Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

20 February 2019
a submersible capable of diving up to 11,000 meters in the sea,

South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray writes about her Westminster Hall debate today on the UK deep sea mining industry.

If deep sea mining gets the help it needs it will create jobs, contribute billions in tax and give us the cobalt we need for electric vehicle batteries.     Deep Sea Mining has been a dream of engineers and scientists since the early Seventies. While Brian May was forming Queen, Lockheed Martin, the British defence contractor, was painstakingly charting a patch of the Pacific ocean. They were drawing a treasure map.   The “treasure” was fields of little lumps, the shape and size of a potato. These lumps, or nodules, have lain on the seabed, 3 miles deep beneath the clear waters of the Pacific, for millions of years, steadily growing at the rate of one inch every thousand years.   They contain gold, silver, and other precious metals - but, tantalisingly, in such tiny quantities that the cost of collecting them would vastly exceed their value.  So those neat, careful charts of the Pacific nodule fields lay forgotten in the archive.  ...
20 February 2019
Allen Soubry Wollaston

Three Conservative MPs have stunned Westminster by quitting the party as they took aim at Theresa May's handling of Brexit and accused the Tories of a "shift to the right".

The Remain-supporting trio of Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston confirmed on Wednesday that they had quit the party to join the new Independent Group of ex-Labour MPs, and blamed the Prime Minister's EU stance as well as a clash with longstanding "principles and values" for their decision. In a joint letter to Theresa May released just an hour before she took the weekly round of Prime Minister's Questions, the MPs hit out at the influence of the European Research Group of Tory MPs, declaring: "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." They added: "Brexit has re-defined the Conservative Party - undoing all the efforts to modernise it. There has been a dismal failure to stand up to the hard line ERG which operates openly as a party within a party, with its own leader, whip and policy." The move, which takes the number of Independent Group MPs to 11, came just hours after MP Joan...
20 February 2019
Labour splitters

Labour would give voters the power to force a by-election on their MP if they switch party - after an eighth prominent figure joined a damaging splinter group.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said constituents should not have to wait for the next general election if their MP “is not properly representing their interests”. But one angry Labour MP said Jeremy Corbyn could end up booted out of Parliament himself under the plans for “being an enabler of Jew-hating racists and a total sell-out on Europe”. It comes after an eighth MP quit the party in protest at its direction under Mr Corbyn and joined the Independents Group that was launched on Monday. Enfield MP Joan Ryan blamed a “culture of anti-Semitism in the party” as she allied with the new movement set up by Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith and Ann Coffey. On Tuesday, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the Labour leadership would launch a “massive, mammoth” listening exercise and change course to stop more MPs leaving. But today the party has announced it will consult on extending the power of voters to ‘recall’ their MPs to...
20 February 2019
Labour rosette

Joan Ryan has become the latest MP to quit Labour - blaming Jeremy Corbyn's "dereliction of duty" on anti-semitism. Read the full statement here.

After four decades, I have made the terribly difficult decision that I can no longer remain a member of the Labour party and have today resigned from it. It has been an enormous honour and privilege to serve as a Labour councillor, MP and minister over the past 25 years and I never believed I would be forced to leave the party. I am hugely grateful for the chance to serve. None of this would have been possible without Labour party members who have campaigned with and for me. But the values that led me to join the Labour party are the same values that have led me to leave it today. My mum and dad both came from Ireland. Their working lives were hard: they had manual jobs and often faced discrimination, but they wanted – and achieved – something different and better for their children. Good schools and my parents’ hard work gave my sisters and I a great start in life, a university education and decent jobs. I learned from my mum and dad the dignity of work and the evil of racism...
20 February 2019
Theresa May

Theresa May has headed off a fresh revolt by eurosceptic Tories after assuring them their preferred way of breaking the Brexit impasse has not been killed off.

The hardline European Research Group insisted the so-called 'Malthouse Compromise' is "alive and kicking" following showdown talks with the Prime Minister. Just hours earlier, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay had told the Cabinet that the plan - which proposes using technological solutions to avoid the backstop plan for maintaining an open border in Ireland - would not be ready by the time the UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March. That led to reports that the proposal, which was drawn up by Leave and Remain-backing Tory MPs, had been rejected entirely. But in a statement following their talks with Mrs May, ERG leaders Jacob Rees-Mogg and Syeve Baker said: "The Malthouse Compromise is alive and kicking. The Secretary of State for Exiting the EU can provide details. We look forward to further developments. "We look forward to further precision about exactly what we will be asked to vote for." In a speech last night, Chancellor Philip Hammond described the Malthouse Compromise as "...
20 February 2019
Sajid Javid

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has stripped Islamic State schoolgirl Shamima Begum of her UK citizenship - prompting claims he has put his "leadership ambitions" above international law.

The Cabinet minister - tipped by many as a possible successor to Theresa May in Number 10 - ordered the move against the 19-year-old, who fled Bethnal Green for Syria in 2015 to join the terror group. A letter from the Home Office to Ms Begum's mother, first obtained by ITV News, said: "Please find enclosed papers that relate to a decision taken by the Home Secretary, to deprive your daughter, Shamima Begum, of her British citizenship. "In light of the circumstances of your daughter, the notice of the Home Secretary's decision has been served of file today (19th February), and the order removing her British citizenship has subsequently been made." The move effectively bans Ms Begum from re-entering the UK, where she has asked to return following the birth of her newborn baby. Under international law, governments cannot make a person stateless if they are a citizens of a single country. However, Ms Begum is of Bangladeshi heritage and it is understood that the Home Office believes...
20 February 2019
Joan Ryan and Jeremy Corbyn

Joan Ryan has become the eighth Labour MP to quit to join the new Independent Group, blaming Jeremy Corbyn for "a culture of anti-semitism" in the party.

The Enfield North MP accused the Labour leader of allowing "racism to flourish" as she joined the seven MPs who resigned from the party on Monday to set up the breakaway bloc. Ms Ryan, who has held the seat since 1997 and chaired the Labour Friends of Israel group, told The Times she could not "stand by" after Jewish MP Lucian Berger faced a barrage of abuse from party activists. She said: "A young woman, a Labour MP, has to leave the party because she’s Jewish, because of anti-semitism. She made it absolutely plain what she had put up with and she said, ‘This party is institutionally anti-semitic’. "I thought about that and thought I can’t disagree with her, and I can’t see her leave and be driven out and stand by. I’m just not willing to." The former minister follows Ms Berger, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Ann Coffey, Gavin Shuker, Chris...
20 February 2019

Please find below the latest statement from Mind issued in response to the government’s announcement of more mental health support for NHS workers.

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced a package of measures to better support the mental health of NHS workers. Put together by Health Education England (HEE), it includes an offer of rest spaces for on-call staff, a 24/7 support and advice phone line and quicker access to mental health referrals for NHS workers. Other proposals include specific support for staff immediately after a traumatic incident and the introduction of Workforce Wellbeing Guardians. The recommendations have come on the back of the NHS Long Term Plan, which pledged an extra £2.3bn a year for mental health services and HEE’s report on the mental health and wellbeing of NHS staff. They are now being considered as part of a larger, long term workforce plan, due to be published in April. Responding to the commission’s report, Paul Farmer, Mind’s Chief Executive, said: “We welcome Health Education England’s report and its recommendations, which rightly emphasise the need to look after the mental health of...
20 February 2019
A mother and child

The number of children living in poverty is set to hit a record high by 2022 unless ministers drop their plans for further welfare cuts, a leading think tank has warned.

The independent Resolution Foundation said that by end of this Parliament the proportion of children living in relative poverty, after housing costs, is on course to hit 37%. The figure, which has been rising since 2011, would overtake the previous peak of 34% in the early 1990s, the group’s report claims. The Living Standards Outlook 2019 also warns the majority of children in single parent families, or in families with more than two children, could be living in relative poverty by that time. The Foundation, which is chaired by former Tory minister David Willetts, says action to prevent child poverty hitting a record high is achievable and “should be a priority for politicians of all parties”. Labour branded the findings a "damning verdict" on the Government's records. The report says that while weak productivity and earnings growth is likely to hold back the living standards of most households, “government policy is driving the particularly weak outlook for lower...
19 February 2019
Small music venue

Scores of live music venues face closure unless ministers step in to slash their soaring tax bills, Labour has warned.

Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson said grassroots venues offer a spotlight for new talent but warned “many of those stages will be going dark for good” without action to cut the amount of money they need to pay the Government. New figures unearthed by Labour on the eve of the 2019 Brit Awards found the taxable property value of small venues in England soared by more than £8,000 on average between 2010 and 2017. The party looked at the 179 small venues for which data was available and found rateable values - which help determine their business tax rates - had risen for more than half. Among those that had faced hikes, the average rise was more than £17,000 or a whopping 43%. One venue, The Flapper in Birmingham, saw its rateable value increase by £40,000 or 121%, while The Grapes in Sheffield saw saw a rise of more than £10,000 or 103%. The worrying figures come after it emerged 35% of grassroots music venues were forced to close over the last decade. Mr Watson called on the...