, including waste streams. It is chemically indistinct from LPG and hence can be ‘dropped-...
14 March 2019
EU and UK flags

Cabinet splits over Europe erupted once again as eight Cabinet ministers defied Theresa May to vote against delaying Brexit.

Stephen Barclay, Penny Mordaunt,  Andrea Leadsom, Liz Truss, Alun Cairns, Gavin Williamson, Chris Grayling and Liam Fox all voted against a motion in the Prime Minister's name seeking an Article 50 extension until 30 June if her deal is passed by MPs by next Wednesday. A host of junior ministers also voted against the extension, while chief whip Julian Smith was among those who abstained. In all, 188 Tory MPs opposed Mrs May's motion. But because it was a free vote, none of them will be disciplined by Tory whips. The motion still passed easily, by 412 votes to 202. A spokesman for Mrs May - who voted in favour of the extension - said: "At the start of the day the Prime Minister said it would be a free vote and a natural consequence of that is that she understands that people will be able to express their view on a contentious matter. She authorised a free vote and that is where it begins and ends." Asked if the three Cabinet ministers would be expected to back the Government's policy...
14 March 2019
Ruth Smeeth

A Labour frontbencher has quit her post after voting against calls for a second EU referendum.

Ruth Smeeth, who was a parliamentary aide to Tom Watson, said she had "a duty to support the will of my constituents". Four other shadow ministers - Justin Madders, Stephanie Peacock, Emma Lewell Buck and Yvonne Fovargue - also ignored the Labour leadership's orders to abstain on an amendment calling for Brexit to be delayed to allow a so-called "people's vote" to take place. It was unclear whether party bosses will take any disciplinary action against them for breaking the rule on collective responsibility. They were among a total of 41 Labour MPs who broke the whip to either vote for or against the second referendum amendment. In a statement, Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove MP Ms Smeeth said: "I've resigned from Labour's front bench this evening in order to vote against a second referendum. "This was a difficult decision but I have a duty to support the will of my constituents. We need to leave, and leave with a deal that works for the Potteries." Deputy leader Mr Watson said: "...
14 March 2019
Donald Trump and Theresa May

Donald Trump has said Theresa May’s failure to strike a deal with the European Union that could be supported by MPs was down to her failing to heed his advice.

In a scathing assessment, the US President said the Brexit process “should have gone smoothly” and that he hates to see Britain being “ripped part”, as attempts by MPs to break the impasse ahead of the 29 March exit date continue. “I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation, but I gave the Prime Minister my ideas on how to negotiate it and I think you would have been successful,” he told reporters during a White House press conference. “[Theresa May] didn’t listen to that and that’s fine, I mean she’s got to do what she’s got to do, but I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner frankly.” President Trump added that he did not believe a second referendum on whether to leave or remain in the EU was “possible” and that it would leave those who voted for Brexit in 2016 aggrieved. “I hate to see everything being ripped apart right now,” he added. “I don’t think another vote would be possible because it would be very unfair...
14 March 2019

The NHS has released their latest set of data to show how they are performing in England when it comes to treating people for mental health problems where they live. Regularly publishing these data forms part of its commitment to delivering promises outlined in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, including greater transparency and monitoring of progress.

The data is divided into when sending someone away from home, or ‘out of area’, to get treatment was inappropriate and when it was not. Being treated out of area can be hugely detrimental to recovery and is almost always clinically inappropriate, which means people are being sent away to get the help they need because of a shortage of bed spaces. The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, which Mind’s CEO Paul Farmer fed into by chairing an independent taskforce, set out how the NHS would improve mental health services by 2020/21. It promised an extra £1.6bn to help a million people with mental health problems and that by 2021, no one should be sent out of area to receive the treatment they need. The key statistics from the data for 2018 show: A total of 7,655 people in England were sent out of area to receive treatment for a mental health problem last year 96% of out of area placements in 2018 were inappropriate In total, out of area placements cost the NHS over £112...
14 March 2019

Responding to today’s figures showing another decline in emergency care performance, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Taj Hassan said: “Both these figures and the fact that this crisis is going unnoticed while the country is consumed by Brexit is deeply disappointing.

“These are the worst performance figures we’ve ever seen and come in the mildest winter for some time. With a long term plan settled and focused mainly on redirection, there a few easy fixes for our Emergency Departments (EDs). Staff continue to work doggedly in difficult conditions and must continue to focus on patient safety. “We absolutely must not lose sight of the people behind these numbers; both patients experiencing undignified conditions, and staff working at the limits of their abilities. “The NHS must focus on filling the 100,000 staff vacancies it currently has, to relieve pressure on staff and ensure those patients most in need are seen, treated and discharged as quickly as possible. More staff – and beds – in other parts of the hospital will help to unclog the system and get things moving again in the ED. We would also urge the government to make the social care green paper a priority. “We fear that these figures will give impetus to move away from meaningful...
14 March 2019
Campaigners for a second EU referendum

Campaigners for a second EU referendum have refused to back an attempt by MPs to show Commons support for one today.

The cross-party People’s Vote campaign said it was “not the right time” for the plan to be put to a vote and urged MPs to instead push for Brexit day to be delayed beyond 29 March. Separately, Best for Britain said the Commons bid - in an amendment to a government motion - "will not truly test the will of the House" when it is voted on later this evening. The amendment, which was tabled by Independent Group MP Sarah Wollaston, calls on Theresa May to extend Article 50 to allow time for a referendum on the Government deal or staying in the EU. Ms Wollaston hopes to amend a government motion which asks MPs to back a short Brexit delay if the Commons approves the PM's deal or a longer one if not.  A short delay would be to ensure the relevant legislation is passed before Brexit, while a longer delay would allow time to negotiate an entirely new deal with the EU. A spokesperson for the People’s Vote campaign said it was clear that MPs who support a...