Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

19 May 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Labour's pledge to end free movement of people after Brexit would be "open for negotiation" if the party took charge of negotiations, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

The ability to live and work freely between European Union member states is a key principle of the bloc, and Labour's 2017 election manifesto said: "Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union." But the Labour leader told the BBC's Andrew Marr show that any Brexit negotiations led by his party would seek to recognise the need for "a great deal of movement of workers" in sectors including agriculture and education. Asked whether his party was "staunchly against" EU free movement, Mr Corbyn said: "Our manifesto said that the European system would obviously not apply if you're not in the European Union. "But I quite clearly recognise there has to be a lot of movement of workers... Ask any company in manufacturing or any other sector how much they need and rely on workers from Europe and indeed the other way around." And he added: "It would be open for negotiation, the level of movement of people between Europe and this country if we were a non-member of the EU."...
19 May 2019
Gerard Batten

Ukip leader Gerard Batten has said place as leader would become "untenable" if he loses his seat in the European elections.

The Ukip boss said he was waiting to see the outcome of the EU-wide vote before deciding on his future with the party, but admitted it would difficult to stay on as leader if he lost his London MEP seat. Speaking to Sky's Sophie Ridge, Mr Batten dismissed recent polling showing support for his party sitting on 3% saying: "The poll I will believe will be the one on Thursday". Instead, he said backing for Nigel Farage's Brexit Party - which is currently leading the polls - was being "bigged up" because the group did not present a "domestic threat" after the European elections. He added: "Much of this is designed to be a self-fufilling prophecy. I don't actually believe the polls." But he admitted that his own tenure as leader could be at risk if he fails to retain his seat later this week. "I think if I lost my seat in London it would be untenable for me to continue as leader. "But I won't make a decision on what I am going to do until after the European elections," he said. "I...
19 May 2019
Amber Rudd

A new group of pro-Remain Conservatives is set to try and block any Tory leadership candidate who backs a no-deal Brexit, it has emerged.

The One Nation Caucus, which is being spearheaded by Cabinet minister Amber Rudd, will reportedly issue a manifesto-style "declaration of values" on Monday that it hopes will shape the election of a new Tory leader once Theresa May steps down. According to the Sunday Telegraph, the new group will take aim at Conservative leadership hopefuls, including Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, who back a no-deal exit from the European Union, a move which is also being touted by the new Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage. A source told the paper that the new 60-strong Conservative caucus would work to "stop any leadership candidate who endorses a 'Nigel Farage no-deal Brexit' which would damage the economy and make it harder to release public funds". Ms Rudd, one of those in Cabinet being talked up as a potential leadership contender, meanwhile warned that the "old...
19 May 2019
Geoffrey Robinson

A Labour MP has fiercely denied allegations he was involved with Czechoslovakian security services during the 1960s.

One of the party's most senior politicians, Geoffrey Robinson, said claims he passed confidential information to communist agents during the height of the Cold War were a "lie". According to leaked intelligence documents seen by the Mail on Sunday, it is alleged that Mr Robinson passed 87 pieces of intelligence about the UK's nuclear deterrent to a Czeckoslovakian spymaster in the years before he became an MP. The documents allegedly claim Mr Robinson described himself as a "Leninist" and that he was one of Czechoslovakia's "most productive sources" in the UK between 1966 and 1969. The paper adds the information handed over by Mr Robinson during 51 meetings with a Czecholslovakian handler included leaked Nato briefing documents, and details about the UK's polaris missile programme. The Labour grandee, who has been the MP for...
19 May 2019
Michael Heseltine

Tory heavyweight Lord Heseltine has vowed to vote against the Conservatives in the European elections over their stance on Brexit.

The former deputy Prime Minister said he would be voting against the Conservatives for the first time because of the "poison" of Brexit, and revealed that he will instead vote for the Liberal Democrats. Lord Heseltine, who has been a vocal advocate for a so-called 'People's Vote' on the issue, endorsed the pro-Remain party as he blamed the Tories for becoming "infected with the virus of extremism". Writing in The Sunday Times, the former deputy prime minister added: "The reason for my experiment with the Lib Dems is, of course, the Government's position on Brexit. "I cannot, with a clear conscience, vote for my party when it is myopically focused on forcing through the biggest act of economic self-harm ever undertaken by a democratic government." But he refused to countenance quitting the party, adding: "I have no intention of being forced...
19 May 2019

Theresa May has been accused of a "betrayal" of Northern Ireland veterans as a leaked memo suggested she personally intervened to stop ministers drawing up a new law to shield them from prosecutions.

Tory MP Johnny Mercer said a private letter sent on the Prime Minister's behalf - obtained by the Sunday Telegraph - "turns my stomach". The document, reportedly drawn up by Mrs May's assistant private secretary, says a government consultation aimed at addressing unsolved murders during the decades-long conflict in Ulster "should not contain" a statute of limitations curbing prosecutions of ex-service personnel. According to the Sunday Telegraph, it also says veterans should be offered "equal, rather than preferential, treatment" relative to other groups covered by the plan to investigate historical killings. Mr Mercer, who has already announced that he will not vote with the Government in protest at the plan, said: "This equivocation with those who got up in the morning specifically to murder innocent civilians turns my stomach." And...
19 May 2019
Theresa May

Theresa May has promised to make MPs a "bold offer" in a last-ditch effort to get them to back her Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister said she would "not be simply asking MPs to think again" about the same deal they have rejected three times when the Withdrawal Agreement Bill comes up for a vote next month. The pledge comes in spite of Labour pulling the plug on long-running talks with the Government aimed at thrashing out changes to the Brexit deal. Writing in the Sunday Times, Mrs May defended the ill-fated discussions with Jeremy Corbyn, saying she had done the "serious thing" and insisting that the Government now had "a much clearer understanding of what it will take to get a deal over the line". She said the two sides had been "able to find common ground" on a host of issues including "on rights and protections for workers...
19 May 2019
Sir Lindsay Hoyle has been the member of parliament for Chorley since 1997

Lindsay Hoyle has spent his entire political career fighting marginal seats in tight elections. As thoughts turn to who could replace John Bercow in the Chair, the deputy speaker is keen not to jump the gun. But is the Labour MP mulling a bid for one of the highest-profile jobs in British politics? He talks to Sebastian Whale

In 1964, at the tender age of seven, Lindsay Hoyle drudged the long drives and farms of the Ribble Valley to deliver leaflets for his father, Doug, who was trying to become an MP. Not only was this his earliest exposure to campaigning, it was also his first experience of “child labour”, he tells me in his broad Lancashire accent. It was another ten years before Doug Hoyle would enter parliament. His Commons career came to an end in 1997, by which point his son – then a 17-year veteran of Chorley council – was preparing to begin his. Rather than inherit his father’s safe seat of Warrington North, Hoyle wanted to prove himself. “You’re always living in somebody else’s shoes if you’re not careful and what you have to do is step out of it and make your own name for yourself,” he says. Few would dispute that Hoyle has gone on to stake his own reputation in parliament. Well-liked across the House as an able and effective deputy speaker, the Bolton lad has accumulated many admirers. A...
19 May 2019
Sir Edward Leigh has served as MP for Gainsborough since 1983

Sir Edward Leigh will start as an outsider in the race to succeed John Bercow as Speaker. The unapologetic Thatcherite has enjoyed a varied 36-year career in the Commons. Standing on a platform to take the Speakership back to its traditional roots, does he have a shot at entering the Chair? He talks to Sebastian Whale

In the early hours of 22 November 1990, Sir Edward Leigh had a dawning realisation. The Cabinet was preparing to “knife” Margaret Thatcher. He headed to Downing Street with fellow Tory MP Michael Brown to plead with the then prime minister not to resign. She did so later that day. Leigh decided to pay another beleaguered prime minister a similar visit three weeks ago. He “begged” Theresa May to stay on, believing a change of leader will “achieve nothing”. He hopes his intervention will not prove to be the kiss of death. “My record for keeping lady prime ministers in power is not very good,” Leigh admits. A veteran on the Tory backbenches, Leigh first entered parliament in 1983 as MP for Gainsborough. As I arrive in his parliamentary office overlooking a packed Westminster Bridge, the 68-year-old informs me that this is his first interview with The House magazine during his 36-year career. That is undoubtedly something of an omission on our part, for Leigh’s is an interesting story...
19 May 2019
Pete Wishart is the SNP's shadow leader of the Commons

An 18-year veteran of the House of Commons, Pete Wishart is the longest-serving SNP MP. The former musician turned politician is eyeing up a new gig as Speaker of the House of Commons. But can he win over his audience? He talks to Sebastian Whale

Pete Wishart carries a heavy burden. He is the first and only MP to have been on Top of the Pops. “The responsibility it places on my shoulders you can never imagine,” the SNP MP confides to me. “Now the show has been abandoned, it’s an accolade that I’ll be able to hold onto for the rest of my parliamentary career.” There is a disappointing lack of bona fide rock stars in the House of Commons. Wishart though is an exception. The 57-year-old played keyboard for two iconic Scottish bands of the 80s and 90s in the shape of Big Country and Runrig. In total, he has 1.5 million record sales to his name. “It was great fun. You played a gig, everybody loved you, you went away and had a fantastic night out and you start it all over again. Compare and contrast that with this place, instead of everybody clapping along they’re jeering at you and trying to shout you down aggressively,” he says. Growing up in West Fife, Wishart joined Big Country at the age of 18. The band was supporting...