Dods at Party Conference 2018

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

10 December 2018
The Government has taken time to get to grips with what creating a garden city or village actually means, writes Roberta Blackman-Woods

In contrast to the government’s poor progress, Labour will ensure garden cities are built in line with their visionary principles, writes Roberta Blackman-Woods

The government’s prospectus on garden cities is welcome if a tad late. It has been years since the government announced its intention via the Ebbsfleet proposal to support a new generation of garden cities, but progress has been abysmal. This is despite the Lyons Commission report (2014) ‘Mobilising across the nation to build the homes our children need’ commissioned by the Labour Party showing that garden cities are essential to meeting housing need over the medium to long term. Almost five years ago it set out clear mechanisms for the planning and delivery of garden cities including dealing with locations that cross local authority boundaries and yet few new garden cities have begun in recent years never mind be completed. Not until January 2017 did the government announce a commitment to 14 new garden villages across England and the Housing White Paper in 2017 set out the governments support for ‘new wave of garden towns and villages’ but there was nothing in the Conservative...
10 December 2018
Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds

The DUP could back a bid by Labour to bring down Theresa May if she fails to get her Brexit deal through the Commons, it has been reported.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the two parties have held talks on whether a censure motion against the Prime Minister should be tabled if, as expected, she suffers defeat in tomorrow night's meaningful vote. The paper said Labour insiders hope a move against Theresa May personally rather than a motion of no-confidence in her government as a whole is more likely to garner support from Tory MPs who want to oust her. A source close to the Labour leadership: “It’s fair to say that we’ve been having discussions with the DUP about what is to come after the vote. “That is certainly an option. There is a feeling amongst some that the time of maximum danger for her is immediately after the vote on Tuesday. “But there are differences of opinion, tactical considerations to take into account. There are other who think we shouldn’t just rush ahead because we can...
10 December 2018
The message to the tourism sector is clear – we are absolutely committed to helping the industry grow in the coming years, writes Michael Ellis

Travel is good for our understanding of each other, it is good for our local economies, and it is something the UK will absolutely continue to support, writes Michael Ellis

Tourism is creating jobs and boosting economic growth in towns and cities across the UK. The sector is now worth more than £67bn a year and there are few communities that do not benefit from domestic and overseas visitors. In the coming years, its importance to the nation will only continue to grow. That is why it is such great news that we are working on an ambitious Tourism Sector Deal. This will not only benefit the industry, but the whole country.  International tourism is a crowded marketplace and it is vital that we retain our competitive edge. Working with the sector, we want to make tourism and hospitality a genuine career for life, and the UK the most accessible tourism industry in the world. Through better sharing of industry data, we also want to identify growth opportunities in new and emerging markets and for the sector to show how it will increase accommodation capacity throughout the UK. If we can reach the right deal with industry, this could be an important...
9 December 2018
Stephen Barclay

Theresa May will not head back to Brussels to demand changes to her EU deal or delay this week's crunch Commons vote to stave off a defeat, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has insisted.

Amid reports the Prime Minister could mount a last-ditch effort to get Brussels to tweak the agreement, potentially postponing this week’s vote by MPs, Stephen Barclay said: "The vote is going ahead.” According to the Sunday Times, Mrs May has been persuaded by aides and ministers to reopen talks and seek changes to the controversial Northern Ireland backstop element of the agreement. The paper said an announcement could come on Monday, just a day before Mrs May endures a crucial Commons vote she is widely expected to lose. She faces a widespread rebellion by her own MPs, as well as the Democratic Unionist Party whose support she relies on.  But Mr Barclay pushed back at claims Mrs May would seek fresh talks in a bid to stave off a Commons bruising. Asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr whether the Prime Minister would head to Brussels either this week or next week to try to tweak the deal, he said: “No.” The Brexit Secretary added: “The vote is on Tuesday. That is what we're...
9 December 2018
Jon Trickett

Labour is ready to form a minority government this week should Theresa May’s Brexit deal be voted down by MPs, a party frontbencher has said.

Jon Trickett said the opposition would be prepared to “reset” the direction of negotiations on leaving the EU should the Prime Minister fail to win the backing of the Commons at Tuesday’s meaningful vote. It comes as the Mrs May faces an uphill struggle to get her agreement signed off, with scores of Tories and almost all opposition MPs against it. The Shadow Cabinet Office Minister told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that while Labour was pushing for a fresh election, a forming a new administration in the next few days could prove “necessary”. “An election allows us to refresh the mandate, have a conversation with the wider population and come back to parliament, probably with some new MPs and different points of view and take the argument at that stage, so our preferred option very, very strongly is to refresh the parliament,” he said. But he added: "Though we are ready to form a minority government should that be necessary and it could happen on Wednesday morning and to begin...
9 December 2018
Boris Johnson

Top Brexiteer Boris Johnson has said he will "of course" take responsibility if workers are laid off in the event Britain leaves the European Union without a deal.

In an impassioned intervention, the former foreign secretary told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that he felt a "deep sense of personal responsibility" for Brexit - and refused to rule out challenging Theresa May for the top job. While Mr Johnson said he did not "want no-deal" - which ministers have warned could cause major disruption to supply chains and put jobs in peril - he said he would be prepared to stand by its consequences. Asked whether he would take personal responsibility for job losses should the UK leave without a deal, he said: "Of course I will.  "And do not underestimate the deep sense of personal responsibility I feel for Brexit, and for everything that has happened. Do not underestimate how much I care about this." 'WE CAN DO BETTER' The former Cabinet heavyweight has repeatedly urged the Government to step up its planning for Britain leaving the bloc without an agreement. And he has insisted that Britain could force Brussels to ditch the...
9 December 2018
Esther McVey

Esther McVey has refused to rule out running for leadership of the Conservative Party if Theresa May is ousted over Brexit.

The former work and pensions secretary - who quit the Cabinet in opposition to the Prime Minister's Brexit deal with the EU - said she would give the top Tory job "serious consideration" if asked by colleagues. Asked by Sky News's Sophy Ridge if she would consider running, Ms McVey said: "At the moment I am looking for a person who can unite the party behind a Brexit deal, a person who believes in Brexit, who's got, really, the full passion to deliver that." But she added: "If people asked me then, of course, you'd give it serious concern and do it - if people asked me." The comments came as the Tory backbencher pushed back at claims she had cried in a crunch Cabinet meeting hours before her dramatic exit from the Government. Cabinet sources had previously told the media that Ms McVey had had an "extraordinary meltdown" in the summit of top ministers.  "I thought security would have to be called, because she seemed so hysterical and aggressive," one told the Mail on...
9 December 2018
Tobias Ellwood and Theresa May

Three ministers are reportedly on the verge of supporting a second EU referendum if Theresa May fails to get her Brexit deal through the Commons this week.

The Prime Minister faces an uphill struggle to get her agreement signed off through the meaningful vote, with dozens of Tories and almost all opposition MPs against it. The Sunday Times says a minister has already decided to quit and back a new referendum if the Prime Minister loses - and is one of three ready to back a fresh public vote. Meanwhile at least two Brexit-backing ministers and two members of the whip's office are said on the verge of resigning. The paper quotes defence minister Tobias Ellwood as saying that the “sell-by date” on the 2016 vote to quit the European Union was about to expire, in a major hint he could back a second referendum. The Bournemouth East MP told the paper that he would back the PM’s deal, as it was his “democratic duty” to his leave-supporting constituents. Meanwhile The Observer reports that Cabinet ministers...
9 December 2018
Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage has hinted that he could set up a new pro-Brexit political party following a string of high-profile exits from Ukip.

The party's ex-leader quit Ukip this week over the appointment of English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson - whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon - as an adviser to the leadership on rape gangs and prison reform.  Mr Robinson will today lead a pro-Brexit march through the streets of London organised by Ukip, with Labour's John McDonnell branding the group "far-right extremists dressing up in suits and pretending to be respectable". Amid the ongoing disarray in Ukip's ranks, Mr Farage is reportedly holding talks with David Canzini, an aide to Conservative elections guru Sir Lynton Crosby, about a fresh campaign aimed at tapping into public anger with Theresa May's Brexit deal. He told the Sunday Times: "If you say to the Great British public, ‘We’re not actually leaving after March 29, we’ve pushed it on for another year, or two years...
9 December 2018
Theresa May

Theresa May could delay this week’s crunch Commons vote on her Brexit deal and head to Brussels to demand last-minute changes, it has emerged.

According to the Sunday Times, the Prime Minister has been convinced by aides that she needs a Margaret Thatcher-style “handbag moment” with European leaders to stave off a hefty defeat and get her warring party to fall in line behind the agreement. Mrs May is facing the prospect of scores of her own MPs voting against the deal, with the DUP - who the Prime Minister relies on for a Commons majority - also vowing to reject it on Tuesday. But the paper reports that the PM could announce as early as Monday that she is returning to Brussels to try to demand changes to the beleaguered agreement, which last night triggered yet another government resignation. One cabinet minister said: "People in No 10 think she needs to have a ‘handbag moment’ where she says: ‘Up with this I will not put.’" In a fresh blow for the Prime Minister, Will Quince - the...