Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

18 May 2019
Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage branded Nicola Sturgeon's bid for an independent Scotland inside the EU as “the most dishonest political discourse anywhere in the world” as he took his European elections campaign north of the border.

Ms Sturgeon, Scotland's First Minister, has long campaigned against Brexit and held out the prospect of a second referendum on Scottish independence as a way to spare the country leaving the EU. But, Speaking at a rally in Edinburgh, the Brexit Party leader said: "Our politics is full of deception because here in Scotland we have the extraordinary situation where Nicola Sturgeon talks about independence. "She says that separating from the United Kingdom but staying part of the European Union means that Scotland will be independent. "It is, I think, the most dishonest political discourse I've ever seen anywhere in the world. "You cannot be independent if you're governed from the European Court of Justice. You cannot be independent if you're in the EU's customs union and single market. You cannot be independent if you're governed by Monsieur Barnier and Mr Juncker." The ex-Ukip leader leader made a direct plea for SNP voters to back his new organisation, saying those who were "...
18 May 2019
Ruth Davidson artillery gun

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has urged dishearted party members not to "shirk" the fight with the SNP and the Brexit Party in the upcoming European elections.

Writing in The Telegraph, Ms Davidson said voters had handed the Conservatives "a proper kicking" at the recent local elections, and admitted that the polls were "not looking good" for the party this time around. But she said: "It simply isn’t in me to shirk a fight – it is our responsibility as elected representatives to take every opportunity to put the Conservative case to the country." In a direct dig at the SNP and the new Brexit Party, the Scottish Tory leader said votes in the European poll could end up being "twisted or co-opted for other means". "In Scotland, the SNP will claim any advance means Scotland would rather stay in the EU and leave the UK than the other way...
18 May 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is leading the race to succeed Theresa May, a new poll of Conservative party members has revealed.

Thirty-nine per cent of party members would give the former Foreign Secretary their first preference vote in Conservative leadership battle, according to a poll by YouGov for the Times. His nearest rival, former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, has just 13% support.  The poll showed that in a head-to-head contest, Mr Johnson leads Mr Raab 59% to 41%. Meanwhile, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary Sajid Javid would get just 9% of first preferences.  Health Secretary Matt Hancock languished on 1% support, behind Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt and Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom (both 5%) as well as International Development Secretary Rory Stewart (4%). Mr Johnson announced...
18 May 2019
Baroness Warsi

A dossier containing more than 100 allegations of Islamophobia and racism within the Conservative party has been revealed.

ITV News was passed the explosive document by social media user @MatesJacob, outlining racist and Islamophobic content posted online by those claiming to be Conservative party members.  They include people referring to Islam as a "cult" and an "infestation". Nineteen of the 110 contain cases contained in the dossier have reportedly never been in the public domain before.  Former Conservative party co-Chair Baroness Sayeed Warsi told ITV News: "Last month, I spent four weeks speaking to the party privately and I started by asking them to bring to the table the number of complaints that they had received - and that I too would bring to the table the number of complaints that I had received to try and at least understand the scale of the problem. "The fact that the party refused to do that, and...
17 May 2019
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

After Jeremy Corbyn finally put the cross-party Brexit talks out of their misery today, the blame game between the Conservatives and Labour ramped up.

Sources from both camps argued the other was too split over key issues to forge a workable deal, despite the party leaders insisting the discussions had been productive in some areas. One Shadow Cabinet source told PoliticsHome that a Government leak during the process had damaged credibility, while a letter signed by Tory leadership hopefuls containing a thinly-veiled threat to unpick any agreement was the final nail in the coffin. Six weeks have passed since the party leaders first got together to bash heads, including days of working groups looking at specific issues like workers' rights and environmental protections. The talks were first convened as a last resort for the Prime Minister, after she was defeated for a third time on her Brexit deal on 29 March. With a rump of Tory rebels still refusing to play ball and vote for the agreement, the PM figures the only way to get the deal passed was with Labour votes. But critics who pointed out that any attempt at a compromise between...
17 May 2019
Theresa May

As Theresa May becomes the latest leader of her party to be taken down by the Europe question, the jostling for the Tory leadership will now move out into the open, writes George Parker 

In the end, Theresa May could not resist the pressure of party or political events: her decision to call time on her premiership heralds a chaotic summer for the Conservatives and the country, but there was something inevitable about it. Another Tory prime minister destroyed by Europe. Mrs May’s decision to set out a timetable for her departure after making one last attempt to ratify her Brexit deal was forced out of her by Sir Graham Brady and the Tory 1922 executive at an hour-long meeting, but the prime minister really had no choice. She faced a daunting few weeks which would have tested the position of any prime minister, let alone one whose party’s poll ratings are in free-fall and whose authority over the cabinet and MPs disappeared some time ago. European elections on May 23 and the Peterborough by-election on June 6 both look like disasters waiting to happen for the Conservatives. The prospects of a lame-duck prime minister securing Brexit now look next to zero. But June 15...
George Parker
17 May 2019

This country is rightly proud of its commitment to the protection and care of animals. It’s time we banned the use of wild animals in circuses, writes animal welfare minister David Rutley 

This country’s regard and respect for wild animals, and our sense of their intrinsic value, are now much more important to us than allowing them to be used for entertainment. That’s why the government is making sure this will be the last generation of performing wild animals in circuses, by introducing a legal ban. Many members of the public may have believed this outdated practice stopped long ago. But some wild animals remain in circuses, and the government believes now is the time to end this unpopular situation for good. The government’s bill, which bans wild animals from performing and being exhibited in travelling circuses, fulfils a long-term commitment and is testament to the campaigning of too many dedicated colleagues to thank here. A truth universally acknowledged across the House, even at such a challenging time, is that this country is rightly proud of its place in the world for the protection and care of animals. We see this in the generous public donations to...
David Rutley MP
17 May 2019
Labour rosette

Labour's most senior unelected official has apologised after appearing to suggest that the party's maternity conditions were partly to blame for a pay offer which has been rejected three times.

General secretary Jennie Formby told staff in an email earlier this week that the "extremely generous" pay for new mums and dads had cost the party £1 million in the past year. That sparked an angry backlash from MPs and party workers, who accused Labour officials of trying to scapegoat those with small children. In an email titled 'clarification' which was sent to staff on Friday morning, Ms Formby said: "Further to my earlier email we have had some feedback regarding the point made in respect of maternity/paternity leave. "We are very proud of the terms and conditions that we provide to staff and making reference to the excellent parental leave conditions that we offer was included as an illustration of how much we value our staff and want them to have the best; it was not intended to indicate that this is in any way a burden.  "Please accept my apologies if the wording has created the wrong impression, which was absolutely not our intention." The row comes amid an ongoing pay...
17 May 2019
Children in a classroom

With rise of automation and AI, it is the uniquely human qualities central to oracy that will have sustained value in the competitive global economy, writes the chair of the Oracy APPG Emma Hardy

Walking around Westminster, you cannot escape the constant chatter of MPs at work. As politicians we deliberate, debate, discuss and hopefully (although probably not enough) listen. Here talk is valued – it is our lifeblood; what we say and how we say it matters. But can the same be said of talk in schools? How much do we care about the development of students’ speaking skills compared to the taught and tested reading, writing and maths?   Spoken communication is as vital in the corridors and classrooms of our schools as it is in the committee rooms and chambers of Westminster. But it is currently overlooked and undervalued in our education system. These concerns were shared by Schools Minister Nick Gibb recently when he stated in a speech that “little attention has been paid to the important role of oracy”.    This is why the Oracy All Party Parliamentary Group is launching a new inquiry Speak for Change to investigate the provision of oracy education in the UK...
Emma Hardy
17 May 2019
Rosie Cooper

A far-right terrorist who plotted to kill Labour MP Rosie Cooper has been jailed for at least 20 years.

Jack Renshaw, 23, bought a 19-inch knife with the intention of murdering the West Lancashire MP and getting revenge on a female police officer investigating him for child sex offences. But his deadly plan was scuppered by whistleblower Robbie Mullen, who was at a meeting in a pub when Renshaw announced his intentions in July 2017. At the Old Bailey, Renshaw, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, admitted making preparations to kill Ms Cooper and making a threat to kill police officer Victoria Henderson. Passing a life sentence with a minimum of 20 years, Mrs Justice McGowan said: "Your perverted view of history and current politics has caused you to believe it right to demonise groups simply because they are different from you." She added: "This is a case in which only a sentence of life imprisonment can meet the appalling seriousness of your offending." In a statement Ms Cooper said: "My deepest wish is that this case is the last occasion when any public servant, any politician, has their...