From Daily Mirror: Boris Johnson has refused to budge from his £20million taxpayer-funded mansion, as Downing Street admitted he could still be there for “weeks”. There is growing anger as he remains at the luxury official residence, despite resigning as Foreign Secretary 12 days ago.
The former foreign secretary failed to get permission from the government’s appointments watchdog for his role as a columnist for the Daily Telegraph.
Former ministers should apply to the advisory committee on business appointments (Acoba) before accepting a new role under the ministerial code.
Ministers who have been members of the cabinet should not accept new appointments for three months after leaving office.
Johnson returned to his £275,000-a-year Daily Telegraph column on Monday. He gave it up when he was appointed foreign secretary in July 2016.
A spokesman for Acoba said Johnson had not sought its advice, as required, before returning to the role, the Daily Mail reported.
“Ministers are written to on leaving office to remind them of the responsibility to follow the government’s rules set out in the ministerial code,” a spokesperson said.
From The Guardian: A Labour MP who discharged herself from hospital and attended Parliament in her pyjamas in order to take part in a Brexit vote has accused Tory whips of stripping her of her dignity.
Naz Shah, the MP for Bradford West, said parliamentary voting procedures were archaic and undignified after the whips refused her request to be paired with a Tory MP to cancel out each other’s vote – a practice that allows MPs to be absent from Parliament with good reason.
She has been in hospital since last Friday with severe nerve pain, an ongoing complication from a hit-and-run collision several years ago.
From ScotRef: SNP MP Mhairi Black on the appalling anti-democratic tactics used by Tory MPs in the House of Commons to filibuster out Private Members Bills they don’t like.
(Mhairi was talking on a pro-Scottish independence platform, but whatever your views on that topic this is a good watch!)
Everyone needs to watch this at least once. And I mean *everyone* 👍⚔️🗡️⚔️🗡️⚔️#ScotRef
Posted by ScotRef on Saturday, April 7, 2018
From Nursing Notes: Jeremy Hunt, Tory Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, walked out of parliament only seconds before he was due to answer questions over the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review.
Barbara Keeley, Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care, tabled the urgent question for Jeremy Hunt to make a statement on key concerns raised in the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review that was published earlier this month.
The Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) programme was established to support local areas to review the deaths of people with learning disabilities, identify learning from those deaths, and take forward the learning into service improvement initiatives.
The investigation looked at specific health inequalities and the barriers that prevent people with learning difficulties from accessing appropriate healthcare services.
The report provides 189 learning points or recommendations for service improvement of which the report identities Inter-agency collaboration and communication, awareness of the needs of people with learning disabilities and the understanding and application of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and the most significant.
From Daily Mirror: Theresa May has said it was right to slash payments to bereaved children who have lost a parent.
From Daily Mirror: It is “shameful” and “unsubstantiated” to claim benefit cuts have caused suicides, Tory minister Sarah Newton declared today.
Theresa May refuses to reveal any details of disabled benefit claimants’ suicides, instead says “work is the best route out of poverty”
From Daily Mirror: Theresa May has refused to reveal any details of suicides by disabled benefit claimants, instead cruelly declaring: “Work is the best route out of poverty.”
From The Guardian: Chris Grayling, the Tory transport secretary, has been accused of passing the buck over severe rail disruption on Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern trains, for which he blamed staff shortages caused by “militant unions”.
A report from the National Audit Office criticises the government’s management of the UK’s largest #rail franchise, held by Govia Thameslink, and concludes that policy decisions have had a negative impact on millions of passengers.
The report says Department for Transport officials failed to grasp the potential impact on passengers of combining an increase in capacity, targets to improve services and the increase in driver-only operated trains, which led to strikes by union members.
However, Chris Grayling said blame for the disruption should primarily be shouldered by the unions for their decision to take industrial action.
From Daily Mirror: Theresa May has refused to appoint a diverse panel to the Grenfell Tower inquiry, it emerged today. It is feared that the retired Court of Appeal judge lacks first-hand experience of the complex cultural factors underpinning the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Zoe Williams writes in The Guardian: “The people of Taunton Deane, according to their MP, Rebecca Pow, have never had it better, thanks to Conservative policies. A combination of the higher minimum wage, the higher personal threshold for paying income tax and the frozen fuel duty meant people had ‘thousands more in their pockets’.
“Good intentions would manifest in curiosity about the lived experience of one’s policies, which would in turn entail figuring out what those policies amounted to in the aggregate. Failure to ask such questions is not born out of ignorance: it is critical to the Conservative narrative to deny, forcefully and sometimes gleefully, that anyone in the country is struggling.
“The smart ones do this with ‘economicky’ words – David Freud explained the surge in food banks as a simple issue of supply and demand. ‘Food from a food bank – the supply – is a free good, and by definition there is an almost infinite demand for a free good,’ he triumphantly declared. Because who would go to a shop when they could scam limitless free tinned tomatoes out of their community?
“The confident ones simply deny the premise. There aren’t any unemployed people, according to Philip Hammond. Theresa May thinks nurses use food banks for ‘many complex reasons’.”
The quote used by The House magazine to promote their interview with Tory trade secretary Liam Fox is:
Tory trade secretary #LiamFox: If UK trade figures are bad, it's nothing to do with me.
From Evolve Politics: Just five months after a catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower claimed the lives of approximately 80 people, Kensington’s local Conservative party have been exposed conducting a survey asking local residents if they still cared about the tragedy.
In the letter, first published on the Guido Fawkes website, the Kensington, Chelsea & Fulham Conservatives survey asks residents ‘how important’ the Grenfell Tower tragedy was to them still. Read more
From The Guardian: Tory defence secretary Michael Fallon urged MPs to stop criticising Saudi Arabia in the interests of securing a fighter jet deal, provoking sharp criticism from human rights and arms trade campaigners.
Michael Fallon told the defence committee: “I have to repeat, sadly, to this committee that obviously other criticism of Saudi Arabia in this parliament is not helpful and … I’ll leave it there,” he said. “But we need to do everything possible to encourage Saudi Arabia towards batch two. I believe they will commit to batch two.” Read more
From Disability News Service: The Tory minister “for” disabled people has dismissed a damning UN report on her government’s disability rights record, arguing that the rest of the world should instead be learning from the UK’s policies.
Penny Mordaunt was speaking weeks after the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities said the government’s social protection policies had caused a “human catastrophe” for disabled people.
From the Guardian: Theresa May will not reduce the six-week delay faced by many Universal Credit claimants despite being warned by Conservative MPs that the policy is hurting vulnerable families, sources have told the Guardian.
On Wednesday, Labour will reveal new figures, that suggest Universal Credit cuts could push 1 million more children into poverty by 2020. Read more
Tory Cabinet Minister is ill-informed and dismissive when questioned about the 55p-per-minute Universal Credit helpline
From The Independent: Liz Truss, the Tory minister who thought Britain’s level of cheese imports was a ‘disgrace’, had a paltry answer when it came to charging welfare claimants 55p-per-minute to call the government helpline.
The BBC’s Andrew Marr asks Theresa May about the rollout of Universal Credit, which is denying many destitute people any money at all for six weeks: “How are people going to eat?”
To paraphrase May’s rambling response: “We’re looking at it.”
Britain under the Tories. A Prime Minister unable to answer the question: 'how are people going to eat?'
Posted by Durham Miners' Association on Sunday, October 1, 2017
From Political Scrapbook: Conservative MP George Freeman has found a new excuse for the explosion in demand for emergency food parcels since the Tories took power – apparently being unable to buy food is just part of modern life.
The Tory MP told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: “The truth is things are tough. They have been tough in the last few years. Barry [Gardiner] may well try to say this is a Tory problem – foodbanks went up by 10 times under Tony Blair. It’s been part of modern living. The cost of living has gone up.” Read more