Showing posts from October, 2019

The Conservative party chairman writes ...

Parliament isn’t working. Instead of getting on with the country’s priorities, MPs have spent all their time arguing about Brexit. We need to break the deadlock that is preventing Parliament from getting Brexit done, so that we can move on. With this election, we have a chance to ensure the country has a functioning government. A government that works for the people, and delivers on voters’ priorities. On the 12th of December, you’ll cast your vote. So the next five years are down to you. We can end the uncertainty, end the delays – and put Britain back on the road to a brighter future. Getting Brexit done with our new deal. £33.9 billion extra for the NHS. 20,000 extra police officers. More money for every single school in the country. And a growing economy. But here’s the risk. Labour and the Lib Dems can’t win a majority. So the more votes they get, the more likely another hung parliament is. The other parties have ruled out a coalition with us. So in a hung par

Standing up against Anti-Semitism is not just about the Jews

Britain is experiencing a significant rise in overt and covert racism, in which Anti-Semitism is the first leading indicator and Anti-Muslim prejudice not far behind. No political party is entirely free from either and no political party can afford to be complacent about either. When I successfully proposed that Cumbria County Council should adopt the IHRA definition of Anti-Semitism both I and my seconder, Sol Wielkopolski, bent over backwards to do so in a constructive way and avoid point-scoring. That wasn't because either of us has a problem with pointing to Labour's Anti-Semitism problem when it is appropriate. During the coming General Election there will be times when it will be  appropriate to refer to this issue and I will make no apology for doing so. However, there are times when you make that sort of point and times when you don't and while you are trying to get an important motion through a hung council is one of the times when you don't. Claudia M

Halloween music spot: Saint-Saëns' "Danse Macabre"



Today, 31st October, is All Hallow's Eve (the day before All Saints Day) which is usually shortened to Halloween. In medieval times there was an important three-day festival called "Allhallowtide" in the Christian calendar. It would be easy to conclude that the only thing from either the pagan festivals which were once held at this time of year, or Christian festivals either, which retains any significant impact on the popular consciousness are the name "Halloween" for the first day of that festival and a humorous "celebration" of ghosts, witches and demons which are essentially a parody of the way medieval Christian propagandists depicted the previous pagan festival. It is often alleged that at this time of year the pre-Christian religions originally held a great Pagan festival and that "Allhallowtide" represented this beingco-opted by the early Christian church. However, when you start looking into the historical evidence it

Second quote of the day 31st October 2019


First quote of the day 31st October 2019

I don't often quote Lib/Dems but I thought this quote from a Lib/Dem councillor was worth making an exception for. "I am a Liberal Democrat county councillor and I believe strongly that our party has rather misread the current mood of the British people. In our zeal to ride the wave of popularity that has seen our polling increase well recently, we have jumped on our own bandwagon and left the driver behind. Our recent policy of cancelling Brexit is not a vote winner, it will merely retain the votes of people who will vote for us anyway." (Councillor Abigail MacCartney , first three lines of a letter published in The Independent this week.)

Midweek music spot: Thou Visitest The Earth (Maurice Green)


North Cumbria hospitals to get new cancer screening equipment

Today the government announced the 78 hospital trusts that will receive state-of-the-art MRI, CT and mammography screening machines, so our brilliant NHS staff have the tools they need to quickly diagnose cancer and boost survival rates. It is crucial that our NHS has the latest and very best technology to prevent and diagnose cancer, and very welcome that the government is investing £200 million in new, state-of-the-art cancer screening equipment, giving frontline staff access to the tools they need to make a real difference to patients’ lives. North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust will be receiving equipment under this scheme.

Feedback on "Working Together" NHS drop-in meetings today

Very impressed by the "Conversation about the NHS" drop in sessions at Whitehaven Golf Club today organised by the CCG under the "Working Together" programme. A great deal of thoughtful input by staff from various different caring services, some good ideas came out of it, and I learned a lot (and came away with a couple of actions to help !)

Public drop-in meetings about working together for West Cumbria's NHS

There is a really important set of "drop in" meetings today about how we can all work together to build the future of the NHS in West Cumbria. The event is being held at Whitehaven Golf Course, starting at 1.30pm, and will be split into sessions that run from: 1.30pm to 3.00pm,  3.30pm to 5.00pm, and  6.00pm to 7.30pm.  Everyone with an interest in good healthcare in West Cumbria is welcome. More details here .

Quote of the day 30th October 2019

"As we edge towards a December general election, a heartfelt promise:  I will do everything in my power to try to ensure my baby, Jewish by blood, will not be born under an Anti-Semitic government.  I hope this will never happen, please use your vote wisely." (Rachel Riley on Twitter yesterday @RachelRileyRR. This was a tweet which shared a Spectator article by Stephen Daisley, " A vote for Labour is a vote for Anti-Semitism " which you can read here .)

Early election bill passed

The Conservatives have brought forward a Bill for a general election to be held on 12 December – so we can elect a new Parliament, get Brexit done and let the country can move on. And, finally, the House of Commons has agreed. We didn't want an election but this Parliament has forced another delay on Brexit which is really damaging the country. If we don’t have an election, this Parliament will waste 2020 on more delay meaning we cannot focus on the NHS, the cost of living, tackling violent crime and more jobs. Millions of families and businesses cannot plan for the future – we will not allow this paralysis and stagnation to continue. One way or another we must proceed straight to an election. Parliament can no longer keep this country hostage. So sadly this is the only way to do it because Parliament and Corbyn have blocked everything. Our top priority remains, as it always has been, to get Brexit done. We will be making the case for the need for a functioning majori

Serious and organised crime

Today the Home Secretary is launching a review of all forms of serious and organised crime to help to keep our streets safe. Serious and organised crime targets the most vulnerable in our society, ruining lives and blighting communities.  This threat is growing, and offenders are becoming more sophisticated.  This review will identify ways of bolstering the response to threats such as county lines, people trafficking, drugs, child sexual exploitation, fraud and illicit finance.  Conservatives are committed to tackling crime and keeping our streets safe, and by getting Brexit done we can focus on the people’s priorities – delivering 20,000 more police on our streets to protect the public and bring criminals to justice.

Quote of the day 29th October 2019

"What’s scarier than Halloween?  Parliament’s treatment of democracy." (Title of an article by Charlotte Gill which you can read here .)

Tuesday music spot: "Awake us, Lord, and hasten" (JS Bach)

I actually picked this nusic slot for today before I knew that it was becoming likely that MPs will finally hasten to agree an election ...

A succinct answer - and a principle with wider application

Heard on the radio a this evening during the broadcast of "Today in Parliament." A minister in the House of Lords was asked whether the government had considered the possibility that it might encourage the re-establishment of the devolved executive for Northern Ireland at Stormont (which hasn't met for a thousand days) if members of the assembly did not get any more pay until they sat again. The minister replied "Yes." I suspect at least 17.4 million people might not only agree but think the principle could have a wider application. Perhaps MPs should not get any more pay until they deliver what the electorate voted for three years ago.

Improving school facilities

Applications opened today for this year’s £400 million fund for academies and sixth form colleges to make school improvements or expand facilities – part of a capital programme designed to ensure that  every child has the best possible education.  As well as having great teachers, we want all pupils to learn in classrooms that enable them to gain the knowledge and skills they need for success.  Following the government's increase in funding in primary and secondary schools by £14 billion over the next three years, this year’s multi-million-pound fund will support the Conservative pledge to create more good school places and to continue raising standards.  By getting Brexit done we can focus on issues like education, giving every child the facilities and teachers they need to receive the world class education they deserve.

Britain, the EU and Ireland

I have believed since the referendum that Britain must respect the result and leave the EU. I have also consistently supported the view that the best way to respect the decision of the 52% who voted to leave - and who had, don't forget, done so on the basis that they were promised a trade deal - while meeting as many as possible of the concerns of the 48% who voted Remain was to leave the EU with a deal. Whatever they may say now, virtually none of those who campaigned to leave in 2016 described "no deal" as their preferred option. Many people have argued - and were right to argue - that your negotiating power when trying to reach any agreement is practically zero if you rule out the option of walking away, and therefore it would be a mistake to take "no deal" completely off the table, if you even can. I have heard experts on EU law argue convincingly that the only way to completely rule out any possibility of a "no deal" outcome before Decembe

Quote of the day 28th October 2019

"It is easy for politicians to beat the private education system and for fee-paying schools to act as victims. It would be far more revolutionary for both sectors to interact and push all children’s talents – no matter their background." ( Stephen Rand , from an excellent article " Don’t abolish our public school system – modernise it instead ," which you can read here .)

Sean Quinn: standing up for Shap

As I posted yesterday afternoon, I spent some time yesterday campaigning in Shap for the excellent young candidate, Sean Quinn, who has been selected by Penrith and the Border Conservatives to  contest the upcoming Shap by-election for Eden District Council. The by-election will take place on the 14th of November and there are three candidates standing. Penrith and the Border Conservatives are very much looking forward to working with Sean to become Shap’s representative on Eden Council. Deputy Chairman James Bainbridge said:- “We are thrilled to have a candidate of Sean’s ability,  He is a strong advocate for the importance of supporting the rural communities of Eden District, which comes from his own experience as a volunteer youth worker and someone who has been inconvenienced in the past by the Labour and Lib/Dem cuts to public transport on Cumbria County Council, which continues to affect areas like Shap.” 

Interactive Museums of the Future

Yesterday the government set out plans for "Museums of the Future" which will be more interactive, using cutting edge tech to help people to explore our history in exciting new ways.  Museums and galleries are so vital for teaching us about our past and helping us better understand the world around us – which is why we are grasping the opportunity to make them more exciting and accessible.  We are drawing on our world leading tech sector and investing £19 million in a new programme meaning that Britain’s’ cultural treasures could be experienced from our homes, schools and libraries through new augmented and virtual reality.  Building on our global reputation as a major tourist destination and a leading light in innovative research, the programme will mean Britain’s cultural history is more accessible to people everywhere.

Nationalising medicines will not help patients.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has explained why Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to nationalise medicine would mean fewer patients getting the life-saving drugs they need. This week, we negotiated a deal so that NHS England can offer three life-saving cystic fibrosis medicines, benefiting around 5,000 people who may now take up these treatments.   Our world leading life sciences sector and robust drug appraisals system means we can get lifesaving drugs at a fair price on the NHS.   Labour's proposals to nationalise part of the pharmaceutical industry would drive away research and investment, and mean fewer lifesaving drugs would be developed in the UK.

Bye-bye Baghdadi

The most evil man in the history of the 21st century has killed himself and murdered three of his children by activating a suicide vest rather than face capture by American forces. Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, leader of DA'ESH and self-styled caliph of the so called "Islamic State Caliphate" committed suicide by running into a tunnel with his children and blowing himself and them up when a raid by US special forces arrived at his hideout. This was the head of the most evil organisation the world has seen since the demise of the Nazis and one of very few groups who can justly be compared to them. DA'ESH beheaded hostages and released videos boasting about it. When they captured villages they often took the young women and girls as slaves while murdering older women, men and boys. They tied up gay people and threw them from the roofs of tall buildings. They killed young boys for such "crimes" as an interest in music, football or keeping pet birds. They bu

Sunday music spot: Bach's Cantata 51, "Praise God in all lands"


Quote of the day 27th October 2019 - a Diwali message

"Diwali is the time when family, friends and community come together. As we celebrate the Festival of Lights, I wish all members of the Indian community a peaceful and prosperous Diwali. Shubh Deepawali"  (Priti Patel, Home Secretary)

Back to Greenwich mean time

The clocks go back this weekend as British Summer Time comes to an end and we revert to Greenwich Mean time (or as my son puts it, we go back to the actual time and stop playing games with the clocks.) So the Labour Party has an extra hour to decide whether they have the guts to face the British people in an election ...

Music to relax after campaigning: J.S. Bach's 'Komm, Jesu, komm'


Henry Wormstrup RIP

I am shocked and saddened to learn that my predecessor and two-time election opponent to be County Councillor for Egremont North and St Bees, Henry Wormstrup, died suddenly this week. Henry and I disagreed on a very great many things but I always liked him and he was never other than courteous towards me. He had integrity and he always worked extremely hard for the communities he represented. Rest in Peace.

Sean for Shap

Despite the weather we were out on the doorstep today campaigning in Shap for Sean Quinn, the excellent Conservative candidate in the council by election on 14th November 2019 to represent Shap ward on Eden District Council. It takes more than a little bit of rain to stop Cumbria Conservatives! Sean's campaign pledges include supporting the 106 bus service and Shap Swimming pool and working to devolve more power and functions from County and District councils to the parishes.

Life-transforming drugs continued

As I posted last night, the Conservative government has  successfully negotiated a deal so that NHS England can offer three life-saving cystic fibrosis medicines, transforming the lives of thousands of people with this disease.  All NHS England patients will now have full access to Orkambi, Symkevi and Kalydeco, benefiting around 5,000 people who may now take up these treatments.  Our world leading life sciences sector and robust drug appraisals system means we can get lifesaving drugs at a fair price on the NHS.  Labour want to nationalise part of the pharmaceutical industry, which would drive away research and investment, and mean fewer lifesaving drugs would be developed in the UK. We believe that our approach is far better for patients.

Quote of the day 26th October 2019


Better mobile phone service in rural areas

The Conservative government has announced a £1 billion deal to solve poor mobile coverage across the country, ensuring that no community is held back because of poor digital infrastructure. The UK is leading the world in mobile technology, and we are starting to roll out 5G technology in some cities.  But we know that in some communities, people can’t even access basic services, and are plagued by slow speeds when they try to get online from their phone.  That’s why we have brokered a £1 billion deal with the four main mobile operators, so that people will automatically be switched to the provider with the best signal, no matter which network they’re on.  The providers will come together to create a new Shared Rural Network, sharing masts, and we will work with private sector to upgrade the infrastructure needed to provide 4G to 95 per cent of the country.  We are ensuring that people get access to 4G no matter where they are or which provider they’re with, ensuring that no comm

Giving access to life-transforming drugs

This week Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a deal which will provide Orkambi and other lifesaving Cystic Fibrosis drugs on the NHS. The responses to his announcement are incredibly moving. A mother told the Health Secretary he has “given thousands a future” and posted a picture of her grinning son, Rufus, tucked up in his hospital bed. A father tweeted “Matt Hancock, you are the man. Thank you, thank you for all your hard work we know it has been far from easy. Well done sir!” . A woman who suffers from cystic fibrosis told her followers on social media that she looks forward to seeing how Orkambi transforms the lives of others, because the drug (accessed privately) is the reason she has got this far. As Olivia Utley points out here the Conservatives have actually done far more to support the NHS than we are often given credit for. Particularly by Labour who regularly base election campaigns on largely or sometime wholly fictional scare stories about how the Conserv

Quote of the day 25th October 2019


Delivering on Brexit

We have done everything we could to get Brexit done by 31 October. We worked extremely hard for a new deal and prepared extremely carefully for no deal.  The Prime Minister achieved what many said was impossible and negotiated a new deal which got rid of the backstop. Sadly, while parliament did give a "second reading" to the bill which would put this deal into law, Parliament keeps moving the goalposts and voting again and again to delay. Sadly it looks likely that those who have played every trick in the book to frustrate Brexit are likely to succeed in delaying it yet again, possibly until 31st January 2020. This parliament cannot be allowed to waste the next three months as it has wasted the past three years. So we need an election as soon as possible. We CANNOT afford to have this paralysis throughout 2020 – it will be a disaster for businesses, for jobs, for public services. The country has to move on. We NEED a functioning Parliament with a stable majorit

Howgill Family Centre call in

I share the cross-party concern of community leaders in Copeland about the decision by Cumbria County Council's cabinet to transfer the contract to run the service from the current local charity to the national charity Family Action, headquartered in London, to run Copeland’s Howgill Family Centre. Copeland MP Trudy Harrison said she would be urging the cabinet to urgently re-think their decision, adding that it “makes no sense” . Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie has also told me he is very concerned about the proposal. I support the cross-party call in of this decision by three of my fellow county councillors from Copeland, Emma Williamson (Labour), Arthur Lamb (Conservative) and Keith Hitchen (Conservative.) I hope the Scrutiny Management Board can meet to review this decision as soon as possibly. It is particularly important to provide transparency about the reasons for the decision and to ensure that whoever has the contract to provide the service, we need to know that all p

"Smart motorways" - or are they?

Like all drivers who occasionally have to use motorways I have been concerned by what I hear about the accident rates on so-called "Smart Motorways" and particularly the "Dynamic" kind where the same lane is sometimes a hard shoulder and sometimes an active lane. I've had the experience of breaking down at midnight on a section of the M6 without streetlights or a hard shoulder and not being able to get the car onto a refuge. I and my passenger had to get out, get on the other side of the barrier, and call the police - and I was convinced that the car was going to be flattened before they got there. Fortunately for everyone concerned we got out and behind the barrier safely and the police arrived before any of the HGVs which were passing at 70mph converted my car into metal splinters. It was, however, an extremely frightening experience and I must confess I have never been so glad to see a police car in the whole of my time as a motorist. Grant Shapps, the

Supporting Britain's Fishermen

The Conservatives are boosting the British fishing industry with a fund to support innovation, jobs and safety at sea – helping UK fishermen establish new markets and opportunities as we take back control of our waters.  We want to support innovation in the fishing market so that UK fishermen can take advantage of all the opportunities available as we leave the EU.  So applications are now open for £15.4 million from two UK fishing funds – boosting the British fishing and seafood industry by supporting innovation to enhance economic growth, reduce environmental impact and improve fishing safety. Leaving the EU presents a great opportunity for fishermen to take back control of our waters as we replace the flawed Common Fisheries Policy and establish the UK as an independent coastal state.

Quote of the day 24th October 2019


Helping veterans get on the property ladder

Today the government announced an extension to The Forces Help to Buy scheme to help many more service personnel make their first steps on the property ladder as a thank you for their commitment to this country.  We will extend the Forces Help to Buy Scheme for a further three years, which is fantastic news for all those wanting to take that first step on to the property ladder.  The scheme allows military personnel to borrow a deposit of up to half their annual salary interest free, to contribute towards buying a home, building an extension, or moving to a new property.  It has already helped to provide stability for over 18,000 Armed Forces personnel and their families since 2014 – and is a thank you for their commitment to their service for this country.

Supporting young people leaving care

The Education Secretary has announced support programmes backed by £19 million of new funding to improve the life chances of vulnerable young people leaving care.  Young people leaving care face enormous barriers in their lives as they move towards independence. We have a responsibility to provide them with a greater sense of stability and purpose in adulthood. We will use this new funding to ensure that care leavers have stable homes, are supported to live independently, and access further education.  Alongside this £19 million package, we will deliver 1,000 internships for care leavers to help them secure long term, quality jobs.  This will mean young people leaving care will have the best opportunities in life – the security of a stable home, a quality job and the independence they deserve.

Protecting Historic sites

Today, the government will be announcing a bold new initiative which will see communities empowered with funding to protect the historic sites from development.  We want to protect the historic buildings which are important to local communities and play a significant part in local identity.  The listing process has ensured some of England’s most special and distinctive historic buildings have been protected, but many buildings that are important locally have gone unrecognised.  That’s why we are empowering local people to nominate heritage sites which are important to them to ensure they get the support they need. Backed by a £700,000 fund and a team of heritage experts we can ensure important local monuments are no longer left neglected and unloved.  This means we can keep local communities’ unique identities thriving, ensuring that the historic buildings which define a community’s identity will be protected for the decades to come.

The state of play on Brexit

Last night, MPs backed the new proposed deal with the EU which could have guaranteed we get Brexit done on 31 October.  But once again, Labour, the SNP and the Lib Dems voted for more dither and pointless delay. The Prime Minister has done what many said he could not; we have renegotiated a great new deal which allows us to leave the EU without disruption and has now won the support of the House of Commons. Because the opposition failed to back our timetable to get Brexit done on 31 October, Britain now faces further uncertainty and the EU must now make up their minds over how to answer Parliament’s request for a delay – our policy remains we should not delay, and we should leave the EU on 31 October. As a result the government is taking the only responsible course of action and accelerating our preparations for a no deal outcome. Only by getting Brexit done can we address the issues that matter to people and get on with delivering the country the brighter future it deserves.

Quote of the day 23rd October 2019


Life-saving equipment returned in Cleator Moor

Police are continuing to investigate the disappearance of a defibrillator from its position outside Cleator Moor Town Hall earlier this month, although a member of the public found the equipment abandoned and handed it in to police. The life-saving equipment, which was provided by local fundraising in 2016, disappeared from its' position outside Cleator Moor Town Hall and Masonic Centre in the early hours of the morning. Police initially treated the disappearance as theft. I can only agree with the chairman of the Town Hall Management Committee, Bill Morley BEM (pictured below with the defibrillator when it was installed - picture from Whitehaven News ) that whoever took the equipment put lives at risk. Bill told the Whitehaven News that the defib had been used several times since it was installed in 2016, and added, “I want to tell the person who stole it how serious the crime they’ve committed is.  The defibrillator could be needed at any given time, and stealing it

Quote of the day 22nd October 2019


Working to deliver Brexit

This week the government will table legislation which gives MPs a chance to respect the result of the referendum, take back control and get Brexit done on 31 October in an orderly and friendly way. The Prime Minister does not want more delay and European leaders do not want more delay - a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners and the relationship between us. Parliament passed a law requiring that unless certain conditions were met - particularly, that there had to be a deal on the table - the government must send a letter to EU president Donald Tusk begging for an extension. When a deal which they have never expected was agreed and it looked like the government was going to meet those conditions, parliament moved the goalposts and made it law that they should send the letter anyway. This was Parliament’s letter, not the Prime Minister‘s letter, but the government has complied with the letter of the law. Nevertheless the Conservatives ar

Our NHS is not for sale

It is worth emphasising that the revised EU withdrawal agreement proposed by the government is not intended to harm the NHS, worker protection, or animal protection: on the contrary, the Conservatives want to improve all of them. The Prime Minister has confirmed that worker’s rights will never fall behind the EU after Brexit – the UK’s annual leave and maternity leave standards already exceed the EU minimum.  We have also committed to maintaining our rigorous standards on the environment, animal welfare and food safety after Brexit.  The Prime Minister and the Health Secretary have repeatedly made it clear that the NHS is not for sale – under no circumstances would we agree to any free trade deal that puts the NHS on the table.

Quote of the day 21st October 2019

This is, of course, very similar to a famous quote from Churchill ...

Police Numbers

On Wednesday 9 October, the Home Secretary announced the first stage in our plans to recruit 20,000 new police officers – putting more officers on our streets so we can keep all of our communities safer. The government has confirmed the initial officer recruitment targets for every police force in England and Wales, which will put 6,000 more officers onto our streets by end of 2020-21 – the first year of our recruitment drive.  The public are clear they want to see more police officers on their streets.  This is the people’s priority and it is exactly what Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are delivering.  In Cumbria there will be 51 new officers in the first wave of the initiative and, thanks to pro-active action by Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, they will include the very first new officers to arrive on the beat. The number of new police officers to be recruited in each police force area can be found here .

Sunday Music spot: Vivaldi's "Lauda Jerusalem" (Alessandrini)


Quote of the day 20th October: Theresa May on Boris Johnson's deal

During the debate on the deal yesterday, Mrs May spoke forcefully of the need to honour the vote of the British people. She asked "When this house voted overwhelmingly to give the choice of our membership of the EU to the British people, did we really mean it? When we voted to trigger article 50, did we really mean it? When the two main parties represented in this house stood on manifestos in the 2017 General Election to deliver Brexit, did we really mean it? I think there can only be one answer to that and that is 'Yes, we did mean it.' Yes, we keep faith with the British people and yes, we want to deliver Brexit." "Because if this parliament did not mean it, then it is guilty of the most egregious con-trick on the British people."   She duly urged parliament to approve the Brexit deal so that we can leave the EU on 31st October. What a pleasant change to see a former Prime Minister speaking about the way forward and their successor's

Music to relax after campaigning: Pachelbel's Canon & Gigue


More backing for the deal ...

Former First Minister of Northern Ireland David Trimble, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to the Good Friday Agreement, declares that the new Brexit deal is ‘fully in accordance with the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement’ He doesn't believe that this deal sells Northern Ireland down the river and neither do I.

Latest Brexit news

Opinion polls suggest that far more voters back the deal than oppose it Scotland’s highest civil court has dismissed the latest court action from Remain fanatics trying to stop Brexit. A legal bid to the Court of Sessions to stop the UK government from passing its proposed EU withdrawal agreement was thrown out. Lord Pentland ruled the application was ‘misconceived and unjustified’ . French President Emmanuel Macron told a press conference at the close of the EU summit in Brussels on Friday he wanted to “stick to” the October 31 exit deadline. “I do not think we shall grant any further delay,” he said.  Irish PM Leo Varadkar added “it would be a mistake” to assume an extension would get unanimous approval by all 27 member states.  Momentum founder Jon Lansman warned Labour’s NEC would replace any MPs voting for Johnson’s deal with ‘new, socialist’ candidates ahead of the next general election.  But Labour MPs told HuffPost they’ve been tol

Improving our railways

The Transport Secretary has announced details of some of the schemes that will benefit under the government’s £48 billion rail improvement programme, levelling up opportunities across the country. Fast, reliable trains are vital, not just for boosting local growth, but for making communities attractive places to live and to start a business.  We are investing £48 billion to upgrade our railways across the country – the largest improvement programme since the Victorian era.  This week, the Transport Secretary presented Parliament with details of some of the schemes around the country that will benefit from the investment.  Conservatives will ensure no part of this country is left behind, and no business held back, because of poor infrastructure.  We will level up opportunities, renewing the ties that bind our communities together while working to reduce carbon emissions.

Quote of the day 19th October 2019


MPs should back the deal

The new deal between Boris Johnson and the EU is not perfect. In this imperfect world no set of compromises with a chance of being agreed could be perfect. But it is a reasonable compromise in which both sides have given ground. Throughout the Brexit process people from every part of the political spectrum and both sides of the Brexit divide have put forward a whole herd unicorns - impossible ideas which had not chance of coming to fruition. This deal is not a unicorn. It is a real offer which is on the table now and which MPs can and should approve tomorrow. Many MPs have said that they would do anything they could to stop a "No Deal" Brexit. Well there are only two ways to take a "No Deal" Brexit off the table. One is to revoke Article 50 and try to cancel Brexit altogether. I believe that if MPs were that stupid there would be a backlash in the election which has to be held soon, which would certainly result in a good number of the MPs who voted for s

Helping lower income individuals and families onto the housing ladder

Today, the government announced a package of measures to help thousands of lower earners onto the housing ladder . We want more people to get a foot on the housing ladder, benefitting from the stability of owning their own home.   That’s why we are giving housing association tenants in new properties the right to a shared ownership of their home. With a deposit as low as £2,000 they’ll be able to get a foot on the housing ladder, and then buy more of their home in as little as 1 per cent chunks – making buying your home much more affordable.   This means more and more hard-working people up and down the country will have the opportunity to own their home - so they can look forward to a brighter future for themselves and their family in their own home.

Quote of the day 18th October 2019


Boris and the EU agree a new proposed deal

The Prime Minister has negotiated a new deal – this is a real Brexit deal which ensures that we take back control. This new deal ensures that we take back control of our laws, trade, borders and money without disruption, and provides the basis of a new relationship with the EU based on free trade and friendly cooperation.  Under the previous deal, Brussels had ultimate control and could have forced Britain to accept EU laws and taxes for ever. This new deal ensures that voters are in control.  This is a deal which allows us to get Brexit done and leave the EU in two weeks’ time, so we can then focus on the people’s priorities and the country can come together and move on.  We will leave the EU’s Customs Union as one United Kingdom and be able to strike trade deals all around the world.  The Prime Minister has achieved what many said was impossible and negotiated a new deal so that we can respect the referendum result and get Brexit done on 31 October, without disruption and in a

Quote of the day 17th October 2019