Peter Hain MP writes in The Independent: “Boris Johnson either doesn’t know much or couldn’t care less about the complications of the Irish border. As foreign secretary, despite it being at the very centre of the whole Brexit morass, he ludicrously compared the international frontier to the boundary between two London boroughs.”
From The Guardian: Sadiq Khan will accuse Conservative leadership candidates of being willing to “ape and adopt” the language of the far right for short-term political gain, warning that ignoring Islamophobia could have consequences like the New Zealand mosques massacre.
Speaking at a dinner for Muslim leaders hosted by the Muslim Council of Britain on Tuesday night, Khan will call Tory leadership hopefuls “utterly shameful” for the party’s approach to Islamophobia and their failure to speak out against Donald Trump, saying anyone who wants to become prime minister must “get on the right side of history”.
The London mayor will say: “As we saw with the Christchurch massacre, this kind of deeply irresponsible behaviour and language has lethal consequences. Because when senior politicians use anti-Muslim language with impunity, and are even rewarded with a promotion, it only encourages those who seek to spread hate and sow division.”
From The Guardian: A future Labour government would oversee an economic revolution to tackle the climate crisis, using the full power of the state to decarbonise the economy and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs in struggling towns and cities.
Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary who is driving the party’s climate agenda, said the UK’s “entire society and entire economy” needed to be refocused to meet the looming challenge of ecological breakdown.
“It could not be made clearer to us and people are starting to realise how incredibly dangerous this situation is,” said Long-Bailey. “There is no option but to radically transform our economy.”
But, in an interview with the Guardian, she said the crisis was also an opportunity to bring well-paid, highly skilled jobs and economic regeneration to some of the most marginalised communities in the country.
“We have to tackle climate change in a really radical way, the evidence is crystal clear,” said Long-Bailey. “But this is also a wonderful opportunity to invest in those towns and cities that have felt neglected for a very long time … this has to be – and will be – a genuine transformation of the economy.”
From Morning Star: The Tories are shamefully fabricating a “mini-riot” over whether Jeremy Corbyn called Theresa May a “stupid woman”, say senior Labour figures.
Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the row was overshadowing the rest of politics with fewer than 100 days until Brexit.
During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, TV cameras had caught him saying something inaudible to those opposite him after Ms May likened his tabling of a confidence vote in her to a Christmas pantomime, while making panto-themed jokes.
He was recalled to the Commons immediately after the session ended over the incident, and he told MPs he used the phrase “stupid people.”
Opposition MPs had criticised the fake outrage over the allegation of misogyny that a number of prominent Conservative MPs were themselves guilty of, or worse.
From The Labour Party: Jeremy Corbyn takes to social media the day after the “stupid people/woman” row, to say: “Yes, I did call them stupid people”.
Disabled people remain unequal in almost every part of life – Universal Credit will only make things worse
From HuffPost UK: Marsha de Cordova, Labour shadow minister for disabled people, writes…
“[Monday was] the UN International Day of Disabled People. Although the Government tends to pay lip-service to the day itself, the promotion of the rights of disabled people has reached a grinding halt in this country.
“In October, the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that one in five disabled Britons have their rights violated. Twenty-six years on from the first UN day, disabled people in Britain are still unequal in almost every part of life; whether its access to transport, education, employment or vital social security support. And with the roll out of Universal Credit, things are about to get a lot worse.
“Approximately 1.3 million people have moved onto Universal Credit, of whom a significant portion are disabled. This system is the clearest embodiment of the Government’s austerity programme and is another vehicle for cuts to disabled people. In the words of the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty last month, the Government’s flagship scheme is ‘fast falling into Universal Discredit’.
“The recent case of Emily Lydon shows the shocking reality facing disabled people under Universal Credit: a severely disabled woman, whose mother contracted the human form of mad cow disease, is facing homelessness because her social security has been more than halved under Universal Credit, despite being unable to walk or talk.
From HuffPost UK: Karen Lee, Labour’s shadow fire minister, writes…
“The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire announced on Thursday that the government will ban the use of combustible cladding on new buildings above 18 metres. This follows widespread concerns over revelations that a high number of buildings with combustible materials have still not being identified. It is appalling that we are now 17 months on from the Grenfell Tower fire and lessons still have not been learnt.
“New details of the Conservatives’ cladding ban, combined with industry projections of the number of at-risk buildings which have not been identified, mean that it is unlikely the government’s reforms will go far enough to prevent another Grenfell.
“This may look like a positive step, but the details of the ban barely begin to address the risk posed to many vulnerable communities across the UK. Not only is the ban restricted to specific building types, but also the ban will not be enforced retrospectively and will only apply to new buildings or refurbishments.
“Alongside refusing to address the threats posed by faulty fire regulations, the government has displayed a worrying lack of urgency in removing dangerous cladding. The Tories have repeatedly kicked the issue into the long grass.
The Labour leader said his party could negotiate a better deal that would be in the interests of workers in Britain, pointing out the hollowness of the government’s “vague” Brexit plans during an appearance on Sky News.
Jeremy Corbyn said in the interview on the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: “We’ll vote against this deal because it doesn’t meet our tests.
“We don’t believe it serves the interest of this country, therefore the government have to go back to the EU and renegotiate rapidly.
“There’s 500 pages in this document much of which is quite vague. Where’s the guarantee on environmental protections, where’s the guarantee on consumer protections, where’s the guarantee on workers’ rights?”
From the Morning Star: Tory ministers have held more than 30 meetings with leaders of the controversial fracking gas extraction industry — but not one with opponents.
The cosy get-togethers have even included discussions with a Home Office policing minister.
Anti-fracking campaigners have demanded the same face-to-face meetings with ministers that the industry’s bosses have been afforded.
Labour, which exposed the meetings today, accused the government of “working hand in hand with the fracking industry while ignoring all the evidence and failing to give a fair hearing to local people affected.”
Labour revealed that over the last three years fracking company bosses had 31 meetings with ministers from six government departments, including the Treasury and the Home Office.
Labour blasts Tory response to tax-dodging private firms locking up people with learning disabilities
From the Morning Star: People with learning disabilities are having to put up with Bedlam-like conditions in institutions that should have been shut down years ago, shadow health minister Barbara Keeley said today.
The current situation was “nothing short of a national scandal” with patients being treated in a way that has “no place in the 21st century,” while private operators of the institutions profit and squirrel millions of pounds in offshore tax havens, she added.
She made the demand after reports emerged last month that an autistic teenager called Bethany was locked for almost two years in solitary confinement and fed through a hatch, which reignited calls for immediate closure of such institutions.
The news led Sir Stephen Bubb to claim the government had “ignored” his independent report into the 2011 abuse scandal at Winterbourne View, which recommended a dramatic reduction in the use of institutions for people with learning disabilities.
Asking an urgent question on the issue in the Commons seven years after the original scandal, Ms Keeley called for immediate action to “rid the country” of these institutions.
She said: “Can the minister tell us why the NHS is still sanctioning the use of settings which expose thousands of vulnerable people to abuse at a cost of half a billion pounds despite the government pledging to close them?
From The Independent: The ‘catastrophic’ privatisation of Britain’s railways has cost the taxpayer £5bn per year and driven up fares by 20 per cent, Labour has claimed.
From BBC News: Jeremy Corbyn will promise to “kickstart a green jobs revolution” if Labour wins power, in his closing speech to his party’s conference.
He will point to Labour’s commitment to reduce the UK’s net carbon emissions by 60% by 2030 – and to zero by 2050.
To achieve that, 400,000 skilled jobs will need to be created, he will tell delegates in Liverpool.
The move will be part of a “radical plan we need to rebuild and transform Britain”, the Labour leader will say.
Much of the money to pay for the policy will come from the public purse – such as the £12.8bn Labour says it will set aside for subsidies to insulate homes in Labour’s first term.
The party says this policy alone will create 160,000 new jobs. There will also be subsidies for offshore and onshore wind and solar energy.
From Morning Star: Britain is on the brink of “social collapse” after “eight years of uninterrupted austerity” caused by brutal Tory spending cuts, Labour council leaders warned today.
Twenty-six leaders of Labour-controlled councils have signed an open letter calling on the government to “recognise the catastrophic impact” that #austerity has had on local authorities across Britain.
The statement, released under the banner of Councils Against Austerity, says budgets have been squeezed by direct government cuts and other pressures.
Pointing out that the shortage of funding has had a “disastrous knock-on effect” on services, the council leaders said that nearly half of all local authorities nationwide have experienced serious setbacks in their daily operations and increasing numbers are cutting all services to a bare minimum.
The leaders warn that many councils will soon be unable to perform the basic level of service expected of them, with street cleaners, park maintenance workers, library staff and other municipal workers facing an uncertain future.
From The Guardian: Labour’s ruling body has agreed to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism in full and issue a clarification emphasising the right to non-racist free speech when discussing Middle Eastern politics.
The national executive committee (NEC) accepted the IHRA definition with all 11 examples at an afternoon meeting where Jeremy Corbyn was present.
A Labour Party spokesperson said: “The NEC has today adopted all of the IHRA examples of antisemitism, in addition to the IHRA definition which Labour adopted in 2016, alongside a statement which ensures this will not in any way undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians.”
The spokesperson added that Corbyn had made a statement to the meeting describing aciton being taken against antisemitism and expressing solidarity with the Jewish community and the importance of the protection of Palestinian rights.
Police cuts: Loss of 7,000 neighbourhood officers in three years ‘putting public at risk’, Labour warns
From The Independent: The public has been put at risk by the loss of a staggering 7,000 neighbourhood police officers in just three years, Labour has warned.
From The Independent: Jeremy Corbyn has suggested creating a publicly owned social media platform to rival Facebook.
From HuffPost UK: Fraudsters are getting a free pass to prey on the elderly and vulnerable due to dramatic cuts to trading standards budgets, the Labour Party has claimed – and things could get worse after Brexit.
Cash for the council-run service, which protects consumers from unfairness and illegal practices, has fallen from £213m in 2009 to £105m this year, with the number of enforcement officers slashed by 56 percent, according to research by Labour.
Why austerity doesn’t work, neatly explained in this easy-watch social video from the Labour Party.
From Daily Mirror: Britain should build youth clubs to combat the rise in knife crime, Labour says.
Jeremy Corbyn: Trump is putting “millions of lives” at risk – but the Tories give him a “red carpet” welcome
From The Independent: Jeremy Corbyn has accused Donald Trump of putting the lives of millions of people at risk as he criticised the Tory government for welcoming the US president to the UK.