Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

18 July 2019
UK and EU flags

Britain’s economy will fall into recession and leave a £30bn black hole in the country’s finances if there is a no-deal Brexit, according to the Government’s spending watchdog.

The Office for Budget Responsibility warned that the UK’s economy could shrink by 2% by the end of 2020 – 4% below the group’s March forecast – if the next Prime Minister fails to reach an agreement with Brussels. Tory leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have both insisted they are prepared to deliver a no-deal Brexit. But the OBR’s latest fiscal risks report, published on Thirsday morning, said such a scenario would be bad for the economy. It said: “Heightened uncertainty and declining confidence deter investment, while higher trade barriers with the EU weigh on exports. “Together, these push the economy into recession, with asset prices and the pound falling sharply.” The body found that leaving without a deal would add £30bn a year to government borrowing from 2020-21 onwards and increase net debt by 12% of GDP by 2023-24. OBR chairman Robert Chote said: "The big picture is that heightened uncertainty and declining confidence deter investment. "Higher...
18 July 2019
British Plastics Federation

Two-thirds of plastic companies are worried about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, believing it would negatively impact their business. The survey conducted by the British Plastics Federation (BPF) also found that 29% of companies believed the impact would be “very” negative.

The survey findings also show that more plastic companies are making contingency plans for a no-deal event, up to 62% compared to 53% in December 2018. Commenting on the findings, Director General of the British Plastics Federation Philip Law, states: “We are the third largest manufacturing sector by employment in the UK . We see a no-deal Brexit as a dramatic act of self-sabotage that will have long term negative impacts on the plastics industry which otherwise has great potential for job creation and global business development. The plastics industry supplies an extraordinarily wide range of sectors. What is good or bad for the plastics industry acts as a barometer for what is good or bad for the UK economy as a whole. The UK is a global leader in plastics innovation and a thought leader in major issues such as sustainability. It is senseless to place all this in jeopardy and hold the industry back from...
18 July 2019
Sir Roger Gale suggested Boris Johnson has the

Boris Johnson has vowed to launch a "public information campaign" to prepare the country for a no-deal Brexit if he becomes Prime Minister.

The frontrunner to win the Tory leadership contest said it would be necessary to demostrate the UK was ready for the "unlikely eventuality" of leaving the EU without a deal.   His comments came shortly after he once again refused to rule out suspending Parliament in order to ensure Brexit happens on 31 October. Speaking to ITV's Peston show, Mr Johnson said: “What we will do, is we will encourage people in a very positive way… From the get-go, we start saying, ‘Look, what do you need, what help do you need, what reassurances do you need? “Agricultural, farmers in Wales… Fishermen, everybody, just in time supply chains, here is what the Government has for you, are you ready?’ “And we make sure that everybody understands all the risks and eventualities, and it’s by doing that to get to the point that you made correctly just now, it...
18 July 2019
Frans Timmermans

British ministers were "running around like idiots" at the start of the Brexit negotiations, top EU official Frans Timmermans has claimed.

In a scathing attack on the UK's negotiating team, the EU Commission's first Vice President compared Brexit Secretary David Davis to bumbling Dad's Army character Lance Corporal Jones. Speaking to the BBC's Panorama programme, set to be aired on Thursday, the top EU boss said he had expected a "Harry Potter-like book of tricks" from ministers, but was left "shocked" by their approach. He said: "We thought they are so brilliant. That in a vault somewhere in Westminster there will be a Harry Potter-like book with all the tricks and all the things in it to do." But the senior EU official said he changed his mind after seeing "grandstanding" Brexit Secretary David Davis. "I saw him not coming [to Brussels], not negotiating, grandstanding elsewhere and I thought, 'oh my God, they haven't got a plan, they haven't got a plan," he said. Mr Timmermans added: "That was really shocking frankly because the damage if you don't have a plan - you know, we see it - time's running out and...
18 July 2019
Grenfell Tower

The Government has been "far too slow" to react to the Grenfell Tower tragedy and has failed to learn the lessons from it, MPs have warned.

In a damning report the ongoing delay to remove and replace combustible material from other high-rise buildings was slammed as “unacceptable”. The Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Committee also warned the £200 million fund allocated to the efforts would “fall far short” of what is needed to secure the safety of the towers. The cross-party group of MPs urged the Government to extend its operation and fully fund the removal of all forms of dangerous cladding as a “moral duty”. In the assessment, released two years after the west London tower block fire that killed 72, the committee also heard from survivors who were living in “very poor” permanent housing and had still not received health screenings to establish any long-term health effects from the blaze. HCLG committee chair Clive Betts said: “We are two years on from the Grenfell Tower disaster and the Government is far behind where it should be in every aspect of its response. “Further delay...
17 July 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn could become Prime Minister within hours if the Government loses a vote of no confidence, according to the Tory MP who devised the Fixed Terms Parliaments Act.

Mark Harper said the Queen could be left with little option but to ask the Labour leader to form a government if the next administration collapses. Labour is expected to table a motion of no confidence in the Government led by Theresa May's successor, most likely in the autumn. Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, if it is was passed and a new administration was not formed within a fortnight, an election would have to take place. Mr Harper, who was the minister who took the law through Parliament, said Mr Corbyn could be in Number 10 by then. He said: "The starting position is that the current Prime Minister can't win a vote of confidence, so the question for the Queen is who do you send for? "There has been a lazy assumption that you need to send for a Tory MP. But the pressure from the Labour party on the Palace to send for the leader of the opposition would be enormous. "It's absolutely within the realms of possibility that the Palace asks the leader of the opposition to form a...
17 July 2019
The Houses of Parliament

A Conservative MP has come under fire after he questioned the "value for money" of letting security guards in Parliament take two-hour breaks.

The Parliamentary Security branch of the PCS trade union branded Daniel Kawczynski "outrageous" after he queried the length of the rest periods given to staff protecting the Commons. But the Shrewsbury and Atcham MP said Parliamentary management were "too timid" to take on the union - and told PoliticsHome the breaks were out of step with the rest of the economy. The row erupted after a written question from the MP to the House of Commons Commission, which regulates working conditions for staff on the Parliamentary estate. Mr Kawczynski asked "for what reasons security officers in the House of Commons are entitled to a break of two hours and 15 minutes in each eight hour shift; and what assessment the Commission has made of the comparative value for money of such contracts". But PCS blasted the move, and argued that one of the reasons the breaks are needed is because guards wear heavy stab vests for long periods that can cause "physical discomfort". They said Parliament remained...
17 July 2019
Baroness Hayter

A Labour frontbencher has been sacked for comparing Jeremy Corbyn's "bunker" leadership to the "last days of Hitler".

A party spokesperson confirmed that Baroness Hayter, Labour's Brexit spokesperson in the Lords, had been removed from her post "with immediate effect" over the "deeply offensive" comments. The move comes after HuffPost UK reported that Baroness Hayter - who is also Labour's deputy leader in the Lords - accused Mr Corbyn of having a "bunker mentality" and said senior figures around the leadership had refused to share key information with Labour's ruling National Executive Committee. The peer told a meeting of the centre-left Labour First group earlier this week: "Those of you who haven’t [read the book] will have seen the film ‘Bunker’, about the last days of Hitler, where you stop receiving any information into the inner group which suggests that things are not going the way you want." And she added: "That seems to be where we are at the...
17 July 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has refused to confirm if he would suspend Parliament as Prime Minister in order to force Brexit through on 31 October.

It follows reports that the Tory leadership frontrunner is planning to schedule a Queen’s Speech at the start of November. If he went ahead with the plan, it would guarantee that MPs would be unable to vote against a no-deal Brexit on the Hallowe'en deadline. When asked about the proposal, which was reported on Tuesday, Mr Johnson told a Conservative hustings that he was “not going to comment on our programme”. The ex-foreign secretary said his administration would have a great programme for governing, but would not be drawn on when he would formally outline it. A Queen’s Speech is the mechanism by which the executive lays out its legislative plans for the coming year. But as it marks the start of a new Parliamentary session, convention is that the House of Commons is suspended in the two weeks prior to it....
17 July 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn could become Prime Minister within hours if the Government loses a vote of no confidence, according to the Tory MP who devised the Fixed Terms Parliaments Act.

Mark Harper said the Queen could be left with little option but to ask the Labour leader to form a government if the next administration collapses. Labour is expected to table a motion of no confidence in the Government led by Theresa May's successor, most likely in the autumn. Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, if it is was passed and a new administration was not formed within a fortnight, an election would have to take place. Mr Harper, who was the minister who took the law through Parliament, said Mr Corbyn could be in Number 10 by then. He said: "The starting position is that the current Prime Minister can't win a vote of confidence, so the question for the Queen is who do you send for? "There has been a lazy assumption that you need to send for a Tory MP. But the pressure from the Labour party on the Palace to send for the leader of the opposition would be enormous. "It's absolutely within the realms of possibility that the Palace asks the leader of the opposition to form a...