Dods at Party Conference 2018

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

11 December 2018
Denis Skinner sits stony-faced as the SNP's Stewart McDonald raises a point of order.

Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner called an SNP MP "a piece of sh*t" after he criticised Jeremy Corbyn.

The Bolsover MP hurled the term at Stewart McDonald during a debate on Theresa May's decision to cancel a vote on her Brexit deal. Mr McDonald, the MP for Glasgow South, complained about Mr Skinner's behaviour in a point of order. But Commons Speaker John Bercow opted to stay out of the row, saying he held the Labour MP in the “highest esteem” while reminding all MPs to conduct themselves “agreeably”. The flare-up came when Mr McDonald urged Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to “answer the question” during the debate. The SNP MP told the Speaker: “It then prompted the honourable gentleman from Bolsover to turn around to me and call me a piece of sh*t. Mr Speaker, he then on went to defend that, telling a journalist that he was just ‘putting me in my place’.” He added: “Now, as you know, Mr Speaker, I’ve no desire to raise this formally with you... I’d hoped to deal with it informally as you’d suggested Mr Speaker. "But given he shows no sign of having any regret about it, can you just...
11 December 2018
Theresa May arrives for talks with Angela Merkel

Former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan today became the latest Conservative MP to suggest a government of "national unity" as Theresa May raced to make changes to her Brexit deal.

The Treasury Select Committee chair told MPs they could either “carry on re-running the same debates” or “see how we build a consensus and move forward as a parliament” after Mrs May shelved a crunch Commons vote on her agreement and kicked off face-to-face talks with EU leaders. Ms Morgan - who backed Remain in the 2016 referendum - is the third Conservative to publicly float the idea after former minister Anna Soubry and Tory grandee Sir Nicholas Soames both backed the plan. Speaking in an emergency debate on Mrs May’s decision to pull her Commons vote, the ex-education secretary said: “The time for talking is over. The time for action by members of this House to avoid a no-deal is here." She added: "I don't know how we test the parliamentary opinion if we don't have a vote. Maybe we need to put together a special select committee of senior members of parliament to hammer out what we mean. Maybe it's time for some sort of government of national unity. "Maybe it's time for a free...
11 December 2018
John Major

John Major has said Article 50 must be "immediately" revoked to give politicians time to find a solution to the Brexit crisis.

The former Prime Minister - who campaigned for Remain in the EU referendum - said "the clock, for the moment, must be stopped" after Theresa May pulled the vote on her Brexit deal. Mrs May has embarked on a frantic spell of shuttle diplomacy across Europe in an attempt to get more concessions on the backstop arrangement designed to avoid a hard border in Ireland. Speaking in Dublin, Sir John said: "We need to revoke Article 50 with immediate effect. The clock, for the moment, must be stopped. "It’s clear we now need the most precious commodity of all: time. Time for serious and profound reflection by both Parliament and people. There will be a way through the present morass, there always is." The former Conservative leader, whose time in Downing Street was scarred by vicious Tory battles over Europe, has previously hinted that he could support a second referendum as a way of breaking the ongoing deadlock. He spoke out after the European Court of Justice this week ruled that the UK...
11 December 2018
Betting shop

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling writes about changes to FOBT stake levels which will come into force in 2019 and predicts that further reforms to the remote gambling sector might now follow.

Recent moves by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), the trade body that represents online gambling firms, to voluntarily ban TV advertising before the watershed signals a divergence in approach compared to the Association of British Bookmakers’ (ABB) often tone deaf defence of FOBTs. For years the ABB claimed there was “no evidence” that linked FOBTs with problem gambling – a complete fallacy based on the selective manipulation of statistics, but nonetheless an argument that failed to take into account growing public concern and negative perceptions formed by Parliamentarians through casework. The result of this intransigence over maintaining stakes of £100 a spin was window-dressing public relations campaigns, such as the Senet Group behind the ludicrously inadequate “When the Fun Stops, Stop” slogan, coupled with attempts to build a narrative about how bookmakers provide the “safest place to gamble” despite more than 95% of police call-outs to gambling premises being to betting...
11 December 2018
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t at today’s People’s Vote press conference - but his was the name on everybody’s lips.

One after another, key figures from Labour, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Greens, and the small, Remain-backing wing of the Tory party urged the opposition leader to make a move that they believe will help bring a so-called People’s Vote closer. Corbyn has so far resisted backing a fresh public vote. Instead, Labour is focused on ousting Theresa May at a general election - with a motion passed at this year’s party conference leaving a new referendum on the table only if an election bid fails.  But Mrs May’s decision to pull the Commons Brexit vote that had been pencilled in for tonight has dramatically raised the stakes - and the People’s Vote campaign is not wasting any time in making their move. Ostensibly, today’s event had three aims: to urge the EU to step up planning for a second referendum by allowing for an extension to Article 50; to call on the Government to start its own prep work for such a vote; and to demand that Corbyn joins a cross-party...
11 December 2018
John McDonnell

John McDonnell has accused the SNP of demanding Labour table a motion of no confidence in the Government because they know it would fail and the chance of a general election would be gone.

In comments likely to infuriate Nicola Sturgeon, the Shadow Chancellor said the Nationalists "know we're breathing down their necks in Scotland and will take seats off them" whenever the next election takes place. Ms Sturgeon has called on Jeremy Corbyn to table a confidence motion in Theresa May's administration in the wake of the Prime Minister's decision to delay the vote on her Brexit deal. Speaking on the Today programme, the SNP leader said: "If the time is not right now, when will the time be right?" Former Labour general secretaries Iain McNicol and David Triesman are also among 73 Labour MPs, peers, MEPs and MSPs who have put their names to a letter demanding Mr Corbyn table a confidence motion. But Mr McDonnell insisted Labour would not do so unless there was a realistic chance of it being passed, which is highly unlikely at the moment because the DUP have said they would support the Government in any such vote unless Mrs May's deal has been passed by the Commons. The Shadow...
11 December 2018

Self-employment has been doing the heavy lifting behind the positive labour market figures over the last decade, IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has said.

As ONS statistics out today show self-employment has stabilised at approximately 4.8 million, IPSE has pointed to the enormous growth in the sector over the last ten years, with the number of people working for themselves rising by over 2.5 million. The statistics revealed that the employment rate is now 75.7 per cent, the joint-highest level on record. While self-employment may now be stable, it was its enormous rise over the last ten years that took overall employment levels to these heights.   Andy Chamberlain, IPSE’s Deputy Director of Policy, comments: “The consistently low unemployment figures will have come as a great relief to this embattled Government. While it struggles to keep afloat amid the chaos being caused by Brexit, it at least can point to high levels of employment. “But when the figures are analysed, it becomes clear that the extraordinary rise in self-employment has made a huge contribution. The Government should be thanking the self-employed. It can do...
11 December 2018

NFB have responded to Lord Stunell.

Lord Stunell has said that the United Kingdom must switch to low-emission homes if it is to meet its legal obligations to cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Citing the closure of the Green Deal, a home improvement loan where repayments were paid through energy bills, and the termination of the zero carbon housing policy, Lord Stunell is recommending the introduction of new planning standards which would ‘ensure that all houses are built with climate change in mind and oblige housebuilders to update old stock. The Liberal Democrat peer also criticised the Government’s poor record on preventing on-shore windfarms, slashing solar power subsidies and supporting fracking. While the NFB agrees with Lord Stunell that much more must be done to meet the UK’s legal obligations on greenhouse gas emissions, his suggestion that we should oblige housebuilders to do so is simplistic and ill-informed. The planning system already mandates many obligations, which have contributed to a rise in...
11 December 2018
Andrea Leadsom

Andrea Leadsom has called the impartiality of the Commons Speaker John Bercow into question over his views on Brexit.

The Commons leader said Mr Bercow's decision to publicly admit he voted to remain in the Brexit referendum was a "challenge" for Parliament. Last year Mr Bercow told students at Reading University: “Personally, I voted to remain. I thought it was better to stay in the European Union than not.” Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, Ms Leadsom said: “Well, I think he has made his views on Brexit on the record, and the problem with that of course is the Chair’s impartiality is absolutely essential.” “He had made his views known on Brexit. It is a matter for him, but I think nevertheless it’s a challenge and all colleagues need to form their own view on that.” Ms Leadsom is the most senior member of her party to raise questions about Mr Bercow's impartiality after he made the admission last year. During his speech to students, Mr Bercow said there had been “untruths” told during the campaign and that “promises were made that could not be kept.” But pressed on whether she would be...
11 December 2018

Alzheimer’s Society recently launched the brain game app ‘GameChanger’, which won’t reduce the risk of dementia but through playing it, it can help build an understanding of cognitive changes and the difference between cognitive decline and dementia. 

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said  “Of all the diseases in the UK dementia is now the biggest killer, so exploring potential factors which could reduce the risk of developing this devastating condition is fundamental to beating it. Although playing ‘brain games’ such as Sudoku may not prevent dementia, is has been shown that regularly challenging yourself mentally seems to build up the brain’s ability to cope with disease. “We know that what is good for the heart is good for the head and there are other ways we can reduce our risk of developing dementia by taking steps towards a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, avoiding smoking and heavy drinking, and exercising regularly. “Alzheimer’s Society recently launched the brain game app ‘GameChanger’, which won’t reduce the risk of dementia but through playing it, it can help build an understanding of cognitive changes and the difference between cognitive decline and dementia. Research will beat...