Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

24 August 2019

Boris Johnson is expected to tell US president Donald Trump the NHS would not be “on the table” in any post-Brexit trade deal. 

The two world leaders will meet for the first time since Mr Johnson became PM at the G7 summit in Biarritz, in France, on Sunday.  Mr Johnson is seeking a trade deal with the US “as quickly as possible” but is expected to tell the President neither the health service nor animal welfare standards are up for negotiation.  According to the Telegraph, British government sources believe the US is deliberately “playing up” the potential trade deal to assist the UK in its crunch talks with Brussels.  Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Johnson insisted Britain would not “retreat” from international affairs after leaving the EU.  “Britain will never flinch from the special responsibilities that go with being a pillar and an architect of the international system,” he said.  “Some people question the democratic decision this country has made, fearing we will retreat from the world. Some think Britain’s best days are behind us. To those people I say: You are gravely...
24 August 2019

Heidi Allen, the independent MP and former leader of breakaway party Change UK, has called on at least 20 Tory MPs to help block a no-deal Brexit.

Ms Allen, a Tory MP until earlier this year, has asked former colleagues to either resign the party whip or stand for a pro-EU party, according to the Daily Telegraph.  In a letter to the MPs, she wrote: “Time is against us so if you would like to consider joining our Remain Alliance please contact me urgently to discuss. Tuesday 27th August is our deadline. “After that date we will be making final plans on seat targets and resources and may have to make certain assumptions as to your seat. If you would like us to help with seat logistics and party registration, we would be very happy to help. “We do not doubt your commitment to the causes of just debate, integrity in public life and the preservation of the United Kingdom.”  Ms Allen’s letter is also understood to make reference to Britain being in “dangerous waters”, calling on her former...
24 August 2019

Boris Johnson has warned senior members of the government against bullying, leaking and and doing anything to frustrate the Brexit process, in a new edition of the ministerial code of conduct.

In a foreword to the code of conduct, published on Friday, Mr Johnson said his Cabinet would “uphold the very highest standards of propriety”.  He added: “There must be no bullying and no harassment; no leaking; no breach of collective responsibility. No misuse of taxpayer money and no actual or perceived conflicts of interest.” Mr Johnson also banned any “misuse of process or procedure by any individual minister that would seek to stall the collective decisions necessary to deliver Brexit and secure the wider changes needed across our United Kingdom”.   The declaration comes after Mr Johnson welcomed a number of ministers sacked by Theresa May, including Gavin Williamson and Priti Patel, back into the fold.  Mr Johnson banished perceived pro-Remain forces still within Cabinet, such as Philip Hammond and David Gauke, to the backbenches when installing his own administration in June.  He also dropped an investigation into Mark Field, the Tory MP who was caught...
24 August 2019

Priti Patel has attacked Sadiq Khan’s attempts to combat crime in London, alluding to claims the Mayor of London has doubled his public relations budget. 

In a letter to Mr Khan, the Home Secretary demanded assurances he was “putting as much resource as you possibly can into the Metropolitan Police Service”, the Evening Standard reported. Ms Patel also alluded to allegations the Mayor’s PR budget had climbed from £1.3m to £2.5m.  She has refused to confirm how many extra police London will get under new Downing Street plans, while Mr Khan has demanded at least an additional 5,000 officers.  Ms Patel wrote: “Londoners must be confident their Police and Crime Commissioner is doing everything in his power to put an end to this senseless violence.  “I want to see what robust plans you have in place to reduce violent crime in the capital. I understand there have been 90 homicides so far this year. That is 90 too many.”  A spokesman for the Mayor...
24 August 2019

The British government is set to hold talks with France after 64 people attempted to enter the UK via the English Channel. 

Home secretary Priti Patel is set to raise the issue with her French counterpart after five boats were intercepted off the Kent coast, before another landed on a Sussex beach.  A Home Office spokesman said those crossing the Channel in this way were taking a “huge risk” and warned the criminal gangs who perpetuate this activity “do not care about loss of life”.  “We continue to monitor the ongoing situation and are working closely at all levels with French authorities on the issue." "The home secretary will raise this issue with her French counterpart in the coming days." The news came as PM Boris Johnson warned migrants attempting to enter the UK illegally they would be sent back.    He said: "The UK should not be regarded as a place where you could automatically come and break the law by seeking to arrive illegally." "Clearly the most important thing is to stop them coming across from France so we are working very closely with the French authorities. “The...
23 August 2019
Jared O'Mara

Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara has been arrested on suspicion of fraud, according to reports.

The former Labour MP’s constituency office was raided by Police last Friday, where they confiscated documents and computers, the Daily Mirror claims. Mr O’Mara’s office manager Gareth Arnold was also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud. Both men were released the following evening pending further investigation. The paper adds that concerns were raised about Parliamentary expense claims made by the MP. South Yorkshire Police has declined to comment. The Mirror also reports that Mr O’Mara has submitted the necessary paperwork to resign as an MP, and has dated it for when Parliament returns from recess in early September. The 37-year-old, who won the seat from former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in 2017, said in late July that he was no longer "in a fit state" to continue the post. "Let everyone be assured I will be tendering my resignation via the official...
23 August 2019
Department for International Trade

Trade minister Conor Burns has been slammed for "cosying up" to the Brazilian government amid growing criticism of the country's response to the Amazon wildfires.

Shadow Trade Minister Barry Gardiner said his opponent had failed to raise concerns about the regime's reaction to fires engulfing swathes of rainforest because he was "posing for pictures" with officials. During an official visit to the country on Wednesday, Mr Burns described Deputy Economy Minister Marcos Troyjo as "superb" after the pair met to discuss "expanding trade and investment partnerships". And in a further post on Twitter, Mr Burns shared pictures of himself drinking champagne with Brazilian officials after signing a new deal to "facilitate ease of business" between the two countries. But Mr Gardiner hit out at the trade visit, saying: “While Bolsonaro lets agribusinesses burn the Amazon, this week a UK government minister has been busy cosying up to the Brazilian president’s officials. “Instead of posing for photographs with far-right Brazilian politicians, ministers should be calling on Brazil to do everything they can to protect the rainforest. “The...
23 August 2019
Amazon rainforest

Together, the world can , but it requires the courage and global leadership to do so. Our Prime Minister should step up before it is too late. says Chuka Umunna MP.

“Our house is burning.”  These are the words of Emmanuel Macron to describe the devastating wildfires that have been burning in the Amazon rainforest. Official estimates suggest there have been over 2,500 raging in the last 48 hours, and 7,746 fires in the 5 days to Wednesday. The rainforest covers 5.5 million square kilometres, a larger land area than covered by the European Union, and are known as “the world’s lungs”. They provide over 20% of the planet’s oxygen supply, and are a vital carbon store which helps to slow the pace of global warming.  These fires are not just a one time crisis either, figures from the National Institute for Space Research show an 85% increase in wildfires in Brazil this year, most of them in the Amazon. Last month alone, there was a 278% rise in deforestation in the area. Conservationists have blamed the increase on the far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land in the Amazon for...
23 August 2019
Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has warned voters “not to hold their breath” on a Brexit breakthrough as he said reaching an agreement with the EU would “not be easy”.

The Prime Minister said that while the “mood music” was “very good” on his visits this week to Berlin and Paris, people “shouldn’t necessarily get their hopes up too soon”. It comes a day after Mr Johnson returned to London fresh from talks aimed at convincing EU leaders to remove the Irish backstop from the existing agreement. German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave the PM a 30-day countdown to come up with a replacement for the mechanism – which ensures an open border in Ireland after Britain quits the EU – or face a no-deal Brexit. Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron said the backstop was "indispensable", although the two sides may be able to "find something smart within 30 days if there is goodwill on both sides". Speaking in Devon, Mr Johnson added that both leaders  “could see that we want a deal, they can see the problems with the backstop”. “Clearly Angela Merkel thinks that the solutions can be found within 30 days - actually what she meant...
23 August 2019
Amazon wildfire

Boris Johnson has he said is “deeply concerned” by the fires ravaging the Amazon as he called for international action to protect the world's rainforests.

The Prime Minister’s intervention comes ahead of a crunch G7 summit in France this weekend, where world leaders will face renewed calls to tackle the climate crisis. Labour meanwhile has urged Mr Johnson to confront Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over the destruction, following strong international criticism over the Brazilian President’s response to the fires. A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister is deeply concerned by the increase in fires in the Amazon rainforest and the impact of the tragic loss of these precious habitats." “The effect of these fires will be felt around the world which is why we need international action to protect the world’s rainforests. “The UK will continue to support projects in Brazil to do this, and the Prime Minister will use the G7 to call for a renewed focus on protecting nature and tackling climate change together.” Shadow Cabinet frontbenchers Emily Thornberry, Rebecca Long Bailey, Sue Hayman, Barry Gardiner have written to...