Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

19 February 2019
Tom Watson

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson is no longer being invited to attend the committee set up to decide the party's Brexit policy.

In a further sign of the tensions at the top of the party, PoliticsHome has learned that Mr Watson has been shut out of recent meetings of the Shadow Cabinet Brexit sub-committee. Among those who attend the high-powered gatherings are Jeremy Corbyn, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer and Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner. As deputy leader of the party, Mr Watson is also supposed to attend but it is understood he has not been invited to one since February last year. Three senior Labour sources - including one member of the sub-committee - confirmed to this website that it was meeting on Tuesday afternoon in Mr Corbyn's office, although once again Mr Watson was not among those invited. A Labour spokesperson denied that it was a formal meeting of the group, but could not explain why those attending believed it was. Mr Watson told PoliticsHome: "It's news to me that this committee has been meeting." Splits between Labour's deputy leader and Mr Corbyn have grown in...
19 February 2019
James Goddard

A protester has been charged with harassment after an incident involving Conservative MP Anna Soubry outside Parliament last month.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said James Goddard had also been charged with two public order offences against a police officer. The 29-year-old was arrested last month on suspicion of a public order offence, days after a confrontation involving the Remain-supporting MP outside parliament. He will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 19 March. Mr Goddard stands accused of harassment, between December 18 2018 and January 8 2019, contrary to section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. He is also charged with causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress on January 7, contrary to the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. And he is charged with causing harassment, alarm or distress on January 7, contrary to section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. A CPS spokesperson said: “On 5 February, the CPS received a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police relating to two incidents outside Parliament on 19 December and 7 January involving an MP. “...
19 February 2019

Having represented the industry at a recent Government meeting on a potential no deal Brexit, Kevin Buckley, GGF Group Chief Executive has issued a reflective statement with advice to all companies in the industry, should the UK leave the EU on 31 March, with no withdrawal agreement. 

Although a no deal Brexit is supposed to be a low probability (with the worst case being a backstop), there seems to be no end to the frantic coverage on that very scenario becoming a reality. A few weeks ago at the Construction Leaders Council Forum regarding the possibility of a no deal Brexit, it is worth sharing some potential implications should a no deal Brexit be the eventual outcome. Key points: Industry standards These will continue “as-is” EU standards may be rebranded as UK standards. However, the reverse is not true. After a no-deal Brexit, anyone putting products on the market that have to comply with CPR ongoing testing and will have to undertake any retesting with an EU accredited body (not in the UK). Importing and VAT If you import from the EU, you will have to pay VAT at the point of entry to get access to your goods. There is a HMRC guidelines document about this which you can find here:...
19 February 2019
Ruth George

A Labour MP has apologised after claiming that a new Independent Group of MPs could be receiving funding from Israel.

Ruth George said she had “no intention of invoking a conspiracy theory” after she highlighted the fact that Jewish MP Luciana Berger - one of seven Labour backbenchers to quit the party yesterday - has links to a pro-Israel campaign group. Announcing her resignation, Ms Berger said: “I cannot remain in a party that I have today come to the sickening conclusion is institutionally anti-semitic.” High Peak MP Ms George was responding to reports that a local Labour councillor had liked a Facebook comment describing the MPs involved in the breakaway as “Israelis”. She said she would "condemn the calling of anyone as an Israeli when it’s not the case". But she then added: "The comment appears not to refer to the independent MPs but to their financial backers. Support from the State of Israel, which supports both Conservative and Labour ‘Friends of Israel of which Luciana was chair is possible and I would not condemn those who suggest it, especially when the group’s financial...
19 February 2019
Labour splitters

Labour bosses have been accused of trying to stitch up the process to replace seven MPs who quit the party yesterday.

PoliticsHome has learned from three separate sources that chairs and secretaries in the local Labour branches concerned have been blocked from accessing an online list of member contact details. That means they will rely on Labour central office to get in touch wth local supporters about selection meetings and procedures, as well as information about the hopefuls for the candidacy.  The revelation came as Labour chairman Ian Lavery emailed members in the seven constituencies to tell them that the process for choosing new candidates will begin next week. One Labour MP said: "They’re clearly trying to stitch up selections." Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith and Ann Coffey all quit the party yesterday in protest at its direction under Jeremy Corbyn. In his email to local members in Mr Umunna's Streatham constituency, Mr Lavery said: “As the 2017 election showed us, when we are united, when we have the policies that resonate with the...
19 February 2019
Greg Clark

Greg Clark has said it is “unacceptable” that businesses do not have clarity on Britain's post-Brexit trade arrangements with just weeks left until the UK leaves the EU.

The Business Secretary told manufacturing leaders that quitting the bloc without an agreement would be a “disaster” for the country and said he recognised the need for clarity “as soon as possible”. He also took aim at those who dismiss business warnings of a no-deal Brexit, citing an Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF) survey which found that two thirds of employers in the manufacturing industry think it would spark immediate price increases, while one in three said it would hit jobs. Theresa May has insisted she is willing to take Britain out of the European Union without a Brexit deal if Brussels fails to give in to key demands.  Addressing the EEF's conference today, Mr Clark said: “Some people, when you voice these concerns [about a no-deal Brexit], describe this as 'project fear'. "But for me, knowing the familiarity that you have with the reality of running manufacturing operations and employing millions of people around the UK, I think it...
19 February 2019

The UK’s strong labour market is being driven by the self-employed, IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has said.

IPSE welcomed data released today by the ONS (Office for National Statistics), which showed that the number of people in work has risen to another record high (32.6 million) and said a large proportion of this is down to the self-employed. The data revealed that the number of self-employed people rose by 63,000 to 4.84 million in the last quarter of 2018. IPSE’s Economic Policy Adviser Ryan Barnett commented: “It’s excellent to see the rise in self-employment revealed in the data today. When the government celebrates the strength of the labour market, it must remember that a major part of that is down to the UK’s burgeoning self-employed sector. “As of the end of 2018, there were 4.84 million self-employed people in the country. That’s almost 15 per cent of the workforce – nearly as much as the entire public sector.  “In a time of gloomy economic forecasts and poor GDP growth, the strength of our labour market and especially our self-employed sector is welcome good news...
19 February 2019

This week, the Bar Council, the representative body for barristers, holds its fifth annual Bar Placement Week (North) in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.

Chair of the Bar Council, Richard Atkins QC, said: “The Bar Placement Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for talented students from non-traditional backgrounds to sample the unique nature of life as a barrister and hopefully to consider it as a career. “I know first-hand the importance of social mobility. I came to the Bar with no connections, was the first in my family to go to university and am now lucky enough to chair the Bar Council. I hope my example will encourage others to join the profession, regardless of their background. Social mobility at the Bar is a long-standing, long-term commitment for us and for the chambers that take part in this initiative. Bar Placement Week North, together with Pathways to Law, Aim Higher, the Social Mobility Foundation, ARK, the BLD Foundation and Big Voice, plays a large part in ensuring we recruit talent from across the country, not just London – something I feel strongly about, given my Coventry and Birmingham origins. “It is important...
19 February 2019
John McDonnell

John McDonnell has backed Tom Watson and said the Labour leadership should do more to tackle anti-semitism in a bid to prevent more MPs quitting the party.

In comments which appeared to put him at odds with Jeremy Corbyn, the Shadow Chancellor said the party should launch a “mammoth, massive listening exercise” and address the concerns that led to seven Labour MPs resigning to sit as independents. The MPs - Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes and Gavin Shuker -  said the failure to tackle anti-semitism by the leadership, a refusal to back a second referendum on Brexit as well as concerns over foreign policy had driven them out. Deputy leader Mr Watson warned more Labour MPs would quit unless the leadership changed course and got a grip over the anti-semitism row in the party. But in his own response to their departures, Mr Corbyn made no reference to their concerns, while a briefing document sent to Labour MPs by the leader's office defended their...
19 February 2019
Ian Austin

More Labour MPs are thinking of quitting the party in the wake of the breakaway by seven backbenchers, Jeremy Corbyn has been warned.

At least a dozen more are considering their futures over the leadership's approach to Brexit and tackling anti-semitism. PolitiicsHome understands that several are waiting to see whether Mr Corbyn throws his weight behind a second EU referendum ahead of the next Brexit votes in the Commons on 27 February before making up their minds. And following an ill-tempered meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday evening, Ian Austin MP said others were being forced towards the exit door over the leadership's failure to address anti-semitism by members. Party chairman Ian Lavery told the meeting that Labour general secretary Jennie Formby had taken great strides in tackling the problem since taking on the job nearly a year ago. He said: "I refute the allegation that the Labour party is institutionally anti-semitic because if it was I wouldn’t be a member." But speaking after the hour-long meeting, Dudley MP Mr Austin said the comments had left many of his colleagues thinking about...