Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

24 June 2019
Len McCluskey and Jeremy Corbyn

Labour splits on Brexit have erupted again after the partys biggest union backer warned Jeremy Corbyn not to back staying in the EU.

Howard Beckett, Unite's assistant general secretary, made the union's position clear during talks with the Labour leader on Monday. It is understood the union’s executive committee agreed on its Brexit position - which also includes opposition to a second referendum - at a meeting on Sunday. Mr Corbyn, who has called for a referendum on any Brexit deal passed by Parliament, met with the leaders of every trade union affiliated to Labour to canvas their views ahead of a crunch Shadow Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. CWU general secretary Dave Ward also made clear his union's opposition to Labour campaigning for Remain. But every other union, including Unison, the GMB and TSSA, urged Mr Corbyn to back staying in the EU.. A trade union source told PoliticsHome: “The CWU are resisting, but not to the same extent as Unite. "The Bakers’ Union and Aslef have come round to the view that a Remain position is where Labour needs to be. "The result of the European election has focused a lot of minds....
24 June 2019
Sajid Javid and Theresa May

Sajid Javid has ordered a review into Theresa May’s proposed £30,000 threshold for immigrants to qualify for a work visa after the UK leaves the EU.

The Home Secretary has asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to look again at the proposals after criticism that the figure for someone to be considered a skilled worker was too high. In a statement the Home Office said he has also asked them to consider whether there is any case for different salary thresholds in different areas, or if there are should be any exceptions. The aim would be to prevent shortages of skilled workers in certain sectors or UK regions, such as paramedics, lab technicians, chefs and junior doctors, who would fall below the £30,000 figure. Mr Javid has previously hinted he wanted to see the numbers revisited, pointing to the lower median salaries in Scotland, a country which relies more heavily than the rest of the UK on migrant workers. He has already dropped Mrs May’s target of 100,000 net migration a year, put in place when she was Home Secretary under David Cameron. And now he is heavily hinting he would like to see the proposals contained in...
24 June 2019
Theresa May and Boris Johnson

Theresa May has rubbished Boris Johnson's claim that the UK could continue tariff-free trade with the EU after a no-deal Brexit.

The Prime Minister insisted there could be no implementation period without the Commons approving a Withdrawal Agreement. Asked at a leadership hustings how he would ensure there was no hard border in Ireland after a no-deal Brexit, Mr Johnson said: "You solve the problem of free movement of goods across the Irish and Northern Irish and other borders to where they logically belong, and that is in the context of the free trade agreement that we’ll negotiate in the implementation period, after we’ve come out on 31 October." But the former Foreign Secretary has been criticised by a host of Cabinet ministers, who insisted tariffs were inevitable if the UK crashes out of the EU on Hallowe'en. They were backed by Mrs May, who told MPs: "If we leave without a deal, there is no Withdrawal Agreement and therefore no implementation period." But Priti...
24 June 2019
Lloyd Russell-Moyle

A Labour backbencher has risked a fresh anti-semitism row after he was criticised for inviting a leading figure from the Houthi movement to the Commons.

The Sun revealed that Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle will host Ahmed Alshami at a Stop the War Coalition meeting on Tuesday. The Houthis, backed by Iran, are on one side of the ongoing civil war in Yemen against the previous Yemeni government, backed by Saudi Arabia.  The Islamic rebel group’s slogan reads: “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam.” Mr Alshami is an international spokesman for the group, as well as an executive director of the controversial Arabian Rights Watch Association. Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, said: “It is utterly appalling that a Labour MP would host in Parliament the mouthpiece of a violent, Iranian-backed terror group which preaches hatred against Jews and the state of Israel. “In the fight against anti-semitism in the Labour party, there are only two sides and Lloyd Russell...
24 June 2019
Chris Davies

The Conservatives have re-selected Chris Davies to defend the seat he was ousted from following an expenses conviction.

The Welsh Tory was booted out of his Brecon and Radnorshire seat on Friday after over 10,000 of his constituents signed a recall petition to trigger a by-election. He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of making false expenses claims after he attempted to split a £700 cost between two budgets with fake invoices. But on Sunday, local party members confirmed they had re-selected Mr Davies to defend the seat which he won from the Lib Dems in 2015. Mr Davies, who was fined £1,500 and ordered to carry out 50 hours community service for the offence, said he was the "right choice" for the party. "I would like to thank members of my local association for supporting me, and putting their faith in me once again," he said. "I look forward to campaigning over the next few weeks and winning back this seat, so that I can continue to work hard for the...
24 June 2019
Union jack with EU stars - Brexit

Brexit was a kick against the establishment for many, says Labour's Clive Lewis. But he argues that the left cannot win by re-running the 2016 Remain campaign.

It’s been three years since we turned on the news to find out that Britain voted to leave the EU. Nigel Farage declared 'Independence Day' and the far right was triumphant, while millions of working people woke up worried about their future. Brexit was the product of a broken political system. For many, the vote to Leave was a kick against an establishment which has let them down and attacked their living standards. But the longer this mess goes on, the clearer it becomes that the Brexit many voted for will not be delivered. We’ve gone from Liam Fox promising the easiest deal “in human history” to looking for ways to avoid running out of medicines. Instead of giving the NHS £350 million a week, we might soon be selling chunks of it to American companies. EU nationals in the UK and Brits in Europe have spent years in limbo, without having their rights guaranteed. Factories are closing, jobs are leaving and hate crime, unleashed by the Leave campaign, has continued to rise. But...
24 June 2019
John McDonnell

Expect “white smoke” from Labour on a second referendum on Tuesday, John McDonnell has said, as the Shadow Cabinet meets to thrash out the party’s Brexit policy.

The Shadow Chancellor told an audience in the City to “watch this space” when it was suggested Jeremy Corbyn might finally be willing to back another vote on EU membership in all circumstances. The Labour leader is in talks with trade union leaders on Monday ahead of the meeting of his senior team, and Mr McDonnell said he expected "a more definitive position will emerge” from the gathering. Speaking at an event host by UK Finance, Mr McDonnell repeated his view that it was now “right time to go back to the people" - and he confirmed that he would campaign for Remain in another referendum. The Shadow Chancellor is among senior Labour figures pushing for Mr Corbyn to move the party’s official stance on from the one agreed to at last year’s annual conference, which is to first try and secure a general election or a satisfactory Brexit deal before a public vote. But Mr Corbyn has so far resisted making Labour's position explicit, with a number of his MPs representing Leave-backing...
24 June 2019
Ken Clarke

Conservative grandee Ken Clarke has said he would vote to bring down the next Prime Minister rather than allow a no-deal Brexit to go ahead - as a Government minister claimed “a dozen” Tory MPs could do the same.

The former Chancellor said he would not be willing to back a Tory leader pushing a policy that is "totally incompatible with everything the Conservative party has stood for" over decades. Mr Clarke also made clear that he would be willing to usher in a government led by Jeremy Corbyn in order to thwart a no-deal Brexit. Conservative leadership frontrunner Boris Johnson on Monday doubled down on his pledge to take Britain out of the European Union on 31 October, insisting he would “not bottle it”. He has previously made clear that he would be prepared to do so with or without a deal. But, asked whether he could support a vote of no-confidence in a PM pushing a no-deal, Mr Clarke told the BBC's The World at One: “If it’s heading for a no-deal simply because the government can’t go round doing anything then, yes, I think I would." Pressed on whether he could back a Labour-led bid to bring down the Government, the Tory grandee said: “It depends on the circumstances at the time and [...
24 June 2019
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt

Boris Johnson has been dubbed a "bottler" by Jeremy Hunt after Sky News was forced to cancel a live TV debate between the pair.

The broadcaster had been planning to broadcast the head-to-head on Tuesday night - but Mr Johnson has refused to take part. In a statement, they said: "We stand ready to host a debate tomorrow evening if both candidates make themselves available. "Without both candidates, tomorrow's debate will not take place." Sky said they would then reissue their invitations and aim to hold the debate next Monday instead. A spokesman for Mr Hunt said: "Whoever wants to be Prime Minister must face up now to the intense scrutiny that comes with the job, anything less is deeply disrespectful to our members. "Trying to duck debates and run down the clock until after postal ballots have been returned is just cynical and complacent. Boris Johnson must stop trying to slink into Number 10 through the back door and come clean about his programme for Government." A source close to Mr Hunt added: "Bottler Boris and his complacent campaign have shown they can't trust their candidate to turn up and perform."...
24 June 2019
John Prescott

Former deputy Prime Minister John Precott has been taken to hospital after a stroke.

The Labour peer was rushed to hospital in Hull on Friday after suffering from a stroke, his family said. In a statement, they said the 81-year-old had been receiving "excellent care" from the stroke unit. "John was taken to hospital last Friday after suffering a stroke," the Prescott family said. "We would like to praise the swift actions of the ambulance staff and the doctors and nurses at Hull Royal INfirmary's A&E and stroke unit. They have been remarkable and we cannot thank them enough. "He is receiving excellent care from the NHS but we would respectfully request at this time that John and our family are given the privacy we need so that he can have the time and space to make a full recovery." Lord Prescott served as deputy Prime Minister to Tony Blair for between 1997-2007, and was Labour MP for Hull East from 1970 until his retirement from the Commons in 2010. MPs have been quick to send their well-wishes to the Labour peer. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said: "My...