Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

21 February 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has challenged the eight MPs who quit Labour this week to resign their seats and call by-elections.

The party leader said going back to their constituents was the “decent and democratic thing to do” after they decided to “abandon the policies on which they were elected”. Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Joan Ryan, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey all resigned in protest at Mr Corbyn’s leadership over Brexit and anti-semitism. They formed The Independents Group, which yesterday saw Tory MPs Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston join its ranks. But they have all refused calls to quit and trigger by-elections, arguing there is no appetite among voters to head to the polls. In a direct challenge, Mr Corbyn said in a video message last night: “It is disappointing that some MPs have left our party to sit with disaffected Tory MPs, but we can't return to the failed business of usual politics of the past. “These MPs now want to abandon the policies on which they were elected so the decent and democratic thing for them to do is to resign and put...
21 February 2019
Momentum

Momentum is launching a major drive to oust the former Labour MPs who quit the party to join The Independent Group.

The left-wing campaign group said they would be holding “mass canvassing events” in the constituencies of Chuka Umunna, Ann Coffey and Angela Smith to raise awareness among voters of their actions. Eight Labour MPs have so far quit the party in protest at Jeremy Corbyn's record on Brexit and tackling anti-semitism, and have been joined by Conservatives.Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston. They have ruled out triggering by-elections in their constituencies despite calls from their former local parties to step down. Laura Parker, Momentum’s national co-ordinator, said: “Their constituents voted for a Labour MP standing on a Labour manifesto. Now they’ve left the party and joined a Blarite-Tory coalition standing on a completely different platform. “This is not what their constituents voted for. The only fair and decent thing to do is give their constituents a choice and call a by-election." The pro-Jeremy Corbyn campaign group claim they raised over £15,000 for their...
20 February 2019
Barry Gardiner

Barry Gardiner has launched an outspoken attack on Labour's "appalling" decision to allow Derek Hatton back into the party.

The Shadow International Trade Secretary revealed he had written to Labour general secretary Jennie Formby to make a formal complaint after the former left-wing firebrand's re-admission was confirmed on Monday. On the same day, seven Labour MPs quit in protest at the party's position on Brexit and what they said was Jeremy Corbyn's failure to tackle anti-semitism by some of its members. Mr Hatton, the former deputy leader of Liverpool City Council, was expelled 34 years ago for being a member of the Militant faction. The day after he was re-admitted to the party, a tweet he posted in 2012 emerged in which he said that Jewish people with any “humanity” should criticise Israel. Speaking in a Commons debate on anti-semitism, Mr Gardiner said the decision to let Mr Hatton back into the Labour party was a “travesty”. He said he was aware of Mr Hatton's tweet and added: "I wrote to the general secretary of our party, I lodged a formal complaint, I understand that action has since been taken...
20 February 2019
Derek Hatton

Labour has suspended Derek Hatton’s membership of the party just days after it was confirmed that he had been readmitted.

The former deputy leader of Liverpool City Council was expelled 34 years ago for being a member of the Militant faction, however it was discovered on Monday that he had been allowed back into the fold. On the same day, seven Labour MPs quit in protest at the party's position on Brexit and what they said was Jeremy Corbyn's failure to tackle anti-Semitism by some of its members. Mr Hatton was then strongly criticised after a tweet he posted in 2012 emerged in which he said that Jewish people with any “humanity” should criticise Israel. A Labour source told PoliticsHome: "Derek Hatton was given provisional membership, pending NEC approval. The Party was not aware of this material. Once this was brought to our attention he was suspended pending the NEC’s decision.” The news of Labour’s U-turn comes just an hour after frontbencher Barry Gardiner confirmed that he had written to Labour’s general secretary to protest the former left-wing firebrand's readmission....
20 February 2019
Sarah Wollaston, Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen

Former Tory MP Anna Soubry today heaped praise on the austerity imposed on the country under David Cameron as she teamed up with ex-Labour MPs in a new Commons grouping.

The ex-minister said the Coalition government “did a marvellous” job and argued the cuts to public services masterminded by George Osborne were “absolutely necessary at the time”. She made the comments while the former Labour MPs looked on at a press conference to herald her departure - alongside two ex-Tory colleagues - from Conservative ranks. Ms Soubry, Heidi Allen and Dr Sarah Wollaston dramatically resigned the Tory whip saying the pro-Brexit hard right was controlling the party “from top to toe”. They join ex-Labour figures Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes, Ann Coffey, Gavin Shuker, Joan Ryan and Angela Smith in the Independents Group. Asked during the press conference today if the Tory MPs still backed the economic record of the Tories, Ms Soubry said the coalition tie-up with the Lib Dems between 2010 and 2015 “did the right thing”. “I think the coalition government, which I served in, did a marvellous job and one of the reasons it did that is because it...
20 February 2019
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn's office has dismissed the new Independent Group of former Labour and Tory MPs as an “establishment coalition” based on an approach that voters have already rejected.

In comments which appeared to be at odds with John McDonnell's pledge to listen to the concerns of those involved, a spokesman for the Labour leader said the MPs backed "austerity, corporate tax cuts and privatisation" and predicted they would be rejected by voters. Eight Labour MPs have resigned from the party in the past 48 hours, taking aim at Mr Corbyn's approach to Brexit and tackling anti-semitism. They were today joined by three Conservatives who accused Theresa May of giving in to the Brexiteer European Research Group faction of Tory MPs. Mr McDonnell said Labour would undergo a "mammoth, massive listening exercise" to address the rebels' concerns. But asked about the breakaway, a spokesman for Mr...
20 February 2019
PMQs

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn went going head-to-head after both Conservative and Labour MPs quit their parties to join the new Independent Group. Here's how it unfolded on our liveblog.

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20 February 2019
PMQs

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are going head to head after both Conservative and Labour MPs quit their parties to join the new Independents Group.

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20 February 2019
Anna Soubry

Three Conservative MPs have left the party to join the seven ex-Labour members in the Independent Group. PoliticsHome has the full resignation statement from Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston, and Theresa May's response.

THE THREE TORY MPS' LETTER Dear Prime Minister,  It is with great regret that we are writing to resign the Conservative whip and our membership of the party.  We voted for you as Leader and Prime Minister because we believed you were committed to a moderate, open-hearted Conservative Party in the One Nation tradition. A party of economic competence, representing the best of British business and tackling inequalities. We had hoped you would also continue to modernise our party so that it could reach out and broaden its appeal to younger voters and to embrace and reflect the diversity of the communities we seek to represent.  Sadly the Conservative party has increasingly abandoned these principles and values with a shift to the right of British politics. We no longer feel we can remain in the party of a Government whose policies and priorities are so firmly in the grip of the ERG and DUP. Brexit has re-defined the Conservative Party - undoing all the efforts to...
20 February 2019
Dog in a cage.

Eating dog meat fuels an "unspeakably cruel trade involving animal torture" in China, writes Conservative MP Bill Wiggin, but until we make it illegal why should they?

This week I introduced the following Ten Minute Rule Bill to make it an offence to consume dog meat and to transport, possess or donate dog meat for the purpose of consumption; and for connected purposes: Dog Meat (Consumption) (Offences) Bill Tragically, 30 million dogs are eaten every year around the world. Over 10 million are slaughtered in China. Over 450 tonnes of dog meat were imported to Japan between 1997 and 2017. The dog slaughter industry is worth between 220–273 million U.S. dollars. Eating dog meat has longstanding cultural significance in many East Asian countries. Many consumers believe it to have medicinal value and bring good fortune. Yet none of these alleged health benefits have any scientific basis. Instead, eating dog meat fuels an unspeakably cruel trade involving animal torture. Happily there is no evidence that dog meat is eaten in the UK, but China argue that until we make it illegal why should they? Due to the vile way in which these dogs are treated, I...