Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

19 February 2019
Derek Hatton at Labour's annual conference

Derek Hatton has been readmitted to Labour more than three decades after being booted out for being a member of the far-left Militant faction.

A Labour source confirmed that the former deputy leader of Liverpool City Council had now been allowed back into the fold, months after he first claimed he had been readmitted. The move comes 34 years after he was expelled from Labour for being a member of the far-left faction, which set an illegal budget in the city in protest at local government spending cuts by the Conservative government at Westminster. The Mirror reported that Mr Hatton - nicknamed 'Degsy' - had his membership approved at a meeting of the Labour party's disputes panel last week. The news emerged just hours after seven MPs quit Labour to set up a new bloc called the Independent Group - with one pointing the finger at a "hard-left" takeover of the party under Jeremy Corbyn. Mr Hatton told the Mirror: "During that 30-odd years that I was expelled, I never once stood against, supported, voted against any Labour candidate...
19 February 2019

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is calling for people to speak up about their experiences of care, as new research shows that almost 7 million people in England who accessed health or social care services in the last five years have had concerns about their care, but never raised them.

The most common reasons for not raising a concern were not knowing how or who to raise it with, not wanting to be seen as a ‘troublemaker’ and worries about not being taken seriously. Over a third of people (37%) felt that nothing would change as a result.   However, when people did raise a concern or complaint, the majority (66%) found their issue was resolved quickly, it helped the service to improve and they were happy with the outcome. Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Jeremy Hughes said: “People have the right to good quality dementia care, and the right to complain if it’s not up to scratch. But a vulnerable person with dementia might well feel afraid to complain about those who provide their care. This is reassuring evidence that, when people do speak out, change happens." "We urge everyone who’s experienced bad care to raise their concerns, and come to our National Dementia Helpline for support on how to make a complaint. Care home providers are in a powerful...
19 February 2019
Parliament Brexit

Britain faces the "catastrophic prospect" of a no-deal Brexit because of the "selfishness" of some politicians, a top group of manufacturers has warned.

Dame Judith Hackitt - chair of manufacturing umbrella body EEF - hit out at MPs over the prospect of Britain leaving without an agreement, the default outcome if parliament does not give its backing to a deal with the European Union before 29 March. "Let me be clear... for those hard Brexiteers who accuse us of scaremongering," she told Reuters. "This is very real and very serious." Dame Judith added: "Some of our politicians have put selfish political ideology ahead of the national interest and people's livelihoods and left us facing the catastrophic prospect of leaving the EU next month with no deal." The broadside comes amid a spate of setbacks for the British economy, with Japanese car giant Honda today expected to make a formal announcement about the future of its plant in Swindon. Up to 3,500 jobs are thought to be at risk in a move...
19 February 2019

If the Tories fail to prepare for this growing phenomenon, it will be a failure to care for our future, older, generation, says Baroness Grender.

Whenever we talk about the housing crisis and lack of affordable housing, we often think of ‘generation rent’.  However, a new and growing phenomenon that is often ignored is the number of older people renting in the private sector.  Without a huge injection of investment in social housing – the obvious answer to most housing questions which currently seems to elude the Conservative Government – the situation is going to get much worse. In just over 20 years, a third of people over 60 will be privately renting.  The number of people aged over 60 and accepted as homeless has increased by 40 per cent in the last five years.  When older people do rent, their proportion of income spent on their housing is more than 40 per cent of their income, compared to the 14 per cent of income for owner occupiers. These statistics make clear that the housing crisis is not just an affliction burdening the young. If these statistics weren’t bad enough, it is also apparent older...
19 February 2019
Theresa May

Theresa May has been urged by four of her own Cabinet ministers to rule out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit by the end of the month or face a wave or resignations from the Government.

The Guardian reports that senior ministers David Gauke, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Mundell all told the Prime Minister at a meeting on Monday that the prospect of Britain leaving the EU without a deal was hurting businesses. The Prime Minister has repeatedly warned MPs that Britain will leave without a deal on 29 March if they do not swing behind her agreement, although her leading Brexit negotiator was last week overhead suggesting Mrs May could instead opt for a "long" extension to talks with Brussels. According to The Sun, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and Business Greg Clark both used the meeting to warn Mrs May that up to 22 ministers and government aides could resign unless she takes no-deal off the table before the next Commons Brexit votes...
19 February 2019
Northern rail

Labour MP Caroline Flint writes ahead of her Westminster Hall debate on Transport for towns.

Successful towns need to move people around efficiently, moving workers from home to places of work at all hours; visitors to hospitals; patients to GPs; students to schools and colleges. But the UK’s towns – many of them small towns, face different challenges from our big cities. Our major cities, even in the North, often have major stations, major ring roads, large airports and bus networks that feed their city centres at all hours. The story for our towns and outlying communities could not be more different. Too often they are the places that people travel past, not to. They are the places with bus services that stop in the evenings or don’t serve on certain days of the week. These are the places where car ownership is essential to get around. Investment in transport – road, buses and rail – is essential or these towns face certain decline. I represent Don Valley a constituency in the West, South and East of Doncaster, Including three market towns, two of which were ports...
18 February 2019
Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson

When it eventually came, Tom Watson's assessment of Labour's travails was measured but no less devastating as a result.

"I love this party," said Labour's deputy leader. "But sometimes I no longer recognise it." He said the party's failure to deal with anti-semitism among its members "shames" all those in it. "We know in our hearts we have been too slow to respond to the shaming scourge of anti-semitism in our ranks," he added. Watson's grim analysis was in response to the decision of seven of his fellow MPs to resign as Labour members and set up a new Independent Group in Parliament. They included Luciana Berger, the Jewish MP for Liverpool Wavertree. In a fierce critique at the press conference announcing their departure, she said: "I cannot remain in a party that I have today come to the sickening conclusion is institutionally anti-Semitic." In response, Watson demanded that Labour honestly examine where it is now and how it gets back to where it was. He said: "The departure of our colleagues poses a test for our party. Do we respond with simple condemnation or do we try and reach out and extend...
18 February 2019
Angela Smith at the new Independent Group launch

Angela Smith has been forced to apologise after she used a racist slur just hours after she quit Labour to join a new bloc of independent MPs.

The Penistone and Stocksbridge MP appeared to describe people from the BME community as being a “funny tinge” just hours after she helped launch The Independent Group.  Ms Smith joined Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Ann Coffey, Gavin Shuker and Chris Leslie in resigning from Labour over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party, including his approach to Brexit and attempts to tackle anti-semitism. But shortly afterwards, during a discussion on racism on the BBC's Politics Live programme, she said: “It’s not just about being black or a funny tinge…you know a different, from the BME community.” A number of commentators, including left-wing journalist Owen Jones immediately hit out at the comments, saying: “Wow. Just wow. Listen to how Angela Smith, one of the founders of the new party, describes BME people.” I'm really sorry that I misspoke earlier on Politics Live - here's my statement. pic.twitter.com/7csM95TFLo...
18 February 2019

The first of the Prime Minister’s MPs has taken up the offer to walk in the shoes of people with learning disabilities as part of a campaign to encourage political leaders to hear more about their lives and the challenges they face.

Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton met with eight adults supported by national disabilities charity, Hft, at its supported living service in Tiverton on Friday (15th February) to listen to their concerns and gain a better understanding of the issues that matter to them. He is the first Conservative MP to respond to the charity’s Walk In Our Shoes campaign, which calls on Theresa May’s MPs to visit their local Hft service. The initiative is led by the charity’s speak out group, Voices to Be Heard, who feel that their hopes and concerns are not given the same attention by political leaders as those of people without disabilities. The campaign aims to facilitate opportunities for people with learning disabilities to share their experiences with politicians and help shape future policy decisions that affect their lives. Walk In Our Shoes launched in March with a thunderclap appeal enlisting public support to call on Theresa May to ask her MPs to spend time finding out more about...
18 February 2019
Chuka Umunna

Chuka Umunna has urged MPs from across the Commons to split with their parties and join the new movement he launched today with fellow ex-Labour figures.

The former shadow business secretary invited people from Labour as well as from “other political traditions” to join The Independent Group of seven centrist MPs. He made the comments at an event in Westminster alongside fellow splitters Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes, Angela Smith, Ann Coffey and Gavin Shuker. Some pro-EU Tories such as Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston are also thought to be mulling their future in their current political tribe. Mr Umunna said: “It is time we dumped this country's old fashioned politics and created an alternative which does justice to who we are today, and gives this country and politics fit for the here and now. For the 21st century, not the last one. “So we have taken the first step in leaving the old tribal politics behind and we invite others who share our political values to do so too. “You might...