Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

19 July 2019
Elderly people

"It is time Parliament acted to empower individuals, ensuring that nobody with a rational desire to end their suffering is forced to suffer" says Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable.

It is time we changed the law on assisted dying. Roughly 300 people a year with terminal illnesses are killing themselves, often without medical support and in very agonising circumstances. A further 50 a year are going through the great pain and expense of travelling while ill to Dignitas. It is not right that under the current system people are criminalised for the simple wish to die with autonomy and dignity. Our legislation needs updating with compassion and proper safeguards.  It is only very recently I have come around to this view of calling for legislation that enables assisted dying. I used to be vehemently opposed. Throughout my last 20 years as an MP, I felt unable to support cases brought to me by constituents arguing in favour (although I would express my sympathy). My former views were partly shaped by personal experience. My mother, in the remaining few months of her life, lived in a state of confusion and worry that she was a burden. One week she would be...
19 July 2019
EU and UK flags

A no-deal Brexit would pose a "fundamental risk" to the UK economy, harm the competitiveness of key industries and put thousands of jobs at risk, according to senior MPs.

In a damning report, the cross-party Brexit Committee said leaving the EU without a deal would be "at best a foolhardy gamble and at worst lead to severe disruption" across the country. Boris Johnson - who is expected to be confirmed as the new Prime Minister next week - - has pledged to deliver Brexit "do or die" on 31 October. But the committee report says: "Some have argued that a no deal exit would bring the EU 'back to the table' and that the UK would secure a better deal as a result. "This is, at best, a gamble. At worst, it could lead to severe disruption of the economy, pose a fundamental risk to the competitiveness of key sectors of the UK economy, and put many jobs and livelihoods at risk." In particular, the report says that the north east of England and the West Midlands would be the areas of the UK most badly affected by no-deal, with the chemical, retail, food and drink and manufacturing sectors the hardest parts of the economy. The report also dismisses Mr Johnson's...
19 July 2019
School classroom

Public sector workers are to receive a £2billion pay rise in one of Theresa May's last acts as Prime Minister, it has emerged.

Around two million police officers, teachers, NHS staff and members of the Armed Forces will see their pay go up under the move, The Times reported.. However, the cash will need to be found from existing Whitehall budgets, meaning savings will be required elsewhere to pay for it. The Prime Minister is expected to confirm the measure next week, shortly before she leaves Number 10 for the last time on Wednesday. According to The Times, police officers will receive a 2.5% rise, while soldiers will see their pay go up by 2.9%. Teachers and other school staff are in line for a 2.75% hike, dentists and NHS consultants will get a 2.5% rise and senior civil servants' salaries will go up by 2%. It will be the highest public sector rise in six years, and comes at the end of almost a decade of pay restraint as the Government tried to bring down the deficit. It...
18 July 2019
Labour poster

Labour staff staged a walkout over a senior official who shared a video claiming the party’s anti-semitism crisis was trumped up to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

The protest took place on Jules Rutherford’s first day as Labour’s new head of membership on Wednesday. PoliticsHome revealed how Ms Rutherford had retweeted a post which claimed anti-semitism allegations were "smears against the party leader". The tweet, by Jack Jazz, linked to a video in which Professor Norman Finkelstein described the claims as "witch-hunt hysteria". Shortly after Labour were contacted about it, Ms Rutherford's Twitter account was deleted. It is understood that her appointment caused anger among staff in Labour's Newcastle office, where the party's membership department is based. A Labour source said: "On her first day, she went around desks meeting colleagues - only they all walked out of the office because they didn’t want to meet her." One member of staff did remain in the office, but only to challenge Ms Rutherford on her views on anti-semitism and to ask why she had retweeted the "smear" video. A Labour spokesperson refused to comment. The row comes against a...
18 July 2019

Sally Copley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Alzheimer’s Society, responds to Jeremy Hunt's pledge for social care investment.

Last night Conservative leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt promised to fix the broken social care system if he became Prime Minister, with a long term plan and cash boost, saying: 'I delivered a long-term plan for the NHS, backed by £20billion more a year to fund improvements. I fought hard for the same for social care because we cannot ignore the care needs of older people, such as those with dementia. If I were Prime Minister I would put this right, once and for all.' Sally Copley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Alzheimer’s Society, responded: “We welcome Jeremy Hunt’s recognition of the shocking injustice of dementia care, and his pledge that social care will get the same long term plan and level of investment the NHS rightly had at the start of the year. He knows the future of the NHS relies on getting things right for social care.  “For the sake of people with dementia Alzheimer’s Society calls on Boris Johnson to match this promise. Letting vulnerable people with...
18 July 2019

Sophie Corlett, Mind’s Director of External Relations, comments on the Supreme Court judgment that means more people with mental health problems will be entitled to support from Personal Independence Payment. 

Many more people with mental health problems who find social situations debilitating could now be entitled to claim a disability benefit, a landmark judgment ruled today (Thursday 18 July). The Supreme Court judgment means that many more people with mental health problems and other disabled people will be entitled to support from Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which replaces Disability Living Allowance. This will particularly affect people who need help to engage with other people and form relationships. The ruling, by panel of Supreme Court justices, was made following a challenge by a PIP claimant, a 47-year-old man known as MM, about the way the points scoring system works in PIP assessments. Mind intervened to support MM’s challenge because of the wider issues his case raised for people with mental health problems. It also marks the first time a case about PIP has been heard in the Supreme Court, the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases. MM...
18 July 2019
Diana Johnson MP and abortion rights campaigners march in the London 2019 St Patrick's Day Parade holding pro-choice banners

Women in England and Wales can still go to prison for having an abortion – we must remove the criminal law from what is essentially a matter between a woman and her doctor, says Diana Johnson

The last few months in Parliament have been extremely frustrating as we await the crowning of a new prime minister and the next stage in the unfolding drama of Brexit. However, one very bright spot in the last couple of weeks before we head into the Summer recess has been the clear majority in Parliament to deal with the long-standing breaches of human rights in Northern Ireland. The number of MPs who swept into the Aye lobby to support both same-sex marriage and abortion reform during the passage of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill was a surprise to those of us who have been campaigning for change for many years. It’s often a squash in the Aye lobby when votes are supported cross-party, but it was absolutely worth it when we were united in remedying long-standing inequality!  Moreover, with the repealing of the criminal law on abortion under the hugely outdated, cruel and misogynistic Victorian statute, the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861, we will see...
Diana Johnson
18 July 2019
Labour rosette

Trade union bosses have demanded "urgent" talks with Labour management after staff publicly condemned the party's response to the ongoing anti-semitism controversy.

In a sign of the plummeting morale among party workers, GMB members voted 124-4 in favour of a motion hitting out at the response by Jeremy Corbyn's office to last week's Panorama on the issue. The programme accused aides to Jeremy Corbyn of interfering in anti-semitism cases, and heard former Labour staff claim their mental health had been affected by working for the party. The GMB motion said: "As trade unionists, it is unacceptable for an employees workload or the culture of an organisation to cause staff to have breakdowns or to contemplate suicide. "The fact that there is even a suggestion that this culture exists within the Labour Party is reprehensible and a source of great shame." The motion was highly critical of the party's decision to dismiss the whistleblowers who spoke to the programme as "disaffected" opponents of the Labour leader. It also hit out at the "obscene" decision to send lawyers' letters to those who broke gagging orders to speak out. The motion said: "Anti-...
18 July 2019

The Association of Former Members of Parliament has published the latest edition of its official journal Order! Order!

You can download and read it here
18 July 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Labour peers could hold a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn over his handling of the party's anti-semitism crisis.

The party's group in the House of Lords will hold a meeting on Monday to decide whether to go ahead with the ballot. If they go ahead with the plan, the ballot will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the result expected to be announced that night. The latest twist in the anti-semitism row came after Baroness Hayter, Labour's deputy leader in the Lords, was sacked for comparing Mr Corbyn's leadership to "the last days of Hitler". She was also one of four senior Labour peers who signed a letter to the party leader urging him to tackle its "endemic" anti-semitism problem. And on Wednesday, 60 other Labour peers took the unprecedented step of taking out an advert in The Guardian telling Mr Corbyn he had he...