Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

21 February 2019
Mims Davies is a minister in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

“Sport is everything,” according to Mims Davies. The new DCMS minister talks to Sebastian Whale about the power of sport to change lives and tackle discrimination

There must be something in the water at DCMS. Picking up from her popular predecessor, Mims Davies possesses an unwavering enthusiasm for her brief. She appears to still be in shock at being appointed the minister for sport and civil society. “Can’t believe it’s me,” she says with a grin from ear to ear. The Eastleigh MP, who joined parliament in 2015, also dabbles in sports herself. A keen runner, she has completed two marathons and is due to add to her many half marathons in Brighton later in the week. How is training going? “Not very good,” she replies, laughing. “But the Eastleigh 10km in March is looking a little easier.” Ministerial life means she doesn’t get to put on her running shoes as often as she’d like. “When I first came here and I was a backbencher, I had two runs a week guaranteed in my diary. I made sure I got out into the parks twice a week. It’s a little bit harder when you’re at the ministerial level. And it’s easy as a woman actually to put it back. I need to...
21 February 2019
Sir David Natzler is stepping down as Clerk of the House of Commons on 1st March

After more than five decades working in Parliament, and four and a half years as Clerk of the Commons, Sir David Natzler retires next week. His tenure ends at a time of upheaval for the House, as traditional party ties fray, debate rages over the relationship between government and the backbenches, and as the authorities grapple with a bullying and harassment scandal.
He sits down with Sebastian Whale

How should one approach the role of Clerk of the House of Commons? Sir David Natzler, the 50th person to have held the position, considers the question. “Very carefully,” he replies. To reach Natzler’s office in the heart of Parliament is to undertake a sort of political pilgrimage. We navigate the atmospheric corridors of the Palace of Westminster’s inner depths, passing the back of Speaker’s chair, the Commons Library and the parliamentary hangout of the Prime Minister. Eventually, we arrive at a large wooden door that feeds through to a double room. There, Natzler, still wearing his white bow tie that comprises part of his Commons garb, welcomes us into his private workspace like expected friends, before making himself a little more business casual. On the walls are portraits of his predecessors in all their wigged glory (now a thing of the past). His bookshelves are packed with volumes on Commons procedure. After 43 years of service in Parliament, you might think they would be...
21 February 2019
Sir David Natzler is stepping down as Clerk of the House of Commons on March 1st

Sir David Natzler has defended Speaker John Bercow against accusations of bullying, arguing “you can’t believe everything you read in the newspapers”.

The outgoing clerk of the House of Commons said Parliament is not a “benign environment” and claimed that “it doesn’t mean you have been a bully” if someone alleges that you are. John Bercow faced accusations of bullying two former private secretaries in a BBC Newsnight investigation into the culture of the Commons. He denies the allegations. In an interview with The House magazine, Mr Natzler argued officials would have become aware of accusations of bullying and harassment internally, arguing: “We didn’t actually need the Newsnight programme”. Mr Natzler also referenced Jimmy Savile in highlighting the BBC’s own record on internal misconduct. An inquiry was launched by the Commons following Newsnight’s investigation. In October, the inquiry, led by High Court judge Dame Laura Cox, concluded that “a culture… of deference, subservience,...
21 February 2019
Mims Davies is a minister in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Sixteen and 17-year-olds will be banned from purchasing scratch cards under fresh plans being considered by the Government.

In an interview with The House magazine, Sports Minister Mims Davies said she wants to take action to ensure that gambling does not start until 18. “Buying scratch cards at lotteries, 16- and 17-year-olds. I would like to act there. I’d be hopeful to do that soon,” she told The House. When asked if she was planning to outlaw the sale of scratch cards to 16- and 17-year-olds, she replied: “Yes. We need to be very clear that gambling starts at 18. We are very clear that where people are connected to their communities and they want to support causes in appropriate ways – it’s not to stop people from having fun, but it’s also to protect those most vulnerable people. That’s where the Government needs to step in.” An audit by the Gambling Commission last year found the number of people aged 11-16 addicted to gambling has reached 55,000,...
21 February 2019
Scores of ex-MPs had to return to Westminster last week to clear out their offices

PoliticsHome's by-election breakdown is back in business. Join us every week as we give you the run down on who's in, who's out, who's lost the plot.

There is plenty of discussion about whether MPs who have this week resigned their party membership should submit themselves to by-elections but we are here to give you the inside scoop on the only upcoming contests that matter. Niche local by-elections. There have been nine ballot blockbusters so far in 2019 with three seats changing hands. These were a gain by ‘Aspire’ from Labour in Tower Hamlets, a Labour gain from an independent in Buckinghamshire and a Liberal Democrat gain from Labour in Bradford. We take a look ahead at this weeks' round of contests. CARDIFF UA; Ely (Lab died, 4 candidates: Con, Plaid, Lab, LD) 2017: Lab 1472, 1380, 1269; PC 786, 745, 622; Con 509, 507; LD 267, 97, 84; TUSC 64 2012: Lab 1597, 1481, 1468; PC 791, 776, 767; Con 237, 236, 230; Grn 115; LD 95, 83, 75 We are off to Cardiff for the first by-election of the week following the death of Labour councillor Jim Murphy. The 72-year-old former steelworker had represented the Ely ward since 2012. And...
21 February 2019
Theresa May

Theresa May has insisted the Conservative party is not "warped" like Labour after three MPs who dramatically resigned the whip argued it had shifted to the right.

The self-styled “three amigos” Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston left the Tories on Wednesday morning to join the eight Labour MPs in the centrist Independent Group that was launched on Monday. In a letter to the Prime Minister announcing their decision, the Remain-supporting trio said they could not stay in a party whose policies were “so firmly in the grip” of the right-wing European Research Group and the DUP. They added that Brexit had redefined and undone “all the efforts to modernise” the Conservative party, and blasted the “dismal failure” of the leadership to stand up to pro-Brexit hardliners. And they said the party had been hit by “blatant entryism” from the right, akin to a “purple Momentum” – in reference to the pro-Jeremy Corbyn campaign associated with Labour. But in a response letter today, Mrs May fired back: "I do not accept the picture you paint of our party." She added that the Tory record in government "shows...
21 February 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has said that Sajid Javid’s decision to remove Islamic State schoolgirl Shamima Begum of her UK citizenship is “extreme” and that she needs “support”.

The Labour leader said the 19-year-old, who fled London for Syria in 2015 to join the terror group, should be able to return to Britain to face questioning. The Home Secretary was accused of bolstering his "leadership ambitions" by making the ruling which effectively bans Begum from re-entering the UK, where she has asked to return following the birth of her newborn baby. Under international law, governments cannot make a person stateless if they are a citizens of a single country. It was thought that Begum’s Bangladeshi heritage would mean she could claim nationality of the South Asian country, however officials there have since said she would not be allowed to enter the state. Speaking on a visit to Brussels, Mr Corbyn told ITV News the teenager “obviously” had a right to return to Britain. "She was born in Britain, she has that right to remain in Britain and obviously a lot of questions she has to answer but also some support that she needs," he said. "On that return she...
21 February 2019

The high street is dying but not yet dead and can still be revived and reimagined, says the Federation of Master Builder (FMB) in response to a new report by a Committee of MPs.

Responding to the ‘High streets and town centres 2030’ report published today by the Select Committee for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “I’m really encouraged with the visionary approach this report has taken, as it looks at how we need to fundamentally reimagine the ways that we regenerate our high streets in order to adapt to the challenges of modern life. Central to breathing new life into our high street is converting empty or underused spaces above shops into new homes. These kind of homes would be ideal for young families and professionals, and would benefit the high street through increased footfall to the ‘activity-based community gathering places’ which the report wants us to aspire to. The FMB report ‘Homes on...
21 February 2019

Calor Gas is concerned that the Committee on Climate Change is over-reaching its advisory role by attempting to dictate the technology British house builders and home owners should have to use in future new housing. 

The CCC is completely right to raise its concerns about the perceived lack of progress on reducing carbon emissions from heat, but some of its recommendations betray a lack of understanding and or vision about the low carbon solutions which could be used. Calor does more than three quarters of its business supplying LPG to businesses and homes in the countryside which aren’t connected to the gas grid, so we are focused on bringing forward cost effective low carbon solutions to deliver the reduction in carbon emissions necessary to reach the UK’s legally binding carbon targets. This is why we launched bioLPG onto the British market last year and we have already supplied enough bioLPG to meet the equivalent of 20% of our domestic central heating demand. We have also started to take bioLPG from a second supply source with more expected by the end of this year. It is our target to be only supplying renewable sourced energy products by 2040, so we are planning a future without the need...
21 February 2019

The Government has released its housing delivery test results, which shows that a third of local authorities are failing to address the housing crisis.

The results show that 108 local authorities delivered fewer than 95% of the homes they need. This means that they must set out action plans to explain why they missed their targets and how they will address that. In addition, 87 of these local authorities failed to deliver 85% of the homes they need and will therefore be subject to a buffer, which requires them to add 20% more homes to their five year land supply. No area delivered fewer than 25% of their housing need, which means none will face the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ penalty. However, the presumption penalty threshold will increase to 45% from November 2019 and to 65% in November 2020. If the Government had not given areas three years to meet the 65% threshold, 32 local authorities would have been subject to the penalty. The National Federation of Builders (NFB) recognises the challenges local planning authorities face in meeting the demand for housing, but remains concerned that so many councils...