Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

15 May 2019

Follow all the action live as the Prime Minister locks horns with Jeremy Corbyn. View the whole clash below the blog window.

15 May 2019
Change UK - The Independent Group

Change UK’s top European election candidate in Scotland has defected to the Liberal Democrats in a major blow for the fledgling party.

David Macdonald announced he was stepping down and instead urging people to vote for the Lib Dems, as he argued that the party was “now the most likely” outfit to stand a chance of getting an MEP elected north of the Border. The defection is a fresh headache for Change UK, which only selected Mr Macdonald as its lead candidate for Scotland after another contender was forced to pull out over controversial social media posts. In his resignation letter, Mr Macdonald said he was quitting the party “without animosity or rancour” and dubbed Change UK a “force for good”. But he said: “After a long personal deliberation and reflection on the current political landscape that confronts us in Scotland, I have decided to do what I believe is in the best interest of the country and resign as lead candidate for Change UK, lending my support to the Scottish Liberal Democrats for the upcoming election. “They share many of the values of Change UK and are now the most likely party in favour of both...
15 May 2019

Six in ten people with dementia say they experience loneliness and isolation. Alzheimer’s Society’s launches Dementia Action Week 20-26 May, calling on people to start talking and include people living with dementia.

Each year, 6,000 more people with dementia are predicted to be living by themselves in towns and cities across the UK, according to leading dementia charity Alzheimer’s Society. The figures were released to mark the launch of the charity’s #AskUsAnything campaign, which runs throughout Dementia Action Week (20-26 May). The campaign aims to end the awkwardness and create a more inclusive society for people affected by dementia. Currently, there is up to an estimated 120,000 1 people living alone with dementia in the UK. This number is predicted to double to around 240,000 by 2039 2. It is also estimated that, by 2025, there are likely to be 700,000 people with dementia living in their local community, outside of those living in care homes, escalating to almost 1.3 million people by 2051 3, similar to the population in Birmingham 4. Most people don’t realise the proximity of people with dementia in their everyday life, even though two fifths of the UK population know a family member...
15 May 2019

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has launched a new briefing ‘The Contribution of Recycled and Secondary Materials to Total Aggregates Supply in Great Britain’ highlighting that the aggregates industry is one of the UK’s recycling and circular economy success stories.

Over 70 million tonnes of materials from a range of sources are re-used in GB aggregates markets and 90% of these recycled materials are sourced from construction activity, following demolition work and road repairs. While there is a welcome focus on reducing construction waste, construction in built-up areas and on brownfield sites invariably involves demolition and generates waste materials such as brick and concrete which are re-used in aggregates markets. Similarly, asphalt removed during road maintenance work is all re-used. Other materials re-used in aggregates markets are sourced from iron and steel making, coal-fired power stations, incineration and china clay and slate extraction.   Government data and MPA research indicates that virtually all potentially re-usable materials are now used in the aggregates market. As such, the scope for increasing the use and share of recycled materials in aggregates markets is likely to be incremental and linked largely to...
15 May 2019

Far too many deaf people are still unable to fully engage with vital public services, because their communication needs are simply not being met, says Catherine McKinnell MP.

Shortly before the 2015 General Election I attended a hustings for Newcastle’s deaf community organised by the charity, Deaflink North East. This followed a previous discussion hosted by another local organisation, Becoming Visible, about the daily barriers far too many deaf people continue to face. The overwhelming sense of frustration amongst the deaf community about continually having to demand, to challenge, or fight to access services that most us take for granted was absolutely palpable at both of those powerful events. I therefore resolved to do what I could to try and improve this unacceptable situation. With the help of Deaflink I have, for example, ...
15 May 2019
Penny Mordaunt

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has promised fresh action to stop Armed Forces veterans from being "unfairly" pursued over historic killings.

Amid mounting anger on the Tory backbenches over the treatment of veterans of the Troubles, the Cabinet minister will spell out plans to make it harder to pursue former service personnel. But Ms Mordaunt is likely to disappoint some MPs as the proposed new rule will not cover incidents that occurred during the conflict in Northern Ireland. She said: "We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to our Armed Forces, who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom and security. "It is high time that we change the system and provide the right legal protections to make sure the decisions our service personnel take in the battlefield will not lead to repeated or unfair investigations down the line." Ms Mordaunt will propose a new "statutory presumption against prosecution" over incidents that took plan more than 10 years ago, unless compelling new evidence comes to light. The plan will cover all overseas postings including Iraq and Afghanistan, but will not include incidents that took...
15 May 2019

Is it any wonder that survivors of sexual violence do not report to the police or drop charges along the way, when we look at the process by which these individuals must go through, asks Robert Halfon MP. 

Something is deeply wrong with the Criminal Justice System when it comes to rape and sexual assault. Only 15% of sexual violence cases are reported to police. And, only 7.5% of rape charges result in conviction. The statistics around sexual assault and rape are dire and demand urgent Government attention. So, when I met with an inspirational survivor of attempted rape at one of my surgeries in Harlow, I was devastated to learn about the way in which she was treated, after she courageously made the decision to go to the police. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, my Harlow constituent waited eight hours in discomfort, exhaustion and emotional trauma to have forensic evidence collected at the sexual assault referral centre, or “SARC”. She was not permitted to wash. She was asked to strip down, before being swabbed from head to toe and photographed. She was then interviewed and asked intrusive, personal questions. All the time, she was constantly waiting for nurses, detectives...
15 May 2019
Elderly man

The Tories’ cruel attack on our pensioners steps up a gear today as the pension credit cut comes into force. They simply cannot be trusted to look after our pensioners, says Mhairi Black MP.

The Tories’ cruel attack on our pensioners steps up a gear today as the pension credit cut comes into force. This cut is the latest in a series of harmful austerity policies brought in by this Tory government that will leave some of the poorest older people in society up to £7,000 a year worse off. Until today, couples in which one person is of State Pension Age and the other person is not were able to claim Pension Credit to bridge the financial gap. Now they are being forced to claim Universal Credit, which will mean they get less and leave them financially worse-off. These people are essentially being punished for being with someone younger than themselves. The policy passed through parliament in 2012 but is only now coming into force, and the Tories have done this without any further parliamentary scrutiny. It is ridiculous to bring in a policy that was passed 7 years ago without further parliamentary debate. My SNP colleagues and I have repeatedly urged the UK government to...
15 May 2019
The DUP's Nigel Dodds and Arlene Foster.

The DUP has warned Theresa May that her Brexit plan will suffer a fresh defeat next month unless she manages to secure changes to the Northern Ireland backstop.

Downing Street on Tuesday night confirmed that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill - the legislation needed to confirm Britain's exit from the EU - will be introduced to the Commons at the start of June, even if the Government fails to strike a deal with Labour. But Nigel Dodds, the DUP's Westminster leader, reacted to the dramatic shift in strategy by making clear that his party was on course to reject the plan again. He said: "If the Prime Minister brings the Withdrawal bill to the Commons for a vote the question will be 'what has changed?' "Unless she can demonstrate something new that addresses the problem of the backstop then it is highly likely her deal will go down to defeat once again." The DUP, which props up Mrs May's minority government, has already voted against Mrs May's deal three times. The unionist party, which is supposed to prop up...
15 May 2019
Amber Rudd

Amber Rudd has warned that the Conservatives must occupy the centre ground if they are to defeat the "extremists" currently dominating British politics.

Amid a surge in support for Nigel Farage's new Brexit Party, the Cabinet minister told Tory activists that the Conservatives were now in "the fight of our lives" to push back against populists. A spate of recent polls have suggested that the Brexit Party, which is pushing for a no-deal exit from the EU, will come out on top at the EU elections on 23 May. But, speaking at a London event held by Conservative think tank Onward, the Work and Pensions Secretary urged her own party not to ape the new outfit. “I want to point out to us all that I believe that we are in the fight of our lives,” she said. Ms Rudd added: "There used to be a consensus that politics when debated would be debated on the facts, and we seem to have lost that. "The extremism is coming up to us from the Left and from the Right and we need to make sure we fill the middle." Ms Rudd, one of the Cabinet's most prominent 2016 Remain supporters, last month said it was "entirely possible" she could make a run for the...