Matthew Hancock.

Matthew Hancock.

What do you think of this, from The Guardian?

Councils and local authorities are to be blocked from boycotting Israeli products or pursuing other foreign policy goals that conflict with the government.

Conservative aides said the measure was a response to growing concern about the “militant actions of leftwing councils” that they claimed was spurred on by the Labour leadership.

The new rules will stop politically motivated boycott and divestment campaigns by town halls against UK defence companies and against Israel.

The Cabinet Office minister, Matthew Hancock, said the action was intended to prevent “playground politics” from councils.

The government will amend pension legislation to make clear that using pensions and procurement policies to pursue boycotts, divestments and sanctions campaigns against other countries and the UK defence industry are inappropriate, unless they are in line with action on a national level.

Local authorities have in the past introduced investment or boycott policies designed to punish companies and countries they disagree with politically. Last November, Leicester city council agreed a boycott on products from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Doesn’t it seem as though the Conservative Government is cracking down on dissent by forcing other democratically-elected bodies to follow Tory spending policies?

Doesn’t it seem as though the Conservative Government is forcing local authorities to spend their precious funds only on Tory-approved third parties, no matter how expensive or inappropriate?

Doesn’t it seem as though members of the Conservative Government might have a personal financial interest in ensuring local authorities behave that way?

Isn’t it therefore likely to be not only inappropriate but actually illegal to force councils to spend their funds in this way?

How many Conservative MPs have financial interests in this particular policy line?

Has anybody checked out Matthew Hancock in the register of members’ interests?

And look at the language being used: “Playground politics”, “militant actions of leftwing councils”. Look at what those councils are doing and you’ll see they are steering clear from investing in organisations that may have questionable motives – but the Tories don’t want people to think about that, so they’re using pejorative language to put us off.

The simple fact that the Tories are demanding that local authorities put their money into those organisations raises serious questions about the priorities of the Conservative Party.

How can we have those questions answered?

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