Dods at Party Conference 2018

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

15 January 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn could demand a confidence vote in Theresa May within minutes of MPs rejecting her Brexit deal tonight, it has emerged.

According to the Telegraph, Labour MPs have been told to expect a vote on Wednesday, with Mr Corbyn set to raise a point of order demanding such a move in the immediate aftermath of the Commons vote on the deal. A vote on the motion - which could get just 90 minutes of debate time - would then take place after Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday. A source close to the Labour leadership declined to spell out the precise timetable, but told the Telegraph there were "arguments for doing it then". A Labour source meanwhile told the Guardian that MPs "won't have to wait very long" for a confidence vote in the Prime Minister, but said the decision would ultimately rest with Mr Corbyn. Under a motion passed at Labour's annual conference last year, the party has vowed to first press for a general election before considering other options including a push for...
15 January 2019
EU and UK flags

Peers overwhelmingly rejected Theresa May's Brexit deal - 24 hours before MPs are set to do the same.

In the latest in a long line of House of Lords defeats for the Government, peers voted 321 to 152 in favour of a motion in the name of Angela Smith, Labour's leader in the upper chamber, rejecting the agreement and ruling out a no-deal Brexit. Afterwards, she described it as a "vote for common sense". Although the result has no practical impact on the Government's plans, it is another sign of the widespread parliamentary opposotion to the the Prime Minister's deal. Dick Newby, the Lib Dem leader in the Lords, said: "This resounding defeat for the Conservative government demonstrates how unpopular Theresa May’s deal truly is. “Since delaying the vote, the Cabinet’s shambolic plans for Brexit have only increased. From ferry contracts which include no ferries, to no-deal fridges ready for stockpiling medicines, the Cabinet is wasting millions of pounds and causing many individuals great anxiety on a no-deal option which stands zero chance of being approved by the Commons. "This vote has...
15 January 2019
100 days until Brexit composite featuring Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

Theresa May is on course for an historic Commons defeat on her Brexit deal tonight after a Labour MP withdrew an amendment which could have reduced the scale of her loss.

MPs will finally be given the chance to pass their verdict on the withdrawal agreement the Prime Minister struck with Brussels last year. The Prime Minister will hold a series of face-to-face meetings with wavering MPs ahead of tonight's vote, but all the signs are that she is heading for one of the largest government defeats in modern political history. In a fresh blow for Mrs May, an amendment in the name of former Labour frontbencher Hilary Benn, which would have effectively killed off the Prime Minister's deal and ruled out a no-deal exit, is to be withdrawn. It is understood that Tory MPs were being encouraged to vote for it so it could pass and therefore limit the size of the Prime Minister's subsequent defeat. But Mr Benn said: "I have decided to withdraw my amendment to the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement motion today which would have rejected both the PM’s deal and leaving with no deal. "It’s vital that we now get the clearest expression of view from the House on the...
14 January 2019
Jeremy Hunt and Angelina Jolie

We know the work that needs to be done, and we have the means necessary, to end sexual violence in conflict. What we need now is the political and social will, writes Angelina Jolie

A Rohingya mother gang-raped after being forced to watch soldiers kill her baby girl and husband. An elderly South Sudanese woman raped by soldiers. A Syrian man kept naked in a cell for 30 days by government forces, hung up by his hands in the dark at night and raped using a stick. A 10-year old Syrian boy, waiting in line at a bakery, kidnapped by Islamic State, imprisoned and sexually abused.  What connects these terrible human stories, documented by the UN, is that they involve the deliberate use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war: “To terrorise communities and fracture families by the violation of taboos,” in the words of the UN Secretary-General, “signifying that nothing is sacred and no one is safe.” It affects hundreds and thousands of women and girls, as well as men and boys, worldwide. The horror of these war crimes, crimes against humanity, even acts of genocide are compounded by the stigma endured by survivors who are often made to feel ashamed, rejected...
Angelina Jolie
14 January 2019
John Bercow and Tulip Siddiq

John Bercow has blasted the delay in introducing proxy voting to the Commons after an MP revealed she will delay the birth of her child to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Tulip Siddiq has postponed having her caesarean section from tomorrow until Thursday so that she could be in Parliament late tomorrow evening to cast her vote. The Labour MP told the Evening Standard that she planned to be taken through the lobby in a wheelchair by her husband Chris at tomorrow evening’s crunch vote. Following an urgent question by Harriet Harman, Commons Speaker Mr Bercow criticised the lack of progress in bringing proxy voting in, despite the first debate on the matter having been held a year ago. Under those proposals, MPs who are unable to be in Parliament to vote due to illness or pregnancy would have their votes cast by someone else on their behalf. Ms Harman told MPs: “[Miss Siddiq] should not have to choose between going through the division lobby in a wheelchair, nine months pregnant, having postponed her caesarean or losing her right to vote.” Her Labour colleague Emma Reynolds said: “How many babies do we collectively have to have in...
14 January 2019
Gareth Jones

A Tory MP has quit the Government on the eve of the crucial Commons vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal after he branded it “detrimental” to the country.

Gareth Johnson quit as assistant government whip after just two months in the job so that he could join dozens of Tory MPs who have pledged to vote down the agreement. Mr Johnson, a former parliamentary aide to former Brexit Secretaries David Davis and Dominic Raab, said he could no longer “reconcile” his role of trying to persuade MPs to back the deal when he “cannot, in all conscience, support the Government’s position”. “I have prided myself on being a loyal Member of Parliament and I was very grateful to be given the opportunity by you last year to serve in the Government Whips’ Office,” he wrote in his resignation letter to the Prime Minister. “I am also proud of the many achievements of this Government but I believe it would be disrespectful to the referendum results of this agreement were to be implemented. “I have therefore decoded the time has come to place my loyalty to my country above my loyalty to the Government." He added that he had been “hopeful”...
14 January 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has been criticised for making claims about the “betrayal” of Brexit by the "deep state".

The ex-Foreign Secretary has been branded “irresponsible” for suggesting that MPs will “reap the whirlwind” if they use parliamentary process to try and halt Brexit. Speaking to LBC, Mr Johnson also hit out at MPs seeking to halt Brexit - and warned those seeking to overturn the referendum result that they were were “playing with fire.” He said: “I notice all this stuff about complicated jiggery-pokery for Parliament to frustrate the deal.” "I don’t think that really can be done. I think that we are really playing with fire." "If we think that by coming up with all kinds of complicated amendments and delaying tactics, we are going to fool the British public, we will manage to frustrate Brexit, I think we will reap the whirlwind." The Tory MP added: "I think that people will feel betrayed. And I think they will feel that there has been a great conspiracy by the deep state of the UK, the people who really run the country, to overturn the verdict of the people." The controversial...
14 January 2019
Theresa May

Theresa May was forced to axe part of her last-ditch Brexit plea after it was found that her voting record undermined a comparison she was due to make with the Welsh Assembly referendum.

The Prime Minister had to row back on her claim that “both sides” accepted the 1997 vote in favour of devolution - after it was revealed that she voted the move down when it came to Parliament the following year. In a further embarrassment for the PM, she was reminded that the Conservatives' 2005 general election manifesto pledged a new vote which would include the option to scrap the assembly entirely. The speech, at a pottery factory in Stoke-on-Trent, came just a day before the crucial Commons meaningful vote on her deal agreed with the EU. In an extract of her address released last night Mrs May was due to say: “When the people of Wales voted by a margin of 0.3%, on a turnout of just over 50%, to endorse the creation of the Welsh Assembly, that result was accepted by both sides and the popular legitimacy of that institution has never seriously been questioned." But after the blunder was widely reported, the PM ditched the latter section to say only that “the result was...
14 January 2019
John Bercow

John Bercow has been the great champion of progressive reform for the last decade. But the race to replace him is underway, writes Tony Grew

We have become used over the past few years to dealing with profound change. From the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, to the Brexit referendum and the shock result of the 2017 election, the unexpected has become the norm. Often the seeds of change germinate almost unnoticed. So it was on the first day back from the Christmas recess, when the Commons very nearly didn’t have time to debate the last piece of main business on the order paper. A change to standing orders is usually of interest only to the most hardcore procedure geeks, and the motion looked innocuous enough. Its appearance was deceptive. In fact, the change agreed by MPs after just over half an hour was one of the most significant in many years. It arose out of the recommendations of Dame Laura Cox’s report into harassment and bullying Commons staff, which the leader of the House Andrea Leadsom has pushed hard to implement. The Commons is self-governing. The monarch, the government, the House of Lords, the...
Tony Grew
14 January 2019
Theresa May

A letter from EU chiefs to Theresa May giving assurances the Irish backstop cannot be permanent does not go far enough to win over Tory rebels, Theresa May has admitted.

Speaking in Stoke ahead of tomorrow's crucial House of Commons vote on her deal, the Prime Minister said the measures outlined in the five-page document from Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk "do not go as far as some MPs would like". The letter insisted that neither the UK or EU want to enter the backstop, and that if they did it would only be "temporary". However, it stopped short of putting an end date on it or allowing the UK to leave it unilaterally, as had been demanded by eurosceptic Tories. Insisting she had won some concessions from Brussels since postponing the meaningful vote a month ago, Mrs May said: "The legal standing of the significant conclusion of the December Council has been confirmed. If the backstop were ever triggered it would only be temporary and both sides would do all they could to bring it to an end as quickly as possible. "The letters published today have legal force and must be used to interpret the meaning of the withdrawal agreement including in any...