Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

16 September 2019
Boris Johnson

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister has torn into Boris Johnson over his approach to Brexit negotiations after protesters forced him to duck a press conference.

Xavier Bettel accused the Prime Minister of failing to come up with concrete proprosals for replacing the Irish backstop - the UK's key demand in the ongoing talks. Speaking after talks between the pair, he said he and fellow European leaders will not accept any responsibility “for the mess we are in at the moment”. Mr Bettel's rant came as he stood next to an empty podium when Mr Johnson was supposed to be standing for a joint-press conference. But Mr Johnson refused to take part in the outdoor event because of the presence of noisy protesters nearby. Downing Street sources said they had asked for the press conference to take place inside, but had been rebuffed by their hosts. Hitting out at the lack of detailed alternatives to the backstop being provided by the UK, Mr Bettel said: "I won't give an agreement to ideas. We need written proposals and the time is ticking. So stop speaking, but act." Asked about comments by Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay suggesting a...
16 September 2019
David Cameron ITV

David Cameron has admitted he is “haunted” by his decision to hold the EU referendum.

The former Prime Minister said he feels responsible "about the state the country’s got into" since the 2016 Brexit vote. In his first TV interview since quitting Number 10 in the wake of the referendum, he told ITV's Tom Bradby he had "huge regrets" about the 52%-48% vote to leave the EU. But he insisted he had been right to call the referendum in the first place. Mr Cameron said: "I’m deeply sorry about all that’s happened. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about all the decisions I made and all that has followed. "But when I go back to that decision, that Britain’s position needed to be sorted and we needed a renegotiation and a referendum; I believed then that was the right approach." "Do I have regrets? Yes. Am I sorry about the state the country’s got into? Yes. Do I feel I have some responsibility for that? Yes."@David_Cameron addresses his EU referendum regret in...
16 September 2019
Boris Johnson and Jean-Claude Juncker

Jean-Claude Juncker has accused Boris Johnson of failing to come up with any alternatives to the Irish backstop, just weeks before the UK is due to leave the EU.

The European Commission president spoke out after having lunch with the Prime Minister in Luxembourg. Mr Johnson has insisted that the backstop - the mechanism to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland - must be removed if a new Brexit deal is to be struck. According to Number 10, the Government has come up with "a number of workable solutions" to break the deadlock. But in a statement following the lunch, the Commission said: "President Juncker recalled that it is the UK's responsibility to come forward with legally operational solutions that are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement. "President Juncker underlined the Commission's continued willingness and openness to examine whether such proposals meet the objectives of the backstop. Such proposals have not yet been made." Earlier, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: "We have been having detailed discussions with European counterparts. We’ve brought to the table a number of areas where workable solutions can be...
16 September 2019
Labour party conference

Labour are set for a fresh showdown on Brexit as it emerged the the vast majority of motions submitted for its party conference urge it to wholeheartedly back staying in the EU.

Ahead of their annual get together in Brighton next week, analysis reveals of the 90 motions sent in by constituency branches about EU policy, 81 urge Jeremy Corbyn to support remain in a second referendum.  Shadow minister Marsha de Cordova is among those backing the call for Labour to harden its stance - saying the party has tried to “fudge our line before and failed dramatically”. So far Mr Corbyn has said if Labour gets in to power they would offer people another vote on EU membership, with a “credible option to leave” on the ballot paper alongside remain. But members want the party leader to go further and make it official policy to support staying in, a stance supported by prominent frontbenchers John McDonnell, Emily Thornberry, Keir Starmer and Diane Abbott. Mr Corbyn has not said which side, if any, Labour would officially back in such a campaign. And campaign group Another Europe is Possible have warned against “backroom manoeuvres” being...
16 September 2019
Boris Johnson and Stephen Barclay

Downing Street has distanced itself from a suggestion by Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay that the UK could still be following EU rules in 2022.

Number 10 made clear that Boris Johnson was "not going to" extend the current Brexit transition period, which is due to run until the end of 2020 if a fresh divorce deal is agreed with Brussels. Under the terms of the withdrawal agreement thrashed out by Theresa May, Britain would maintain close ties with the EU until December next year, despite no longer being a member. The point of the "implementation period" is to allow businesses to fully prepare for life outside the bloc. But Mr Barclay said on Sunday that Britain could stay in the transition arrangement until the end of 2022 to allow ministers to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland. He said: “It is the case that operationally these issues do not apply until the end of the implementation period, which is December 2020 or one or two years later by mutual agreement." But that idea was rapidly shot down by Boris Johnson's official spokesman on Monday, as Number 10 made clear that the Prime Minister would not...
16 September 2019

The Bar Council responds to the National Audit Office report 'Transforming courts and tribunals: a progress update' on HM Courts and Tribunal Service’s (HMCTS). 

Responding to today’s National Audit Office report Transforming courts and tribunals: a progress update on HM Courts and Tribunal Service’s (HMCTS) courts modernisation programme, Richard Atkins QC, Chair of the Bar Council, said: “HMCTS’ Court reform programme has once again come under critical examination by the National Audit Office and once again it has been found wanting. Whilst the Bar Council is relieved to see that the planned court closures have been scaled back, we have previously expressed considerable concern about the lack of access to justice for people who find that they live many miles from their nearest court, and we remain concerned over the future. “HMCTS clearly needs to look very carefully at its modernisation programme. Whilst the aims are laudable, HMCTS must ensure that it does not put justice beyond the reach of many, or that costs rise and negate any supposed benefits from the proposed...
16 September 2019
Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab has dropped a fresh hint that Boris Johnson could defy a cross-party extension law designed to block the UK crashing out of the EU.

The Foreign Secretary said the legislation - which he described as “very flawed” - needed to be looked at carefully, even as he insisted the Government still planned to leave the EU by 31 October. MPs this month rushed a bill through Parliament which requires the Prime Minister to request an extention to Article 50 - the formal process that triggered the Brexit process - if he cannot agree a deal with the EU by mid-October. Speaking to the Today programme, Mr Raab said: “I think the precise implication of the legislation needs to be looked at very carefully, we’re doing that, but the Prime Minister is very clear he wants to lead us out of the EU at the end of October and he’s focused on getting a deal.” Pressed on whether the Government would defy the law, he added: “We’ve been clear, we’ll comply with the law but the Prime Minister has been absolutely clear we need to bring this process to some finality. “So we’ll go for the deal, that’s why he’s out in Luxembourg, the Prime...
16 September 2019
Jo Swinson

The Liberal Democrats will revoke Article 50 to stop Brexit if they win the next election, its members have agreed.

In a significant ramping up of the party's anti-EU opposition, members at its annual conference in Bournemouth on Sunday overwhelmingly backed a motion which orders the Lib Dems to formally pull the plug on Britain's EU membership in the event they can form a majority government. The motion says the party will "campaign to Stop Brexit in a General Election, with the election of a Liberal Democrat majority government to be recognised as an unequivocal mandate to revoke Article 50 and for the UK to stay in the EU". The move comes after years of campaigning for a second Brexit referendum, which the party has said it will continue to do unless it secures a majority at the next election. Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said: "The Liberal Democrats are crystal clear: if we win the next election, we will stop Brexit by revoking article 50 and remaining in the European Union. "People deserve better than Boris Johnson’s No Deal Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Brexit. At the next...
16 September 2019
Michael Gove and Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson questioned Michael Gove's state of mind after his former Vote Leave ally abandoned him during the 2016 Tory leadership race, David Cameron has said.

Mr Johnson asked whether Mr Gove was "a bit cracked" after he pulled his support for the then-frontrunner's leadership bid and launched his own ill-fated push for the top Conservative job. The claim is contained in Mr Cameron's memoirs, which are being serialised in The Times, and which have already seen the former Prime Minister train his fire on key figures in the 2016 campaign to take Britain out of the European Union. The ex-Tory leader reveals that he texted Mr Johnson on the day of Mr Gove's move, saying: "You should have stuck with me, mate." Mr Johnson replied: "Blimey, is he [Michael] a bit cracked? Great speech last night, everyone watched and thought we’d all gone insane to lose you and people were looking at me as if I was a leper, but you had eleven hard years of party leadership and six superbly as PM, more than I will ever do...
16 September 2019
John Bercow

Dods People draws together a list of appointments in Westminster politics, the devolved administrations and the public affairs sector in the last week.

Houses of Parliament: House of Lords Conservative peerages to be conferred on Gavin Barwell, David Brownlow, Stephen Parkinson, Joanna Penn, Elizabeth Sanderson, Zameer Choudrey, Byron Davies and Raminder Ranger. Crossbench peerages to be conferred on Simon Woolley, Ruth Hunt, Harold Carter, Heather Hallett and Kim Darroch. Labour peerages to be conferred on Christine Blower, John Hendy and Debbie Wilcox. Green Party peerage to be conferred on Natalie Bennett. Non-affiliated peerages to be conferred on John Mann and Margaret Ritchie. The Duke of Wellington was Conservative and is now sitting as non-affiliated. The Earl of Oxford and Asquith was Liberal Democrat and is now sitting as non-affiliated. The Earl of Selborne was Conservative and is now sitting as non-affiliated.   House of Commons John Bercow is to stand down as Speaker on 31st October. Angela Smith joined the Liberal Democrats. Amber Rudd resigned from the Conservative Party and now sits as Independent...