Care leaders brand MPs ‘shameful’ over Immigration Bill vote : Care Home Professional


Care organisations and unions have condemned “out of touch” MPs for voting in favour of the government’s controversial Immigration Bill.

Source: Care leaders brand MPs ‘shameful’ over Immigration Bill vote : Care Home Professional

Gareth Lyon: By professionalising councillors, we are repeating Parliament’s mistake at a local level | Conservative Home


The last century has seen a well-intentioned, but largely self-defeating, attempt to improve the honesty, responsiveness, and accountability of our political system by spending more on it. Instead, we have seen the rise of an increasingly well insulated professional political class, the hollowing out of voluntary parties, and the creation of an institutional ratchet which is dragging political thought to the statist establishment left.

1911 saw the first Parliamentary pay structure introduced in an attempt to curb what were perceived to be unaccountable outside influences on MPs’ political priorities and decision-making. It was also an attempt to widen access to political careers. The second of these reasons, however, does not really stand up as a justification. This reform happened at a time when such access was already widening considerably, largely as a result of the “outside influences” – or independent interests, such as trade unions, cooperative societies and philanthropists. The widening access we have seen over the past century would be likely to have occurred anyway. So, we are left with a system which depends for its legitimacy on the somewhat contentious proposition that the last century has seen a profound and remarkable rise in the honesty and fairmindedness of our Parliament.

The payroll for our MPs, in turn, led to allowances for Peers, MPs’ expenses, and the proliferation of MPs’ staff, and most perniciously of all, Short Money.

Clearly Parliamentarians and their staff must be paid but each extension of the taxpayer’s largesse has helped to establish a career path for the so-called “career politicians” of tabloid ire and a largely unaccountable ecosystem of policy advisors, researchers and party staff insulated from outside influences, contributing to the increasing disconnect between political decision-makers and the wider community. As with any institution, these party machines have developed their own independent interests and agendas.

 

Source: Gareth Lyon: By professionalising councillors, we are repeating Parliament’s mistake at a local level | Conservative Home

All these MPs claim for a TV licence – but many people who need it can’t – inews.co.uk


For many people, the BBC is more than just a broadcaster. It is a companion, a (good) teacher, an alarm clock, a sleep aid, an entertainer and a provocateur. It is not just a news source but the soundtrack to our lives. Like it or loathe it, one thing’s for sure – you feel a certain way about it, that’s as British as talking about the weather.

And so, the announcement that millions of pensioners will have to pay £154.50 for a TV licence from next year because the corporation plans to start means testing it has got tongues wagging.

BBC bosses have confirmed the move, with Director General Lord Hall saying the decision to cut the funding free TV licences for the over-75s – to the tune of £745 million a year – stemmed from Conservative austerity. Former Culture Minister Ed Vaizey seemed to agree, saying we shouldn’t forget it was the Treasury under George Osborne that decided the BBC would have to shoulder the cost to meet welfare targets.

Other politicians have also condemned the move. Theresa May is said to be “very disappointed” by the decision while Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has accused the Government of “breathtaking gall” in trying to “blame the BBC for this mess”.

Read more

Why should MPs get free TV licences but not the over-75s?

However, whatever happens next, there is one group who will continue to be able to access free TV licences in the future: politicians. MPs work hard, often unsociable hours and they can claim a free TV licence for their constituency offices as an expense.

Figures published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and obtained by i show that so far, in the expenses year 2018-2019 up until January (reporting is not yet complete for February and March), 154 MPs have made such a claim.

This includes Conservatives such as the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, who has overseen the rollout of Universal Credit, Michael Fabricant, Kevin Hollinrake, who founded the estate agency chain Hunters, Sir Roger Gale and Anna Soubry. Labour’s Hillary Benn, Karl Turner, Lisa Nandy, Kate Osamor and Yasmin Qureshi are also amongst those making the claim.

An incredible resource

The BBC says cutting free licenses for older people will save them somewhere in the region of £500m. I don’t question for a moment whether paying £154.50 a year for a TV licence is good value or that, now, more than ever, we need the quality rolling Brexit coverage of Laura Kuenssberg as well as the dark relief of truly innovative shows like Killing Eve.

And, no matter how connected the world becomes, BBC World Service will always be an incredible resource. We need more of this, not less and, for that, the BBC has to be able to compete with the likes of Netflix who are currently able to outspend it hand over fist. Something has to give.

Conservative leadership contender Jeremy Hunt has defended MPs ability to make these claims as a “legitimate expense”, but MPs earn around £80,000 a year which is far above the national average of £29,009. So is it fair that politicians can collect work perks when schools and care homeshave to pay?

 

Source: All these MPs claim for a TV licence – but many people who need it can’t – inews.co.uk

Breaking: Leadsom resigns from Cabinet | The SKWAWKBOX


Tory chaos goes up a gear with what may be first of series of resignations to pressure PM May

Andrea Leadsom has resigned from her Cabinet position as Leader of the House of Commons.

In a letter to Theresa May, Leadsom blamed failure to deliver Brexit and a breakdown in government processes for her decision and urged May to step down:

 

Source: Breaking: Leadsom resigns from Cabinet | The SKWAWKBOX

We must ‘hold our nerve’ on Brexit, May to tell MPs : Reuters


The United Kingdom is on course to leave the European Union on March 29 without a deal unless May can convince the bloc to amend the divorce deal she agreed in November and then sell it to sceptical British lawmakers.

“The talks are at a crucial stage,” May will tell parliament’s House of Commons on Tuesday, according to remarks supplied by her Downing Street office. “We now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this House has required and deliver Brexit on time.”

British lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected May’s withdrawal deal last month, with the major sticking point being the Irish ‘backstop’ – an insurance policy to prevent the return of a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Critics say the policy could leave Britain subject to EU rules for years or even indefinitely after leaving the bloc.

The EU says the backstop is vital to avoiding the return of border controls in Ireland and has refused to reopen the Brexit divorce deal, though May insists she can get legally binding changes to replace the most contentious parts of the backstop.

“By getting the changes we need to the backstop; by protecting and enhancing workers’ rights and environmental protections; and by enhancing the role of parliament in the next phase of negotiations I believe we can reach a deal that this House can support,” May will say.

European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday the bloc would agree to tweak the political declaration on EU-UK ties after Brexit that forms part of the package, to reflect a plan for a closer future relationship that could obviate the need for the contentious backstop.

“It’s clear from our side that we are not going to reopen the withdrawal agreement but we will continue our discussion in the coming days,” Barnier said.

The leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, said lawmakers would back May’s deal if there were assurances the backstop was time-limited or the United Kingdom was allowed to leave it unilaterally, suggesting the deal itself did not need to be renegotiated.

Slideshow (6 Images)

 

Source: We must ‘hold our nerve’ on Brexit, May to tell MPs : Reuters

Breaking: May’s legal advice confirms UK can only exit with EU’s ok | The SKWAWKBOX


Theresa May has published information on the legal advice the government received on the implications of her withdrawal ‘deal’ with the EU.

Two sections of the information made available are likely to spell the end of her career and probably of her government.

Page 26 of the document spells out that the agreement has no firm end date or ‘any provision for its termination’ – and that the UK has no power to extricate itself from the agreement without the EU’s agreement:

 

Source: Breaking: May’s legal advice confirms UK can only exit with EU’s ok | The SKWAWKBOX

MPs win praise for online abuse proposals | DisabledGo News and Blog


MPs have won praise after calling on the government to ensure disabled people finally secure equality in the protection they are offered by hate crime laws.

Members of the Commons petitions committee said in a new report that it was not right that it was a crime to incite hatred on the grounds of religion or race, but not disability.

The petitions committee was publishing draft recommendations following an inquiry into the online abuse of disabled people, and said it hoped its work would be “a wakeup call” to the government.

It has now launched a consultation on its recommendations before it publishes its final report – the first time a Commons committee has taken such a step – so that disabled people and their allies can respond to its draft proposals.

Among those recommendations is for the government to introduce a new law that would make it a crime to incite hatred against disabled people, a long-standing demand of disability hate crime campaigners.

Anne Novis, a leading disability hate crime campaigner and chair of Inclusion London, said: “I am thrilled to see the recommendation from this inquiry, which include most of the recommendations we submitted in writing and I gave verbally at the inquiry meeting, and other Deaf and disabled people gave via a testimonies session which Inclusion London helped to organise.”

She said the government had repeatedly failed to listen or respond to “repeated evidence and requests for equity in law on hate crime”.

 

Source: MPs win praise for online abuse proposals | DisabledGo News and Blog

Vote for a political party or an individual


I have just come across a draft of a blog I was proposing to issue some years ago and this was prompted by the voting for Police Commissioners, but I do feel that the points raised about voting for a Party as opposed to an Individual are still valid, especially in the case of Brexit.

Avon and Somerset Chief Constable resigns

Like it or not we now have elected Police Commissioners, no one should be complaining re the percentage of the vote. All the Commissioners were elected fairly in accordance with the Law of the country. If you did not exercise your right to vote, or spoiled your ballot paper, then that was your choice, if you want a say, use your vote properly.

I agree, Commissioners should be non-political and I did not agree with party details being shown on the ballot paper, as we were supposedly voting for an Individual not a political party.

Voting, who for, a party or an individual

The press article above as prompted me to have thoughts on our voting system.

It is my belief that the political party should not be shown on any ballot paper whether it be for a local or general election. The idea is in all our elections you are voting for a person that is a councillor or MP, that you feel best represents your point of view.

If we are voting for a party then, there is no need for an individuals name to be on the ballot paper.

Currently you are given an impression that you are voting for an individual, who will represent you. In most cases the individual will be sponsored by a political party, but does that mean they should then show allegiance to the party.

As a country we need to decide, are we voting for a party or an individual, you can not have both.

It also is relevant as to whose views the Councillor or MP are there to represent, are they there to represent their own views or the views of their constituents.  For they do say they are there for their constituents, for if they are not would they have been elected.

But then again as we use the first past the post voting system as opposed to Proportional Representation. The former will elect an individual but perhaps could elect a party who would then place their own individual or as we do the winning candidate on the voting paper. Whereas the latter would elect a party, who would place their own individuals according to the split of the vote, assuming there was more than one place being contended.

So in the case of Brexit, should a particular MP vote in accordance with how their constituents voted or their own views?

Jared O’Mara calls for action on bullying and harassment by MPs – Black Triangle Campaign


A newly-elected disabled MP is calling for action to address the bullying and harassment he has witnessed in the House of Commons, in a bid to introduce a new culture of “decorum and professionalism” into parliament.

Jared O’Mara has previously spoken to Disability News Service (DNS) about some of the access barriers he has faced in parliament since he defeated former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg to win the Sheffield Hallam seat in June.

Now he is calling on the House of Commons to draw up a policy on bullying and harassment by MPs, and to carry out a regular access audit of the parliamentary estate.

Many disabled people were appalled when O’Mara – who is unable to stand for longer than five or 10 minutes – described earlier this month how he had been unable to attend a couple of debates in the main Commons chamber because there were no seats available.

But he has now told DNS that he wants the parliamentary authorities to introduce an anti-bullying and harassment policy that would prevent the kind of behaviour he has witnessed in the Commons chamber.

He said he had not been bullied or harassed directly, but had been affected by the comments and “jeering” directed against male MPs who have taken advantage of new rules allowing them not to wear ties.

The new rules are believed to have been introduced by the Commons speaker, John Bercow, after O’Mara made it clear he was unable to wear a buttoned shirt and tie because of his impairment.

All male MPs are now allowed to speak in the Commons chamber without wearing a tie, while O’Mara has also been allowed to wear a tee-shirt under a jacket.

But O’Mara said that comments made by the transport minister, John Hayes, who warned that he would refuse to take interventions from any male MPs who were not wearing ties, had made him feel “really upset and uncomfortable”.

He said he had taken these comments as “harassment”, even though they were not directed at him.

A spokesman for Hayes had failed to respond to a request for a comment by noon today (Thursday).

O’Mara said: “There has been other jeering when MPs have been not wearing a tie. It’s Neanderthal and bestial.”

He said he was also disturbed by the general “heckling and shouting” at fellow MPs that takes place in the Commons chamber during debates.

He said: “That comes under that umbrella of bullying and something I would like to take up, so people are more civilised while in the chamber and so they don’t make other people uncomfortable.”

He said that this kind of “very shrill, aggressive, intimidating environment” could cause problems for MPs who have

 

Source: Jared O’Mara calls for action on bullying and harassment by MPs – Black Triangle Campaign

Are shadow ministers right to threaten rebellion over Article 50? | Vox Political


To all MPs within the UK respect the will of the majority, that is democracy or depart from Parliament, the same needs to be said of the Lords.

 

——————————————————————————————-In a word, no. The United Kingdom is still – despite the best efforts of the Conservative Party -a democracy, and the EU referendum result was a direct reflection of the will of the people. J…

Source: Are shadow ministers right to threaten rebellion over Article 50? | Vox Political