Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

15 September 2019
UK and EU flags - Brexit

The "entire machinery of government" is now focused on Britain striking a Brexit deal with the European Union, Cabinet minister Priti Patel has declared.

Boris Johnson has previously said Britain will leave the EU "do or die" on 31 October, and has pumped billions into Whitehall's preparations for a no-deal outcome. But the Home Secretary insisted the Prime Minister is now focused on striking an agreement with the European Union, as he prepares to head to Brussels for talks with EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. She told the BBC's Andrew Marr: "The Prime Minister is fully committed to getting a deal.  "And I... hope the whole country has heard, certainly through what we've seen in Parliament over the last few weeks, that sheer commitment and determination to ensure that we leave on 31 October and also that the entire machinery of government...
15 September 2019
Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan

Labour is a "party of Remain" that should back staying in the EU in any second referendum, according to Sadiq Khan.

The London mayor waded into the party's battle over its Brexit position as he also told the BBC's Andrew Marr that he personally backed "removing" Article 50. Jeremy Corbyn has already committed Labour to holding a referendum on any Brexit deal agreed by the Commons, with the option of staying in the bloc on the ballot paper. But the party has not spelled out whether its election manifesto will contain a pledge to campaign for Remain in all circumstances, with fierce debate on the issue expected at this month's party conference in Manchester. A string of frontbenchers including Emily Thornberry, Tom Watson and John McDonnell have already made clear that they would campaign to Remain if a fresh public vote was called. Joining those ranks, Mr Khan said: "I'm quite clear: we're a Remain party."  And he added: "I think a negotiation with the...
15 September 2019
Priti Patel

Priti Patel has brushed off a stinging attack on her and her Brexiteer colleagues from David Cameron.

The Home Secretary said the Tories had "moved on" as she declared: "There is no point going over the past."  Ms Patel is one of several leading Leave campaigners to come in for criticism in the former prime minister's memoirs, which are being serialised in The Sunday Times. Mr Cameron accuses the Brexit campaign - fronted by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove - of behaving "appallingly", and claims the current occupant of Number 10 only backed Brexit "because it would help his political career". But the former PM says it was the behaviour of Ms Patel, who was an...
15 September 2019
Boris Johnson and David Cameron

Boris Johnson only backed Brexit to "help his political career", David Cameron has declared.

The former prime minister launched the scathing attack on Number 10's current occupant as he accused Leave campaigners of "lying" to the public in order to win the 2016 EU referendum.  And he tore into his one-time political ally Michael Gove for becoming a "foam-flecked Faragist" during the campaign. The withering verdict on the pair is contained in Mr Cameron's memoirs, which are being serialised by The Sunday Times. Mr Cameron quit as prime minister in 2016 in the immediate aftermath of Britain's vote to leave the EU, and has so far avoided publicly commenting on either of his successors' stints at Number 10. But the former Tory leader claims Mr Johnson considered only "what was the best outcome for him" as he weighed up whether or not to back Brexit. "Whichever senior Tory politician took the lead on the Brexit side — so loaded with images of patriotism, independence...
15 September 2019
Sam Gyimah

Former Conservative minister Sam Gyimah has defected to the Liberal Democrats as he blasted Boris Johnson for “veering towards populism and English nationalism”.

In a blow for the Prime Minister, the People’s Vote-backing MP was revealed as the second Tory switcher to the Lib Dems at the party’s autumn conference in Bournemouth on Saturday. Mr Gyimah, one of the 21 Tory rebels kicked out of the party for voting against the Government to block no-deal on 31 October, told The Observer that centrists were being “cast out of both main parties.” The East Surrey MP said: “I listen to ministers undermining the courts. Ministers questioning experts because their views are inconvenient for what the government is saying about no deal. “You have a government that says law enforcement is the centrepiece of its platform, and yet says in another breath that it will pick and choose what laws it chooses to respect. “This is in many ways undermining key pillars of our constitution and the...
15 September 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has insisted that Britain will break out of its EU "manacles" on 31 October as he compared its plight to the Incredible Hulk ahead of a trip to Brussels.

The Prime Minister told the Mail on Sunday that, like the green-skinned comic book alter-ego of Bruce Banner, the country would "explode out of" its restraints, despite MPs moving to block a no-deal Brexit. The comments come ahead of face-to-face talks with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday. Striking a defiant tone after Parliament passed legislation requiring him to delay Brexit if no deal is reached by mid-October, the Prime Minister declared: "The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets." And he said: "Banner might be bound in manacles, but when provoked he would explode out of them. Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be – and that is the case for this country. We will come out on October 31 and we will get it done." Ahead of the meeting with Mr Juncker, the Prime Minister said "very...
15 September 2019

Boris Johnson is set to vow that "life means life" for killers of young children, as Downing Street makes a fresh domestic policy push after weeks of Brexit drama.

The Telegraph reports that Number 10 will use the ongoing prorogation of Parliament to outline a string of hardline criminal justice policies, including a dramatic ramping up of minimum tariffs for violent offences. The push comes in spite of Mr Johnson losing his Commons majority after a string of Conservative sackings and defections, and ahead of a widely-expected general election before the end of the year. The Prime Minister will reportedly use the Queen's Speech to annonounce a new Sentencing Bill as well as a batch of statutory instruments - which do not usually require a Commons vote - to make his plans law. A Government source told The Telegraph: “Most people think all parties and the courts have lost the plot on sentencing. We agree with the public. “We will act as quickly and aggressively as we can, given Parliament does not want to do what the...
15 September 2019
Nicky Morgan

Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan has admitted she would vote to remain in the European Union if a second referendum took place.

The cabinet minister told the BBC she would repeat her choice from the 2016 poll "if it came to it" - although she stressed that she did not personally back a second referendum being called. The comments come despite serving under Boris Johnson, who has promised to leave the EU “do or die” on 31 October. Speaking to Sky News, Ms Morgan said “I don't support having a second referendum, I think the way that we traditionally resolve impasses in this country like this would be to have a general election, although parliament has now twice said in recent days it doesn't want to have a general election. "I think a second referendum would just create more division and more uncertainty. "If it came to it... I would vote to remain but I think the most important thing is not having a second referendum, it is implementing the result of the first referendum in 2016." Asked why she was serving under the arch-Brexiteer Prime Minister, the Loughborough MP said: “Because I’m also a...
14 September 2019
Boris Johnson

Downing Street has further played down the possibility of an early breakthrough in Brexit talks ahead of Boris Johnson’s meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday.

They also claimed that there were no plans to publish the proposals which Johnson will be presenting to the EU, according to The Guardian. Their caution comes despite speculation that a deal could be reached over the Irish backstop. By not publishing the proposals, the prime minister also seeks to avoid Theresa May’s experience of having her proposed Brexit deals publicly shot down by her party. Number 10 reportedly believes there is little chance of compromise during the European council summit on October 17. A Downing Street source told The Guardian: “There’s no way they’re going to move yet – it’s going to be the 17th before we get any flash of light: but [Jeremy] Corbyn and his surrender bill has significantly diminished the chance of getting a deal.” One potential compromise on the Irish backstop is to allow customs and other checks to take place away from the...
14 September 2019

The Conservatives have been accused of running “misleading” adverts on Facebook after appearing to manipulate a BBC article on Boris Johnson’s education policy.

The advert, paid for by the party, featured a link to a BBC article on school funding, displaying the headline as “£14 billion pound cash boost for schools”. The original headline, however, read: “School spending: Multi-billion pound cash boost announced”. The adverts were also accompanied by variations of the same text, which claimed the party was “levelling up per pupil funding across the country.” According to Full Fact, variations of the advert had been viewed over 510,000 times in total in the last 10 days. They wrote: "While it’s not technically inaccurate, it may well be misleading—because this isn’t how people normally talk about spending increases, it makes the figure seem comparatively much larger than it really is." The Conservative Party ran the advert with the claim several times between September 2 and September 9. BBC journalist Sean Coughlan shared an image of the advert on Twitter.  This is the Conservative advert on Facebook on school...