May’s government near collapse as Johnson and Davis resign

Just days after her Brexit retreat Theresa May is scrambling to save her Brexit policy and her premiership. She lost three ministers in less than 24 hours, all citing concern over the direction of Brexit.

The haul began with the resignation of Brexit secretary, David Davis late last night. In his scathing resignation letter, he said: “the national interest requires a Secretary of State in my Department that is an enthusiastic believer in your approach and not merely a reluctant conscript.”

Full statement here.

Even though there has often been friction between the two, this still comes as a surprise since the Prime Minister seemed to have secured backing for her soft Brexit plans, after a deal was struck during talks at Chequers – the Prime Minister’s country residence this weekend.

May’s Brexit pitch would see the UK adopt a “common rule book” in a UK-EU free trade area. Effectively leaving the UK under some EU influence.

Later speaking to the BBC, Davis said: “The general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one.

Adding: ““It seems to me we’re giving too much away, too easily, and that’s a dangerous strategy at this time.”

Tory MP Peter Bone praised Davis’s resignation as a “principled and brave decision” adding: “The PM’s proposals for a Brexit in name only are not acceptable.”

Junior minister Steve Baker followed Davis out the door, he said: “The problem with this particular Brexit is that it will not allow us to have proper control of what goes on in the United Kingdom. It’s the point David Davis made.”

Cabinet ministers thanked Davis for her service and explained how great a loss this is except Foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who likened May’s Chequers deal to a “turd”.

Not long after he resigned.

He said: “Since I cannot in all conscience champion these proposals, I have sadly concluded that I must go.”

A Downing Street spokesman said: “This afternoon, the prime minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. His replacement will be announced shortly. The prime minister thanks Boris for his work.”

Today’s slew of resignations have sparked a mini re-shuffle. Dominic Raab, former housing minister replaced Davis. Rabb is a prominent leave campaigner and is an ally of environment secretary Michael Gove. Raab was sacked by May two year ago in her first 2016 cabinet re-shuffle.

The highly unpopular Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will replace Johnson at the Foreign Office, Matt Hancock will move over to health, with Jeremy Wright replacing him as Culture Secretary.

Rumours of a revolt are circulating. Tory MPs could trigger a motion of no confidence forcing a leadership contest. Under current rules 15% of Tory MPs must write to the chair of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, to trigger a vote of no confidence in Mrs May. That’s about 48 MPs.

Labour welcome this. In a tweet, leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “With her Government in chaos, if she clings on, it’s clear she’s more interested in hanging on for her own sake than serving the people of our country.”

Speaking exclusively with TPN, shadow minister, Clive Lewis said: “This is a blow to what little of Theresa May’s authority survived her botched General Election.

“She should, in the National interest, step aside call a new GE and let Labour do the job of ending this nightmare go to once and for all.”

Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Select Committee said: “Reality has now firmly bitten for the Brexiteers.

“The Chequers package provides a good basis for negotiations. The debate now should’ve been with the EU not within the Conservative Party, but a small group just won’t accept anything other than an ideological Brexit which will harm the UK.”

May faces another week of tough diplomacy meetings to keep her Brexit plans on track as well as the planned visit of President Donald Trump this weekend.

May to contest any vote of no confidence

Reports this morning claim Theresa May will contest any vote of no confidence coming her way.

Despite facing serious opposition from former Brexit Secretary David Davis and former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, May could still defeat this vote. When questioned in the Commons, May appeared to give little away regarding her thoughts on the matter, reacting “as if she’d been asked about the weather.”

Sources close to the 1922 committee say that enough letters – fourty-eight – have been received to trigger a vote, however these reports are as yet unconfirmed. Details are likely to be confirmed following a meeting a 5.30pm this evening.

More to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

David Davis resigns as Brexit secretary

David Davis MP has resigned as Brexit Secretary, and Steve Baker a Junior Brexit minister has also resigned.

The Brexit secretary who has been critical of Theresa May’s new plans for a future trade deal with the EU has resigned sparking more rumours that the Prime Minister might be facing an impending leadership challenge.

Davis previously described the PM’s plan as “unworkable” and is one of many Hard Brexiteers who have serious problems with May’s plans for a future deal with the EU.

Davis’ resignation prompts rumours that other ministers who backed leave will follow him out the door leading to a civil war in the Conservative Party.

Davis is the sixth cabinet minister to resign in 8 months (Patel, Fallon, Green, Greening, Rudd, Davis).

Labour MP Dan Carden tweeted saying:

Theresa May has failed to unite her Cabinet, has no plan for Brexit, has no Brexit Secretary and cannot be taken seriously by the EU. We need a General Election.

Only a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government can deliver a general election. Labour would want to attempt this before the coup is completed. The rebels within the Tory party will look to win a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s leadership of the Conservative Party to replace her without having to face Jeremy Corbyn.

More follows

Tory councillor in Dudley defects to Labour

Cllr Mike Atwood has defected from the Conservative Party to Labour citing the impact of austerity on his local area as a primary reason for the switch.

The councillor defected to Labour on July 5th after a meeting and a “difficult decision”.

The Tory council leader called the move a “shocking attempt” by Labour to take control of the council. The move has extra significance due to the makeup of the council as Mike Atwood changing parties now makes Labour the largest party on the council with 36 councillors with the Tories left with 35 and 1 independent.

Cllr Mike Atwood has become disillusioned with many Tory policies and stated:

“I got into politics to make a difference and only Labour have a plan to build a better, fairer society that works for everyone.”

The austerity measured forced upon the council by Westminster and the council’s lack of effort in trying to mitigate the negative impact of them was cited as a primary reason for swap.

“I’ve seen first-hand what Government cuts are doing to Dudley and my constituents in Norton ward. Conservative-run Dudley Council is doing nothing to stand up for the people I represent.

Funding cuts have hurt public services badly especially recently in education where 500 teaching jobs are set to be axed. The councillor continued saying

“Dudley is at the heart of the Black Country. As Black Country Day draws closer I have realised that the only way to stand up for my constituents was to join the local Labour Party.

Labour will see it as a huge victory, not only locally where it looks like they will take control of the council but also nationally as it shows that even previously faithful Tories see the negative impact of their party’s policies.

Labour becoming the largest party means they will submit a motion of no confidence against Tory group leader Patrick Harley, Labour’s leader on the council expects this vote to take place in October.

Tory run council set to abandon unitary status as Mayor claims “There is no money”

Conservative held Torbay council is deciding whether to relinquish unitary status to save its cash-strapped services.

Mayor Gordon Oliver, said: “We cannot survive beyond this next financial year. There is no money.

“I am not crying wolf. I never cry wolf. We are too small to be a unitary authority and continue to fund these services.”

Torbay, a town on the south coast of England became a unitary authority in 1998 but looks set to move under the control of Devon county council once again. Mayor Oliver said that from 2020 onwards the council would be forced to make up to £12m worth of cuts.

Adding: “The Government is not putting any money in, and we need to plan for that

“There is a realisation among the Conservative councillors that we cannot carry on as we are. We are struggling like hell.”

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, and local MP Valerie Vaz, has urged for a proper debate to take place in parliament about the council.

Speaking in Commons, she said: “When can we have a debate on Torbay another council that is about to collapse?

“The Government seem to be too busy fighting among themselves to fight for this country.”

Torbay is one of several Conservative run councils facing uncertain times due to financial mismanagement. Earlier this year it was uncovered Northamptonshire county council was effectively bankrupt and did not have enough cash to fund services.

Shadows Communities and Local Government Secretary, Andrew Gwynne, said: “With another Tory Council running out of money, the Government needs to take responsibility for this failure.

“Ministers can’t hide from the truth any longer. Tory austerity is harming our local services. Our communities need a Labour Government that will resource our councils to be able to deliver these vital services.”

4 lies about the NHS, that were created to undermine it, debunked

Despite the NHS now being 70 years old, there are still many out there who wish to debate whether it is fit for purpose. It is one political achievement that no one can deny has had a huge positive impact on the welfare of the British people. Despite its impact being felt by all the population, the level of knowledge on the NHS remains extremely low. For too long the population has had to fight through the media’s stories, designed to help corporate interests involved in healthcare. Here are the 4 main lies people use when they wish to undermine the NHS and why they are complete nonsense.

Lie 1: It’s hugely costly

“The black hole that is the NHS” is complete nonsense. The UK spends far less on healthcare than most developed nations. Currently, total healthcare spending accounts for 9.7% of GDP. This figure includes private spending outside the NHS. When compared to other nations this is a small figure.

Source: ONS

When we look at nominal values the picture does not change.

Source: OECD data

We do not spend much on our healthcare yet our life expectancy remains good.

Lie 2: It’s inefficient

We have seen how cheap our healthcare is in comparison to other nations yet we are often told the NHS is spectacularly inefficient. Those on the right seem to believe anything run by the government is inefficient simply by its status as being publicly owned. Again we have no idea how lucky we are.

The commonwealth fund every year assesses the developed nation’s healthcare systems and rate them on their efficiency. The results from 2017:

The NHS, the most efficient healthcare system in the world.

Lie 3: We’d pay less with a private system

Despite what a Neo-Liberal would tell you about publicly run services the fully public single payer system for healthcare is the most efficient in the world. The most obvious example of expensive private healthcare is the USA, their ‘free market’ for healthcare without proper government regulation leads them to have the most expensive healthcare in the world.

Other nations do have working insurance systems, but their citizens also pay the price. The graph above shows the costs of healthcare around the globe. The nations near the top like Switzerland, Luxembourg and Germany all have multipayer systems. An insurance based system would drive up the cost of healthcare for the average citizen. The average US citizen spends more than twice on healthcare than the average Brit. Take a glance at there efficiency scores as well.

If we want a service that is less efficient, where insurance companies scoop off a share of our money we should move to a private system. If we want to continue to pay less for healthcare than our neighbours, we must keep the NHS.

Lie 4: It’s getting more money but is still failing

Yes in nominal terms the NHS is getting more money, it needs it. With an ageing population and more treatment available, healthcare in all nations is getting more expensive. However, in real terms, this is what the Tories have done to NHS funding.

Socialist Reporter

Cutting the funding in real terms has caused this crisis, to fix the NHS we must fund it properly. There is no need to look for a different system, we just need a ruling party who support our current one.

 

Tory council gives away land to private business valued at over £100k

Pendle council have made the decision to give away the Holt House sports facility to a private business without receiving any fee or compensation.

The move sees the Conservative council give the land to the owners of Colne FC without a penny changing hands.

The land currently is under a 99yr lease from Pendle Borough Council and would pass from public to private ownership with this move. The land is valued at over £100k.

Labour’s Azhar Ali said:

“It is highly unusual for a council to want to simply give land, which is worth over £100,000, away to a private company. The residents around the Area also need to be consulted.

No business plans have been submitted and no residents have been consulted.

Mohammed Iqbal, leader of the Labour Group on Pendle Borough Council stated:

“There has been no evidence of due diligence in relation to the proposals, no business plan has been submitted to ensure that the venture is financially sound. Residents, on the North Valley estate have not been consulted or given assurances about what would happen to the land if the club ceases to exist or to vacate the site at some point in the future.”

Labour, supported by the Liberal Democrats, are seeking a review of the proposal and are calling for a public meeting with residents before any decision is made.

The Conservatives in the council have come under criticism before when they reinstated a councillor who had been suspended for racism after the May council elections to make sure they remained in control of the council.

Retraction: We previously stated that the Liberal Democrats were supporting the Conservatives due to a piece by Pendle Labour Party, this has been deemed incorrect and the Liberal Democrats are actually supporting Labour in seeking a review of the process. The People’s News apologises for the mistake and strives to keep to the high standard of journalism to not make errors such as this.

Ester McVey forced to apologise for misleading Parliament

Work and Pensions Secretary Ester McVey was forced to go to the House of Commons yesterday and issue a grovelling apology to MPs after misleading them over Universal Credit.

The boss of the National Audit Office, Whitehall’s spending watchdog, blasted McVey in a scathing letter which was made public Wednesday morning. It is the first time the NAO has made correspondence with a minister public.

The shambolic system, the brainchild of Iain Duncan Smith, has seen thousands suffer delays in payments and many MPs have called for the system to be halted. McVey has claimed on Monday that the NAO had called for Universal Credit to be rolled out even faster and claimed that a recent report did not include the most up-to-date information on the scheme.

McVey told MPs on Wednesday that her statement had been made “mistakenly” and she had rather meant to say that the NAO report had found “no practical alternative” to Universal Credit, which combines six existing benefits into a single payment.

Labour is calling on McVey to resign for a clear breach of the Ministerial Code. Theresa May, who can ill afford to lose another cabinet member, has given the embattled DWP Secretary her full support.

Labour councillors in Aberdeen remain suspended over Tory coalition

Nine Aberdeen councillors who were suspended in May last year will see their case go to the National Constitutional Committee.

9 councillors were initially suspended in May 2017, having broken Party rules by forming a power-sharing agreement with the Conservative Party and Independents without the prior approval of the SEC, as per Appendix 6, Rules for Local Government, Labour Groups Clause X in the Scottish Labour handbook.

There is no date for the NCC meeting yet.

The suspension came after they disobeyed Kezia Dugdale’s orders not to form a coalition with the Conservatives. The largest party on the council is the SNP but the Labour councillors did not wish to form a coalition with another party who resist austerity.

Many in the Labour Party believe this sort of action and Labour’s mistakes in aligning with the Tories in the ‘better together’ campaign is a primary reason for their lack of popularity in Scotland.

A petition to have the councillors excluded from the party if they do not pull out of the coalition has nearly reached 1000 signatures, far more than a petition that was set up beforehand to support the coalition choice.

The Campaign for Socialism, a left-wing group within the Scottish Labour Party, stated it fully supports the “decision to uphold the suspension of the 9 Aberdeen councillors and oppose their coalition with Tory councillors” stating coalitions with the Tories are “politically and morally unacceptable”

Analysis from Iwan Doherty- Editor in Chief

The fact that this has dragged on for over a year shows how poor Labour have become in Scotland. Richard Leonard may now be the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party but they are far from a socialist party within. If you thought Corbyn had a tough fight, Leonard has a much harder one.

The SNP whilst nationalists are ideological allies, a social democratic party with strong socialist factions should always be Labour’s choice of partner over the Tories. Not resisting austerity has killed Labour in Scotland and this move only gives political ammunition to the SNP and more hardship to residents suffering due to austerity.

Labour should learn its lessons and to rebuild in Scotland means not siding with the Tories.