Daily Archives: January 6, 2016

Three shadow ministers resign over Corbyn’s reshuffle – so what?

Kevan Jones, Jonathan Reynolds and Stephen Doughty (left to right).

Looking at the extent of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet reshuffle, one is led to wonder whether he kept it minimal just to see what it would shake loose.

It wasn’t long before we found out. It shook loose Jonathan Reynolds, Stephen Doughty and Kevan Jones.

This Writer’s reaction, on hearing the news, was: “Who?”

It took a moment to recollect that Kevan Jones was the man who hypocritically attacked Ken Livingstone after the veteran left-winger suggested he might need psychiatric help, back in November last year. Mr Jones had said the words were inappropriate as he had indeed suffered from mental illness in the past – but this had not stopped him using similar language during a Parliamentary debate in 2010.

Jonathan Reynolds is unknown to This Blog, other than as one of the many Labour MPs who betrayed their constituents by abstaining from the vote at the second reading of the Conservative Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill, thereby aiding this latest attack on the poor, disabled and disadvantaged.

Oh… and so did Stephen Doughty, it seems. And this is odd, because Mr Doughty had criticised the rise of food banks due to Tory policies in a previous debate.

That’s all the information This Blog has published about any of them. They seem to have hardly distinguished themselves at all.

Corbyn’s strategy, therefore, seems exemplary.

After eliminating the main troublemakers, all he had to do was sit back and watch while the hangers-on left of their own accord.

Three junior shadow ministers have resigned in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s reshuffle, in which two frontbenchers were sacked for disloyalty and a third was moved to clear the way for Labour to oppose the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons.

Jonathan Reynolds and Stephen Doughty stepped down from their roles after Pat McFadden was removed as shadow Europe minister for “serial disloyalty”, including what was seen as a coded attack on Corbyn’s response to the Paris terror attacks.

The third, Kevan Jones, resigned as a shadow defence minister after the Labour leader replaced his boss, Maria Eagle, who is pro-Trident, with the anti-Trident Emily Thornberry in the role of shadow defence secretary. Jones said there was “nothing straightforward or honest” about the way in which the changes were made.

Source: Three shadow ministers resign over Corbyn’s ‘dishonest’ reshuffle | Politics | The Guardian

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Nicola Sturgeon told to ‘stop campaigning and start governing’ after launching SNP election campaign

Nicola Sturgeon: Open mouth, insert foot [Image: Getty].

Nicola Sturgeon: Open mouth, insert foot [Image: Getty].


Ms Sturgeon’s electioneering claims might carry more weight if the SNP had not shot itself so badly in the foot with its protestations about house-building.

Recent figures have shown that, under the SNP’s leadership, house-building in Scotland has fallen to around 15,000 a year – the lowest rate since 1947. Meanwhile, 150,000 families are on waiting lists for decent housing.

It is a record as poor as that of the Conservative Party in England.

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of putting “politics first and the possibilities of power second” after she used her speech in the Scottish Parliament’s New Year debate to launch the SNP’s election campaign and talk about her ambition to build a majority for independence.

In her first address to MSPs since the Christmas break, the First Minister made a direct pitch to voters, focusing on her party’s record in government before promising to deliver an “ambitious, upbeat, visionary and detailed” election manifesto which [she claimed] would win the SNP a historic third term at Holyrood.

Kezia Dugdale, the Scottish Labour leader, responded by accusing Ms Sturgeon of electioneering and of having no vision for the future beyond independence. “Nearly a decade into government, it’s time she stops campaigning and start truly governing,” she added.

In a separate speech, Ms Dugdale made her first major manifesto pledge, promising that first time house buyers would each receive £3,000 to put towards their deposits under a Labour government.

The SNP immediately poured scorn on the policy, claiming that it was “counter-productive” as it would push up house prices in Scotland without providing any new homes. “Our focus has been on boosting housing supply in both the private sector and the social sector,” said the party’s MSP Clare Adamson.

Source: Nicola Sturgeon told to ‘stop campaigning and start governing’ after launching SNP election campaign | UK Politics | News | The Independent

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

EU referendum: David Cameron dodges question over whether he’ll resign if he loses EU vote

david-cameron3-696x393

When he was finally forced to answer the question, Cameron said he would “continue to lead the government in the way I have”.

But how can one describe that leadership, when more than half of his own party want to vote against his policy, and if a majority of the UK does the same? What’s the best way to describe, in those circumstances, the way he will continue to lead?

Badly.

David Cameron has dodged the question of whether he will quit as Prime Minister if he loses the EU referendum.

Asked by veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner whether he will resign if Britain votes to leave the EU referendum, the Prime Minister said: “This referendum is the Government’s policy and the country will decide whether we stay in the European Union or leave the European Union.”

Later, when asked the question again by shadow minister Barry Gardiner, Mr Cameron insisted he would stay as Prime Minister regardless of the result.

“Come what may, I will continue to lead the government in the way I have,” Mr Cameron said.

Source: EU referendum: David Cameron dodges question over whether he’ll resign if he loses EU vote | UK Politics | News | The Independent

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Tory talk about flood defence is just a lot of flannel


Someone should explain to Liz Truss – and to all Conservative ministers – a simple principle that they don’t seem to understand: Prevention is better than cure.

It doesn’t matter that financial aid was provided quickly, or that there are plans to improve flood defences; these are measures being made after 16,000 houses were flooded.

The floods happened because Conservatives like Ms Truss voted to cut the flood defence budget, year on year, back in 2011.

In any case, the projects the money would have funded are unlikely to have worked. The example of places like Pickering shows that there are much better alternatives to building hugely-expensive walls along river banks.

The bone-headed response of Tories like Truss shows there is just one lesson to be learnt from this fiasco: Cosnervatives don’t learn from their mistakes.

About 16,000 houses in England were flooded during the wettest December in a century, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss has told MPs.

Defending the government’s response to the crisis, she said flood defences had protected more than 20,000 homes.

Financial aid was provided in “record time”, and there are plans to further improve flood defences, Ms Truss added.

But Labour accused ministers of not spending enough on defences, calling measures a “sticking plaster response”.

Source: Storms Desmond and Eva flooded 16,000 homes in England – BBC News

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

MPs to debate banning Donald Trump from UK

Donald Trump was widely criticised for saying Muslims should be banned from entering the US [Image: Rick Friedman/rickfriedman.com/Corbis].


The Conservative Government seems to be playing ‘fast and loose’ with Parliament’s e-petitions service again.

Alongside a petition calling for Donald Trump to be banned from the UK after he said Muslims should be refused entry to the US, MPs will debate another petition, opposing such a ban.

If the government supports the latter petition, which won only 40,000 signatures, over the former, which benefits from more than 560,000, the Conservative Party will be signalling its contempt for democracy once again.

MPs are to debate calls for the US presidential candidate Donald Trump to be banned from the UK following his controversial comments about Muslims, after more than half a million people signed a petition.

The government signalled last month that it would not refuse Trump entry after he was widely criticised for saying that Muslims should be banned from entering the US.

However, the call for the sanction to be imposed on the businessman will now at least have a hearing in parliament after the House of Commons petitions committee announced on Tuesday that it was scheduling a session in Westminster Hall on 18 January.

More than 560,000 people have signed the petition demanding the billionaire businessman be barred. Politicians will also discuss a separate petition opposing such a ban, even though it only gained about 40,000 signatures – well below the 100,000 threshold for triggering a debate.

Trump, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination in the US, faced an international backlash last month after urging a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.

Source: MPs to debate banning Donald Trump from UK | US news | The Guardian

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Embarrassment for Benn as he wins praise from Tory Party (again)

Not the man his father was: Hilary Benn MP [Image: Justin Sutcliffe].

Not the man his father was: Hilary Benn MP [Image: Justin Sutcliffe].

Tony Benn must have been spinning in his grave.

In a debate over Saudi Arabian human rights abuses, Tory foreign office minister Tobias Ellwood praised his turncoat son Hilary Benn, saying he “commands a respect and a level of expertise… which… Parliament is very much the wiser for”.

This can only be a reference to Benn’s speech during the debate on air strikes in Syria, in which he rebelled against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to speak in favour of the Conservative Government’s pathetically weak argument for UK military attacks.

Benn only kept his job as shadow foreign secretary in this week’s reshuffle after hard negotiations with Jeremy Corbyn, and with the support of around 10 other shadow cabinet members – but his reputation among the Labour membership has been seriously tarnished.

Ellwood’s words were an attempt to prolong division among Labour MPs and the party as a whole, for the benefit of the Tories. He knew that mention of Benn’s rebellion is like touching a raw nerve for the Labour leadership, and undoubtedly hoped that praising the man responsible would enflame disagreements within the Opposition party. What he actually did was remind us of the important point:

Parliament was much the wiser for Tony Benn’s wisdom and expertise.

Hilary isn’t the man his father was – more’s the pity.

The minister added that he was pleased to see that Benn had not yet been removed from his position as shadow foreign secretary as part of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s party reshuffle. “After much speculation, I am delighted to see [the shadow foreign secretary] in his place today. He commands a respect and a level of expertise in foreign policy affairs which this House, and indeed parliament, is very much the wiser for.”

Source: Minister defends UK’s approach to Saudi human rights record | World news | The Guardian

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Minister defends UK’s approach to Saudi human rights record

Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood [Image: S Meddle/ITV/Rex Shutterstock].

Saudi Arabia’s attitude to human rights cannot be changed overnight, the government’s minister for the Middle East has claimed, arguing that any progress would need to “move at a pace that is acceptable to [the country’s] society”.

Tobias Ellwood, who is parliamentary under-secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, said the Saudi government was well aware of the British government’s disapproval of human rights abuses by the country.

The minister had already come under fire from opposition parties for initially describing the announcement of Saudi Arabia’s execution of 47 people, including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, as “disappointing”. The British Foreign Office later issued a tougher message calling for restraint on all sides.

The executions sparked protests in Shia-dominated Iran, where the Saudi embassy was stormed. This led to the Saudis breaking off diplomatic relations with Tehran, followed by Bahrain and Sudan.

Called to make a statement to MPs on the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, Ellwood said: “Founded just under 100 years ago, Saudi Arabia is a relatively young country and we recognise change cannot happen overnight. The human rights situation in Saudi Arabia reflects widely held conservative social values and as such needs to move at a pace that is acceptable to its society.”

The shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn, said the minister was right to refer to the importance of the two countries’ cooperation on counter-terrorism and tackling the threat from Isis. “But in a region that is already in ferment, with the brutal civil wars in Syria and Yemen and the threat from Daesh [Isis], the minister must surely recognise that the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 other people has caused a major diplomatic and political crisis,” said Benn.

“On this side of the House we believe that the Saudi government was profoundly wrong to execute Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a Shia cleric, and three young Shia men whose alleged offences appear to have involved taking part in political protests and demonstrations against the current government.

“The House will have noticed that neither the prime minister’s comment nor the minister’s statement today mentioned Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by name and I say… that is a matter of great regret.”

Benn repeated Labour calls for the government to publish the memorandum of understanding signed by the UK justice secretary, Michael Gove, and the Saudi minister of justice on 10 September 2014.

Source: Minister defends UK’s approach to Saudi human rights record | World news | The Guardian

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Labour reshuffle: Thornberry replaces Eagle for defence, McFadden sacked and Benn stays

Emily Thornberry becomes shadow defence secretary and Pat McFadden was sacked as shadow Europe minister in the Labour frontbench reshuffle [Image: Richard Saker for the Guardian].


It seems Hilary Been will be to Jeremy Corbyn what Iain Duncan Smith once was to David Cameron – a man he cannot remove.

The difference is that Mr Benn seems to have kept his job partly because 10 other shadow cabinet members said they would quit if he didn’t, whereas the odious Work and Pensions Secretary simply refused to move when Cameron asked him, back in 2012.

Whether Benn will become a figurehead for shadow cabinet rebellions seems beside the point, however; perhaps Mr Corbyn feels more comfortable knowing where his opposition is likely to be?

The reshuffle addresses an issue which provided ammunition for anti-Corbyn Labour MPs back in September; now there are more women than men in the shadow cabinet (17 against 14).

And it seems that Labour has said the reshuffle does not contradict the new politics of allowing debate, although open dissent against the leader will not be tolerated in future.

We’ll see how that works out for them in the future – and for all of us.

Jeremy Corbyn has replaced his pro-Trident shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle with his ally Emily Thornberry in a reshuffle designed to create a more unified shadow cabinet.

The Labour leader moved Eagle to shadow culture secretary, mostly because she disagreed with his position opposing the Trident nuclear weapons system.

However, Corbyn decided to retain his shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn, after coming to an agreement on their future working.

The deal means there will be no repetition of their disagreement about the vote on bombing Syria, during which Corbyn argued against military action and Benn gave a speech in favour. All future positions on foreign policy will be directed by Corbyn, a Labour source said.

As well as replacing Eagle, Corbyn sacked his shadow culture secretary Michael Dugher and shadow Europe minister Pat McFadden for what Labour sources said were displays of “incompetence and disloyalty”.

McFadden is being replaced by Pat Glass, who chairs Labour’s pro-EU group. Emma Lewell-Buck gets a promotion to shadow devolution minister.

In a statement, McFadden said he had originally accepted the post because the EU issue was of “crucial importance” with an in/out referendum looming.

Source: Labour reshuffle: Thornberry replaces Eagle for defence, McFadden sacked and Benn stays | Politics | The Guardian

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook