From The Independent: Conservative Party members would happily support the break-up of the UK, “significant damage” to the British economy and even the destruction of their own party in order to secure Brexit, a poll has found.
From The Independent: Government minister Justin Tomlinson has been criticised after he suggested poor families could “move house” or “take in a lodger” to ease financial pressures caused by the benefit cap.
Labour MP Ruth George said: “Take in a lodger? These are large families, they’ve often got three children in one bedroom. How are they going to take in a lodger? Just look at reality here.”
From the Daily Mirror: Esther McVey – who was accused of misleading Parliament over the welfare shake-up Universal Credit – has retweeted messages calling herself “gutsy” and “dignified”. At least one of her tweets, however, appears to have backfired.
From HuffPost UK: Tory Brexit minister Kwasi Kwarteng was branded “absolutely shocking” after dismissing a UN report which uncovered “staggering” levels of child poverty by talking about “good management of the economy”.
Kwarteng was confronted on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show with the plight of brain-damaged teenager Emily Lydon, who faces losing her home as part of her move to Universal Credit. The 19-year-old was asked to attend a work capability assessment but is deaf and cannot walk because her mother contracted the human form of mad cow disease (BSE) when she was pregnant with her.
Kwarteng called it “a sad story” and said “what [the government has] done is manage to reduce the deficit”.
It comes after professor Philip Alston, special rapporteur for the UN on extreme poverty, accused ministers of being in a “state of denial” about the levels of child poverty in Britain. Prof Alston found “a lot of misery, a lot of people who feel the system is failing them, a lot of people who feel the system is really just there to punish them” during his 12-day tour of UK cities.
But Kwarteng simply said “I don’t know who this UN man is” and claimed “it is a total distortion to suggest that the government has somehow mismanaged the economy”.
When faced with Emily Lydon’s story, he said: “I spent 18 months as the Chancellor’s PPS. I got to know the Treasury very well. I was involved in the last Budget. If you look to the last Budget, which was very, very well received, you could see the benefits of good and strong economic management. What we’ve done is manage to reduce the deficit, I know Polly doesn’t like going on about it, but the actual economic framework which this country is in is a very strong one.”
From Channel 4 News: UN special rapporteur Philip Alston talks about his investigation of poverty in the UK…
“Thousands of foodbanks haven’t sprung up because people are looking for things to do. There’s very real poverty out there.”
Tory government ministers? “They were pretty much unconcerned. They think their policies are working.”
From The Guardian: The minister spearheading the UK’s renewed push for fracking has admitted she has never been to a shale gas well.
In the week that fracking restarted in the UK for the first time in seven years, the energy minister, Claire Perry, revealed to a fellow Conservative MP that she had not yet had the chance to visit a shale site.
Perry has spent the past few days calling on the public to “trust the science of shale gas extraction” and insisted that fracking is compatible with tackling climate change.
But asked how many times she had visited a shale exploration site, she said: “I have had a number of meetings with stakeholders interested in shale gas exploration, but have not yet had an opportunity to visit a site.”
The written parliamentary answer came in response to a question by the Tory MP Lee Rowley, who has prospective shale sites in his constituency.
Rose Dickinson, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said: “Unlike the local community who protest outside the Preston New Road site in Lancashire every single day, it is surprising that the minister has never even been curious enough to visit.
“That the minister can cheerlead this unpopular industry without meeting the people living next door – the people who have to put up with trucks, noise, and the industrialisation of their local countryside – is astounding.”
Video via B Heard Media: Jacob Rees-Mogg claims to be a “champion” for voters who don’t share his privileges in life, on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine Show. The Daily Mirror’s Kevin Maguire sets the record straight deliciously.
WATCH: Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire challenge Jacob Rees-Mogg – who says he's a "champion" of the people – on various #Tory policies, notably bedroom tax."Do you feel guilty you made their lives harsher?"#ToriesMustGo
Posted by B Heard Media on Tuesday, September 11, 2018
From The Guardian: Jacob Rees-Mogg has sparked a fresh row about the status of the Irish border after Brexit after a video emerged in which he suggests a return to checks “as we had during the Troubles”.
The Conservative MP is seen on the footage from the public meeting suggesting the government could “keep an eye on” the border: “Ireland would not be a free for all. It would be perfectly possible to continue with historic arrangements to ensure that there wasn’t a great loophole in the way people can get into the UK, to leave us in as bad a position as we are already in. There would be our ability, as we had during the Troubles, to have people inspected. It’s not a border that everyone has to go through every day, but of course for security reasons during the Troubles, we kept a very close eye on the border, to try and stop gun-running and things like that.”
The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, was sharply critical of his comments. “This man knows nothing of Northern Ireland,” he said.
Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, tweeted: “It’s hard to believe that a senior politician is so ill informed about Ireland + the politics of the Brexit Irish border issue that he could make comments like these. We have left ‘the troubles’ behind us, through the sincere efforts of many, + we intend on keeping it that way.”
Rees-Mogg has previously been criticised for saying he did not need to visit Northern Ireland to understand the challenges Brexit posed for communities on the border.
From the Guardian: At the start of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels, the British prime minister was ambushed by the Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, who presented her with a Belgian football team top ahead of the England v Belgium World Cup game.
Theresa May held up the strip, before realising that doing so might be a PR gaffe, and appeared to attempt to hide it away. Unfortunately her fellow leaders pointed to the TV monitors showing her reaction live to a packed hall of reporters.
From Evolve Politics: A silent procession of thousands – police estimate 5,000 – marched solemnly in solidarity with the victims and survivors of the Grenfell disaster.
However, whilst Jeremy Corbyn attended and marched alongside the people – and as the Labour leader told reporters how the fire represented all the injustice and inequality in this country –Theresa May had already snuck away early in order to ‘woo’ super-rich bankers at an extravagant European financial services banquet.
There, while those at Grenfell grieved, May spoke to European finance bosses about how Government plans to remove doctors and nurses from the visa regime would open the way for banks to hire professionals from outside the European Economic Area.
From Political Scrapbook: Wannabe Tory leader Adam Afriyie has claimed it is “impossible” to raise a family on £67,000 — suggesting instead that MPs should not be given a salary and audited expenses but an “allowance” of up to £225,000 to spend however they want.
In an interview with Chat Politics, the Windsor MP — a multimillionaire through technology businesses — says: “It is almost impossible to operate on the salary that is given to MPs if you come from a middle income family.”
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen sparks controversy with ‘no rough sleepers’ in North West Leicestershire claim
The Conservative politician highlighted the statistic in a debate about house building during Prime Minister’s Questions.
While the official figures back up what Mr Bridgen said, Mark Grant, the boss of Leicester-based charity Action Homeless said they did not reflect the current reality in the MP’s patch.
Mr Grant said: “We all know the limitations with the figures. They are based on a count of rough sleepers on one given night of the year. They are just a snapshot. It is no criticism of the council that carries out the count but we know rough sleepers can be hard to locate. If you did the count on a different night, you would get a different number. Pretending rough sleepers aren’t out there is not the way to tackle the problem. Not all is rosy in North West Leicestershire. We get rough sleepers from there presenting to us.
“In fact, North West Leicestershire and Charnwood are the areas in the county where we have most people presenting from and they do have their particular social and economic problems. We know rough sleepers from North West Leicestershire migrate to Leicester to get access to services there that aren’t available where they are from.”
From TES: The Tory school standards minister Nick Gibb has said that pupils should be taking exams from Year 7 onwards.
From Political Scrapbook: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow Chancellor John McDonnell have published their tax returns for the third consecutive year today. They showed Corbyn earned £136,762 from MP’s pay, his salary as leader of the opposition and pension, while McDonnell made £87,353 from MP’s pay and pension.
The amount earned by the leaders of the opposition pale into insignificance when compared to the sums raked in by top Tories from their side jobs alone. The register of MPs’ interests shows:
- Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is now favourite to become the next Tory leader, made £173,854 in the 2016/17 tax year from Somertset Capital, the investment firm he runs with Tory donor Dominic Johnson.
- Nadine Dorries earned £144,000 over the same period for working 12 hours-a-week for a publishing company. She was previously forced to apologise for failing to declare her £82,000 ‘I’m a Celebrity’ appearance fee.
- Michael Gove was paid £150,000 for writing a column for the Times before rejoining the Cabinet.
- John Redwood, who wants to scrap workers’ rights from the EU, is being paid £183,600-a-year for a 75 hour-a-quarter commitment to an investment advisory firm.
- Andrew Mitchell, who doesn’t know how much the rate of the minimum wage, is making £156,000-a-year from four separate side jobs.
- Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill, is raking in a whopping £222,168-a-year from three different side jobs.
- And Nadhim Zahawi, the Children’s Minister who attended the Presidents Club gropefest, made £148,000 for just five months work as the Chief Strategy Officer for an oil firm before leaving the role in December.
From TES: Tory Cabinet ministers are more than five times more likely to have gone to a fee-paying school than the general population, Sutton Trust analysis shows.
Nearly half (48 per cent) of the Cabinet attended Oxbridge.
From the Guardian: Conservative members are “a breed apart” from members of the other main political parties, with much stronger tendencies towards socially illiberal and authoritarian attitudes and completely different views on Brexit, a study has found.
The biggest ever polling of party members’ opinions shows that Tories are half as likely to support gay marriage as members of Labour, the Lib Dems or the SNP and significantly more supportive of the death penalty, obedience to authority and censorship of the media “to uphold moral standards”.
The findings by academics at Queen Mary University of London could spell trouble for the chances of a more socially liberal candidate such as Ruth Davidson succeeding Theresa May as Tory leader, given that the final choice is made in a vote of party members.
The study found that 41% of Conservatives backed gay marriage, compared to more than 80% of members of the other three parties. More than half of Tory members back the death penalty, 84% believe schools “should teach children to obey authority” and 44% support the censorship of films and magazines – significantly more than any other parties.
Similarly, on the economy there is what the authors describe as “a gulf between the Tory grassroots and the rest”: just 11% of Conservative members agree that austerity has been taken too far, against 98% for Labour, 93% in the SNP and 75% among Lib Dems.
Such divides can also be seen on issues such as income redistribution and the idea that working class people do not receive a fair share of the nation’s wealth.